Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Making the most of opportunities

Today’s unemployment figures make a sobering read for anyone –but if you’re looking to take the first step in your working life, they’re particularly unwelcome.

As in any downturn, new graduates face a tough time, with a wearisome hard slog of applications, interviews and ‘on this occasion you were unsuccessful in your application….best wishes for your future career’ letters.

Last week’s PR Week carried a pretty good analysis of what that means for our industry. Some agencies are recruiting graduates in similar numbers as over the last few years, but most have been forced to cut back. That’s hardly surprising –our industry can’t expect to be immune from what’s happening elsewhere in the economy.

So it’s more important than ever that if you’re offered the opportunity to prove your value to a potential employer, you grab it with both hands.

I say this because the PR Week piece happened to coincide with a brilliant example of how not to forge a career in PR. A PRCA member (no, I won’t name them) had awarded a highly-prized work placement to someone in her final year at university, looking for a future in PR. Did she make the most of it? Did she make a fantastic impression and smooth her way into the PR world? Well, she certainly made an impression, but maybe not a career-enhancing one.

After two days, she decided not to come back in. Apparently, she hadn’t been given enough responsibility; enough management opportunities; enough face-time with the MD. Naturally, she’d still like a career in PR though. A piece of advice –it’s probably not the career for you…..

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