‘In my day…’

Among the multitude of notes I make to myself daily, I jotted a little reminder to re-read this article from PR Moment. It’s called ’10 PR sins you must not commit’, and comes from Gina Sharp, PR Director at White Label.

It caught my eye for a few reasons. I get geekily excited when the website has something new posted up, as it’s something I click on to every couple of days. They also started following me on Twitter today (*geeky excited dance*)… just saying. Ahem, anyway. It also gives some good little tips. For example, the importance of putting effort into maintaining relationships, rather than ‘suddenly becoming “mates” with a journalist or analyst when you need something…. A good PRO sees what their contacts are up to and keeps in regular contact.’

Another ‘sin’: ‘Promising journalists you can provide them with valuable copy and then letting them down at the last minute.’ I hate letting people down – it makes you feel puny, pathetic and unprofessional. And damages said relationships. You wouldn’t keep in touch with a friend who constantly failed to fulfil their promises, would you?

And another: ‘Sending a press release that doesn’t get to the point until the third paragraph.’ I know I’ve been in PR for a grand total of five minutes, but even I know that golden rule. You’re trying to grab them, to tell them not just that they should be interested, but why. If you want to write a novel, save it for your down time. (Not that that’s a New Year’s resolution of mine or anything…)

Talking of getting to the point – I’ll get to mine. What really struck me about Gina’s piece was  how things were when she started in the industry. Check this out:

‘I realise now how lucky I was. When I interviewed for my first job in PR I had five other interviews on the same day. In fact, I could have interviewed every day of the week. This was not because I was a PR genius.

At that age, despite thinking I knew everything, all I had on my side, apart from drama-school training and a lot of attitude, was the fact that our industry was booming and the jobs were plentiful… I knew that I could find another job on Monday if shove came to “push off“. These days, the luxury of standing up for yourself carries a much higher price.’

If you’re anything like me – i.e., sadly accepting of the jaded, horrendously competitive, no-mans-land-esque slog that is graduate recruitment these days, particularly in the creative industries – you’ll need a second or two to take that in.

Good? Okay.

She had five interviews on the same day… these days people will give anything for just one – ANY one. And can you even comprehend a world where you could just ‘find another job on Monday’? Christ.

What’s saddest is Gina’s mourning of the loss of the ability to ‘stand up for yourself’ as a young, lower-level employee. Nowadays we can be so grateful to have edged our way in that we’ll put up with anything. Just look at the media reports of ridiculously overworked, underpaid (or just not paid) interns.

We know it’s hard for unemployed grads. But how are the employed grads feeling? Lucky? Pleased? Satisfied, and excited to work onward and upward? I know I am, but maybe I’m a minority. And there were 37 other applicants for my job – just 3 for the same role 16 months ago. 

Or are the employed graduates out there just feeling the fear? Getting in’s one thing. Staying in’s another. And things are pretty different from Gina’s day now.

I’m writing a post elsewhere about my New Year’s Resolutions. And the one thing I’d really love to see next year is a bit of improvement. Or at least a little bit more hope?


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