Currently finding work in any industry is not as easy as it was even a year ago, but we are here to help point you in the right direction.
Where to start looking:
Newspapers – Online and print
For public relations and communications jobs, make sure you read the Media Guardian religiously every Monday (and Saturday's paper can also be good for graduate positions). Wading through job adverts can be a little depressing at times, especially if there doesn't seem to be anything suitable, so don't make this the sole focus of your job hunt. All papers now have online job sections; don't forget to check your local paper too.
Individual PR company websites
If there is a particular PR company you want to work for, make sure you regularly check their website for job adverts. You may also find they advertise graduates are welcome to submit their CV for consideration at any point throughout the year.
Recruitment consultants – online and company based
There is no shortage of recruitment consultants, but it is often hard to know which to use. There are a number that specialise in PR and the communications industry such as VMA and Pathfinders. Then there are big general agencies such as Reed and Monster; then there are all the individual ones that you will need to go into to meet with a consultant and have them to access your CV so they can discuss all the options available to you.
TipWhen emailing a recruitment consultant put your name in the subject line of the email when initially sending your CV and any specific reference number of a job you are applying for. This makes it easier for the consultant to find your email when going through the huge volume of CVs they receive each day.
Going to recruitment consultants can at times be very disheartening, but do not put all your eggs in one basket, go and sign up to as many as you can, and then keep in touch with them. You will soon learn which ones will make an effort to help you find a job and which ones will simply keep your CV on file and do nothing for you. Also remember on average it can take you about 3 months to get a job, so make sure they have you on the books to do whatever temp work becomes available.
As a CIPR member make the most of your membership and the opportunities available for you to network regionally. You never know who you might get to talk to and who might be hiring. But don't make your opening line at a CIPR event, - 'Hi I am looking for a job'.
It is not professional. While the rule of 'it never hurts to ask' does apply, subtlety and tact are also key.
Graduate training programmes and work placements
Companies normally advertise these on their websites and there are usually strict deadlines to adhere to. Lots of research is required. You may also hear of opportunities through your university. Some work placements can be found advertised on the student website, but there are others available as well.
Graduate careers fairs
These are great to go to and often free, many though are in London. The Grad Jobs website is worth checking out as they hold one of the biggest graduate recruitment and work placement fairs in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
At these fairs companies are looking to hire, offer work experience or advertise their graduate schemes. One thing to take note of is that many large fairs will cover all the professions so you may have to hunt to find those offering PR roles. If none are openly advertising PR, remember all big companies will probably have an in-house PR team so it can't hurt to ask them if they know of any openings within their press team or if they can give you the contact details of someone within the HR department you can talk to.
The Milk round
This is where companies tour universities to promote and advertise their job opportunities directly to candidates. In recent years a lot of this has moved online. Check out the milk round website to see what is available.
Temp work is a great way of gaining experience in a relevant industry while you are job hunting. Many people have also ended up being offered a job within a company they are temping for if the company is impressed with the work the person is undertaking, and a position becomes available. Jobs can often be advertised internally before they are then advertised publicly. Temping is also a great way of securing some income while you are unemployed as rent still has to be paid. Make sure your phone is on from about 7am each day if you're waiting to be offered temp work as recruitment companies will have many people on their books and you won't want to miss your opportunity if your phone is switched off!
Getting that job
Finding employment is very time consuming and can be very disheartening if it's not initially going your way, but don't give up! Give yourself the best chance by using a combination of the techniques above and by ensuring you target your applications carefully. For advice on preparing winning CVs, writing cover letters and succeeding at interviews, check out the other sections under careers advice. Also be prepared to take a job that is not 100% what you hoped for, you never know it could open up possibilities you didn't even know about, and you don't have to stay there forever, the job market is much more transient than it used to be.