In the three years I’ve been running JMG PR, I’ve fielded countless questions from PR hopefuls looking to make their mark. There’s the natural curiosity of how to get started, what skills are needed, what to expect in this business, to how I got my start.
I knew PR was the right career for me even before college. In high school I worked on our senior Fashion show, handling elements similar to the relationships managed in PR and that experience opened up my eyes and made me excited about what I was doing. From then on no other subject or topic got me as excited as PR did.
I was also a huge fan of Lizzie Grubman’s show on MTV called, “PoweR Girls.” I recently met Lizzie at an event and was able to share with her the fact that she was the reason I pursued PR. That’s why I love when students seek me out for advice; it’s so important to have someone you can look towards as an inspiration. On that note, I’ve taken the liberty to share with all of you my advice on some of the recent questions that came through on our Instagram page.
What advice would you give a college senior who wants to work in PR after graduating?
I strongly suggest doing at least one internship, if not more, starting sophomore year if possible. If not, shoot for junior and senior year, especially your last semester before you graduate. Many companies look to hire from within so create connections while you’re there. Internships can lead to employment; I was hired two weeks after graduation at the boutique firm I was interning at my last semester of school.
It’s also a good idea to follow PR firms on social media along with the people who run the company or department you’re interested in. Familiarize yourself with everything about them; being a fan is just one of the attributes an employer wants from an employee. And engage with them either by commenting on photos or engaging on a blog post. Just remember, proof read what you write and make sure your grammar is correct!
When is the best time to apply for an entry level position?
I’d say a month or two before graduation; let your supervisor know you’re graduating in the event a job opens up you’ll be fresh on their mind. It’s also a good idea to do an internship at an agency that handles a specific sector of PR. So for instance, if you love fashion, make it a priority to intern at a company that focuses heavily on fashion PR.
As an agency, how are you unique with each of your clients?
We make our clients feel like they’re our ONLY client. We build a team around the expertise and needs of that particular client and since each action plan is individualized and unique no two strategies are identical.
What’s one of the biggest challenges with PR?
The biggest challenge I’ve seen to date is the media landscape; it’s always evolving. With fewer members on editorial teams and more publicists in the field, the competition has increased in gaining more press for our clients. As a result, our job becomes a bit more difficult but I love a great challenge!
What tips would you give a person who wants to work in Entertainment?
Find and then focus on the agencies that are heavy in that area. Stay on top of pop culture and know everything that’s going on. Follow the companies you’re most interested in working for and make your presence known by interacting with them.
How do I get my foot in the door if I’m looking to change careers?
The most important thing when it comes to PR is that you have experience in PR. And that’s difficult to do, especially coming from a different career, and no internship experience to back you up. My best advice would be to try and find an internship so you can get that on your resume. While not all companies offer post-grad internship opportunities, there are some that do.
Next, look to freelance as an assistant at a smaller boutique firm; offer your help whenever needed and be accessible. Whether assisting at events in the evenings, or on weekends, do whatever you can to get your foot in the door. No one likes working for free but in the long run you will be thankful that you did.
JMG PR is always looking for talented interns to come onboard and be a part of our team. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more.