Tag Archives: apprenticeships

Marketing internship opportunity

Northwest Vision and Media is offering the opportunity to gain some valuable experience in marketing in the games industry.

The paid placements are available to North West graduates in marketing and digital disciplines.

The deadline for applications is Friday 24th July at midday, so if interested contact ianw@visionandmedia.co.uk for an application form.

It looks like a good opportunity to get some valuable experience and get a career going – so what are you waiting for (if indeed you are graduate starting out)?

How to get ahead in marketing and PR

I, like many, struggled to get into a career in marketing.

It’s not easy and the recession makes an attractive career in PR or marketing even harder to come by.

If you are not a marketing / PR / business graduate it becomes even harder, and no experience, well….

So what can you do if you feel that you could grow into this type of career?  How can you invest your time to build a platform to build a career?

Here are a few tips that I hope will be of some help.  They derive from my experience and as you know experience can be described as a collection of mistakes – peppered by a few successes – that helps you learn how to do something proficiently.

Resilience – you are going to get knocked back unless you are very lucky, well-connected or brilliant.  It is not easy to get a letter like this if you feel that you are perfect for a job: “Even though you are an excellent candidate we felt your skills were not quite right for our organisation on this occasion….”

You need to have a thick skin and move on, and don’t look back.  It’s not easy.

Give yourself a range of options – You might want to work in fashion PR, it is your ambition since you were 17.  But be flexible, so if a job in consumer PR comes up consider it carefully.  You can always move to other sectors at a later stage (although HR can have a habit of pigeon holing people).

Make a start and do not wait for the perfect job – You have to start somewhere.  The first job might be far from perfect but does it get you to the place you want to go?

A note of caution:  Sometimes an opportunity comes up but it is not right because it will not develop your skills, you don’t have the right attributes to build on in the first place or the boss or environment is not for you.  It takes real courage to turn something down when you are desperate to get a career started.  However, it is often the best option, so think carefully before accepting a position that you have a bad feeling about.

Desperation – the enemy of job seekers.

If you are desperate it will come though at interview and you will not get the job or as above it will cloud your judgement.  When you are starting out you often don’t have much perspective and little experience – you need to get on NOW!  Try and relax, if you are determined you will get there.

Qualifications – These can be more important in securing your first position rather than what you learn.  (I cannot remember 90% of my Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma).

Apprenticeships – take them.  It shows employers your intent and gives you insight into your profession.  It might convince you that it wasn’t for you all along.  But remember a bad experience doesn’t mean you won’t thrive elsewhere.

Networking – If you develop good contacts it can help flag opportunities.  The least it might do is give you a real insight into the profession.  So start to attend CIPR events, ask friends who they know, can your lecturers help make introductions for you?  Be proactive, it will also deveolop your business skills and you as a person.

Social networking – It is hard to go to a business event as a wannabe PR and feel confident that you will be taken seriously.  You might think, “What can I offer the other attendees?”

These thoughts are understandable, but that doesn’t stop you using Twitter, monitoring blogs or indeed blogging yourself to start to establish a greater insight into your new profession and to initiate contacts.  If you are engaged in these pursuits at this moment in time you will probably be admired by the best professionals.  In a couple of years perhaps it will be nothing special at all.

Take control of things yourself – I have one client that could not get the summer job he wanted so he found projects for himself and by the time he graduated he had enough work to form his own business.

Not everyone is confident or able enough to do this, most people need to learn the ropes before they can work for themselves.  Saying that, if you feel you can offer something, why not do PR for a small charity or organisation?  (Caution: you might look back on the mistakes you made here and cringe, but it could be useful for your CV).

Find a mentor – someone who can help and guide you is invaluable.  Even getting snippets of advice from professionals can help, so be open and receptive.

Someone, family or friend, that can give you support can be just as crucial when you are feeling down thinking about the ridiculous odds you might encounter going for an entry level position.

If you want it you can get into marketing or PR – be proactive, focused and determined.

A few thoughts on Manchester Masters selection criteria

Some time ago – 14.1.07 – I published an entry about the need for apprenticeships for marketing and PR.

Even though I wrote that two years ago it is still a popular post.  This is of course not surprising with the current economic climate.

When Manchester Masters was launched it seemed like a promising development – apprenticeships for students and graduates wanting a career in marketing and PR.  And not only that, it was supportive and generous beyond many people’s expectation – certainly ones that had had to devote unpaid work to get on the career ladder themselves.

Why had such a scheme not been thought of before?

I was looking through The Guardian when I spotted the name of  Sandy Lindsay of Manchester PR agency Tangerine.  I was drawn into an article about selection for Manchester Masters.

Any scheme offering a real opportunity to grow (and a rent free apartment for a year) is going to be popular, in good times and bad.

But how do you select the 10 lucky students out of the 100 applications?  (This actually seems a low figure).

Well The Guardian gave the answer: Apprentice style activities such as putting a flat back together while being questioned.

These tasks were designed to weed out the “wallflowers” but as journalist Daniel Cookney observes “is it possible that the competition overlooked good candidates who were simply not suited to such a format?”  Others agreed.

It might be that the PR for this was seen as key and it was generated successfully.  After all I read about it in The Guardian.  It could be that the PR agency let its instincts take over or they took some publicity for themselves (we all do a bit from time to time).  It could be that this was seen as the best way to select, but I doubt it.

What I know is that it can be incredibly hard to get started, the recession might, I should say “will”, destroy the hopes of some graduates to attain a career in PR and marketing.

But we need to be fair as possible, perhaps this was.

The key thing is that the desperate desire to win one of these apprenticeships is taken with the upmost seriousness.  I am sure it was, but using techniques that have a touch of business reality TV gives the wrong impression.

One winner Charlotte Gush gushed, “My specialist knowledge does not lie in PR, marketing or media, but the competition challenged me to demonstrate my transferable skills, knowledge and abilities.”

How do you exactly know that if you have not worked in any of the fields?  I can’t see how the exercises did at all.

It has the ring of cliched and hackneyed CV soundbites.

For me Manchester Masters is a brilliant opportunity for 10 lucky aspiring marketers to get a real head start.  It is bound to miss talented people that make it through other means.  But it has to show that it has gone through fair and professional means to find the apprentices.  Anything less is unfair on those that missed out and on the integrity and reputation of the scheme.

Apprenticeships for marketing and PR

Jamie Oliver, you might find him irritating or inspirational, but he often talks sense.

He has taken a side swipe at the government for pushing university at school leavers and not investing in apprenticeships.

What is the point of of 50% of school leavers going to college when there are not enough jobs for them? And The Guardian commented on Saturday that even Oxbridge graduates are guaranteed nothing.

Why not have apprenticeships for marketing and PR?

Some years ago I was talking to an academic who was setting up a post graduate course for PR. I asked him excitedly where he had worked. The answer, in a blase fashion was, “I haven’t worked in PR.”

I have wondered ever since how you can teach something you have never even tried.

I have also noted that many professions can be learnt in the world of work with perhaps some college release.

Do not misunderstand me, university and learning do have merit. And you should learn for the enjoyment and interest of a subject, even if there is no job waiting for you. We sometimes forget that.

Yes, marketers and PRs should invest in professionals qualifications – it shows interest in their profession and a desire to add to their skills. But the key skills / attributes are surely enthusiasm, openness to improving skills, writing, analytical skills, ability to interact with colleagues and clients and common sense.

If those interested in marketing and PR wish to do an English degree – fine.

All I am saying is there should be an alternative and the government should not encourage such large numbers to go into university because they do not have a clue what to do with them or the misapprehension that having such large numbers in education will make us an economic superpower.

Would marketing and PR wither away if universities cut 75% of graduates in marketing, PR and business. The answer is surely “no!”