This week 16-17 year olds across the country have been heading in to school to pick up their GCSE results, guiding them on the path to further education, vocational careers or maybe University, but with PR the traditional routes aren’t always necessary – there are plenty of alternative ways to get your foot in the door.
Yes, Public relations is an intricate and multifaceted field but it’s important to keep in mind that formal public relations programs were only incorporated into academic programs over the last 20 to 25 years, whereas PR as a profession has existed since the early 1900’s – when people still sent press releases in the mail!
Undoubtedly, a degree in public relations offers a strong foundation based on theory, as well as comprehensive knowledge of public relations practice rudiments but at NB towers, people are from a variety of backgrounds and sometimes a degree isn’t the only thing that’s going to set you apart from other candidates.
Take a look at some of the alternative routes some of NB’s own took to get where they are today:
After leaving school at 18 with a couple of A levels I bumbled around a bunch of jobs, never staying for more than a year or so – from pub shifts, to working in a gym, to office admin work, I struggled to find my feet. So I decided to do two things: 1) move to London and 2) find a job in a creative industry. I’ve always had an interest in events, design and storytelling, so it seemed an obvious move. Enter, Nelson Bostock.
I started here as a receptionist seven years ago with little reception experience but lots of enthusiasm and willingness to work to make up for it. I learned about PR by osmosis and helping out on projects whenever I was given the chance, and when the opportunity to move into the PR teams as an Account Assistant came up, I jumped at it. Turns out I was shit at PR, just shocking. So I moved over to the finance team where I stayed for four years, two babies and a house move.
During my time in finance I occasionally helped out Lauren – our only designer at the time – with in-house jobs when she was slammed (which was always). I picked up a few bits here and there about how to use design software and started to focus more on developing those skills. When I returned from maternity leave I was offered an exciting opportunity to join the design team (which by then had grown to three full-time designers) and here I am!
Advice I have for non-grads: be persistent, grab opportunities and find a company that’ll give you a chance, you never know where you might end up.
Laura Wynn-Owen, Designer
As an ex-teacher, I know all too well the stress students put themselves under to get the set of A’s that will line them up for their dream career. And whilst getting results you are proud of is important, the route to your dream job doesn’t need to be decided on paper. Now, as the New Business and Marketing Manager of a top 5 Tech PR Agency, I couldn’t be further from my degree in Physical Education.
Taking the leap from Teacher to Marketing wasn’t straight forward, and was dependent on me taking risks and believing in myself. Knowing what you enjoy, what you’re good at and having the ability to articulate that is so important. At Nelson Bostock we look at more than your education; our core values are to “Be Brilliant, Be Challenging and Be Admired” and when we have interns in, who may not have a degree, those three things are what we look for. So, when you get your results today/tomorrow, know that there are different routes to the same destination and to get there the most important thing is determination.
Hannah Bretherick, New Business & Marketing Manager
Most people seem to get in to PR straight out of university, either after doing a related degree or finding some work experience. However it’s not the only way in. I entered this world a little later than most (only a little!) and so my road to PR is a little more unusual. It took me a little longer than most to settle on a career but now I have it has made me even more certain it is the right choice. I’ve worked a fair few other jobs (some great, some really not!) and completed a research masters in press regulation before I found my way here. That life experience has meant I’ve been able to bring a different angle to my role here. I may not walk as fast, hear as well or understand their crazy music but having a different life experience means I can still contribute.
Ben Cullen, Account Assistant