A guide to getting started in PR

Stay on top of the news in your PR job

Loïs Kok, Account Executive at Stampa, shares her insights on how to land your first PR job and get your career off to a flying start.

When I started looking for my first job, I remember asking my mum how my peers were grasping what all these different companies do and positions mean. She told me that no one really knows at this point in their career and that all you can do is ask. Since some people reading this may be new to public relations (PR), here’s a short guide to landing your first job in corporate PR based on my experience at Stampa.

Consultants starting their first PR job at Stampa.

What does a PR professional do?

In a corporate PR agency, our job is to manage and protect the reputation of our clients. At Stampa, most of our clients are large international businesses. They need to communicate with many different stakeholders, including their own employees, media, politicians, NGOs and other groups. Our role is to help them communicate with these audiences in the best way, helping them tell their story and engage positively.

Of course, one of the most important audiences for our clients is the media. In practice, this means we advise businesses on how best to approach journalists and form a mutually beneficial relationship. It is therefore essential in my role to be up to date with the news cycle, since you need to be able to judge what topics are most attractive to which journalists at what publications at any specific point in time. Apart from that, PR professionals also spend a lot of their time writing pieces themselves. Most of the content that my clients share with me is not ready to be sent to the media – it may be too technical or in a draft form. My job is to turn the client’s information into a compelling package for journalists and then ‘pitch’ it to them, hopefully so they use it in their story.

What’s a typical day like?

Working at an agency makes for varied working days. For example, I once spent the day at a heliport, giving tours to journalists and learning about the inner workings of helicopter machinery. As an account executive at Stampa, I spend most of my time maintaining an overview of different clients. I assist our client teams in tasks that range from setting up calls and writing notes to helping strategise PR plans and pitching interviews to journalists. As we work with clients in the financial, green energy and tech space, the most exciting part of my job is that I get to learn a lot about these different industries and their stakeholders. It also puts me in the same room as senior management of big companies, teaching me how these organisations are managed behind the scenes and at the highest level.

What skills do you need to land a PR job?

It is important to have affinity with and interest in the media. When I had my interview with Stampa, the team asked me what media I enjoy, including where I go for news, any papers I read, or podcasts or websites. It’s important to show you are genuinely interested in news and media, because after all, that’s what our clients expect from us.

Another important skill is writing, as we write a lot of reports, summaries and pitches. You need to enjoy spending a big portion of your day reading and writing. However, presenting to and meeting with clients and journalists is also part of the job, so you need to be clear and confident both verbally and in writing. You must learn quickly how you can become an expert on your clients’ priority subjects, which can be very diverse in an agency like ours with many different clients in lots of sectors. To be a successful PR professional you will have to use your creativity and apply your knowledge of the current media landscape to the topics that your clients want to share.

Most importantly, reach out to people that are already in the field. They can tell you the most about their company and how they got started.

If you are a recent graduate or just entered the job market and are interested in a position in corporate PR, check out this open position for a junior PR consultant at Stampa. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I know how difficult it can be to land your first professional job and don’t mind being your PR professional on hand!

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