There’s a lot more to a career in PR and communications than Champagne and long lunches. With competition for jobs fiercer than ever, especially in the graduate market, we caught up with four of the industry’s hottest experts to discover how to stand out from the crowd...
Lauren Stevenson, Co-Founder and Director of Aisle 8
Lauren Stevenson went from PR Director at My-Wardrobe to Head of PR at world-famous department store, Harrods. She’s since branched out on her own and founded PR agency Aisle 8, whose clients include Three Graces London and NYC-based travel brand Away.
Get as much experience as possible: This way, you’ll know which area of PR you want to go into, whether it’s in-house, agency, consumer, fashion, beauty or corporate. I believe having a blended experience of in-house, agency and consumer as well as fashion provided me with the best experience for what I do today.
Live and breathe your brands: The best PRs are thorough with understanding their brands and their brands’ industries. They're also honest, personable, reliable, creative and strategic.
Never give up. If you truly believe in something, you can achieve anything – including your dream career.
Michelle Boon, CEO at SEEN Group
As CEO of Beauty SEEN, one of the world’s fastest growing health and beauty agencies, Michelle Boon is a force to be reckoned with. She spends her time between London and New York managing clients like NARS and Revlon, along with running new events and production company V-SEEN.
Prioritising is key: In PR, time is a big challenge – there are always new opportunities and tasks arising. It’s crucial to prioritise different jobs and clients to ensure you deliver everything on time.
Stay ahead of the game: The constantly changing communications landscape is also a challenge; from new digital innovations, to consumer habits, you always need to be one step ahead.
Knowledge is everything: Take time to research how other brands communicate and make an effort to network with people that can support and inspire you.
Be socially intelligent: You need the talent to connect, empathise and engage with everyone regardless of who they are or what they do. It’s also vital to be switched on, open to ideas and be a true storyteller, believing in what you say and do.
Julia Perowne, Co-Founder and CEO of Perowne International
Having spent the majority of her career working with the world’s finest hotels and international brands, Julia Perowne is one of the most successful travel PRs around. Last August, she launched a new solo business venture, Perowne International, which focuses on luxury travel.
Get networking: I’ve found so many of my employees through word of mouth. Often, if I hear of someone good, I’ll make the decision to hire them – even if I don’t have an available role, I’ll create one for them.
Be truly passionate: PR is all about passion for the product. If you don’t have that then you won’t get far in PR these days.
Don’t expect glamour: Remember that PR isn’t the glamorous industry many people think it is – it’s hard work and can be demoralising. While it’s not for the faint hearted, it’s certainly one of the most rewarding industries when you put the effort in.
Jenny Halpern, Founder and CEO of Halpern
If there’s anyone qualified to give advice on PR, it’s Jenny Halpern. Founder and CEO of one of the UK’s leading PR and consultant companies (which she set up at 23), Halpern, she’s created some of the world’s most recognised campaigns, from Burberry and UGG to Google and Five Guys.
Be proactive: Ask your family and friends for any contacts they have in PR, send them your CV and pick up the phone. Nine times out of ten someone will react and give you an opportunity to present yourself. You don’t need any qualifications per se – you just need to be a natural communicator.
Don’t bullshit: We look for people who are open and friendly – but honest and brave too. You need a no bullshit approach because so much of the time journalists and clients want you to be as straight forward as possible. If something goes wrong, confess to it immediately.