Top 10 Creative Job Applications

Last year, BBC News released a stat saying for every graduate post; they receive 52 applications – an 11% increase on the year before. In fact, one internship I applied for had over 500 applicants. So how can you make your application stand out? Well let’s learn from the best. Here are my top ten creative job applications:

Beating That Exam Stress

It’s that time of year again, exams left right and centre. For some, it’s finals, and it’s a little scary to think if I hadn’t transferred from Oxford Brookes, that’d be me too, but I’m just sitting end of year exams instead. Either way, exams can be, and usually are stressful.

Best of Bournemouth: CALLUM POWELL

Callum Powell, recently graduated from Bournemouth University studying Public Relations, has already achieved considerable and note-worthy experience. From L’Oreal to Hill and Knowlton...

The World's First Social Games

After 16 days of sporting excellence, the London 2012 Olympics have finally drawn to a close. This year was always predicted to be the ‘big one’ for social media, hence the games dubbed as The World’s First Social Games.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you do Crisis Comms

I'm writing this through tears of laughter at the o2 Twitter feed today. I take my hat off to the social media team for their response to the outrageous complaints they've had over the past 24 hours - very well played.

November 21, 2013

The Boss

If you decide to live in the South and remain in PR, your choices aren't DOA but they're not flooding in like London either. You can go in-house to various establishments or choose from a limited number of agencies. Down here, the ones that spring to mind are Merchant (of course), Lee Peck Group, Caviar PR, Line Up Media, Liz Lean PR and then of course Pegasus just a little further up the coast. Well... there is one other option, one that my flatmate (Fleurie) and I have joked about for a long time and that's starting your own agency. 

Personally, I have never wanted to own my own business. I've never had any interest in having to make difficult financial decisions, choosing your growth rate and more importantly, potentially one day, having to fire people - that terrifies me. But... it's always an option and if the job you want isn't out there, there's certainly room to create it. There are HUNDREDS of little consultancies in and around the south, freelancers, partnerships... the list goes on but doing it right, with the potential to actually grow into an agency is something else. 

Fleurie and I have often daydreamed, procrastinated and basically side-tracked ourselves from reality with the ideas for starting our own agency down to name, how we'd split the workload, partnership etc etc. The thing is, you're likely to have different strengths, different focuses, different weaknesses and different areas of the job you enjoy and don't enjoy and you can play on that and use it to your advantage. So in our case, Fleurie's dissertation and job at Folk is based around digital storytelling and she works with the brand so everything from copywriting, presentations, PRing the agency, handling their social accounts etc - brand storytelling but she rarely works with clients. As for me, it's hard to focus on just one job but my dissertation was on branding and I've always fought long and hard about agencies PRing themselves through blogs, events, social media, industry press etc etc, I have also always worked clientside, even since my first internship with AFCB, I've been lucky enough to never be placed in an internship that doesn't trust me to work directly with the press and/or clients. So you begin to see where the responsibility falls under each person and how together you can create something bigger and better whilst having the time to do your part well. 

There are so many things to consider when you launch though, do you take a consultancy approach and hotdesk with the income of a few confirmed clients whilst you drive new business and invest in yourself, do you go to the bank and get a business loan, do you reach out to people and contacts you know for investment or do you apply for grants and funding that exists for these types of start-ups? We covered all the different options in our last module at Bournemouth University even down to virtual offices. Fleurie and I aren't planning on starting anything really... certainly not just yet anyway! 

October 04, 2013

#hashtag #facebook #hashtag

I've cursed and even resorted to hiding people from my newsfeed that overtake it with Instagram pictures with hashtags like #sun #selfie #summer #me #makeup #hair bla bla bla... In fact, I resent Instagram a little for it. But, Facebook have introduced their own hashtags, in fact they've been live for just a few months now and they're quickly working their way into the UK's marketing scene with 61 of the country’s top 100 brands having used them already!

The idea behind them is similar to that of Twitter’s; you can click and search the hashtag to become part of a bigger conversation, or, as a brand, reach more people. 

So why should you bother?
  • There is no character limit, unlike Twitter
  • There are 200 million active users on Twitter, if Facebook can get 30% of their active users to use hashtags publicly, their conversations will reach further than that of Twitter. 

But what to bear in mind if you do: 
  • Only public status updates will appear in the search – this means comments and private updates will not be part of the conversation - and yes, most people have their profiles and updates automatically set to private!
  • Hashtag’s are not fully integrated with Facebook mobile… yet!

And the impact? 

After the infamous Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones, 367,000 mentions on Twitter were recorded compared to the 674,242 fans on Facebook that were talking about it – and yes, that’s before Facebook hashtags were introduced! Facebook has proved the platform for social media marketing with fans discussing content as they watch. Companies including Channel 4 and BBC have experimented with this before by streaming content directly through Facebook.

Facebook hashtags have the potential to match the use on Twitter -  JR Badian, VP of digital marketing and social media at MasterCard believes they can be used for targeting updates to those who are interested, and this method can help extend the reach of your Facebook page.

With the majority of users having their updates set as private on Facebook, many brands are starting to use hashtags to complement the conversation already taking place on Twitter and manage the audience between the two platforms. 

July 11, 2013

o2 v Tesco Mobile

They have done it again... o2 never ceases to make me laugh on Twitter. Today they had a 'rap battle' with Tesco Mobile.

Using #followchallenge, Tesco Mobile received a tweet in the form of a rap/poem from a user mentioning o2 - from there, the two battled it out with hilarious raps until o2 took the opportunity to drop in their #bemoredog campaign.

I think I slightly prefer the blackout comedy tweets but this is a close second. Hats off to the social media team at o2... again!

July 02, 2013

All PR is Online

A good friend of mine kindly gave me a preview of a white paper that is being released today. All PR is Online from Keene Communications which is an edited abstract of forthcoming book Online Public Relations by Professor David Phillips and Philip Young.

It's no secret that the world of PR has been changing for a while. Gone are the days of treating journalists to expensive lunches to get your story in the printed press. Personally, I think most agencies and in-house teams have accepted that Social Media management has become a crucial part of the role but interestingly, Phillips and Young go further and state that it goes far beyond social media. With mobile devices, apps, the cloud and contactless payment, our world has completely changed. They point out that with this technology, the power has shifted from the organisation to the everyday person and PR professionals need to accomodate this in their every day work and plans. 

As a new graduate with a passion for digital communications, I agree with their stance on the future of PR and the changes the industry is and will continue to make. It's difficult to say without having read the entire book (yet) but there are two other elements I think we have to consider: 
  • international communications - there are still parts of the world that don't have the same technology as we do
  • target audience - the majority of disposable income is currently with the 50 years plus age group and although they use some of the technology available, I can safely say my grandmother does not do her shopping on a mobile phone app... Maybe one day! 
You can read the White Paper on Keene Communications' website from this afternoon. The book, Online Public Relations is due to be released later this year and I for one, will be buying it. A huge thank you to Michael White and Keene Communications for sharing this White Paper with me, it's greatly appreciated and I thoroughly recommend people check it out. We all want to be the best professional we can be and changing with the times is certainly the way to do that. 

June 27, 2013

Guest Post: Getting through the nightmare of dissertations

So we all dread the day of starting your dissertation, but the fact is with the right tutor, support and attitude, it can actually be stress-free and dare I say it... enjoyable! Check out top tips from BU graduate, Abigail Taylor here... 

1. Choose a topic that interests you. Sometimes it is better to choose something you're not as familiar with as you will probably find it more interesting to research.
2. Start your dissertation as soon as possible, make an appointment with your tutor as soon as lecturers have been allocated. They will not contact you.
3. In your first meeting arrange to submit dissertation chapters around other modules. This way your dissertation won't interfere with other work.
4. Leave yourself two weeks after completion to make extra edits and get it bound. This will save you a lot of stress!

Abigail Taylor has just completed her degree at Bournemouth University studying Public Relations. She completed her placement at BMW's head office and next, is off to Sri Lanka to complete a medical internship for a few months. 

June 17, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

After finishing your final year at university, your sole focus becomes about jobs and careers. Will you take time off for a while, travel, work in the industry you studied or change industries? My three flatmates and I have taken completely different routes to our graduate life but for all, it seems the waiting game has been the least fun.

How do you know what to do? How do you line up your positions and get the timing right, what happens when you're offered one role but waiting to hear back from another? These are all crucial decisions to make and it can suddenly seem all very serious as a permanent role rather than placement. All of us have suffered with various different issues and it can be a little daunting. Before my placement, I was dating someone in Bournemouth and the decision to move to London and away from him was a difficult one but I've always tried to put my career before my personal life.

One of my flatmates studied PR and wanted to stay in the industry, she was in talks with her placement company and a local company to Bournemouth that focus on Digital Marketing. It was a close call and she had to move her interview time to line both agencies up but eventually she was offered both and chose to stay in Bournemouth, so now she has to find somewhere to live and adjust to life in her university town with very few of her peers left.

Another one of my flatmates studied PR and wanted to work in London in an agency. She went through recruitment companies, applied to some graduate schemes and spoke with her placement company. After many interviews, she was offered a technology graduate role with a top agency in London and had one more round left with her placement company. She kept the graduate role on hold whilst she interviewed and when it was offered chose to stay with her placement company. Throughout a lot of this semester she has been back and forth to London for interviews, with no expenses paid. Upon agreeing to rejoin her placement company, she then had the task of flat-hunting - not so easy when you're not in the area!

My third flatmate studied International Business Studies but has been heavily involved in charities throughout her entire degree. She wanted to use both these skills in looking for careers, with an open mind about location, she's currently hunting out various fundraising and coordinating roles in the not for profit sector. Job hunting can be stressful and scary, especially in the current market. If you don't know what you're doing or where you're going, you have to make the decision whether to get a temporary job in a bar or office or whether you end up back home with the parents...

But that's not to say it won't be hard. It's always going to feel strange leaving the life you've had at university with such close proximity to all your friends. It's always going to be scary growing up, but good-scared, we're all doing incredibly exciting things and this is just the beginning of the rest of our lives; the start of our careers and everything is yet to come. Hopefully fear won't get in our way!

My flatmates and I at our last summer ball, Bournemouth University. 

The deal with London

So, many people have asked me about my placement year. I've hesitated to write about it before but as all NDA's come to an end and as graduation is around the corner, I thought I'd provide a little insight.

After being offered both L'Oreal and BBC Worldwide for my placement year, I chose to work for BBC Worldwide on a year contract. Part of a three-person team, we were extremely busy, looking after Top Gear, Doctor Who, Dancing with the Stars, BBC Earth, Lonely Planet, Children's brands, Gaming and Live Events. I was thrown in at the deep end, within my first week I was asked to manage a VIP premiere event by myself. It was such a fantastic but very scary experience. Despite my previous experience, the international brands of the BBC were the largest brands I had ever worked for and there was a lot of work to be done - it was the first year the team had looked after gaming and live events on top of the key five brands. I quickly fell into the infamous trap of coming in early, working through lunch and leaving late, I was on email and researching at home and very quickly the workload took over my life. The phrase work to live rather than live to work comes to mind.

Without a balanced lifestyle it is so easy to become stressed and unfortunately I did. There was very little help and support for me and I was too young and inexperienced to help myself. After much deliberation and permission from my head of course, I requested a change in contract to six months.

Although many other things went on as well, the gist of my six month placement was that things went wrong on both my part and theirs. We've both learnt our lessons and changed the way we do things; they have now changed the structure of the team. As horrible a situation as it seemed at the time, now I just think I'm lucky it happened then rather than after graduation. The whole point of placement is to experience the industry; the good and the bad. That includes office politics, PR skills and learning about the workplace in general.

You live, you learn, you move on. 

So why am I writing about this now? Well, I went through it and thank god I had an incredibly supportive family, friends and boyfriend to help me through it but what I can now do is reflect and share my tips for others struggling. PR is in the top 5 most stressful jobs; you have to be prepared for bad days and have outlets for stress so you keep a positive attitude in the office and keep producing your best work. When you're ill and tired, you can guarantee your work is no longer your best. 

So a few quick tips: 
  • Make sure you take a short lunch break every day
  • Get enough sleep (different for everyone but usually 6 - 8 hours per night)
  • Talk to your team and superiors - it's what they're there for
  • Head to the gym - it's good stress relief
  • Keep someone on speed-dial as a sounding board - my mum's pretty good at this.