Yet again I have neglected you and I am sorry. But this was supposed to be a PR blog and as I have not been working in PR I have not had that much to write about.

Since the last time I wrote I have been very busy indeed. I managed to sort myself out a ski season in Morzine for the winter and also got a job in event management. So this last post on this blog is coming from a beautiful snow-covered chalet in the Northern Alps while I am enjoying a nice break from the training fortnight.

As this blog is based on the PR experiences in my life there will be a sixth month break while I take some time out.


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PR companies and reputation management

According to the definition on the CIPR website, Public Relations is about reputation management.

Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

This definition is one that was drummed into my head while studying PR and although there are many other variations, essentially, they all mention reputation and communication between an organisation and its publics. It is a wonder then, that some organisations make silly mistakes when it comes to their own reputation management.

I have lost count of the amount of jobs, internships and grad schemes that I have applied to this year, but I am certain that the number is a three figured one. There are many jobs that I have not had any reply from, some rejection emails and then some that have led to interviews. Yesterday I received a rejection letter from a big drinks brand with regards to my application for a communications executive. I had forgotten about the application due to it being over two months old.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I am firing off my CV without thought to any advert that I see. While I did forget about this application, should the email have called me for an interview I would have been able to respond in an appropriate manner as I have a record of all the jobs that I applied for, the method used (CV, cover letter, application form or a combination) and the job descriptions.

However, this did get me thinking about past applications and interviews and I realised that the ones that were at the forefront of my mind were not the ones that I missed out on, the ones that I really wanted, but the ones that had neglected to give me any form of response either following an interview or repeated communication to the organisation from myself.

In my second year at Uni I contacted a small PR agency with my CV and cover letter which explained why I wanted to work for them and what I thought I could bring to the team. I received no response. A year later, in the summer before my placement year I also contacted the agency again. Again I received no response. I applied to them again this summer. Guess what, I received no response. (I would like to point out at this stage that with each application came a new cover letter, an improved CV and a reminder that I had applied in the past.)

Now, at the beginning of the application process, I had a lot of respect for this company but with each application this has dwindled. I recently came across the company on Twitter and I sent them a message asking about their internship opportunities. I actually got a response, but I was told to apply through the channels that I had previously used! I did not take the time to apply again.

My experience with this company has left me with a very bad view of them and I highly doubt that I would take the time to apply to them in the future. I have also vented to anyone that would listen about how I disappointed and annoyed I am about the whole situation.

I understand that they may have hundreds of applications for their internship and that it may take time to go through them all, but in the three years that I have applied the application process and first point of contact have not changed. It makes me wonder if there are others in a similar situation or if I was just unlucky and the company dislike my method and my persistence.

My next example of bad reputation management is from a large central London company. The difference here being that my CV and cover letter landed me an interview before the neglect started. Following what I thought was a successful interview for another internship position, I sent a thank you email to the person that interviewed me. One phone call and three emails later, I have still had no response or feedback from the company.

These cases are in the minority and in general I have had good feedback from interviews that I have been on. But these instances do make me wonder, if the company in question don’t treat potential employees with respect, then how do they treat their clients? And if they cannot manage their own reputation well how can they even begin to manage it for someone else?


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The full time job that is job hunting!

Firstly I would like to apologise for the absolutely enormous gap between this post and my last. Since then I have updated the blog a bit by adding a page for my CV but apart from that I admit that I have not been as on top of this as I should have been.

Well, since the last blog a lot has happened.  I finished my dissertation, completed my exams and now have a degree!

I have also spent an obscene amount of time job hunting online. Without a doubt I believe that the most useful resource for graduates in the PR industry is Twitter. While this is often discussed by other grads and on blogs, it was proved to me when I recently tweeted about my job search.

Following my tweet I was put in touch with various people in the PR industry, while some had more to say than others, all the information that I got was very beneficial to me.

While the above shows that the vast amount of people who are on Twitter can help with the job hunt, the Twitter facility that allows you to group users into lists is not only time-saving but extremely helpful.

I can easily say that 100% of all the interviews that I have attended in the past month would not have happened if it had not been for Twitter. This is not to say that I would not have found out about the jobs via other sources, just that by having Guardian Jobs,  PR Week jobs and various feeds from recruitment agencies consolidated into one list makes the full-time job that is job hunting that much easier.

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Behind the Spin

Here is a link to an article that I co-wrote about Gordon Brown and his public perception.



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PR degree – Is it worth it?

I have known since college that I wanted to work in PR and while I am not quite sure what drew me into the profession, I always I knew that, above all, I wanted to study PR.  So here I am on one of the best PR degrees in the UK and I came across this article in communicate magazine.  Since being at Uni I have seen numerous articles  and had numerous discussions about this issue, although I do believe that this one is the most passionate that I have seen so far. One thing that remains the same though, is that there will always be arguments for and against choosing Public Relations as a degree course.

Overall I am  happy with the way that the course at Bournemouth has been structured and especially with the fact that the third year of the degree is a compulsory placement year. Without this year I would not have had the extensive media, public affairs, internal and community relations experience that I can now discuss in future interviews or the vast range of coverage that I have gained whether that is online or print.

While only time will tell whether upon completion of this degree it becomes a help or a hindrance in getting a job, I can say that for me, the value of a PR degree is priceless.

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Social media mayhem

So as my dissertation is on the role that social media plays during the reporting of a crisis I have tried to get as much information as possible about crisis communications, online pr and how social media has changed PR.

Like any dissertation student (or student in general I suppose) try as I might, I cannot find one exact journal article that will provide me with all the information that I need to know and something that I could class as a solid background to my dissertation. You know the article that I mean, the one that you read that makes all the research that you have done prior to that seem insignificant, the article that gives you that “eureka” feeling and provides you with an excellent bibliography to look at.

In uni we are taught how to search smartly and make sure that the information that you find is relevant enough for you to include in your literature review but not so narrow that you are unable to make links between that subject and your diss. This however does not stop you from sitting at a laptop for five hours searching an online database only to find that the articles that you have found will not take your dissertation where you want it to go.

One of the main issues that I have come across in my search is a lack of academic writing about social media and crisis communications. There is an abundance of sites, blogs and articles about the subject but as of yet an in-depth analysis has not been done. This is what I propose to do in my dissertation and possibly with it, include a case study on the way that the Haiti crisis has been managed.

While the world wide web is an excellent resource that has changed the way that we communicate forever, it is not a miracle worker and my research currently needs a strong push in the right direction.

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3 days in

So my blog is three days old and I seem to be in a slight catch 22 situation.

I would like to promote my blog more and get more traffic to my site but at the same time  I feel that I need to already have a substantial amount of posts on the site before I want people to read it. What is the point in directing people to an empty blog?

Recently I have signed up to the more prominent social networking sites (I now have both Twitter and LinkedIn accounts) in order to boost my online presence and one of the things that I have noticed about both sites is that the more you put in the more you are likely to get out of them. Although this statement is true about most user-generated content sites, Twitter is extremely boring if you are only following one person.

So with this in mind I set out to try to increase my twitter followers by following more people. Let’s see how this turns out.

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