Welcome to the Real World – Career Advice for Students

Each year my old university invites me back to speak to the fresh batch of marketing undergrads, to give them an insight into the real world of work and to offer advice to help them on their journey. I have worked in beauty PR and marketing for the last 7 years and I love it! I am passionate about what I do and have always been in the beauty industry prior to going to uni (I was a make up artist for many many years). My journey after uni was not an easy one. I graduated with a 2:1 in Marketing, Advertising and PR (2% off a first – I don’t know why they couldn’t just give me that!!) I had NO contacts so I had to start from scratch all by myself. It was tough, I had rejection after rejection from brands and agencies who wouldn’t even give me 5 minutes of their time! I knew what I wanted to do – beauty PR but I just didn’t know HOW to get my foot in the door.

So, I thought it might be useful to share some of my advice with my readers, not just those who are studying but even with those of you who have already started your career. I must disclose that my advice is based on personal experience and does not guarantee you’ll get that much needed promotion or your dream job, that ultimately comes down to you, just remember you can achieve whatever you want! NEVER. GIVE. UP.

Experience

If you know what you want to do (eg, work for an agency), get experience. Instead of spending your half term break catching up on Breaking Bad, book yourself in for some work experience with an agency you aspire to work for. Most agencies will take you on, it’s a mutually beneficial set up. When you graduate, you will be competing for the same job as every other graduate, so make your CV stand out with your work experience. It also shows a company that you’re seriously committed by dedicating your spare time to gain experience and of course, don’t forget you will gain valuable contacts during your placement/internship too.

Relationships

I have been in too many companies where I have observed they don’t value or maintain a good, healthy relationship. Build and maintain genuine relationships with people, and I’m not suggesting you stalk them or act like their best friend. Just be yourself, be cool and most importantly, be genuine. If you put on act, the mask will soon fall off. This advice is relevant to networking events where you might meet someone for the first time and also within the work place. Make an effort with everyone, across all departments, but remember, be genuine. How nice is it when someone makes an effort to speak to you? You know the girl who brings around your post everyday? Just think, you might make her day by asking her how she has been or what her plans are this weekend?

Attitude

There is nothing worse than an ‘entitled’ attitude! Most of us have had to work, work, work, work, and WORK very hard to get where we are. I have seen it too often, where people ‘expect’ to be where another person is at work without proving their worth to the business. Instead of ‘expecting’ to be where your colleague is, use her (or him) as your inspiration and learn from them to get where you want to be. So, when you leave university and the only job offer you have is a PR Assistant, be patient and adopt a good can-do attitude…be a yes-man, unless it conflicts with your morals or beliefs. Make sure you gain something from every experience, whether it’s a new skill, a contact or personal development.

Patience

I am constantly working on my patience, I am still an impatient driver but through a lot of different experiences, both professionally and personally, I am most definitely more patient than I was a few years ago. Patience links back to attitude, if you have a positive attitude along with patience, good things will happen. I love this quote which sums up patience for me…

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
——— Carlos Castaneda.

Social Media

Keep it clean or keep it private! But do use it to network and get involved in topics and conversations.

I think I will leave it there for now, but feel free to email or tweet at me if you want more #farrahtells advice. Haha.

Goodnight and remember, each morning when you wake up is a blessing, you’re alive! Make the most of the day.

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