Being on time, some ability to cope with deadlines and looking the part are all things that employers expect from a new member of the workforce, regardless of what industry you are entering. I know this from my own personal experience, alongside my time spent in recruitment. People would come into my office keen for this job or that, then read that the hours were 08:30-18:00, shock horror! ‘Maybe I’ll wait for something more flexible…’
Most graduates, after 3 years, have grown used to slobbing about in their favourite trackies and getting extensions on deadlines each week – however, have to evolve painfully and quickly when they are hired. I know I found the first month of the alarm bell ringing at WHAT TIME very painful, but you have to adapt and struggle through.
The PR industry, as a whole, demands a good aesthetic. Images on social media must be the highest possible quality, things must be aligned, the exact pantone and as polished as can be in the allotted time. You are representing a brand and their entire group of stakeholders, after all. As a result of all this shininess and perfection, the workforce must therefore match, especially the new member of any environment, as they often have all eyes on them. Offices may have a varying dress code, but ask someone and make sure you get it right. Nobody is going to laugh at you for checking, but they will certainly judge you if you’re the only one in ripped jeans and the rest of the chairs have suit jackets on the back.
Being prompt is something much undervalued. Now that it’s possible to send a quick text: ‘Sorry - running late, see you in half an hour’, people care far less that they are actually letting someone down. Eating into an important colleague’s time would not be tolerated in a bank/court room (or airport even!), so should not be in any other working role. Can you tell that I’m always on time and very old fashioned about this?
More qualities that are incredibly important, but generally overlooked, are productivity, respect, integrity, adaptability, emotional intelligence, politeness and consideration. Without these you are left with someone you do not want in your office!
However, the largest part of ‘professionalism’, many would say, is not a shallow quality, but actually possessing and being confident with the skills needed to do your job well. Therefore graduates who enter the PR industry with an interest and no formal training are going to fundamentally struggle with this. The Taylor Bennett Foundation provides intelligent and capable graduates, like myself ‘ho ho’, with the tools to be able to carry out work professionally, confidently and correctly within our first PR jobs.
All that is left to do is find one… S