This week for my Interview Series, we’ve got Stephen Waddington, the Managing Director of Speed Communications, a UK-based PR agency.
This actually isn’t the first time Stephen’s appeared on my blog. He was one of the first PR professionals I interviewed for my post – Top 6 Career Tips from PR Professionals – and he provided some incredibly helpful advice:
“Use your time at university to get ahead by immersing yourself in publishing tools and social networks. Build an online portfolio on LinkedIn, create a Twitter network and engage with PR practitioners and journalists, and create and publish your own content via a blog, Flickr, YouTube. You’ll stand out from the crowd and will create all sorts of connections that will put you in a strong position when you graduate and look for work.”
This time, Stephen discusses what he looks for when hiring new team members, using social networks to build professional relationships and PR blogging.
We’re looking for enthusiasm above all else and that is almost always best demonstrated through action.
Q2. How important do you think social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn are for building professional relationships and creating opportunities?
Twitter is particularly valuable as it completely democratises relationships. You can connect to anyone, monitor their feed and over time engage. But if you’re dull or you spam you won’t be followed back and ultimately you’ll be blocked.
Both LinkedIn and Twitter enable you to build relationships while you are studying. Graduates are able to enter the workplace with a ready built network.
Q3. Would you say that having a blog is absolutely essential for a PR student?
It’s not essential but it’s a good way to showcase your work and your opinions. But make sure that you do it well; a good blog will almost certainly get you hired. Yet the internet is littered lousy PR blogs that have been abandoned or aren’t managed properly.
Q4. In your opinion, what are the top 3 characteristics of a great PR professional?
- An understanding and engagement with the changing media landscape.
Q5. You’ve already provided us with some fantastic advice on how to get ahead with job hunting, but what would be your number one advice when it comes to developing a long and successful career in what seems to be a rather volatile industry?
Apply to join Speed.