Persistence Pays Off When You’re Looking for the Perfect PR Job

By Yvonne LeAugust 20, 2013

We’ve all had those moments in life when things fall perfectly into place and just feel right. This feeling eluded me as I searched online every day for that perfect public relations position – the one I’d spent the last four years working toward – during my last few months of college. I often came across discouraging articles describing a bleak outlook for upcoming graduates. Many of my peers chose graduate school or travel after failing to find jobs in their respective fields of study. This wasn’t the choice I wanted to make, and when my search for ideal full-time positions turned up empty, I did the one thing you are told to never do: I started cold outreach.

Googling for “PR jobs in the Bay Area” and “PR jobs in Emeryville,” I instantly had a list of public relations firms at my fingertips. I surfed their websites to get a feel for their culture and collect contact info. Some sites I left quickly… I wasn’t ready to settle for a company or a job I didn’t want and was determined to not stop until I found that perfect position. Bhava Communications stood out, initially because their name was unlike any of the others on my list (a lot of agencies use their founders’ last names as their company name), and the agency’s website confirmed their name wasn’t the only unique thing
about them.

Bhava’s website, filled with color and images of smiling employees, described an agency that was different. I instantly felt connected. I read about their post-graduate PR
internship: a six-month full-time hourly paid position designed to provide “a clear understanding of PR best practices and skills”…and not just how to file papers. Though it wasn’t an immediate salaried position, it entailed everything I had been looking for, and I was overwhelmed with excitement as I prepared my resume. Beyond gaining deep real-world job experience, graduates of the internship program are first in line for full-time roles at Bhava.

I knew I would need to be proactive if I wanted to stand out from the pack of applicants in a crowded job market. After receiving an email that my resume had been received and would be reviewed, I sent a follow-up email, explaining that I was looking forward to hearing more about the position and the reasons I felt it was a good fit for me and for Bhava. Twenty-four hours later I followed up by connecting with Bhava’s Managing Director via a LinkedIn message, saying that I would love to visit the office for an interview and why. I was conscious of the timing and construction of my messages so that I didn’t pester, making sure each message I sent was different, with a specific purpose and conveying my strong desire to become a part of their team.

Following several emails and LinkedIn messages about how I connected with the agency’s approach to PR and desired to be a “Bhavan,” I was invited to participate in a series of interviews and writing assignments. The process was involved—and worth it. Two days after I graduated from college I started at Bhava, and it’s been action-packed since day one.

Becoming “Bhavan”

From the start, my position as a PR intern at Bhava has entailed actual PR activities, including creating media lists, tracking media coverage, tracking PR results, sitting in on client calls and meetings, writing some initial drafts of content and submitting clients for awards and speaking opportunities. I’ve been learning not only how to effectively communicate with coworkers in a professional work environment, but also how to interact with clients. In college I was taught about the use of AP style and how to format a press release; very little was said about communicating professionally and constructively with coworkers and corporate clients. Bhava has been training me to communicate more effectively by email, plus – even as an intern – I’m also able to attend and observe a lot of meetings with clients to learn firsthand what the expectations are in various client-facing roles and situations.

One daily task I enjoy is keeping track of client media coverage, as well as relevant pieces on competitor and industry trends. I read the articles and compile a list of these entries in a spreadsheet that is shared with my team. Senior team members help to point out articles I may have missed and provide their own feedback based on years of experience. This responsibility is helping me to develop my own personal knowledge of journalists and publications. I am beginning to familiarize myself with the journalist network within the tech industry: names, who they write for and the kinds of topics they write about. This acquired knowledge will be invaluable when my time comes to pitch client news. It has also become a way for me to stay up to date with our clients and their technologies. Bhava aims to build careers, and I am striving to utilize the ample time and resources available to me as an intern to create my own opportunities for career growth.

Learning together makes a big difference

I’m really enjoying the 360-degree learning experience at Bhava. Despite their busy schedules, Bhavans always find the time to teach me their own best practices and tricks of the trade. There is a great sense of community and openness here, which is reflected in the office layout (no cubicles or isolated offices). It’s been easy to fit into a culture where teamwork and trust are highly valued.

As a Bhava intern, I am a real member of the team, with real clients and real assignments, not just an intern who is there to complete the monotonous or trivial tasks. I feel my input and collaboration are requested, embraced and appreciated by other team members. I still have much to learn, and I’m eager to spend the next few months growing in a supportive environment I know will help me both as a public relations professional and as an individual.

If you think Bhava sounds like the kind of environment where you’d like to begin your own career in PR, please don’t hesitate to check out our website. We’d love to meet you!