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02.06.2021 By Amy Colton, President North America, Current Global

They Told Me I’d Never Get a Job in Public Relations

Amy Colton on her graduation day wearing graduation robes and mortar board hat.

In honor of graduation season, and in light of the incredibly volatile entry level hiring market around the world, we wanted to share some personal stories from the Current Global team about how we landed with a career in PR.  Whether you are taking a traditional path or are still trying to figure out where you may fit in the working world, we hope our tales of trying to get a job can be of inspiration and we will be sharing them throughout the summer.   

 

You will never get a job in PR. This is literally what the top agency recruiter in Chicago told me, as I sat across her desk terrified one month out of college oh so many years ago. She told me I didn’t fit the type, didn’t have the pedigree, and judging by my early interview skills, didn’t have the confidence to make it in the agency business.   

My background was different from most candidates. I was coming from the University of Iowa with a double major in fine art (my dream) and journalism (what my dad made me do). My portfolio was a hodge-podge of Daily Iowan newspaper articles and graphic design and illustrations. At the time, the more viable entry level candidates were coming from top journalism schools with agency internships already on their resumes. 

Thankfully, the PR industry has changed a lot since then. Today, agencies are most successful when they embrace hiring a mix of backgrounds, skill sets and interests. It is critical for the culture of the agency, the work we do for clients, and the impact we have on the world around us. At Current Global we want people who can bring something different and perhaps unexpected. And we have been so fortunate, particularly coming out of COVID, to have enticed many gems to join our team as we continue to grow.  

So, for college graduates facing the daunting task of finding that first job, I encourage you to go for it – even if your background may be different from what you think of as a “PR track.” We want thinkers, organizers, writers, artists, culture-vultures, media junkies. There are all kinds of ways you can contribute to an agency and its clients. And the work can touch on many different passions – DEI and sustainability programs for products or companies, healthcare and health advocacy campaigns, technology, public affairs and community support, and more.  Even if you haven’t thought of PR as a career option, give it a shot and bring your whole self to the interview. And don’t be ashamed of being nervous. Ask a lot of questions, tell us about yourself and your passions. Who knows – it might be a great fit.  

Two months ago, I was named President of North America for Current Global. What happened after that first interview flop? First, I was crushed. Then I was mad. But I kept interviewing, got better at it, took jobs that weren’t quite me, and eventually hit my stride with the help of many mentors along the way.  Current Global wins lots of awards recognizing our talented team, and I admit I daydream about seeing that headhunter (who is long retired) in the audience.  

Good luck, graduates, and don’t let anyone tell you that you will never get a job. Or maybe do and prove them wrong! 

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