10 February 2012
Last week, a team of Octopedes arrived in the city of
dreaming spires for the Oxford Advertising, PR and Marketing Fair.
The quest was to chat to hundreds of students about communications,
what Octopus does - and with any luck, meet some future
For me, having only graduated from University in June, the
situation was all too familiar; students wandering round with a
look of eager anticipation on their faces, not knowing who to
approach first, whilst gradually becoming weighed down with free
USB pens, notepads and bags full of printed leaflets.
To buck the trend, we arrived armed with cupcakes, bean bags and
even the prospect of a day's work experience with the Octopus
Group. Our colourful stand soon attracted over one hundred
students, who had studied a range of subjects from PPE to
Chemistry, English Literature to Physics. We were showered
with questions including "what is PR?", "how much can you earn?"
and promisingly "how can I apply to Octopus?".
Whilst we were chatting to students on the exhibition stand, the
event also saw members of several different agencies taking to the
stage to give talks on advertising, brand insight and PR. Inspired
by the nuggets of wisdom imparted in these lectures, here is a
summary of the key points which may help prospective PRs or
marketeers land their first break after University…
1. Gain experience - gone are the days when
your academic qualifications are enough. Whether you've written for
the student newspaper, organised a University ball, or if you've
completed a day, a week or a month's work experience (in house or
in an agency), make sure you include it on your CV. It shows
commitment, drive and focus.
2. Be social media savvy - although a lot of PR
and marketing is still firmly grounded in traditional methods, the
internet has transformed PR into a two way conversation, where
social media sites play an important role in a brand's reputation.
Use those hours spent on Facebook and Twitter (rather than starting
that dreaded essay…) to your advantage, enhancing your knowledge of
the social media space.
3. Find a voice - in communications, you may be
asked to write an opinion article, confidently communicating a
client's viewpoint. By reading the papers and blogging or writing
(in a creative or journalistic capacity) you can hone your
argumentative and written skills, equipping yourself for the
4. Be hungry, astute, true and brave - If
you're passionate about the industry and possess these core Octopus
values you should have no trouble persuading a potential employer
that you can do the job.
From an Octopus perspective, the day was a great success, giving
us the chance to meet students with a wide range of interests and a
varied skill set. If you're passionate about PR, marketing or brand
insight and you're hungry, astute, true and brave we look forward
to seeing your CVs and applications rolling in!
PR, , marketing, University, graduates, communications | Leave comment
Deciding on what to do with your future can be a
difficult and daunting process, particularly when it comes to
leaving secondary school and choosing whether to climb the ladder
towards higher education or dive deep straight into the world of
Luckily for me, I felt the choice was easy; school, sixth form,
university, work. This had always been my plan, not due to parental
pressure but because it seemed logical. However, if I were
sixteen again I very much doubt I would be considering the same
The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that under a new scheme
being considered by Government officials, graduates may have to
give some of their salary back to universities!
Why? Are tuition fees and loans not enough of a financial burden
No, apparently they're not! The Government isn't content with
plunging students into a frightening state of debt in one way
alone, they want to bleed graduates dry by taking a percentage of
their salaries 'for life' and giving it back to their
Again, why? Unless universities are providing personal chefs and
thrones to sit on during lectures for every student, this new
initiative is highly unfair and unnecessary.
Whoever dreamt this idea up, I would like to ask what they were
thinking? Not only is it impractical with thousands of students
coming from overseas and thousands more leaving the UK to work
abroad after they've graduated, making it near impossible to
arrange individual payments unless a complex and expensive (and
no-doubt unreliable) IT infrastructure is put in place to support
the process, but there is also absolutely no positive outcome - for
students, that is.
In my mind, an initiative like this could only ever achieve one
of two things; young people will give up on going to uni altogether
leaving the UK full of 16 - 21 year olds not knowing what to do
(cue the war against youths), or those that do choose uni,
despite the financial burden of loans, will be forced into a
lifetime of debt, forever paying for the privilege of being a
According to these Government idio...I mean, officials, the new
arrangements 'look and feel like grad tax without actually
constituting one'. Yes, that's right, it's not tax, it's
punishment! Punishment for getting off your back side and working
hard, putting in the hours at university and pressuring yourself to
get a decent degree in the hope of being able to embark on a good,
The new proposal would mean that those who leave uni with a
well-paid job will have to pay more back to their university.
Great! What a perfect deterrent to being ambitious and wanting to
do the best you can do in your degree!
Given the irritation it used to cause me when people would
nonchalantly comment, 'degrees are worthless', I never thought I'd
say this but, in my opinion, young people may as well give up on
the idea of going to university. Getting a job straight after
school might also throw up hurdles - given that no one can seem to
decide whether or not we are still in a recession - so my advice is
to start a family at an early age (and get given a house), don't
get a job (but still get paid) and then at least you won't owe
anyone money for trying to do more with your life!
Education, University, Government | Leave comment
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