Name: Annabelle Wheeler
Company: Unicorn Jobs (part of Taylor Bennett)
Job title: Senior Consultant
What does your day-to-day job involve?
I think everyone working in this industry will agree that no day is the same. It is wonderfully diverse, meaning that every day presents new challenges and accomplishments. I spend a majority of my time meeting with clients or candidates.
I love meeting new people so I often network throughout the week with morning coffees, lunches and dinners. Due the nature of our work it is essential to be organised, so I have time blocked out in my diary, making sure I am at my desk working on projects and proposals or doing research.
I manage a small team, so it very important to me and them that I am available to help with any questions they might have, as well as encourage them on certain tasks.
At the moment, we are also about to rebrand Unicorn Jobs to Eaglestone Partners, which is very exciting and we are hoping to launch this by Easter, so watch this space!
Is it essential to be a graduate to get a job in PR?
I think either being a graduate or equivalent is something that a majority of my clients like to see.
They do like to see a demonstration of other skills such as strong writing, professionalism and knowledge of social media which is key.
I think in terms of attitude, someone who is proactive and a team player is going to stand out ahead of graduates starting their career in PR.
I like to see candidates present their CV in a way that brings it to life
What do you look for in PR hires?
It depends on the client we are working with, but I think the main things are; proven PR and communication skills within a corporate environment, ability to work and influence stakeholders and upmost professionalism.
I like to see candidates present their CV in a way that brings it to life, and if they can further enhance this by using examples which helps me better understand what they have done.
How do you find PR talent; advertising, headhunting, referrals, social media?
A vast mixture of all of the above.
I am getting a lot more referrals from senior PR people with colleagues they used to work with. It is always interesting to see who they rate and why.
For more digitally focused roles, I really like using social media as a tool; it’s really helpful in finding candidates who understand the digital communications sphere which some of my clients are looking for.
How much has changed in how PR practitioners are recruited in the last five years?
I think one of the main changes is the client’s emphasis on culture fit for PR hires. Clients are looking for candidates who are going to stay with them for a significant time and that culture fit is essential.
I often discuss this with clients, suggesting additional meetings on a more casual level with potential candidates, such as a coffee meeting with the team. They can then further explore chemistry and culture fit in a more relaxed setting.
I am extremely fortunate to work with a group of motivating colleagues
Have you met any particularly inspiring PRs?
I think some of the most inspiring people I have met are those who I work with at Taylor Bennett, people such as Heather McGregor, Anne Groves, Kate Hamilton-Baily, and Matthew Wall.
I am extremely fortunate (and spoiled) to work and have regular contact with a group of motivating colleagues, who know the PR and communications world like the back of their hand.
In turn, their networks are wide reaching and I meet fascinating clients and candidates each day through them.
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I read a little bit of everything from PR Week, Gorkana, BBC News, Guardian as well as some political blogs. I also follow a variety of companies on LinkedIn and Twitter so that I receive regular updates.
Network, network and network!
What are your tips for seasoned PRs looking to move jobs?
Network, network and network! Although working with myself will open certain doors, a seasoned PR professional will have wider reaching connections and a better insight into companies from their network.
I would encourage candidates, especially those wanting to move sector, to go out for meetings with people they know, and find out more about certain the areas that they are interested in.
look at the agency route
What are your tips for aspiring PRs?
When you are securing meetings or interviews, make sure you have a clear idea of why you want to go into PR. Why is it there as a function and how does it add value?
Clients want to ensure that you are not only focused on the glamour of the role, but also the hard work, diversity and importance of PR, whether in it is an in-house role or working in a agency.
My other tip for aspiring PRs is to look at the agency route. I think it is an invaluable opportunity to work with several clients across a range of sectors, learning off senior colleagues as well as gaining a good understanding of how different companies use PR.