Philly’s top PR firm gives advice to recent grads

July 21, 2014

Perhaps it’s something in the water, or maybe universities are just doing a better job of preparing graduates for the world of public relations, but our Junior Associate class of summer 2014 is turning out to be the strongest we’ve ever hosted here at Gregory FCA.

Each summer, we bring in eight to 12 Junior Associates as either college juniors or post grad candidates as paid members of the Gregory FCA team. It’s a great way to experience the industry and this year’s class is knocking our socks off with their attitude, aptitude, and aspiring altitudes and expectations for their careers.

Junior Associates have always been our greatest source of new talent. In fact, Joe Anthony, who was recently named a partner here at Gregory FCA, started his career as a Junior Associate, while still studying at Villanova University, a favorite recruiting ground for us.

Last week, I coincidentally ran into a number of program graduates or those who had interviewed and didn’t make the cut. They gave me some advice to share with anyone who thinks they might want to learn about public relations under our program, including:

Be prepared to take a writing test, while in our offices. One of my all-time favorite candidates reminded me of her terror when she was asked to take an in-office writing test. She took it and did remarkably well, even though she thought she screwed the pooch. Don’t let anyone fool you. Writing skill is still a vitally important PR skill that has only become more important in a socially networked world.

Yes, you will be asked about current news and events.
One Junior Associate told me how shocked she was to be asked what country the Pope recently visited. The intent of the question is to determine how informed a candidate is and how closely they follow the news — important consideration for anyone planning a career in PR.

GPA matters. The only measure an employer has as to a graduate’s perseverance, intelligence and work ethic is their college GPA.  We look for bright people who take their studies seriously. But we also take extenuating circumstances into account.  I remember one candidate with a 3.0 GPA who also had to work 40 hours a week, and played a varsity sport, while contending with a family issue. That was good enough to win a spot in our Junior Associate class of 2011.

Contact us early. I am amazed at the number of college graduates who contact us the week of graduation and announce they would like to work for us. That email should have come a year and a half earlier, sent by a rising senior who could have worked for us during the summer.

This summer has been a great one for some outstanding public relations students, all-stars one and all. They figured out early how to play the Game of Gregory, won a place on the roster and are jump-starting careers all while making some big contributions at Gregory FCA, Philadelphia’s largest and only national public relations agency.

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