I’m going to go out on a slightly controversial limb: I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the reason that graduate unemployment is high has less to do with the number of jobs available than it does the calibre of the graduates.
Our Lovely Intern recently announced her resignation, saying she's been inspired by her sister to take off travelling. Columbia's gain is our loss, because she's absolutely cracking. Great at the job from the word go, she's delivered more coverage for one of our clients than is strictly decent. So, to take her place and help us keep swimming through the workload, we've recently opened applications for an internship at Small but Perfectly Formed Agency.
The quality of the applicants is, to put it mildly, disappointing.
Internships in PR: a guide to glaring mistakes that’ll ensure you don’t get the gig.
- My name and details are on the job spec - it's fairly safe to assume I'm the one who'll be deciding your fate. Address the application to me - not to who [sic] it may concern; not to someone whose name would bear a passing resemblance to mine if mine were hideously misspelled; and not to Dear Sir. That's just insulting.
- If I've asked for a covering letter, write one. If there's just one line in your email saying “CV attached”, you either don’t have an eye for detail or you don’t bother following instructions. That CV? It won’t even get opened.
- Check your covering letter. Then do it again. Then get someone else to. If there are errors, I've discounted you before I’ve even opened your CV. Yes, you'll be here to learn, but also here to help. And if I have to check every email you're going to send before it leaves the building, everyone's time is being wasted.
- If you’re after a job in the communications industry, be able to spell “communications”.
- I'm expecting flawless spelling, punctuation and grammar. The first sign that you confuse there and their, and your chances of success are nil.
- I’m all for applying for a job if you feel you’d be great at it, even if you don’t quite have all the qualifications listed as ‘required’. But you're going to have to really convince me that you’re up to the challenge. If I’ve asked that you have a 2.1 and you've got a 2.2, tell me why I should take that chance: show me the excellent writing and flair I've asked for. Don’t just apply because the position’s been advertised. It’ll be another job that you don’t get, wasting my time and making you feel rubbish.
- On which note, if you've got a degree, be a love and list your result. If you don't, I'm going to assume you drank your way through the three years and were lucky to scrape that Third. Needless to say, you won’t be hearing from me.
Yes, I'm a stickler; I have a horribly rigorous selection process and maybe my standards are a little on the high side. But that’s because that’s sure as hell what’ll be expected when New Intern is actually doing the job. There's no room for anything less at our place, so an application needs reflect the applicant’s normal standards, not a one-off example of exceptional effort.
Because there's no way you can hope to practise PR if you have difficulties spelling it.