I’ve been with the BlueSky education team for just over a month now, and it has been a learning experience to say the least. Coming straight out of university, in which I studied a pretty non-specific degree (History), I didn’t really know much about PR – especially Business School PR.
I’m Jonny Stone, and I’m leaving History in the past and looking forward to a new exciting career in public relations –
I was adamant when I was 18 that journalism was the career for me. I absolutely love writing and had a keen interest in current affairs and journalism combined these two.
Since graduating, I have spun around in the world of recent graduate life as violently as I could have, frantically flitting from one career area to the next trying to find my ‘passion.’
In honour of mental health awareness week, we at BlueSky are keen to raise awareness around the common - but perhaps not as sufficiently discussed - issue of mental health at work - and why it’s vital that businesses today address this.
Having finished university with a degree in Politics & International Relations from the University of Manchester in 2015, my career path following graduation has been somewhat varied to say the least.
As BlueSky Education approaches its tenth year, we take a look back at some of the greatest moments we’ve captured on camera in the last decade.
Hello everyone, I’m Fahida, the newest member of the BlueSky PR team! I have joined the crew as a content writer and I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck in! A passion for writing What lead me through the BlueSky PR doors is the same thing that lead me to study journalism at college and university: my passion for writing, media and researching everything. I’ve always known that I’d like a job that involves working with the press, building rapport and that encourages me to be creative. That makes being a content writer for PR quite a compatible option! During my degree I studied a variety of modules from science and the environment to arts and culture, religion and politics. I loved the process of researching these topics and turning them into newsworthy pieces of journalism that are informative and hopefully entertaining too. Outside of university, I volunteered at local radio station Reprezent Radio as a broadcast producer, which landed me in some exciting opportunities such as filming for BBC Asian Network!
I am proud to call myself a feminist. And by feminist, I mean I believe in equality between genders – there’s no bra-burning, man-hating, tunnel vision going on here – just a simple desire for a level playing field.
The 5th November marks the 413th anniversary of the failure of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Led by Robert Catesby, this group of Roman Catholic activists had suffered persecution during the 45 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Against all their hopes, Protestant King James I ascended to the throne and declared that Catholics were still not free to practice their religion. So, the plotters laced a cellar in the House of Lords with gunpowder but were rumbled last minute when Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed by a group of guards. He was tortured for information and only narrowly escaped being drawn and quartered alive by leaping off the gallows and breaking his own neck – grisly stuff. Fawkes became a symbol of disobedience and when the 5th November was granted as a national holiday by the King – during which church attendance was compulsory – effigies of Guy were thrown into huge bonfires to condemn his treason.
Hi there, my name’s Jake and I’ve recently become a member of the BlueSky team! If you had asked me what I wanted to do when I was a child, I’d probably have responded by telling you I was going to be a footballer, rapper or actor. PR was definitely not on my radar. However, as I realised I couldn’t run with a ball, rap or act, I was forced to look elsewhere. In hindsight, I think the skills needed for a career in PR have been with me for a long time. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer and the opportunity to channel that into a career is something that appealed to me very much. After an exciting and intense 4 years at Manchester University studying English Literature, I began working in business development, probably because I needed a break from reading and writing! I learnt a lot from the experience, however, as time went on, I found that my brain was beginning to melt, and the urge to use my writing and communication skills returned with a vengeance.
As Russian tourists flock to Salisbury Cathedral and Theresa May accidentally summons ancient demons with her dance moves, the oldest Millennials begin to turn 40. It’s an absurd time to be alive.
‘So what are you going to do with your life?’ asks your least favourite relative, two days after graduation. This was the question I dreaded as a student. Pursuing an English Literature degree had its advantages; I got to hone my writing skills, think creatively and do a lot of independent research. However, career direction was definitely not one of the assets of the course. As a result I was faced with going into the big wide world with essentially no idea what I was going to do with myself.
Okay so a career in public relations might not be as glamorous as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City makes out, however I’ve come to learn that there is so much more to PR than planning parties. Below I have summarised the top three reasons I love my job as a PR person.
Most people don’t understand what public relations is. Part of the problem is that it varies so much across different industries – from working in product PR and sending out samples, to organising huge launch events, to sticking your head inside a research paper and condensing it into a press release – it’s all PR. The purpose is pretty much always to promote something or someone, raise the profile, get seen, be talked about. To this day – and despite half a decade at this very agency – my parents still aren’t totally sure what I do. “The stereotypical “PR? Oh, so you just push out press releases then?” or the equally demeaning “PRs spend their time lunching, getting drunk and talking b*ll*cks” perspective,” is something that particularly irritates our Head of Practice, Kerry Ruffle. “Yes, PRs will distribute press releases, but it’s only a small part of a job which takes a great deal more creativity and forethought to do with any degree of success. “A press release, when written intelligently and used correctly,” she says, “is still an incredibly powerful tool. The problem is too many misinformed, time-pressed or plain lazy media professionals do not take the necessary time to write a release which considers who the intended audience is and what information would be most relevant to them, set it out clearly and concisely and, finally, actually send it to the right people!” As for going out and getting drunk all the time – if that’s true then we’re doing it wrong! Sophie O’Sullivan, Account Executive here at BlueSky, agrees. “A popular misconception is that PR provides a glamorous lifestyle consisting of no real work - only attending events and partying. Stereotypes like this have come into people’s consciousness because of characters such as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, a PR who stated that, ‘’I don’t believe in the Republican party or the Democratic Party, I just believe in parties.’’ It's an opinion that’s rife among many of those who speak to our team. Kate Mowbray, Senior Account Executive, has had people think that she just goes to events and hands out free products to bribe journalists. Peter Remon, also a Senior Account Executive on the team, has had to battle the suggestion that PR is all about social media and he spends the whole day using Twitter. Really though? We spend our time interviewing fascinating alumni and pitching their stories of success, from setting up companies worth millions to changing whole industries. We dive into complicated research papers and craft short, sharp press releases. We arrange meetings with journalists all around the world, from Sydney to Singapore. We help target markets for student recruitment. We develop effective social media strategies. We offer expert advice on the business education landscape, and so much more.
I studied English and Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University and my time at university is something I will never forget. Although cliché, I had an excellent time – growing both academically and personally throughout the three years. Although these subjects are certainly not a prerequisite for a career in PR, it does equip you with transferable skills which are key to being successful.
Hard-nosed, cut-throat consultants. Thick-skinned, full of false charm and selfish arrogance. Is that what you think of when you imagine a PR professional? Do you picture PR agency directors barking orders and waiting for hot coffee from shaking interns? I hope not because, personally, I think it’s rather cool to be kind in this industry. Perhaps it’s my Millennial attitudes surfacing. I’m all for doing good by people. I want to work for people who care about me and I want my colleagues – as well as my clients – to know I genuinely care about them. After all, I have only seen it produce positive results. If you know that you are valued and feel like you can make a difference to someone’s day, then you simply perform better. It’s about making that extra effort to pitch until there’s a ‘yes’, to research a country’s media until you understand it’s entire landscape, or to get up extra early to speak to someone in another time zone. Those are the actions of hardworking teams who want to achieve excellent outcomes – and it can be nurtured by kindness. By listening to everyone’s ideas, by creating a space where you don’t feel as though your job is on the line because the traffic was bad and you were five minutes late. Despite our sector’s somewhat harsh reputation, kindness is a feeling that’s woven into our culture here at BlueSky Education.
The inevitable question people ask when you tell them you’re studying for a degree in English and Linguistics is: ‘So, are you going to be a teacher?’
I’ve previously written on the reasons why I believe that PR professionals won’t be replaced by robots, and it seems that recent research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) confirms my suspicions.
As one of the 51.9 million following Donald Trump on Twitter, his April exchange with Kanye West left me baffled – and not just at the meaning of ‘We are both dragon energy’.
Are you demanding and competitive, or patient and relaxed? Cautious and formal, or sociable and enthusiastic? Even if they are opposites, all of these traits are positive – so bringing these personalities together can make the most impressively effective PR teams. But how can you do it in your own company? Take a look at ‘Insights Discovery’ to see how people have dominant characteristics. It’ll group personalities into Cool Blue, Fiery Red, Earth Green, and Sunshine Yellow. We are all unique combinations of these colours. This psychology tool helps to understand strengths and weaknesses, communication style, approach to problems, and value to the team. By building teams with people spread across these personality types, you’re more likely to create high-performing groups. While people don’t fit perfectly into a segment, it’s easy to see what traits they are lead by. I’d say that I was largely Fiery Red – being rather strong-willed and purposeful – with a good dose of both Sunshine Yellow and Earth Green. When I look at other members of the BlueSky team, it’s easy to pick up and admire Kerry’s Cool Blue characteristics of precision and logic, Peter’s Earth Green traits of patience and relaxation, and Kate’s Sunshine Yellow qualities of enthusiasm and spontaneity. Bringing these individual traits together here at BlueSky have built a strong, productive team. With our differences come rounded decisions, considerate teamwork, and a broad focus. While those of the team who lean towards Cool Blue might tend to focus on problem-solving, the Fiery Red workers look to results, Sunshine Yellow focuses on interactions, and Earth Green looks to maintain harmony. It’s simple to see why it works.
Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock for the past week you’ll have heard of H&M’s recent marketing campaign which saw a young black child wearing a hoodie which reads ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’. And in the days since the backlash has been huge – not only has the fashion brand lost celebrity endorsers, but huge swathes of customers have also pledged to boycott the business. The H&M fiasco is not the first time a global brand has come under fire for seemingly racist campaigns. It was only recently that Pepsi was widely criticised for its ad showing Kendall Jenner appearing to end racial tensions with a simple gesture – offering a can of Pepsi to a police officer! So what’s going wrong for these brands which have colossal marketing and PR teams behind them in order to prevent such disasters? Outrage marketing Many believe that what we are seeing is simply an example of outrage marketing – a deliberate campaign to anger people which creates a buzz around a particular brand. And if that was the intention it can’t be disputed that it has worked – the company has been trending online and everyone is talking about it. And while the general sentiment towards H&M is negative, the brand is certainly in the spotlight. It remains to be seen whether the saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ rings true in this instance.
Hello all, my name is Zahra and having recently graduated last year, I am Bluesky’s newest recruit! To give a brief background, from a young age, the theme of career and what I would pursue had always been at the forefront. When it comes to the taboo on career paths and pressure to succeed, there are many reasons we factor in. They often say it’s never too late to follow your passion and to choose something important to you. If you pick something you enjoy you will only work harder to achieve and excel, which is why I knew PR was right for me. Before embarking in the working world, I attended Manchester University where I lived and breathed the vibrant student lifestyle for three years studying criminology. Although not the most common of degrees, the syllabus uncovered the world of people, psychology, politics and artificial intelligence, encouraging me to debate, and analyse the world from a criminal justice and political point of view. Although somewhat daunting at first, having experienced a truly adventurous, productive (and sometimes chaotic) year working in public sector recruitment, I soon realised that I wanted to pursue what I have always appreciated. A job which offers the chance to write, opting for creativity over calls, to be motivated in a role by exploring news, companies and media whilst discussing and researching the ever changing society we live in. Despite being new to the team, any nerves were instantly dissolved by the warm welcome and genial response I have received. Having worked as a consultant taught me valuable lessons and the skills I gained I hope to utilise further in PR and communications.
Hello, I’m Helen, a new recruit to the BlueSky team and a career changer. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, I spent the last fifteen years as a Teacher of English, working my way up until I became a Head of Department. The fields of English teaching and Public Relations may seem fairly disparate to many but they share a lot of common ground. One important skill that you develop as a teacher is the ability to take what can often be complex specialised material and find a way to make that interesting and accessible to a - not necessarily captive - audience. You need to be able to speak and write in a way that is engaging and has impact, otherwise you will lose your audience faster than you can say, ‘Time to pack up!’
Back to school I still remember how I felt when I went to big school for the first time.
Starting a new job felt eerily similar to my first day at university The early starts, the meeting new people, the opportunity to learn new things. However, this time it was all without a fresher’s week before-hand sadly.
‘You know what will make our meeting more productive? Buzzwords!’ exclaimed the millennial, accustomed to throwing disruptive innovation around the boardroom. ‘Buzzwords??’ cried the Generation X, lean leadership guru as he planned his exit strategy. Tracey, MD of BlueSky PR, agreed with this 110%. She thought it was quite a unique idea. Not totally unique, you understand, just a bit. ‘Well let’s just be clear about one thing…” started Chris Johnson. But before he could finish his thought process, Kerry had shelved his discussion. ‘I think the really important point is that we touch base on how to leverage buzzwords to their best effect.’ ‘GAME-CHANGER!!’ cried Steph Mullins. She always overused that phrase. ‘This is hardly a game,’ commented Steph King, who instinctively distrusted ballpark figures. Ian wanted to contribute, but he had run so far up the flagpole that he was struggling to circle back. Adrian, the voice of reason, having to shout a little for Ian, chose this moment to ask a very valid question. It was a no-brainer, really. ‘So, at this moment in time, I just wanted to check that everyone is going forward. Because I’m not sure our diversity framework covers Time Lords.’ Over in the corner, Belinda was pouring herself a strong and stable drink.
Pinning down the exact qualities that make someone a success in PR is a hard task. Some bloggers don’t bother to delve deeper than the obvious; organised, good communicator, able to multitask. But I’m not sure that goes very far in demonstrating why you would be a great PR, rather than just a good employee, or the PR skills you have to offer. Then there are those who are oddly specific, or even philosophical about the task, perhaps romanticising their own qualities or copying directly from their own CV when they recommend that you are able to synchronise swim and own at least one Blue Peter badge. So what makes this list any closer to the truth? Well, I have decided to focus not on what will make you a successful PR, but what a career in PR would be unsuccessful without.
We're hiring: PR Account Executive BlueSky PR, a boutique communications consultancy specialising in the higher & business education, recruitment, HR and talent management sectors, is looking for a smart, ambitious graduate to join their growing higher education practice.
What do you get out of a degree in journalism that’s most useful when starting your career in PR? How to write How to conduct an interview The demands on a journalist How they like to be pitched to What they want to read about Considerations beyond the written word How to write The first and most obvious thing a journalism degree teaches you, which is essential for a career in PR, is how to use words effectively. You learn how to condense a story into a short pitch. When writing a press release (which is a bit of an art form in itself) you have a better understanding of how to write an opening line that will grab attention, whether it’s a headline for an article or the subject line of an email. Learning how to write is absolutely crucial in PR.
I’m Chris, the latest recruit to join BlueSky PR. Until earlier this year I was PR Manager at Ashridge Business School where over the course of nearly six years I substantially increased media coverage and brand awareness. I worked with faculty and business managers to source strong news lines as well as building a strong rapport with the business education journalists. So when the opportunity to join BlueSky came along it was an ideal match to utilise my knowledge and experience gained in the business school arena.
An exciting new opportunity has arisen in the BlueSky headquarters for a keen, mean, marketing machine to come and whisk our fast-growing business into its next chapter. You’ll be in charge of content marketing for lead generation; media relations and blog outreach, the management of the company’s social media channels and event management. You will be our first team member responsible for marketing, so some previous marketing experience in a B2B or professional services environment, a sound grasp of social media platforms and an aptitude for writing great content are crucial. If that sounds like you then this is a role you can really make your mark on! And as well as getting on board with a very friendly and fun team and working within a supportive learning culture, we also offer flexible working hours.
The idea is simple. A member of the team hosts a session to teach the rest of us about a particular topic that’s relevant to our roles in public relations. This person may have been on a training course, and tells us all about what they’ve learnt, or the subject might be based on something that they’re already an expert in. It’s food for the mind, as well as the body. For the inaugural lunch, I shared my experiences on a recent training course called ‘Planning and Managing PR Campaigns’. I enjoyed leading this session and I hope my colleagues learnt from it. We ate, talked, and socialised over a ham sandwiches. ‘Lunch and Learn’ brought us together and gave us an opportunity to spend a little more time doing something different. Ask questions. Share stories.
It’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) – a week that aims to highlight the skills gaps many British sectors are already facing and to encourage businesses to draw on talent from a larger array of sources. The Government is aiming to place apprenticeships within businesses’ growth strategies by highlighting the support available for those that choose to employ through this method. The scheme’s recent successes are impressive, with 19,800 apprenticeships filled in 2014/15, a 115% increase from the previous year. Interestingly, National Apprenticeship Week has fallen amidst the Brexit debate. Critics of a British exit from the EU are emphasising the huge impact this could have on many pillars of our economy: construction, finance, law, education, etc. But will a focus on skills shortages via press coverage of NAW help to support either side of the debate? Of course the pro-EU side is likely to argue that leaving would mean closing our borders to international talent and increasing the difficulty of bringing in crucial expertise from overseas. Yet could the reminder that there are still some domestic solutions to the talent crisis serve as a nudge towards taking the leap and leaving the EU?
Cristiano Ronaldo hit the news this morning, for once not due to his goal-scoring exploits, but for highlighting that he doesn’t think it’s important that professionals get on with their colleagues. The Portuguese footballer stated, “When I was at Manchester winning the Champions League with players like Giggs, Ferdinand and Scholes our discussions were limited to ‘good morning’ and ‘good night. But when we were on the pitch together there was total understanding. I don’t need to go out for dinner with Benzema or Bale. What counts is what happens on the pitch.”
At BlueSky we’re all about ‘growing our own’ in terms of talented people. It’s a concept that is integral to who we are as a company, and now it would seem that thanks to those same talented people the BlueSky family is growing in numbers once again. Upon the receipt of the first of what we’re sure will be many baby photos, we’d like to congratulate Steph King, head of our recruitment practice, on her lovely new arrival. As well as taking the time to wish her luck for the potentially or rather, unquestionably, hectic months to come. As a company we can now almost certainly claim that we’re fairly experienced when it comes to positively embracing the challenges that arise when some of your key players are temporarily out of office. However it’s experience that offers both short term and long term value, and embracing these changes is undoubtedly a key way to ensure that you continue to retain industry leading talent.
Oh Halloween, a time we’ve all come to love, cherish and totally misunderstand the origins of. Unless, that is, you are one of those October scrooges who announces that they “don’t do fancy dress” and puts apples in children’s trick-or treat baskets. Or, you know, a druid. Then you can cancel out at least one of the above. One thing we should all be thankful for is that Halloween is an excellent practice in identifying bad taste and, in fact, allows you all to see a tiny glimpse into the world of PR. So when you remind your friend that the edible meat skull centrepiece she is so delighted with may be a bit, you know, weird – congratulations, you have taken your first steps into reputation management. I like to think that this is the holiday when devilish PR professionals really let their hair down and go nuts – “Oh no, don’t be silly, it is more than acceptable to dress up in a sexy Cecil the lion costume, you look great!” But we wouldn’t do that because we’re all good eggs and that would render April Fool’s Day redundant. Obviously, offence is not black and white; there are many shades. Sometimes parties themselves can just be wrong – my memory wanders back to a “bad taste party” I attended in Bristol which remains the only place I have seen male students dressed as twerking sensation Miley Cyrus and a whole host of mankinis take on such a synergy. However, some people can personally bring bad taste to a party, and this is normally the most dangerous – you recall that cautionary Halloween tale of Prince Harry and the Very Misguided Costume by JK Growling? For some reason, Halloween really has the edge on bringing out your inner PR disaster. So this year, whilst we all paint our faces, don our costumes, watch movies that make us scared to go upstairs, or board up the windows and hibernate until the knocking at the door stops – remember this. When you choose your costume, decorations and amount of alcohol units, channel your inner PR guru, we believe in you.
If we are what we read, we are not well today. I felt like decreeing the death of news when I opened The Times this morning. I was overwhelmed by the negative headlines (some listed below). I woke up in a great mood - it all went downhill as I got up to speed with the horrible things happening around us. ‘Women don’t understand fracking’ news © Depositphotos.com/yadviga ‘Talk Talk site breached in cyberattack’ ‘Father of three shot dead by police after family row’ ‘Cruyff has lung cancer despite kicking the habit’ ‘Sausages are major cancer risk’ ‘Robots can detect sign of depression in your face’ ‘Hospital missed signs that doctor abused young boys’ ‘Jihadists trick elderly into funding terrorism’ ‘Blood test will tell you if you will die in a decade’ ‘Bank reforms too weak, says Which’ Cyberattack, cancer, depression, abuse, jihadists, die. In a world where sound and image are supreme and news are mostly bad, Monsieur Cambreleng decrees the death of words. Monsieur Cambreleng is a publisher without a publishing house, living in Paris. His primary passion is collecting dead books, which fill bookshops that have become abattoirs, due to readers blind and deaf to the suffering and tears of unread books. (Matei Visniec, Panic Syndrome in the City of Lights, 2012) The same book by Matei Visniec also discusses the monopoly of news and dare I say insinuates there is a bad news conspiracy. Of course his book is fiction but, I can’t help wonder what horrible thing would happen if newspapers would fill their pages with good news.
Social media has bred a culture where it’s become far easier for us to express our opinions and impose judgement on others. Whether this is a positive or negative change is debatable, however it’s undeniable that the power social media can have over corporate behaviour has created a shift in our culture. The past few weeks have presented something of a soap opera in the business sector as the villain of the pharmaceuticals industry that is Martin Shkreli eventually backed down following the backlash of the media after raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5000%. In case you missed the outcry here are a couple of ‘must-see’ tweets from Hilary Clinton to Dorset based business man John Carroll:
There’s been considerable debate in recent weeks over how we choose to dress ourselves. Much of this has been led by Jeremy Corbyn’s (apparently outrageous) decision not to do up his top button or to dress in the same way that all other politicians do. And outside of politics there have been numerous debates about how professionals are expected to dress at work. But does it really matter? Aside from being told off for not doing up his top button, Corbyn has also been accused of “looking like a hipster’s ghost” by some commentators. It’s hardly surprising, you only need to glance at a tabloid or at the Daily Mail’s infamous ‘sidebar of shame’ to see how much of a focus we put on how people look and what they wear in the modern day. Even in the football world, Mario Balotelli has been told to keep a reasonable haircut and to dress in a style that’s more in line with the brand of his new employer, AC Milan.
You probably hadn’t heard the name Charlotte Proudman until this week. And if you still haven’t it’s a sure sign you don’t read the news – she’s been all over it following the apparent ‘sexist’ LinkedIn message she received from solicitor Alexander Carter-Silk. You may sense that I haven’t particularly warmed to her. So what are the facts and why has she got under my skin?
So, it’s almost Autumn. Along with the return of the miserable weather (although let’s be honest, that never really left), the hordes of kids heading back to school (my morning commute has never been slower) and the annoyance I feel at that one shop that insists on putting up a Christmas section (does anyone really need to buy mince pies in September?!), the one good thing that Autumn is bringing with it is a return to sensible, impactful news reporting. The summer months are typically blighted by what’s become known as “silly season”, where actual news is so thin on the ground that newspapers become clogged with pictures of water-skiing squirrels and dogs getting married in order to fill pages. There’s been so much of it this year that Bruce has taken it upon himself to compile a list of the most ridiculous stories each week, to accompany our other much more useful news digests. Entertaining as these stories may be, I for one am looking forward to reading a newspaper that has actual news in it. So, as a last hurrah to summer, the team at BlueSky have selected their favourite stories from silly season so that, as you sit looking out of the window watching the rain fall on your under-used BBQ, you might at least smile a little. Enjoy… Steph K: My favourite has to be about the women intent on using a dolphin as a midwife. Yep you heard it correctly – no need for an actual qualified midwife here, dolphins it seems can also do the trick. Safe to say that I’ll be sticking to the human variety when my baby arrives!
Reputedly slower for news are the long, hazy (we wish) summer months. Not only are 99% of the workforce on holiday, but school traffic is a distant memory and we have all just rediscovered Pimms – hardly factors leading to increased crime levels. It just seems that there isn’t much happening. Well, so we thought… I can’t help but notice that in the last few months, I have increasingly been disgruntled by more and more news articles purporting to let me in on a little secret – aliens exist, they are here and they have always been here. But it’s not only because this is almost obscenely foolish that it has caught my attention – it’s also the brilliance of the scope and range of coverage this would have had if it was a PR campaign. Gone are the days when the chronically unemployed and lonely would be the main claimants of alien activity. Now, not only are articles emerging in otherwise reputable papers, but they are also creeping into my life with an intensely insidious regularity. We have been graced not only with sightings on Mars, but also with celebrities who believe, spooky unearthly architecture we are reliably told could not have been manmade and even the claim that aliens prevented World War III by destroying missiles during the Cold War.
In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now, we would only be working 15 hours per week. Though, Keynes never said what we would do with all that leisure time. He was an aristocrat, he would probably want us to write poetry, dance and play the violin. Keynes once said “My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink more champagne”. Sadly enough (or quite fortunately), his prediction never came to life. But why exactly is this? His logic at the time made a lot of sense; the economy will grow, employees will become more productive, technology will aid all aspects of the work life, and so on. It made sense that in such a wealthy economy people would work less. He was wrong. © DepositPhotos/ Faithie In an episode of NPR News’ Planet Money, economics Harvard professor Richard Friedman explains why Keynes got it wrong; Human beings are competitive Keynes did not take into account that we are competitive by nature. This characteristic has been bred in humans for centuries, from when the first gatherer and hunters went out to hunt, to these days. We have competitiveness our DNA. Whether we compete with others or with ourselves, we always want more. The way we feel about work
There’s no perception you should be more aware of than your own. All it takes is Googling a name to get an insight into your character or about seven seconds on average in person before someone has summed up a judgement of your character. Having joined BlueSky PR this week it’s fair to say making a strong first impression has been something of a priority, as it would be for any new starter! These three tips are yet to fail me when in the pursuit of creating a positive perception: Awareness of Your Online Image Have you ever Googled yourself? If not then you should probably open a new tab and do that now, it really is that essential! It’s now a given that your potential employers may do some online research to find out aspects of your life that your CV may not discuss. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing, in fact there’s a great opportunity to use this to your advantage. For example my LinkedIn profile is currently being used and abused to showcase any past activities that may be of interest in a professional context. I have a First Class Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree, just over a year’s worth of experience in the communications field and also work with a charity supporting women in male-dominated industries. These are aspects of my life I’ve made a point of being visible online to help shape a positive perception.
Which degree is best for a career in PR? There’s no definitive answer. The PR industry benefits from variety – BlueSky PR certainly does! Languages, humanities, social sciences. We’ve graduated from an array of subjects, and our diverse experiences have all helped us in our careers. Take BlueSky’s Natalie Bishop who graduated from the University of Sheffield in English and Philosophy. She says her degree taught her there are always alternative ways of phrasing something. This helps Natalie in PR today, like Steph King, Head of Recruitment Practice at BlueSky, who learnt how to express things clearly and concisely from her Bachelors in Politics from the University of Warwick. “I also learnt a fair amount about drinking,” she said, “something that many people think is a prerequisite of working in PR. Sadly the days of taking journalists for boozy lunches are a thing of the past… in most cases anyway!” Regardless of topic, prioritise communication skills Going from student seminars to working lunches, Bruce Callander, who graduated from Newcastle University in Sociology and Politics, said: “You need to be able to communicate effectively in PR, obviously. Most of my course was seminar based and having regular discussions and debates helped to develop my communication skills. “Generally, I think you need to like learning about things and taking on knowledge – though I’m not sure if that can be taught!” As well as Bruce and graduates from the likes of politics and philosophy, BlueSky counts journalism, law and business alumni in its ranks too. Ian Hawkings, Head of Education Practice at BlueSky, holds a degree in Business and Management with Finance. He says: “I learned about business from a variety of perspectives, but where it has helped me in PR is to be able to see the business case for PR – and how it fits into a company’s overall strategy. This is helpful when working with clients to identify how they could use PR and communications to hit their strategic targets.” What about a degree in Public Relations?
You read it correctly; horses can be instrumental in the assessment of leaders. Well that’s according to The Leadership Whisperers – a company which works with organisations to do just this. I can’t say I’m particularly sold on the idea, but is there any genuine evidence behind the claims? The company’s founder believes the reason why horses are so useful is simple. They mirror our non-verbal communication and respond to our energy, emotions and intentions, unlike humans who tend to focus on each other’s words. And at a recent event with recruiters, we are told that horses demonstrated just how they can assess a person’s leadership capability. Three attendees were asked to lead a horse around a figure of eight course. Meanwhile spectators were asked to feedback on the performance of each and what their time with the horse said about their leadership style. Descriptions included ‘confident’, ‘hesitant’, ‘good communicator’ and ‘caring’. Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely this exercise simply demonstrates how comfortable each participant was around horses, and not how good their leadership style is? Surely those who grew up with horses, for example, might just appear calmer than those who are perhaps frightened of horses or have simply had no exposure to them? Maybe I’m missing a trick but I can’t say this experiment has changed my mind on the subject. What’s certain, however, is that the topic has caused ongoing debate in the BlueSky office this week. Here’s what some of the team had to say? “I think they should stop horsing around – leadership is much more intricate than literally leading something in a figure of eight. I’m not sure what the business case for being able to provoke emotional responses in animals is but at least it would make for a good staff day out.” Natalie Bishop
© Depositphotos.com/Olly18 I read with interest a recent article which proclaims that corporate culture captures and destroys our best graduates. Particularly as PR – alongside finance, advertising and management consultancy – was listed as a pointless and destructive occupation. While I don’t dispute the aggressive recruitment drives that multi-nationals employ to extract the brightest talent from top universities, I think it’s a little strong to liken the annual milk round to a kamikaze mission. Having never worked for a large corporate firm, I can’t authoritatively comment on whether they habitually use the military style ‘Build them up and break them down’ tactics that the article implies. However, I think we need to give more credit to the constitution of our brightest graduates. In her 2006 book, Generation Me, Jean Twenge discusses the confidence and assertiveness that differentiates the latest generation of jobseekers from their predecessors and highlights the fact that the ‘job for life’ ethos is well and truly a thing of the past. Last year a report from advisory firm CEB found that one in four graduates move on from their first job within a year. On the whole, young professionals are not passive, vulnerable, lemmings ripe for brainwashing and manipulation – a fact that the corporate world itself does not dispute. According to a recent survey by EY, 36% of managers find those born after 1982, or millennials, difficult to work with. Meanwhile, Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2015 has found that almost four in five (79%) UK millennials do not feel that their current organisations are making “full use” of the skills they have to offer. The research also found that 43% of millennials believe they will have to work elsewhere in order to gain the skills and experience they need to fully meet their career ambitions.
With the rise of social media, workplace email and hand-held devices, it would appear that we are writing more frequently than ever before. Well, typing I suppose. But is this digitalised change in medium resulting in the rapid modification of our language that we have seen in the last few years? And what lies ahead? I’m not suggesting that in twenty years’ time, we will worship a giant, all-seeing yet half-eaten apple in the sky whilst we quietly whisper old wives’ tales to each other about pens and paper. But what I am suggesting is that the way we write will be markedly different. We read/scroll through articles (at our convenience) about conventions of writing changing constantly – even the paragraph seems to be throwing in the towel and bowing out gracefully in an early retirement to live out the remainder of its days in murky, unused libraries and bookshops (of the un-downloadable variety). But wait! We don’t need to let digitalisation Kindle(™) all of the appreciation we have for curling up with a tatty old book and losing ourselves in exciting, elegant and funny prose.
It’s that time again – we’re hiring. Business is booming and the Education practice at BlueSky PR needs talented, hardworking PR professionals to help us promote some of the world’s leading business schools and higher education institutions. You’ll need to be able to write. You’ll need to possess initiative and a curious mind. Ideally, you’ll be a recent graduate or have a small amount of experience working in a business-to-business PR role. An understanding of social-media platforms and how they can be used as part of a communications strategy is a plus. Successful candidates can expect to work in a friendly, relaxed, but busy environment at our central St Albans office where success is rewarded and where the ability to work well within a team structure is highly valued. The role is intellectually stimulating – working with senior academics to promote their research requires an agile mind. International travel is a feature with team-members frequently visiting clients and attending industry events globally.