A career in public relations is both an exciting and rewarding one. And, going by the number of times we get asked about how we first managed to get our feet through the door, it still remains a profession that many people yearn for.

So, with many of this year’s graduates still looking for meaningful full-time employment, we’ve decided to offer a few simple tips to enhance your own career prospects and increase your chances of getting your first job in PR.

1. Spread the word

It stands to reason that the more people who know that this is the line of work you’re looking for then the greater the chances that an opportunity will come your way.

And if you’re uncomfortable with this whole idea of getting word around then you may as well forget about working in public relations, as spreading the word is precisely what PR is all about.

Tell everyone you meet, whether out and about or online, that you’re looking for work in public relations: friends, relatives, neighbours and whoever else you talk to.

2. Read up

Ensure you keep up on all the latest industry developments by regularly reading the online resources available, such as PR Week, Mashable, The Drum and our own Octopus PR blog.

Research and bookmark the best PR websites and set aside a short period of time every day, about half an hour, to read their latest blog posts and news features.

3. Build up work experience

It is a given that people will look favourably upon any past relevant work experience. Not only will any acquired knowledge and skills come in handy, but also previous incursions into PR demonstrate to a prospective employer your commitment to your cause.

At first glance this might seem like a catch-22 situation. How can you get any experience if you haven’t got any experience in the first place?

However, you need not necessarily slave away on a PR internship, working for a year for absolutely nothing, in order to prise open the door into your chosen career.

Evidence on your CV of just a few weeks, or even days, of doing PR work is very often all that you need to make your application stand out. And even a period of employment in a related field, such as advertising, marketing or the media, will significantly enhance your profile.

4. Get social

It almost goes without saying these days that PR and social media practically go hand in hand.

If you’re not already on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn then it is high time you were.

And if you’re already well established on social networking sites then you’ll need to start removing those pictures of you and your mates stumbling outside a nightclub in a drunken stupor and start developing a more professional-looking online persona.

5. Write a press release

Despite all the significant changes in the PR industry in the last decade, preparing and writing press releases still remains the bread and butter of most practitioners.

Speak to small businesses and organisations in your area, find out what stories they have to tell and volunteer to write a press release for them for free. Not only will this help you to build up a portfolio of sample work, but it may also open up opportunities for paid PR gigs further down the line.

But if you do decide to do this, do your research and at least make sure you learn the basics of writing a good release from the outset.

This article was written by Kevin Carlton from Write Online.