How I Realized I Wanted to Work in PR

As a fresh graduate with an open mind towards my career options (read: I had no clue what to do with myself), I signed up to several graduate recruitment agencies in the hopes that they would help me find direction given my broad interests.

One agency, Rare Recruitment, specialized in helping graduates from BME (Black or Minority Ethnic) backgrounds get into industries in which this group is under-represented. Through them, I was introduced to Ketchum, and applying for the Internship in London was, quite frankly, one of the best decisions I have ever made.

At first the term PR conjured up images of power-walking-while-talking in the halls of the West Wing Communications Office (does anyone else miss that show?). Research beyond watching The West Wing has sharpened my perception, and I am beginning to see how a PR career would allow me to follow my areas of interest, such as politics and international development, while being part of a dynamic, ever-evolving profession.

Like many people from ethnic minority backgrounds, I was being nudged towards the traditional professions like finance and law. My parents, less pushy than most Indian parents, were supportive in spite of seeming perplexed about PR when I tried to explain it; this perhaps does not bode too well for my communication skills but hey, I still have a lot to learn!

The recent push to diversify recruitment into PR signifies the aim of the industry to capture diverse perspectives and ideas, improve cultural sensitivity as well as encouraging under-represented demographics to consider this profession. At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, it makes sense that ensuring the communicators reflect the society with which they communicate can lead to successful campaigns. I, for one, am grateful for this effort by Ketchum to encourage diversity. I doubt I would have found this Internship or considered a career in PR without the existence of the partnership between Ketchum and Rare Recruitment.

I have had a great time over the past few months, learning an incredible amount while also sharing in the fun at the office. Last week, I was using cello-tape to affix a picture of Elton John’s face onto the face of one of the Directors; I had to pause to consider how many interns could say they have done that. Whether you are from a BME background or not, I could not recommend a Ketchum Internship more highly.

Rare Recruitment is an agency focused on assisting people from BME backgrounds secure placements within top organizations. Ketchum London is currently working in partnership with Rare on two internships placements per year and have just appointed their first permanent member of staff through this partnership.

Asha graduated from the University of Warwick in 2012 with a BSc. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She is hoping to further build her experience in PR in the near future and is also considering the possibility of a Master’s degree.