What interested me about this opportunity is that it is a full-time job, but available in a freelance capacity. It is increasingly common in my experience of the motor industry PR world for in-house headcount restrictions to result in the use of “embedded” consultancy staff. Indeed, I used to manage a team of 19 of “contractors” undertaking PR roles within Ford when I worked at a PR agency some ten years ago.
Here though, the contract is open to a graduate recruit as it could “potentially be a great role for early professional development”.
Are graduates open to the idea of freelance work – or do they feel they need the security of being employed either in-house or within a consultancy?
I’ve been self-employed for nearly eight years, having made a millennium decision to stop being a wage slave. But working for yourself wasn’t unfamiliar to me, as my parents ran a small hotel in Great Yarmouth (as did my mother’s parents before her) and my dad’s parents worked as independent upholsterers. I was prepared for the downsides as well as looking forward to the upside – which for me is primarily the flexibility to control what I do in life.
Many PR practitioners seem to come to freelance employment as a lifestage decision, particularly those who need to combine work with caring for a family. For example, via Strive PR I read Sally Whittle’s post on WorkLife balance – where some of the difficulties are evident.
I’m not sure if graduates are being prepared for the option of self-employment by careers services. One of the things we focus on in the final teaching session of the CIPR Advanced Certificate course is the idea of managing your personal reputation – brand me.
Regardless of whether you are working for someone else or are your own boss, it is vital that you maximise your “brand value”. In PR, we are often the commodity being sold – our skills and contacts are the true assets being sought by clients.
Having an excellent reputation also offers security whether in employment or with clients as a freelancer. I would recommend the opportunity offered by Honda as a good career move – not only for the experience and its excellent brand name.
I believe future career strategies, particularly in professions such as public relations, will require greater independence – so starting your career in the driving seat has to be a good move.