Giving back: How Red Ribbon helped a young South African graduate break into PR

Ronelle BesterInsightLeave a Comment

Last year the team at Red Ribbon Communications embarked on a philanthropic endeavour by providing practical guidance and support to a deserving young South African on Youth Day. We offered free consultation to a PR graduate seeking to establish a career in the field of public relations.

As PR agency owner, I have observed that despite having the necessary qualifications, many young professionals still struggle to secure employment due to the quality of their applications. It is disconcerting to note that a significant percentage of applications I receive merely attach their CV’s without personalising their email. I receive more than a 100 applications per job we advertise, so you need to make sure you stand out.

The reality is that graduates often lack the necessary guidance to apply for jobs appropriately. As such we sought to address this challenge by taking Anele Ndebele, a promising young graduate, under our tutelage. Over several weeks, my team and I assisted Anele in revamping her CV and LinkedIn profile, drafting her first email application, and preparing for her interview. We were overjoyed when she landed the job! Today, Anele is a public relations intern at IN.PR in Durban.

Red Ribbon’s Youth Day initiative exemplifies our commitment to empowering deserving young professionals to thrive in their chosen careers by providing practical assistance and guidance. We are pleased to have made a positive impact on Anele’s professional journey.

Here’s Anele’s testimonial regarding her experience with us.

How was it to be coached by Ronelle?

Ronelle was friendly from the first conversation we had and fully involved in helping me grow. She advised me on what I needed to do to land my dream job. When I got my first interview for a PR internship, she gathered her team to help me ace it. It was really remarkable, and everyone whom I interacted with from Red Ribbon would always say, “the team is rooting for you”! That was very special to me.

What were your main takeaways from the coaching sessions that helped you secure your first job?

There were many, but the best advice that Ronelle gave me when I got an interview was to create a cheat sheet. Print the names of the clients that the agency works with and refer to them in the interview. She also advised me to think of new and creative ideas for their clients beforehand. That helped set me apart, and landed me the role. My main take away from that is to always envision myself in whatever role I want to be in. It makes it a lot easier to convince the interviewer that you are right for the role if you tell yourself that it’s already yours.

What from the coaching sessions offered you the most long-term value?

What made the most impact on me was how a group of strangers all came together to help me win. I did not know anyone from Red Ribbon at the time. I live in Durban and the company is based in Cape Town, but the whole Red Ribbon team jumped in to provide advice and moral support.

Did Red Ribbon make a difference in your life?

Definitely. They helped me get my foot in an industry I have always dreamed of being a part of. I had severe anxiety at the time I was granted this coaching session, and talking to them helped me see the light. When I actually got the job, that was amazing. They made me realise that my dreams were valid.

Would you recommend Red Ribbon to another young professional to help them grow in their career through this Doing Good initiative?

I absolutely would. Having a conversation, let alone a whole coaching session with the owner of a big PR firm is such a huge deal. You get to hear first-hand from someone who has been in this industry for a while and does a really great job at it. Why would anyone pass it up?

Red Ribbon will be offering a coaching session to the next PR professional.

Please send a mail to to apply.


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