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13 October 2014

My Experience of Work Experience

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Work experience is a familiar characteristic of marketing and PR offices. This summer we organised hundreds of placements in different industry sectors. For the students, our next generation of marketing and comms execs, what do they learn? What are the surprises? What’s their impression of our business? Do they still want a career in communications at the end of it? Here’s what some of our placements told us:

 

Kerrie B

Kerrie Braithwaite went to Nexus Communications for two weeks

Three things about PR that surprised you?

1) How calm and happy people can be in pressurised situations

2) How good you have to be with internal communications, prompt responses, attention to all details of emails, etc.

3) How varied the techniques, tools and procedures can be, eg how you sell in, how you monitor the media

Three things you particularly enjoyed?

1) Selling in

2) Media monitoring

3) Looking for campaign opportunities

The best thing about work experience is . . .

Everyone understands you are learning, so it’s a time to be freely curious. People will make time for you because you’re just starting out.

What advice would you give someone wanting to do work experience in PR?

1) Make speculative applications. I didn’t get much waiting for job ads.

2) Think logically about what you can offer to the company, e.g. journalistic background, great grammar and editing skills, great knowledge of new/social media, and talk about this.

3) Practise your elevator pitch – most of the judgement of you will be made in your interview

Do you still want a career in PR?

Yes!

 

Keitra

Keitra Brobby-Damte went to PR Agency Good Relations for a week.

Three things about PR that surprised you?

1. That PR has so many divisions – the firm I worked for had an advertising team, real estate team and even a healthcare team

2. The importance of Social media. I was constantly logging onto Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates from clients and to research potential PR stunts

3. Most PR companies do recruit employees from a wide range of educational backgrounds – from history to bio-medical science graduates. What are most important are the skills you gain during your studies.

Three things you particularly enjoyed?

1. Researching food and beauty bloggers for the GR Life team. Working on something so interesting was a bonus!

2. I realised that PR is all about being creative in the way you convince others. When the people around you are passionate, it makes the task at hand more enjoyable to complete.

3. Talking to others about how they got their positions and the tips and tricks they picked up on the way.

The best thing about work experience is . . .

The contacts you gain during the placement. However long or short the placement is, the chance to network can bring loads of opportunities in the future.

Do you still want a career in PR? Yes, but I want to explore other options in business to make an informed decision.

What advice would you give someone wanting to do work experience in PR?

Do as much research as possible! Then you’ll be able to find out the dos and don’ts of applying for placements and be more likely to get successful work experience

 

Toffee

Tofayal Ahmed went to PR agencies Bell Pottinger, Powerscourt and Newgate Communications for a total of six weeks.

Three things about PR that surprised you?

1. There’s a much bigger drinks culture than I expected. It took a while to get used to, especially as I do not drink.

2. The culture in every PR agency is very different, some places I enjoyed much more than others.

3. I was well prepared as I had done enough research and spoke to a lot of people about what to expect working in PR.

Three things you particularly enjoyed?

1. Meeting so many great people who were more than happy to give me advice

2. Taking part in brainstorms

3. Every day was very different – no two days were the same which I really liked

The best thing about work experience is . . . 

Gaining experience and meeting so many PR professionals.

Do you still want a career in PR? Of course! Since graduating I knew I wanted to have a career in PR. Thankfully I was able to secure a place on the Taylor Bennett Foundation programme which educated me so much about the world of PR. It is through the programme I have a relationship with f1 which was able to secure me my work experience.

What advice would you give to someone looking to do work experience?

Be realistic and stay motivated – You’re not going to be working on the next big campaign; you will be doing a lot of research tasks assisting the team. Remember to look at the bigger picture: without your research the team wouldn’t be able to move forward with project.

Make to do lists – ESSENTIAL

Ask questions – If you’re unsure about something just ask, there’s nothing worse than doing a task wrong

Don’t just sit there – If you finish your work ask for more, you are there to gain experience so make the most of your time

Form relationships with people there – People are more than happy to give you advice. I still speak to people from some of the agencies I have done work experience at. PR is a small world so leave a good impression on everyone you meet.

Have fun!