Getting into PR: What to expect on a work placement

Getting into PR: What to expect on a work placement

This week I had the amazing opportunity to go back to Southampton Solent University to lecture about what PR students should expect on their placements and how they can maximise the opportunity while they are there. I wrote about the lecture on behalf of Lee Peck Media:

Placements, internships and work experience are all part and parcel when it comes to getting onto the PR career ladder. Having experience continues to be an important pre-requisite to entering the PR industry. It’s the chance to impress, network and find out what the industry is actually like at the same time as adding vital skills to a CV.

In 2015 alone the amount of placements rose by 10.2 per cent, according to a survey of leading employers by High Fliers Research. Although employers are offering more opportunities the number of applicants has also increased with some roles attracting thousands of candidates. In a competitive job environment experience can provide the edge required to beat off those other candidates for that sought-after first job.

This week Lee Peck Media’s Rebecca Henderson was invited by Southampton Solent University to give a talk to second year PR students about being a PR account executive and what to expect when on a placement.

“Embarking on a work placement or PR role for the first time can be a pretty daunting prospect whether you are fresh from graduating or not. Having some relevant tools and advice before starting will help you stand out from the crowd and impress your potential future employers, which could help you land your first proper PR job,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca undertook placements at a number of different companies at the start of her career, including time at the Clinique press office and the communications team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue. Here she shares her top five things to expect on placement:

  1. Admin – This may not sound like an integral part but this is the bread and butter of PR and what justifies our work. Media cuttings, reports and keeping plans up to date are an important everyday essential that, if not done properly, will catch you out later down the line!
  2. Press releases – Practice, practice, practice! Don’t feel down if you get critiqued; use it as a valuable learning experience to improve. Remember your managers will have been writing for years, so don’t be disheartened.
    Press releases
  3. Events – Be prepared. Carrying around essential tools, i.e. stationary, spare press releases and contact details, could avert disaster and prevent you from missing that important PR opportunity.
  4. Selling in to journalists – Get that telephone manner down! Use your charm, wit and guile to hook a journalist on to your story.
  5. Be ready to learn – Ask questions and get involved. There are some topics like budgets and crisis management where the best form of learning is from others on the job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can learn why that’s the approach to take in that instance.

Rebecca added: “All these tips will help but your attitude matters. It may sound obvious but be proactive and enthusiastic. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t and how much it matters!”


Laura Bradley, the new PR_SSU Blog Editor and second year Public Relations & Communication student has also written about the lecture for the Official Southampton Solent Univeristy blog, click here to read it!

 

PR Masters Graduation 2014 – Thank you Catherine Sweet!

PR Masters Graduation 2014 – Thank you Catherine Sweet!

‘Dream big, and with focus and hard work, anything is possible’ – Paul Goodison

I did it! I now have a PR Masters, with Merit, from Southampton Solent University.

There are times you plan, organise and work and then there are the rare, beautiful moments you get to reflect upon the things you have achieved. Graduation is one of those things. Pomp and ceremony, jazzy gowns and caps signify a tradition purely focused on achievement, a pause before you swiftly move on and begin evolving further.

Reflection also allows you appreciate the wonderful people you have supporting you, and I am so incredibly lucky to have such a vivacious, fabulous, intelligent mentor in Catherine Sweet. I have spent a lot of time trying to find the words to express my thanks for guiding me through the past year and half, for your unwavering support and no amount of words seem to cut the mustard.

So it’s simple, but the feeling and appreciation behind it is genuinely gigantic…

Catherine Sweet – THANK YOU – I couldn’t have done it without you.

catherinesweetandme
The wonderful Catherine Sweet!

 

At Graduation they said you will never forget a good teacher. I know I certainly won’t.

However, I also must thank a few other people. Don’t worry it won’t be as long as an Oscars speech and there won’t be any tears. Promise.

I studied alongside some incredible people, two of those became some of my best friends but they also helped me develop my style, understand different cultural approaches which helped develop me for the better. So, Lisa Duygu thank you for teaching me to look at every angle, to be more patient and to believe in myself. Nadia Volaki thank you for teaching me to be more bold, to take chances and to believe in myself. We made it. We did it. We are Masters!

classof2014
Nadia, Lisa and myself!

 

The more private, but not any smaller in size, thank you’s must go to my supportive Grandparents, Mother and Boyfriend. Unwavering support that made the world of difference whilst there were so many demands on my time. Thank you. I did it!

If you’ve had any PR mentors/teachers/supporters, what was the biggest impact they have had on you? or perhaps what words of wisdom they have divulged? Please feel free to share your comments below!

1 Day To Go…

1 Day To Go…

I’m at the end of a year long journey that started as a bit of a joke…

About two years ago I gave myself six months to July 2013 to find a job in the PR industry and if I hadn’t found one by then I’d venture back into education to get some credentials and learn the tools of the trade.

However, I really thought this was seriously never going to happen and the joke became bigger and bigger.

My friend Mischa, a journalist, had been looking in to Master’s degrees and had been helping me improve my writing skills and she made it sound like quite a good idea so I had a glance myself.  Before I knew it a prospectus landed on my doormat. My local University, Southampton Solent, actually had one of the best PR Masters courses in the UK, but I was reluctant and it made a permanent home on the side gathering dust.

July rolled around pretty quickly and the idea of the Master’s hadn’t gone away. In fact, it was niggling away at me.

I picked up the prospectus. I put it down. Crisis of confidence hit big time. Could I go back to University?! I mean academically I’d got lazy. What if I couldn’t do it? I picked it up and then down it went again. Could I? Couldn’t I?

And then it hit me. What was I waiting for?

I want to move forward and progress and to do so I needed to bring out the big nerdy glasses and stick my head in some books and learn what PR was actually all about (and before this degree, I really didn’t have a clue! I thought I knew, but I was wildly wrong!).

So I crafted my application and within a month I’d submitted and been accepted. I was in. Holy Guacamole.

Fast forward to a year later,  I have held down a full time job, a full time Master’s degree, rode a roller coaster of emotions and been a social recluse. Now I find myself on the eve of the dissertation hand in deadline equipped with the skills to achieve my goals.

What’s next, who knows? But whatever it is, I’m ready!