Thursday, 27 August 2009

PR student development.

This Summer will be remembered as the Summer of work experience. All of it at fantastic agencies in Manchester working on some really interesting clients and working with great people many of whom I hope to keep in touch with.

Since my last post about my placement at Fido I have spent 2 weeks at Mason Williams, 2 weeks at Impact Media PR followed by a week freelancing there (hence my lack of posts). I think I now know that PR is the profession for me. Which is a good job as I have 2 weeks with Robson Brown in Newcastle starting a week on Monday!

I have done a social media and blogging presentation at Impact which everyone said they learnt from (and no they weren't just saying that!). I talked about the uses of Audioboo, explained 'how to blog', even though I am still figuring it out some what! I even managed not to talk about Twitter-due to time constraints, although I did produce a very detailed social media proposal which featured a large section on it.

This all leads me on to what I think PR students should do to try and improve their chances of getting a job but most importantly figuring out whether PR is the right career for them:

1.) Work experience
I really enjoy my course, the theory is interesting. That's all well and good but you need to actually do something with what you have learnt. Work experience is the best way of achieving this and it also gives you great satisfaction to see that what you have done in class is actually useful in the outside world.

2.) Networking
"It's not what you know, it's who you know". Extremely true, although obviously it isn't true if you don't know much. This isn't just about finding a career, it's also about your own personal and professional development. I have had advice from many experienced professionals who have been in the industry for years and I will take all of this on board to make sure that I will be useful for any future employer and try to stand out from the crowd.

3.) Social media skills
This has been what PR professionals have been most interested in when I have told them about my studies and my age! Now my issue with this is that I don't want to be pigeon holed as being a 'social media guru', not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't feel that role is for me. I want to be a well rounded professional, known for being good at all (if possible) or at least most traits within public relations such as being creative. However, this will make a student so employable and it is generally what we know about because of our age and generations interests.

4.) Take every opportunity...
Any opportunity to get someones business card, take it. Especially with PR professionals. Now this isn't a selfish thing because you could be just as much use to them as they could be to you. You could meet someone who works for a company and has nothing to do with PR, but they could be a future client or decent contact.

5.) Student CIPR membership
It would really help to become a member of the CIPR! Firstly, it helps you keep up to date with topics and trends in the wold of PR. Secondly, it looks good on your C.V. Thirdly, it gets your foot in the door. Go to the meetings, get involved and chat to professionals from your area-then try and get yourself some work experience!

Sadly, these things aren't definitely going to get you a job. But it's all about being pro active so that when you do finally get a job, you'll be ready.

If there are any other PR students who have advice or any PR professionals then please add anything to the list...


  1. Spot on points. I would add:

    6. Differentiate yourself from your competitors (fellow grads). In PR you're quite lucky as you can specialise in numerous areas of expertise such as, digital, crisis comms, internal comms, media relations etc. With this in mind try to find an area that will make you 'sellable' to potential employers. Try to harness your skills and knowledge with something you already have an interest in and are passionate about.

    Or, to put it another way, see what everybody else is doing and do the opposite.

  2. I had a summer of work experience too. Tiring but good fun - and very strange going back to uni. Sadly as a southerner I'm disgustingly out of touch with no idea what's going on up north :(

  3. Hi Claire! Where did you do your placements? That's ok, as a northerner I am pretty out of touch with what is going on down south! Although PRweek helps fill in the gaps! Are you a member of the CIPR?