In my last blog post I mentioned how PR is becoming more and more competitive, so standing out above all the other PR students and graduates is very important. I wrote about how blogging is one method of getting your name and your skills out there, but gaining practical experience through internships and work experience will also put you a few more steps ahead.
Step 1: It’s alllllll about the experience
When a potential employer is looking at your work history, they’re far more likely to look fondly upon those who have relevant work experience. Sure, making coffee every day is fab experience, but when working for a PR agency, experience within the actual PR field is more likely to you noticed.
Step 2: Build that confidence right up
If you’ve had a few weeks experience here and there of PR-y work, you’ll find it comes far more naturally when starting at a ‘real life’ job. PR-y work changes from organisation to organisation, but having the confidence to step up to write that press release or carry out that interview will go down a treat with your employer.
Here are also a few tricks to get the most out of your internship whilst you’re there…
Step 1: Don’t just sit and twiddle your thumbs
If you’ve done any type of work experience before, you’ve probably encountered that really awkward moment where the person supervising you has either wandered off or is engrossed in microsoft excel and you’re sat there with nothing to do. Sure enough, the 16 year old me at year 10 work experience slyly went on facebook/pretended to be doing something productive but the now grown up and mature me (ahem..) can now see I should have asked for another task. Asking for things to do shows you’re committed and enthusiastic and your employer will like you a whole lot more.
Step 2: Just give it a go!
Have a go at everything given to you! Your employer will know you’re not a professional PR practitioner just yet and (most likely) won’t ask you to come up with the company’s four year PR plan – asking questions and asking for help isn’t a problem as long as you give it your best shot.
Step 3: Network, network, network
Your 2 week work experience could provide you with a graduate job or even just a connection on LinkedIn – it’s all beneficial in the long run!
Keep Calm and Carry On
Work experience and internships don’t just fall out the sky and into our hands, it’s something we have to work for. For every 5 internships you apply for, 4 of them will probably turn you down/not reply to your email or phone call at all. Instead of crying about how rubbish a PR person you are, try contacting them again..and again. The worst you can get is a restraining order!