How to excel in Work Placements by Katie Goodfellow
Speaking from experience getting your foot on the PR career ladder starts with work placement and internship opportunities. It’s the perfect way to find out what you’re getting yourself in to and ultimately find out if it’s for you. It’s your opportunity to show what you’re made of, learn from some of the best and make your CV shine!
But how do you go about finding an opportunity? There are several ways you can approach this. First of all speak to your university, often it is part of the course to complete an internship but if not your course leaders will have lots of contacts to introduce you to and can point you in the right direction.
Alternatively, research some agencies or businesses in your area and get in touch. This is your first chance to show enthusiasm and initiative to potential future employers.
If you don’t have any luck with this – just ask again, keep researching or put a call out on Twitter. Something will come up; we’re often looking for a helping hand and are more than happy to pass on our wisdom!
Now you’ve secured your position it’s time to get down to the work, here are some of my top tips on how to get the most from your experience:
Turn up on time – this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t take this seriously! Time keeping is so important in any job and for any employer to see you’re dedicated and serious about a career in PR
Dress smart – it’s always better to be dressed smarter on your first day than being underdressed. You can always ask the question at your interview, or gauge for yourself after your first day.
Be confident – the agency or business you’re working for is not expecting you to know everything, after all they’ve seen your CV and know your background, but that doesn’t mean you can’t impress them. Be confident in what you do know, be polite and do your best.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s the best way to learn and, lets face it, is a big part of why you are there. If you can’t Google it (e.g. how do I open a new word document?), ask it!
Get the job done – be enthusiastic and show initiative, finish a task? Ask for another one! This will show you’re keen to be involved, help the team and showcase what you can do.
Be clear about what you want from the experience – if you would like to practise your writing, learn how to pitch to journalists or simply work on digital engagement ask for this experience. A good agency will see you not as an unpaid worker but more of an opportunity to bring new people into the industry
Remember that this company can be used as a reference for future jobs or have a job opening itself – so use this opportunity to learn, grow and shine!
If you have any questions get in touch on Twitter @OLearyPR and we’ll be happy to help – good luck!