Does being 3 weeks in to a Master’s degree in PR qualify me to give advice to future PR students? I’m not entirely sure as I’m learning as I’m going, everyday is a new exciting adventure. For the first time in a long time I look forward to lectures and seminars and get a buzz from the knowledge I’m getting – I am so eager to put it in to a practice. I guess that means I’m on the right track!
When it came to signing up to my degree I struggled to find any tips about being a PR student, especially as postgraduate level so here I go!
1. Get as much work experience before enrolling as you can.
This is an important one. Up until May 2015, the only PR work I had done was for a small-scale university Motorsports team at Sheffield Hallam. This was actually the role that opened my eyes to my true ambition to work in Motorsports PR. While this was extra curricular, alongside my BA in English Literature, it was a great way for me to dip my toe in the PR water. When I graduated from my degree I decided to focus my attention on finding my way in to the PR industry. I was lucky to find an internship with Birmingham International Fashion Week. This fast paced, exciting role as a Press and Media assistant allowed me to witness first hand what the fashion industry and PR world was like. It was a great start for me and lead to further Fashion PR work for Sheffield Style Show. This experience has proved to be a vital asset in my understanding of what is a new field to me. Get out there, more importantly; get your name out there!
2. Read the news!
Prior to and during your degree you should read the news! Become a news hound. More importantly, use different platforms (newspapers, social media, online publications, TV etc) PR is all about keeping up and predicting trends to get ahead of your competition. If you aren’t used to reading the news every day this may seem a bit tiresome so I like to mix it up – I do this by watching panel shows like Mock the Week and Have I got News For You. This can be a breath of fresh air to current events and also your view of what’s going on in the world.
3. Get sociable online
As a PR practitioner, social media will be a constant in your life from now on (if it hasn’t been before) Sign up to Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Instagram and get your voice heard. If you blog, link everything to your social media so people can follow you. You will essentially become your own brand and in doing so you should keep your social media clean of all drunken antics, swearing and opinions of work. Notice I left Facebook off this list – keep this as personal as you can. Future employers, clients, academics and fellow PR practitioners don’t need to see your drunken selfies so keep private things private.
When using things like twitter and LinkedIn, join in on discussions and chats. Not only is this a great way to expand your knowledge but it is another way to get noticed by those already in the industry.
4. Get sociable offline
Network, network, network! It is the future (and present, to be honest) Whether it is only on campus for the first few weeks, networking while you are at University is a must! University is the only time in your life when you will be surrounded by so many people from so many academic backgrounds. Get out there! Say hi. I know university can be an anxious time but in all honesty we are all in the same boat, I can guarantee you that everyone is experiencing that tip toeing on ice feeling whether you’re an undergraduate fresher or postgrad ‘fresher.’ Call it practice for the start of your glittering career, you never know when that someone you met today will come in handy.