This is a guest blog post by intern Katy Roberts, about her two weeks’ work experience at Twelve PR. 🙂
One of the things that was drummed into me when I started my university degree in PR at Sheffield Hallam Uni was just how important work experience is. “Work experience makes you stand out from other applicants!”, “Work experience gives you skills you won’t get from your university degree!” and, slightly more pessimistically, “You won’t get a job after university if you don’t do work experience!’ However, this was backed up by a report in the news earlier this week, saying that companies with graduate programmes are much more likely to take on students who have done work experience during their time at university.
Report aside, I’m very much inclined to agree because, ultimately, a university degree – made up of essays, PowerPoint presentations and press release writing in an assignment capacity – doesn’t really show you what life working in a PR agency is really like. You very rarely get to work with real-life clients and the feedback you get about press releases (or any other PR writing you do, for that matter) comes from an assignment marking criteria perspective – not a real-life, ‘this is going to a real-life company’ type of perspective.
My two weeks at Twelve have been brilliant (and no, I’m not just saying that because this is a guest post on their blog!) – I’ve been able to try a wide variety of different things, from press release writing, to managing social networking sites, to ringing up journalists about newspaper competitions – all of which I’d never have had the opportunity to do properly as part of my university degree. (Quick side note: journalists aren’t as scary as PR lecturers make them out to be, so don’t be nervous about ringing them – just be sensible about why and when you’re ringing them and you’ll be fine!)
Another thing that’s brilliant about work experience – it allows you to figure out what you’d really, really like to do, and what you’d really, really not like to do as a job when you graduate. I’m happy to report that working at Twelve has confirmed what I sort of already knew, – that I would like to work in friendly and exuberant PR office – I could totally picture myself working somewhere like that! (Being able to have regular access to copious amounts of tea during the working day is a wonderful novelty as well!)
The team at Twelve have all been so lovely and welcoming and helpful, and it’s so nice that it’s close knit team because I’ve been able to get to know everyone relatively well, as opposed to just fading into the background at some huge company with thousands of employees. So yes, I definitely think that work experience is worth it, especially if (like mine) your university course doesn’t offer placement years!
Anyway, I suppose all that’s left to say now is a huge thank you to everyone at Twelve for giving me the opportunity to come and work with them in the first place, and for making my two weeks here so interesting, varied and enjoyable. It’s been fun!