While I’ve just finished my second year studying Journalism and PR I am currently at a crossroads on where my future lies within the PR industry. Feeling like I ‘mostly’ know what I’m doing I thought the best way to answer my question was to gain work experience in the global firm Grayling, starting at the top and all that.
Whenever I meet anyone in the industry they always ask me what sector I’d like to go into or what I want to specialise in? The truth is you can’t decide that in the classroom but Grayling has helped me find my place in the PR world.
During my two weeks I have been able to gain experience across various sectors so I could find out where I fit best. I have been able to see the different components which go into different campaigns and I’ve had the opportunity to work across a variety of accounts, from Retail to Banking, as well as lending a helping hand for potential new clients.
I thought I might spend the whole placement researching journalists and cold calling (the dreaded stereotypes of PR placements) but I’ve found that this is a great agency to live out my creative dreams in an office environment. What I’ve enjoyed most is creating content for various social media channels and the freedom the team has given me whilst doing so. I’ve had to learn how to adopt a corporate tone one day and a tongue and cheek humorous tone the next – all while remaining in the 140 character count!
I’ve also found the research tasks I’ve been set have helped me with my PR skills as it’s not something I regularly do at University. After it seemed there was nothing on the entire internet about a specific subject I was researching, the team were great in suggesting techniques to find relevant info which I know will last my entire career.
The Bristol team have been nothing short of amazing to me, there wasn’t the expectation that I knew everything but they gave me creative freedom on various projects, and were always making sure I was happy with what I was doing.
I’m extremely thankful to Grayling for giving me the hands on PR experience I need and not just using me for help with the photocopying! I’m sure you will all be happy to know that it has only taken two weeks here for me to finally decide that retail PR is the sector which I will be pursuing in the future!
The idea of pursuing PR first came to me in a careers advice meeting at age 18. The suggestion of this potential career path was met with the usual teenage shrug and a murmured, “No, I don’t think that’s for me.” In all honesty, coming from a small Cornish town, I didn’t know what PR was.
Fast-forward three years and I’m sat writing this blog post on my last day of work experience at Grayling. It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?
I’m currently in my second-year at UWE, studying Journalism and PR, which has been very insightful in terms of where I see myself after graduation. Consequently there is no doubt in my mind that PR is the path I want to take.
While I had already undertaken work-experience in PR, I was still apprehensive on my first day at Grayling and was unsure of what would greet me. I needn’t have worried. Greeted by the Dacey duo, Meg and Cait, I was immediately put at ease and felt like a part of the team that same day.
It was impressive to see that my whole experience had been timetabled in advance so I could see exactly what I’d be doing and what was expected of me. In my short time in the Bristol Office, I was given the chance to take part in a wide range of activities including; photo-calls, selling in stories to the media and writing content for blogs and social media platforms. Working mainly on the M&S Spark Something Good campaign, I was amazed at just how much the team juggled. It made me determined to try my best and not let them down when it was obvious they all worked tirelessly and loved their jobs.
I’m incredibly grateful to the whole team at Grayling for their warm welcome, enduring support and complete professionalism. It’s been such a privilege to work with an amazing team and undertake a workload that has both challenged and interested me. My eyes have been opened wider to the industry and I know that my time here at Grayling can only benefit me for the future.
No longer a shrugging 18 year old, I’m happy to say that I’ve learnt what PR is to me – an ideal career. Unlike many students, I’ll be graduating from university next year without fear or apprehension because I know that there are so many exciting opportunities in PR for me to explore.
We recently welcomed English Literature student, Holly Davis-Grant, to do a two-week placement here in our Bristol office. Here’s what she had to say about her time with us…
Upon finishing my second year of university I had the sudden ‘uni-is-almost-over’ epiphany that I need to start climbing my way out of the warm and cosy university bubble and figure out what I want to do as a future career.
Not wanting to fall into the expected vocation of an English Literature graduate – teaching – I had to start looking at my options. I realised it was important to me to be able to incorporate a certain level of creativity into my job while still working in a business-like atmosphere. PR seemed like the natural fit for this, so I started looking online to see what I could find. After an informal chat with the lovely Julie she invited me to do two-weeks experience with the Bristol Grayling team. I was excited and actually a bit shocked as I didn’t think a big company like Grayling would take on work experience ‘first timers’ like me.
During the first morning commute my nerves kicked in and I started to worry about what kind of tasks I was going to do. I suddenly remembered the film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and had visions of myself running through Cabot Circus with dry cleaning in one hand and an over-flowing tray of Starbucks in the other. I’m pleased to say this vision never came to life! In fact, it was quite the opposite. Julie met me at reception with a warm greeting and briefed me on the company and what kind of tasks I would be doing. She later gave me a tour of the office and gave me all the vital information – where the biscuit tin and coffee were kept!
Shortly after my arrival I was pleased to discover Grayling had prepared an efficient and handy timetable of all the tasks I would be doing over the next fortnight. Reading it over, I was pleasantly surprised at the types of things I would be doing – not a single coffee run or photocopying session in sight! During my two weeks I did a variety of tasks including putting together an editorial for a magazine, selling-in press releases to newspapers, booking bands for an event and creating content for social media. These were just a few of the many things I got to try out during my stay.
I was grateful for the amount of responsibility Grayling gave me and the sense of freedom I had whilst completing my tasks. I was lucky enough to work with almost all of the friendly staff in Grayling’s Bristol team and thankful for the varying scope of tasks they assigned me to do. The two weeks I spent with the company were a fantastic and eye-opening experience into the world of PR and have further cemented my motivation to work in the industry after I graduate.