I cannot believe that this time 3 years ago I was just about to embark on my PR & Communication course at university. THREE YEARS? I feel like I’ve blinked and BAM here I am in my first official PR job, with a little freelance business on the side.
So a huge hello to all you Fresher PR students! Once the Fresher week blur passes, here’s some of my top tips to help you through what will, fingers crossed, be 3 of the best years of your lives.
1. Actually do go to your lectures. Cliché first tip, but c’mon, let’s be real here
You want to know about PR. You want to have a career in PR. You want to have the actual life of PR girl Samantha off of Sex and the City. So how are you going to do that without learning it in lectures? Honestly, those 9am lectures do suck, but so does failing an assignment. There’s a very strong chance your lecturers will have experience in PR, maybe even in the exact sector you want to go into, so take this opportunity to learn from them! Netflix will still be there when you get home.
2. Do PR-related stuff in your spare time
Something I’m so glad I did in my spare uni time was get involved with PR related activities. If your uni has a PR society or similar, join it or set one up! If you’re able to say that you were an active part of, or even the President of, a PR society that would look fab when applying for jobs. You could offer to do some publicity for other societies in your university – if the Pole Fitness club are holding an event (which they often did at my uni!) offer to do some tweets, create some posters and generally create a buzz around it. It’s all stuff for the portfolio.
3. Get a relevant (ish) part time job
This is a bit of a tricky one. I did attempt a part time job (cleaning at an old people’s home….it was terrible FYI) for approximately 2 months before they said I had to work Christmas Day so I quit. Yes, I lost out on money, but I wasn’t totally miserable. I found my way doing small campus jobs at university which weren’t always PR related, but they did build up my CV and give me extra beer monies! I was a blog editor, did occasional workshops about WordPress and, in my 3rd year, worked as a student advisor. Way more fulfilling (for me) than washing old people’s laundry.
4. Sort out your social media accounts
By this I don’t mean just the ‘no drunk photos’ blah blah, although it is good to sort out your privacy settings, but also set up ‘professional’ accounts. If you’re into photo & video content creation, create an Instagram account just for your creativity (and keep your Oceana pics to a private account) and over the 3 years of uni, hey presto! You have a portfolio of your work! Similarly, set up a Twitter account to connect with other PR people. I’ve met endless PR pros since setting up my PR Twitter account and it comes in super handy for advice, research and inspiration.
5. Set up a blog
‘Obvs you’re going to say that, Livi’ I hear ya say..WELL, I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve networked with so many top-class PR pros (including the Head of Comms for BBC TV, which I like to drop in to the majority of conversations I have) and its secured me a fair few work experience placements and jobs. You can focus your blog to the exact sector of PR you’re into and, like me, you can even turn it into a platform to sell your services.
Writing skills and strong work samples are a must in the post-grad [Public Relations] job search. The easiest way for a PR student to earn those skills now? Start blogging – PRSSA
6. Stay in touch with your lecturers
The more you ask for advice from your lecturers, the more they will get to know you as a student and, in all honesty, be more inclined to help you. If the lecturer rarely sees you, isn’t familiar with your working style and doesn’t think you’re that interested in the topic, the less they’re going to want to help you. Lecturers give you their email address for a reason, and they should tell you when they’re free to reply to emails (if they don’t – ask!) so use it! I *cannot* emphasise this point enough; if your lecturer offers feedback on a first draft of an assignment before a certain date, GET IT IN. Even if you haven’t done much, show them anyway and they can help you – don’t struggle through it in a vague direction hoping for the best.
7. Have *all* the fun!
Us PR lot are known for a fondness towards a cocktail or two, make the most of it! You’re only a student once and lucky for us PR lot, we don’t have the uni hours or pressure as a medical student so embrace it. Balance work and play and you’ll have the best 3 years you could wish for.
If you’re just starting a PR course, LET ME KNOW! I’d love to hear all about it and, as always, I’m free for any Q’s you may have 🙂