As the newest Account Executive in town at Chubb Towers, I have recently reflected on my journey from graduate, to intern, to full time employee at Connect PR.
Finishing university in a difficult job market, I spent a fair share of my time waitressing to make ends meet, and wondering why no one was throwing a full time job at me. But eventually I realised that employers, and especially those in the PR industry, aren’t interested in what letters you have after your name or what university you went to, but the experiences you have under your belt.
So that is when I got myself into gear and started applying for internships and work experience. People were surprisingly receptive, and who wouldn’t be for a touch of free labour. But after a few weeks at an agency and 6 months working voluntarily in PR at a regional charity, I finally had a CV with some good names on it and a portfolio to be proud of. It was this I took along to show the lovely people at Connect I was serious about PR and willing to put myself out there to get it.
Three months in I am fully inducted into the Connect way of life and am confidently navigating my way through clients from a nationwide house builder, Persimmon Homes, to Yale Europe and the world of forklift trucks.
My biggest challenge to date came in the cold and wintry depths of December when I was tasked with helping Chiltern Railways bring London to Birmingham near Snow Hill Station in the city centre, to launch their new faster line from Birmingham to London.
Braving the weather and with a little help from the Connect gang I managed to co-ordinate a two day event including several oversized London props, 1000 jellied eels, a Pearly King and Queen and even an appearance from the Queen herself (ahem!).
Three months ago I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to work with such an exciting client and on such an interesting brief. All the hard work I put in to gain experience has given me a wealth of knowledge which I have applied and extended at Connect, who in return have a wealth of clients to work with.
My advice to anyone looking into a career in PR is experience, experience, experience. An employer wants to know that you are keen to learn as much about their industry as you can and have a strong work ethic. You don’t need to have done six months unpaid like me, because even with a couple of weeks experience when I first started out people were much more inclined to listen.
Most graduates don’t just fall out of Uni and into a job, especially in such a high demand climate and industry. So if I could advise my younger self, I would say start earlier and try to gain some part time work experience while studying if only to find out what fits and gain some industry confidence to take to interview.
If you can convince a successful company like Connect that you are as passionate about PR as they are, then a job won’t be far away!
Rosie, Account Executive