Ross Watson, a graduate from Birmingham City University, talks about his first week in the Connect PR office.
The end of my university journey came with mixed feelings. The furious whirlwind of a 13,000 word dissertation and 300 hour project proved to be ridiculously stressful, but once the end was in sight it was refreshing to look forward to post-education life for the first time.
After the deadlines passed I realised I was really, really bad at twiddling my thumbs. There had been a huge gap in my life vacated by work that, though I didn’t want to admit it, I quite enjoyed.
So then you can imagine how thrilled I was when Connect PR offered me a role on their team.
A step into the PR industry is something I have always considered, despite undertaking a wealth of work placements in more journalistic and radio-based fields. It has been a steep learning curve for me thus far, though I believe ultimately any job should be a learning process.
My week began with an introduction to my colleagues, as well as the clients I would be focusing on. It was great to feel welcomed straight away, especially as I felt like a rabbit before the headlights in my first job since graduating. The biggest challenge thus far has been getting my head around the ins and outs of each client, something which a week in, I am starting to feel at ease with.
I would be lying if I said starting work at a PR agency wasn’t daunting, though this is primarily due to everyone being involved with different accounts at different times; it was like walking into a storm, in the most exciting way.
My first tasks surrounded writing press releases for large clients such as Persimmon Homes, Selco Builders Warehouse and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. It is refreshing to work in a pressurised, professional environment and I feel this can only improve the standard of my writing.
Completing work to satisfy the means of a university assignment brief is fair enough, but it’s a completely different kettle of fish operating with real, successful clients who rely on the best service from us.
The end of the week threw me in at the deep end, with two meetings in one day; the first of which was for the West Brom building society at their HQ in the city. It was great to meet a client for the first time and to put a face to the work I had been doing, while also reviewing the status of our ongoing work.
The afternoon’s meeting was with materials handling specialists Yale. This was perhaps the most helpful meeting for me personally, due to the specialist language needed for their press releases. It’s fair to say that forklifts aren’t quite my speciality… yet.
Both meetings showed me the other side of the PR coin, and reinforced the most important thing about PR relations, looking after our clients.
Having been at Connect for only a week I have already realised that there is so much more to gain from being immersed within the media industry, no matter how much you try to learn and anticipate beforehand.
By being thrown in at the deep end you learn so much more about not only the company you’re working for, but also the industry at large.