My experience of studying at Leeds Met and how it helped me in the scary place of ‘full-time work’!
One of the biggest advantages of the PR course at Leeds Met was the practical elements. We were encourage to gain placements and work on live projects with real clients in order to build up our portfolio and experience. To me this was the best part of the course, as it allowed you to put all the work you learnt at university into practice – alongside giving you vital skills to equip you for interviews and employment.
I think it is important to use these elements of the course to expand CV experience! I have put forward a few tips below:
Tips for enhancing your CV whilst at University:
- Make sure you have a selection of work placement positions on your CV – paid or unpaid, these will show you are willing to reach out and do extra work. You will find that placements will also help you with your university work, alongside giving you vital work-related skills.
- Network! Attend events at university and any other CIPR related events. These are great places to meet people you wouldn’t normally be able to talk to – PR professionals, directors of companies etc. These events were great for me, as they helped with university work and dissertation contacts, but also with gaining contacts for future employment options.
- Extra activities – Do something extra, something above and beyond which gives your CV that little extra. It can be sports related, a personal hobby in which you compete with, or a volunteer programme. I tried to pack as much as I coud into my second year summer and whilst working temporarily to gain a bit of money, I travelled to Thailand on two different volunteer projects. The first was volunteering on IIFA (Indian International Film Awards) which were held in Bangkok. I was selected to work backstage on the live event, helping out on the communications controls – the event was televised to millions of people. The second trip was a month-long volunteering project to Kaho Lak in Thailand. This was one of the worst hit areas of Thailand from the Tsunami, so I volunteered to teach at deprived schools in the local area. Experiences such as these help to shape your personality and to give you something inspiring to talk about to future employers.
- Building on your confidence – In doing the above, your confidence should grow dramatically enabling you to act more professional in interviews and in the work place.
The work place is a seriously competitive environment at the moment so the more you can do to enhance your CV alongside your university grades the better you will find your job prospects and the transition into work.
If anyone has any more tips or advice, please do let me know or post below! Thanks.
It worried me to read in Behind the Spin that; “A recent PRCA study revealed that 43% of directors say a Public Relations degree has little impact to employers when recruiting graduates, with 34% saying it makes graduates less attractive. Not the most uplifting of statistics to read.”
I believe that completing a PR degree has pushed me into the working industry, by encouraging students on the Leeds Metropolitan PR course to go out and gain PR experience from day one! In my first year I was recruited in a PR consultancy in my home town for full-time for 4 months. After completing a voluntary position, they saw my determination and work, and offered to pay me to stay on over the summer break. This was an amazing position to be in, straight after my first year of university; one that I dare say many on more academic courses would not have gained. This experience was invaluable.
From then, the course encouraged taking a full-time year placement in industry, and again the skills and confidence gained is what sets any student ready for final year and to graduate and enter the industry. For employers, students who undertake this, like me, have the necessary skills to enter a PR job role and provide knowledge and expertise to even help the company and their projects. Therefore, why wouldn’t employers seeks for students with PR degrees who obviously have always wanted to join the industry, over the more academic subjects which the results above describe.
I am working on my dissertation project at the minute and am researching city branding, the communication tactics behind branding, the stakeholders involved and how it involves much more than just a fancy logo!
It’s an exciting project that I am really getting involved in.
That’s it now, the placement is over and now I am back at university (with serious jet lag from travelling to Thailand) realising how much work I actually have to do over the next 7-8 months!!
It’s serious times…
I have to start thinking about my dissertation, which i looked a lot into while on placement. You have to use your contacts. Therefore after looking into what I have found most interesting i have decided to focus my thoughts on ‘Destination Branding’ and how PR is used to communicate city brands around the world.
After researching a little i have realised that this is a relatively new topic… may work to my advantage or may not. I need to keep researching to get a grip on this subject.
Let the work begin.
Last week I have focused on completing my interviews for the ‘Manchester Voices’ pages of the MCR magazine. The two individuals i had to interview were people who had played a large part in the development of the city over the recent years. Initially I knew very little about their roles, therefore before arranging my interviews I had to do my research – otherwise it would be impossible to ask the right questions.
After doing research it is important to take down a set of questions that you plan to ask. These should start by asking the individual about themselves, and fairly easy to ease your interviewee in. I found that the best questions were those which were more ‘open’ questions. It is easier for the interviewee to be lead to answers, and not asked direct questions.
I almost felt in some respects I had taken the role of a journalist… so do these roles sometimes interlink?
I found this link to help with interviewing techniques. Click here! Every time I do more of these, my confidence grows and I develop an understanding on how to manage the interview process. (One of my favourite parts!)
Afterwards, the other fun part is to write the interview up in full! It’s great to see the finish piece.
From being on my work placement this year, I believe I hit lucky with getting a position before the industry tightened its financial belt. I can see from other blogs and by speaking to other students that many placement opportunities have been snapped away from second year students who are currently searching. My placement company are stopping any more permanent staff employment never mind student positions.
It is proven that it will be hard, and therefore there will most likely be even more students in the final year of PR… resuting in a higher number of graduates fighting for the same limited number of PR jobs this time next year.
I think that looking for jobs or placement positions in the public sector may be slightly easier than private, but it is a stuggling area! Is been a student PR student going to be a nightmare?…
Training is over and done with… the Manchester run is long behind me! So full focus now is on my last 3 months at my work placement!
Everything is very busy… from starting the next magazine editorial, to the next stakeholder newsletter, to numerous press trips in the line up and an exciting little trip down to London! Myself and a colleague will find overselves at a Awards Dinner on Friday night… that is if we manage to make it through London on the trams. (apparently back up and running on Friday)
Time is moving very fast… i’m on a count down and determind to make the very most of my last few months at Marketing Manchester.