First-year Public Relations and Journalism student, India Kirk, who’s currently studying at Leeds Beckett University, recently completed a four-week work placement here at Clearsilver. During her time with us she put together a blog post about her experience, which, (we think you’ll agree), is a great read!
As many university courses do – Leeds Beckett encourages their PR students to secure and complete internships whilst at university, to enable us to get some hands-on work experience. After all, there’s only so much practical experience you can get sitting in a lecture theatre.
So, I secured a four-week internship at Clearsilver. Having studied Public Relations for only a year at Leeds Beckett, I knew the basics of what went on; press releases, pitches, client meetings, checking press coverage etc., but I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I was afraid I would be over-trusted and out of my depth – nightmares of solo pitches and grumpy journalists circled in my mind.
Of course, this was all nerves talking. My first task was to read through newspapers and look for client mentions. Phew. This I could do. And it all went up from there. As I did more and more, I became more confident and interested in the work, with even long research tasks flying by.
The more I did at Clearsilver, the more I realised how important work experience is. University does teach you how to carry out typical tasks in PR, but they don’t really prepare you for how it will really be. Gone are the times where you could crack out the mock-pitch a day before it was due – a LOT of research goes into a client and its competitors. There is so much you need to know, that taking the bare minimum university approach isn’t going to work out very well.
Universities set you exciting assessments that do half of the work for you, with a generous budget and a well-known brand to run wild with. However, it’s not every day that you’ll be sending press releases for Disney, organising an A-list Topshop event or pitching to a quaint seaside town about how you’re going to throw the best carnival ever.
Most likely, if it’s your first internship, like mine, you’ll be doing tasks that help everyone else – researching, comparing social media presence, inputting names and numbers into a database etc. Although these seem like small tasks, they don’t get boring.
The clock moves faster in the office than in a lecture, and I’ve been taught skills and knowledge that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Completing an internship has prepared me for my future career in PR. I know what to expect, and have really enjoyed my experience. It has shown me that you can only do so much, and subsequently, get so far with a university education without the work experience to back you up, showing that you can do the job.
Thank you for all of your hard work, India – and good luck in the rest of your degree!