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Laura Bradley graduation

Laura Bradley

BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communication  

Graduated 2017

Laura Bradley headshot

From day one we were working with live clients, learning skills to utilise in the workplace, and encouraged to get out into the industry and get experience.

This meant that everyone graduated with a thorough understanding of the industry and how to succeed in finding a job. 

I knew that getting work experience while studying was going to be vital in securing a job after university, so I worked as a junior consultant in a PR agency in Portsmouth during my second year, where I worked with some big clients such as the Dutch airline KLM. This really paid off as not only did I enter third year with a really good understanding of the industry that I could apply to my learning, but it also gave me the luxury of being able to focus on my studies in the final year without having to worry about getting experience. 

Once my dissertation was in I started to apply for agencies that appealed to me and quite quickly secured a job as an account executive in a PR and marketing agency in Newbury. And this is probably my career highlight so far! Finding your first proper full-time job after three years of studying is a huge accomplishment and it made me realise how far I have come. 

In my opinion, public relations is the way organisations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media; there is a large focus on reputation. You will often hear that there’s no typical day in PR - however, I think that this can be misleading. A lot of the job can involve admin tasks and it’s definitely not all champagne and socialising, but it is certainly busy and varied! 

As an account executive, a typical day will involve the following:

  • Content creation, which can be anything from writing press releases to case studies.
  • Pitching and responding to journalists who may be interested in client stories.
  • Monitor client coverage and reporting the results – analytics is a large part of the job. It’s imperative that both the team and clients are aware of whether or not we are meeting the set objectives. 
  • Handling clients’ social media accounts.
  • Researching potential new business and brainstorming ideas for campaigns.

This course is for you if you love working with people and want to work in a profession where there are always exciting new projects.

My tips to anyone looking for a career in marketing and PR are to have an interest in what’s happening in the world around you, you need to be aware of trends and issues. You also need to be a confident communicator and you should be able to cope well under pressure. 

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Kev Mundays work

Olivia Wilkes

BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communication  

Graduated 2016

Olivia Wilkes headshot

This course is for you if you’re creative, like to communicate through writing, speaking and on digital platforms, and you have a passion for seeing your ideas brought to life. Basically, if you want to kick-start a successful career in the PR industry, this course is for you.

My course provided me with such a wide variety of assignments, tasks and opportunities to gain real life industry experience that I felt fully prepared in my PR role as soon as I graduated. Through experience of writing press releases and doing presentations to my cohort, I gained confidence skills and practical experience that would come to be so valuable in the real world. The work placements between first and second year also gave me the opportunity to work in both an agency and an in-house environment, and to build up my CV. 

Outside of my course, I was also a PR blogger, which provided me with experience that I fully believe helped me get to where I am now. Because of the success of my blog, I was asked to do workshops and presentations to various students on multiple courses which sparked a major passion in me for public speaking.

My favourite Solent memory must be when I was awarded the title of Wessex CIPR Student of the Year 2016 when I graduated. To see my hard work pay off, my passion for PR acknowledged, and to leave university with this award was simply the icing on the cake of an incredible three years. A close second favourite memory was winning the title of Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2015.

When I graduated I started working as a communications assistant at a local charity, but I soon realised that the environment wasn’t fast paced enough for me so I started looking for an agency role. 

I soon landed a job at a digital marketing agency called Aira in Milton Keynes, just outside of London, as a digital PR executive. I’ve been here for nine months so far and I couldn’t be happier. I did a digital PR module in my third year, which taught us all about the world of SEO and the difference to traditional PR and it stuck in my mind ever since - now here I am!

I work with a number of clients in a wide range of industries. Some of my biggest achievements to date have been landing coverage for my clients in the likes of the Mail Online, the Metro and the Telegraph!

As part of my job, I also get to attend conferences and events around the country to hear some of the biggest names in the digital PR industry talk about their experiences. Not only are these events great networking opportunities (I bumped into a friend from my PR course at one in London earlier this year!) but I’ve also been taught practical tips and tactics that I’ve gone on to implement in my day to day tasks. 

If you want a career in PR, I'd advise you to...

  • Get experience. Whether you want to work in-house or in an agency, experience both so you can get a feel for the real world of PR before you dive straight in.
  • Be confident. Having a passion for communicating with people - both clients and journalists alike - is key for someone in PR.
  • Start up a blog. It’s a great way to showcase your thoughts about the PR industry and it’s a resource that you can share with potential employers when you’re job-hunting. It’s your place on the internet to show off your skills!
  • Take an interest in the world. To work in PR, you need to have a genuine interest in what’s going on in the news so you’re aware of what could have an impact on your client.
  • Know the difference between traditional PR and digital PR. While traditional PR focuses on print news coverage and PR stunts, digital PR has an online focus - get experience in both types of agency to find out where your passion lies.

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