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Tuesday 2 May 2017

Name: Livi Wilkes

Date of graduation: July 2016

Degree studied: Public Relations & Communication 

Where do you currently work and what’s your job title? 

I work at a digital marketing agency in Milton Keynes, Aira, as a Digital PR Executive. 

What are the top three skills you took away from the degree? 

  • Ability to apply what I learned in lectures to real life job situations.
  • Being able to find my own opportunities to grow and develop my career. 
  • How to balance work and play!

Was working within PR everything you were expecting? 

Yes, and no.

When I was at uni I was so certain I wanted to work for a charity, and was really lucky to be offered a job as a PR & Communications Assistant at a local charity to start as soon as I graduated. I soon realised, though, that it wasn’t going to work out for me - there were a few reasons I wasn’t happy there, but the main reason was that I felt the need to work in a faster and busier environment, where there’s always some work to do (trust me - a job where the workload is light and slow might seem appealing but trust me - it gets very dull!) 

At Aira, I feel like the digital, fast-paced vibe we have is the type of PR environment that suits me best at this time in my life, as I’m always on the go, never bored and feel like I’m doing valuable work. And I cannot stand being bored!

Since leaving university what is the most important thing you have learnt about PR?

Having 2 very different jobs since graduating has certainly taught me that working in PR isn’t the same universally - there’s traditional PR, digital PR, fast paced PR, in-house, agency…the list goes on. The fast paced, digital, agency style might not be for everyone, but it is for me.

I’ve also learned about the world of content creation and how it ties in with digital PR, and just how damn cool it is. 

Did you find having previous work experience helped you when you came to look for work?

Yes! My CV and LinkedIn was full of experience in a huge variety of places, just from doing a week or 2 here and there throughout uni. A 2-week placement might not seem long, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn in that time. Some of my work placements were quite random, you might say, but I still find myself referring back to what I learned there now. 

Another truly beneficial way I gained experience in the industry before graduating was through freelancing; it helped me earn extra beer money during uni, but it’s also what the majority of my CV and LinkedIn is made up of. Freelancing gives you experience of working and dealing with clients - especially a bonus if you’re looking to work for an agency - as well as experience with doing PR in the ‘real world’, not just in theory for uni assignments and exams. 

Lastly, could you give me a brief description of what a typical day in PR looks for you?

As I’m sure you’ll have heard a million times, no day in PR is exactly the same - and this is 100% true for me. Here’s an idea of what my day can look like:

  • Catch up on the news. I check to see what’s going on the world, whilst looking to see if there’s anything our clients could provide comment on.
  • Check Twitter for reactive opportunities to pitch clients
  • Brainstorm for new content creation ideas for clients
  • Writing articles, advisories or supporting copy. This can vary hugely day to day; one day I could be writing a piece about future technology, and the next about tips to creating a successful content marketing strategy.
  • Create media lists to pitch PR stories or content to…
  • …pitch PR stories and content to journalists!

If you're interested in studying Public Relations and Communication or want to find out more click here