Najyah has just completed a two week PR internship with Words + Pixels, and has given us the low-down on PR habits she wished she knew before!
The two weeks I spent interning at Words + Pixels were plenty enough to give me a checklist of habits and goals that I would like to achieve in my second year of university - though I wish I had started earlier! Whatever course you study, going to university is a valuable opportunity to learn about the world and grow as a person. However, if you are keen on having a career in PR as I was in my first year, you might find very little resources to help you understand what skills you need to build.
So, after two weeks of learning, researching, asking everyone about their PR career journeys, and receiving helpful feedback, here is what I’m going to do:
1) Develop a balanced media diet
Social media is a fascinating space to follow the news, and get an overview of different perspectives. But, reading a different newspaper every morning for the last two weeks, has brought to my attention alternative writing styles, and a distinction between the kinds of stories that publications choose to run.
Going forward, I want to develop the habit of scanning the newspapers online everyday. I would recommend trying this at least once a week, especially as being familiar with a range of publications is a great asset to have.
2) Create a CV
W+P founder, Nick, mentioned to me that it is never too early to create a CV. It would have been much simpler for me to map out where I am lacking in experience or abilities that companies look for, and what I might work toward if I had made one sooner. If you haven’t already, crack on to find out your personal areas of development.
3) Gain writing experience
Most job specs for entry-level positions call for creativity and writing skills. A fun and accessible way to gain this experience as students, are student papers. I will definitely be on the lookout for content writing or editing roles with my university paper, as there is so much I will gain from doing this (beyond it looking good on my CV).
Firstly, it requires you to get into the habit of writing under deadlines. At W+P, the workload was fast-paced, but the more tasks I completed, the easier it became to produce higher-quality work in short spaces of time. Secondly, completing course assignments tends to narrow your focus on the topics you choose to write about. Writing articles is a great practice to explore current affairs and step into other people’s shoes.
4) Be active on LinkedIn
Building a reliable network of people will prove helpful from the minute you graduate to five or ten years later. Relationship-building skills are a PR professional’s bread and butter. The sooner you start, the better; As a student, it is easy to begin by connecting with course mates and tutors.
Post about the work you do, what you enjoyed learning about, re-share articles that are interesting. Any part time work, volunteering, or activities from societies are also great things to share. Plus, it is a fantastic tool for discovering and staying current with various PR firms. I will, without a doubt, make use of this to find other internships and possibilities.
These are just a few of the things I discovered while working with W+P, but forming these habits will undoubtedly strengthen the abilities I will require in the future. These habits would have been really helpful in my first year, so I do hope that this may help another student out.