Last week (Monday February 11th to be precise), Manchester Metropolitan University played host to the annual PRCA careers day, where local PR practitioners gave talks and offered their insights into the mile-a-minute world of Public Relations. As an MMU student, I was eligible for a free place at the event, and it was being held literally 5 minutes from my front door – it would’ve been rude not to attend really, wouldn’t it?
At this point, I’m pretty much an old pro when it comes to these career days, and I’d hazard a guess that anyone taking the time to read this will also have some experience in the area. Nevertheless, in the interest of practicing what we preach and upholding our “written by students, for students” ethos, I thought I’d provide a brief overview of how the day went.
(Image credit: tangerine-digital-pr.blogspot.co.uk)
The event was chaired by Sandy Lindsay, group managing director of Tangerine PR, and included speakers such as Brian Beech (managing director for Manchester and Edinburgh, Havas PR). The mix of in-hose versus agency backgrounds was skewed heavily towards the latter, but that’s the side of PR I’m most interested in anyway. Convenient. There was a big focus on the qualities the a good PR practitioner should possess, with phrases like communication skills, time management and relationship building being thrown around so often that I started to wonder if there was some sort of quota that needed filling. Still, it was really great to have people have carved out successful careers for themselves in this notoriously competitive industry pass on their wisdom.
The one thing that all the speakers seemed to unanimously want to get across is how important practical experience is when it comes to eventually getting a full time job (more detail on that in later blog posts so stay tuned, folks!). Also high on the list of topics was just how varied a ‘typical’ day working in an agency is. It’s here where the aforementioned abilities to form strong professional relationships and effectively manage your resources come into play. You need to make every client feel like they are your most valued, since they will inevitably feel that they should be. Juggling priorities and making time in an already hectic schedule at a moment’s notice are two of the key things that I’ll have to master on my way to becoming PR person extraordinaire, it would seem.
Wish me luck!