I’m kicking the week off with a Career Inspiration interview. For those of you who’re new to Career Inspiration, the aim is to help people looking for career ideas, a career change or simply an insight into what others do.
It’s very hard to know what you want to do in life and I’ve always loved finding out about what others do and the journey they took to get there. So, I hope you enjoy today’s inspirational interview with Sophie, a Junior Account Executive.
What did you study at university and has it been beneficial to your career path?
I actually studied Public Relations at university! I think having a degree and more in depth knowledge of PR as a whole has helped me to gain the job role I am in now.
Did you always know you wanted to work within the world of PR?
I knew I always wanted to work in the media but not in PR. At first I wanted to work in Journalism and went to university to study it. I only lasted four days then came home!
Did you take any internships during university?
I didn’t take any internships during university but before I studied for my A Levels and whilst applying to study Journalism at uni I found some work experience at a local newspaper, which I think has helped me to get so far in the PR industry.
Did your internships benefit your career?
I think in some way working at a local newspaper has helped me to benefit my career. It taught me to be confident when talking to journalists and what stories publications accept and don’t accept.
Please could you tell us what your role involves.
Currently I am a Junior Account Executive. I look after our clients by working on their social media presence, writing press releases, answering emails, sourcing media opportunities and helping them with any queries.
What do you enjoy most about working in PR?
The best thing about working in PR is that no day is the same. One morning I could be in the office all day doing admin and the next I will be out on meetings and photo shoots.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career?
I definitely think my biggest challenge is trying to get into the PR sector after university. Job opportunities are there but there is a fight for positions and it takes that one person or company to trust you and give you the opportunity to show what you can do.
What is a typical workday like?
A typical workday for me starts at 10am. As soon as I get in the office I check my emails then update each clients social media. After that every day is different! I can either be making phone calls for research or chasing up stories, to writing press releases, attending meetings or copywriting and proofreading. My day usually ends between 5pm and 6pm.
Has your blog, Books and Beauty, played a part in your career?
I would like to think my blog, Books and Beauty, has played a small part in my career. It is definitely a talking point in interviews and mentioning it to clients! My blog has also helped me in working with other PR’s and I definitely think it has helped my writing.
What keeps you motivated?
My job and blog keeps me motivated actually! I think I am one of the rare breeds of people that actually loves their job. Knowing I have worked hard for three years to get where I am now is what I remind myself of.
What advice would you give to others thinking about a career in PR?
My advice for people who are wanting to work in PR is to look for internships, apprenticeships or university courses. You don’t necessarily have to go to university. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a job straight away. Public Relations is a very popular and competitive industry. It took me months of job applications and interviews to get where I am now but I kept trying and now have a job I enjoy.
Are there any books, websites or podcasts you’d suggest to people interested in PR?
The books I would recommend are all academic ones from university. Exploring Public Relations by Tench and Yeomans is great for anyone to read, not just university students.
What direction do you hope to take your career in 2015?
In 2015 I hope to still be doing the same job! I really do enjoy my job and love how every day is different. I would love to get some new clients for the company or work with beauty related ones as one day I hope to be able to work in beauty PR.
Thanks so much to Sophie for taking the time to be a part of Career Inspiration. As Sophie points out, it’s important to work hard at university and combine your studies with internships. Work experience will help your CV to stand out when you’re apply for graduate jobs. I wish Sophie the best of luck for her career in 2015.