From graduate to PR Account Executive

It feels like just a minute ago I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a First Class Honours degree in MSc Public Relations. Now, two years later, I’m a Senior Account Executive at Manchester PR agency, Brazen, and my time here has absolutely flown.

For the third year running, I was invited to go back to meet the next new intake of master’s students in their induction week. I was asked to talk about my experience on the course and the path I took to get where I am today.

In my guest lecture, I gave the students my top tips for starting in PR, plus a whirlwind tour of life as an account executive (and it is a whirlwind!). I wanted to give them a glimpse into what their future career holds but also practical advice about how to get into the PR industry.

Through both hard work and also a little bit of luck and timing, I landed my first job with one of Manchester’s best PR agencies.

As a student, I did various placements over the years. Towards the end of my course, an amazing internship opportunity came up here at Brazen and I leapt at the chance to apply. It offered one week in the new Dubai office and five weeks in the Manchester office. From the first day I walked through the door, I knew this was the place I wanted to work and was delighted when they offered me the job once the internship came to an end.

During my talk, I made sure to stress the importance of internships/work experience. Writing a press release for coursework and having the time to perfect it is completely different to being in an agency and having to write one on a deadline. Plus, there are so many areas in PR, that it’s important to ‘try before you buy’. I made sure I applied for plenty of placements so I could have a snapshot of everything. This is where I found out I enjoyed and felt more suited to consumer – and you also make those key contacts along the way!

I’m sure every PR account executive would agree that life is different every day. One day you could be selling in a national news story, writing press releases for new product launches or researching and contacting celebrity agents, and the next you could be travelling to meet journalists or planning and event. It is an exciting and diverse role, but it also comes with hard work. This industry brings about lots of exciting opportunities and sometimes ‘pinch me’ moments, but I highlighted the key to success is through organisation, enthusiasm and determination.

Building relationships and taking part in guest lectures is a fantastic way of helping to move the industry forward. With times changing, there has been a shift on the PR scene in terms of how we PR our clients. From traditional, social, online and broadcast, it’s important practitioners and the next graduates stay connected.

I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with the students I met and following their careers. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back again to meet the new ones next year and pass on another year of insider info from Brazen.

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