An internship wasn’t something I’d ever considered before. Then again, neither was a career in PR. But when a former lecturer of mine got in touch to see if I would be interested in doing an internship in a PR company (one that she once worked for, in fact) well… I just went for it.
At the time, my future career path was very much an ambiguous one. I wasn’t sure what my next career move would be and I was actually on the verge of scrapping the whole journalism thing (despite it being the subject in which I’m qualified). I was looking into pursuing a completely different career.
After hearing from my lecturer, I researched Golley Slater to get an idea of who they were and what they were all about. When I thought I had the gist, I dropped them an email. My first attempt was unsuccessful as no internship vacancies were available at that time. The second time around (after a reminder I’d set in my phone prompted me to try again) I got offered an interview. Turns out, my mum’s much-loved saying “patience is a virtue” proved to have some truth in it! The next thing I knew, I was outlining my details and employment history, and before you could say “Golley Slater” I was walking through the door for my first day as a paid intern.
Day one (and two…and three) I was thrown, rather swiftly, in at the deep end. I didn’t really know what to expect or what I would be doing but, looking back, this was probably the best way for me to get a true picture of what working in a PR department is like. Within my first week I came to realise three main things;
The first two weeks consisted of making media lists, creating ‘calendar hooks’ spreadsheets, carrying out social media and competitor analysis, as well as communicating with publications – requesting media packs, forward features and reach figures. On top of this, I managed to source and interview a college student and, based on the information she gave me, write an advice piece to be featured on a client’s website.
To be quite honest, for the first week or two I had no idea if what I was doing was right, but I just had to go with it. The best way I dealt with any uncertainty about a given task was to be honest with my PR team, to ask for help if I needed clarification on anything and – this last one’s going to sound like I’m in year seven – to try my hardest. It’s so easy to use feeble excuses such as “they didn’t answer the phone” or “the email address doesn’t work” but, in the words of colleague Caroline, “consistency is key”! Research it. Google it. Chase it. If all else fails, get your bum in gear and (if you can) go to the place yourself. Speaking with someone in person, believe it or not, actually works.
In my last two weeks, I’d found my feet a little better. One job I worked on, that I particularly enjoyed due to its creative element, involved generating social media content for a client’s website. Firstly, I had to approach different education professionals, in and around Cardiff, in order to get quotes from them regarding CV content/job hunting/interview tips and advice. Then, with the Welsh and English quotes ready to go, I’d turn these into engaging social media designs using Canva. Lastly, with the final designs were all completed and double checked, they were sent off to the client. That feeling when you know your work has work has been ‘sent off’, and you can tick that box on your to-do-list is so very satisfying!
Finding case studies, scanning coverage for key messages, doing the paper review every day, arranging promotional pop-up events (and listening to another colleague, Jodie, have full on conversations with herself!) steadily brought me to the end of my internship.
Completing an internship, whilst working four nights a week at Tesco, and training for the Cardiff half marathon was always going to be tricky… but honestly, I loved every minute of it. I loved having a place to be, with people to contact, and tasks to complete. I loved being out of my comfort zone and being challenged. I loved going home and talking with my boyfriend about ‘work’, a conversation that, usually, wouldn’t involve much input from my end.
After being at Golleys for a month I’m thinking that maybe PR could be for me. The skills I developed studying journalism have turned out to be very transferable to this sector and, to say I’ve enjoyed learning about this new, exciting vocation would be an understatement. Working as a PR intern at Golley Slater really has put me in good stead for my future whether that involves a job in PR or not. I’ve learnt so much from my experience, met some great people and, overall, I’ve gained a much better outlook on my future.
To anyone considering completing an internship, especially one at Golleys, all I’d say is this; make the most of the opportunity while it’s there. Put yourself out there, work hard, make contacts, be yourself and try to learn as much from the experience as you possibly can…. Hey, if you do that, you never know, your next internship (or better yet, a new job) could be just around the corner.
Anna-Marie Beal, Golley Slater Intern, 14th August – 8th September 2017