After handing in final assignments and sitting exams, full-time students are left with roughly five long months to forget almost everything they have been taught before going back to university.
The second year of my journalism and politics degree at De Montfort University had just finished, and I wanted to make the most of my summer. I heard about PR from past journalism lecturers, and I often considered it a possible career option for me once I had completed my studies, but I needed to know more to be sure.
So, when I discovered I could fill that summer gap with an internship working for a PR company, I quickly applied to be an intern account executive at Liberty PR.
It’s my last day as I write this, but I cannot express the speed at which time has flown since I first stepped into the Liberty PR office. It was my first dive into the world of PR, my first desk job. I had no idea what to expect, but in hindsight I had nothing to worry about.
The first week’s schedule was printed out in black and white – hour by hour I knew what I would be doing. Writing a press release was one of the first briefs that I was tasked to complete. This would then be given back to me with some useful feedback from the editorial team. This is what I feared the most, but the support provided helped calm my nerves before I sat down to write my first press release. I was reassured to take my time and sent previous written samples and style guides to follow. I was then presented with feedback on this and every press release after that. This constant loop of feedback improved my copywriting skills and helped make me a better writer.
It would be a similar story for every task I was briefed with – from researching community engagements around clients’ local area needs to getting involved with media relations, everyone at Liberty PR was there to help me and guide me every step of the way.
Being an account executive
No two days are the same for an account executive. Each brief would be a different opportunity to learn something new or develop a new skill. A big part of being an account executive is media relations – which involved reaching out to journalists and building connections to give the story that you have issued the best possible chance of coverage. I got a real buzz when achieving coverage, especially on national or regional papers. Words of encouragement and recognition from the team would follow, which was always a nice feeling.
Sometimes, I would be on the phone taking notes while interviewing people for a press release that I was writing and then arranging photography. This quickly became an incredibly rewarding part of the job.
Admin. There was a lot of it, but without it, I would have been lost. I would often be working on multiple tasks simultaneously and the rigorously organised admin process left me dipping in and out of tasks with ease. This greatly improved my time-management skills, helping me work more efficiently at my job.
Importance of an internship
My internship was six weeks long, but altogether I spent the majority of my summer at Liberty PR after being asked to stay on. In that time, I have learned so much about the role of an account executive and public relations, yet there is still so much more to learn. This internship has provided an opportunity for me to see what a role in PR would be like. But the best part is knowing when I go back to university, I will be returning with on-the-ground experience and additional knowledge having developed new skills in a role I will chase when I graduate.