“Why were you drawn to a career in Public Relations?
I’ve been asked this question a lot over the years. Sometimes by clients, sometimes at networking events, and even by my colleagues – whether asking out of genuine interest or for the purposes of BlueSky’s own marketing and promotion.
And, for me, it’s always been a tricky one to answer. Why? Well, because I never aspired to work in PR. It’s a career I came to unintentionally – although I’m delighted that I did!
My career ambition from a young age was always to write. In later years, this was directed into pursuing journalism. During my GCSEs and A Levels I sought work experience at local newspapers and radio stations, at university I immersed myself not only in a BA Multimedia Journalism programme, but also in roles with the campus newspaper and placements with the BBC in between classes and during the holidays.
After all that, I never imagined I’d move into PR. But, looking back, this is because I didn’t know what PR really was. Far from the stereotype of frequent phone-bashing, boozy lunches and paper-thin promises, in joining BlueSky Education I uncovered an industry that has afforded me many incredible opportunities.
In the last 10 years I’ve been able to work for, and with, leading news sources and publication around the world. From global giants like Forbes, the BBC World Service and the Financial Times and to national top tiers such as the Guardian, the Times of India, Die Welt and so many others.
I’ve also found a joy in my work that my journalism experience often lacked – the opportunity to build relationships. With writers of course but also with my clients. PR has given me the means not only to find a story but to tell it, in a variety of ways, across multiple platforms and channels, adding to it and growing it as time passes.
I’ve also grown my knowledge. My colleague Olivia recently wrote a fantastic blog about how the human mind is more likely to remember a fact if it is part of a story. I have seen the proof of this in my own work. Speaking with faculty at business schools and universities around the world and telling the stories of their research expertise has enabled me to become something of a second hand expert in a range of topics I never would have fully appreciated if I’d only had singular interactions with them.
Only through life circumstance and pure chance did I find myself entering the realm of PR, and a career which has been incredibly rewarding.
However, that’s not to say my years pursuing journalism were a waste. Indeed, those experiences gave me a highly valuable insight into the realities of the media industry and equipped me with a skillset which, most likely, helped me to get my foot in the door. Even now those early experiences prove beneficial in my work.
It turns out that my experience isn’t so unusual. In fact, very few of our talented team here at BlueSky Education entered university with PR as their dream career goal. And whilst some, like me, hold degrees in journalism, other members of our team hold degrees in subjects such as History, Applied Psychology and Politics. Thankfully, they all found their way here!
And this simple fact had us thinking…
What if they hadn’t?
How many of our team understood what a career in PR might offer them before they started out?
How many other talented young writers are missing opportunities to explore careers outside of more traditional routes like journalism simply because they’ve had limited exposure to what they offer?
For anyone embarking on a new career path – whether starting from scratch at the age of 18 or changing tack further down the line, often the way to get a good feel for a profession or foot in the door is through experience. Internships offer those keen to explore their options an authentic insight into how an industry works, and whether this meets with their expectations and desires.
Whilst my journalism experience was invaluable, had I had opportunity to explore the realities of PR during my studies, I might have found my way to the career I am in now a little sooner.
So, to plug the gap, dispel the myths about what PR is really like, and to give aspiring writers a platform from which to stretch their creative limbs, we now offer the BlueSky Education Internship…
Ran during the holidays of the academic year, BlueSky Education invites university students, regardless of their degree subject, for an opportunity to come and work with us.
During the placement, our interns could learn how to write effective, compelling copy, get to grips with relationship building and honing their communication skills, learn the art of effective pitching and gain an insight into the realities of working with global media.
We hope our interns will complete their position with us with a body of work to add to their portfolios, a solid insider knowledge of the industry, and with a fair wage.
Our latest intern, James Dugdale, took on a Copywriting internship with us over the summer, and said the programme provided a valuable learning opportunity;
“My internship was the perfect opportunity to engage with fascinating research, giving me the creative freedom to relay complex topics to the reader. The editorial support and feedback I received on the job were first class and day in and day out. I cannot recommend it enough to any writers who want to produce work which is grounded in research and channels their analytical rigour and wit.”
Interested to find out more? Get in touch with us today! We’d be happy to share further information or even invite you in for an initial conversation.
Kerry is the Head of Practice at BlueSky Education and a former BBC journalist.
Recognised in the graduate management education arena as a leading authority on communications for the industry, Kerry has more than a decade of experience in the media and public relations.