There are two words that can often send shivers down any student’s spine – work experience. The thought of visiting new places and working with new people can be very daunting for some, including me. Although it might be a worrying prospect, as the Chinese proverb says:
No matter how much you learn at university, the only way to truly make sure a career is suited to you is by going into the industry and experiencing it first-hand. I wanted to make the most out of my placement at Target since my PR knowledge is currently limited to a magazine journalism course. So, I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and have a go at anything the world of PR threw my way.
During my two-week placement, Target entrusted me with a variety of tasks: I wrote press releases, composed action letters, drafted social media schedules and designed several graphics. If that wasn’t enough, they also let me join brainstorming sessions, conference calls and took me on a tour of the county visiting several Specsavers stores for their annual PR meetings.
Thanks to the continuous support from Target’s employees, not to mention how welcoming they all are, my placement has cemented my love for the industry. The range of responsibilities given to me made sure that I never had a dull day at Target. The ability to throw myself in at the deep end of PR has taught me a few tips and tricks to make the most out of work experience:
Changing to a new style of writing can be difficult, especially when you’ve already developed your own. Depending on the client’s target audience, copy for press releases is usually short and concise, which is the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the descriptive style of magazine features. However, once you become used to the different format, and client’s individual house styles, not only will your writing quality improve, but it will also become second nature.
It can be hard to remember but nobody is perfect. As much as I wanted to be great from the get-go, the first press release I drafted for Target had a few structural and grammatical errors. But mistakes are how you learn. Work experience is an opportunity for you to enhance your skills, and thanks to the continuous feedback from the Target team I became more confident with the work I produced.
Finally, have faith in your abilities; often it’s the ideas that you were umming and ahhing about that are the best ones. Work experience can be nerve-wracking, especially in an industry you don’t know much about, but if your placement is anything like mine at Target, you’ll realise you didn’t need to worry about a thing.