What Will A Career In Communications Look Like Post Covid-19?

What Will A Career In Communications Look Like Post Covid-19?

As a student at the School of Communication, I would naturally love to further my career in this field. The past 13-months have taken a turn no one could have ever predicted. With the new virus taking over the world, people have gone into panic and are scared for their lives and the lives of others. People have had an unprecedented amount of new stress to deal with, and it seems the virus has touched every family in some way or someone who knows someone. It is no surprise that this pandemic has had a massive effect on recruitment and redundancy in negative ways. I’m sure there are other final year students out there who are also worried about the current job market and how difficult it may be to find a job, graduate scheme, or start a business. Which leads me to think, how will the virus affect our industry?

I said before that the virus had touched many families – mine was most certainly one of them. I contracted the virus in September, and it wasn’t an easy road. During this time, we were allowed to meet members of our family and friends outside. My boyfriend had gone for dinner with his friends, one of which unknowingly had the virus at the time and spread it to him and then him to me. It took a few days for it to come to light, as no one from the dinner started to show symptoms for around three days. Once the news came out after everyone had been tested because of their symptoms, I started my isolation period. I began to develop symptoms around day 5. I lost my sense of taste and smell and experienced extreme fatigue; luckily, I did not have any severe symptoms. Even luckier, I did not pass it to anyone who I came into contact with before isolation. I had a test sent to my house, and sure enough, it was positive. I was very fortunate that I had already started to work from home and was still able to attend Zoom meetings and complete work. However, the mental toll it takes can be severe. I was lucky enough to have family around me that would bring me food and leave it at my door, and I used an upstairs bathroom that no one else used to minimise any chance of my family contracting the virus. If I didn’t have the support of my family during those 14 days, just like a lot of people don’t, I know it could’ve been a completely different experience.

For a career in any field, it’s essential to network and link with others in your industry to make valuable connections and broaden your contacts. The virus has made this more difficult, with events now being limited and seminars having moved online, which takes away from the face to face interaction we all love. LinkedIn has become as powerful as ever. I have found myself getting more submerged in my news feed and looking through potential connections. This has proved valuable to many people as it can be a great way to find new connections, and as everyone is in the same boat, it will be much less daunting!

Thinking about how to navigate your career during this time will be tough. I think it’s comforting to believe that everyone is in the same boat. I have even seen a few changes on LinkedIn. I notice many professionals are changing their profile pictures to less formal ones to reflect their current reality of working from home. I think this is a great way to humanise the platform and show others that they’re not alone in this situation.

I believe post-Covid-19 will undoubtedly have its challenges for everyone. I think it’s essential for us to stay as resilient and look to the future positively because everything will go back to normal someday. To me, a career in Communications is a career of communicating effectively. I think this should spill into our personal lives, whereby we check on each other and ensure no one feels alone or lost. The effects of this second lockdown could be catastrophic to people’s mental health. The impacts of self-isolation on top of that are also hard to deal with.

There are many mental health websites and blogs that advise on how you can best keep your mind healthy.

Lauren Simmons is a final year student studying BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at LinkedIn

A STEP INTO THE REAL WORLD

A STEP INTO THE REAL WORLD

2 0 2 0 – What a year?

Apart from living throughout a pandemic, the second half of 2020 has been extremely positive. I think it has taught us all to be grateful to wake up on a Monday morning and be able to go into an office or visit family & friends.

I have completed my first six months as a Social Media Marketing intern with Elite Electronic Systems. It has been the CRAZIEST. FASTEST. But most REWARDING six months. To sum it up in four words… a huge learning curve.

Taking it back to June 1st, my very first day at Elite, I really didn’t know what to expect. Sitting in an office 8-5 was a completely new experience for me, but one I have now adapted to, and learnt to love.

I had a lot to prove as I was the first Marketing Placement student Elite had taken on. I think this gave me more motivation than ever to show I could do the role and, do it well.

The responsibility I was given from the very start, gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone, grasp everything with open arms and just try my best. It is thanks to this responsibility that I am, where I am, today.

I am immensely proud of where I have taken Elite in the last 6 months. From starting up Elite’s social media, to adobe designing, video campaigns, website development, analytical reviews, you name it – I have done it!

Within my first three weeks, I created a LinkedIn account and now roughly 5.5 months on we are sitting at 900 followers – pushing for that 1000 mark at Christmas (you can find our page here). From the timid girl that walked in on the 1st June, I never thought by the middle of the first month I would be in full control of social media, creating posts three times a week and learning about the Electronic Manufacturing World, which was complete brain fog to begin. But here I am, soaking up every second of it.

If you want to see some of the work I have been creating in my first six months, I released a promotional video on Elite’s LinkedIn last week (you will find it here). If you want more of an insight, check our YouTube channel where you will find all our latest videos from 2020.

For those of you currently seeking placement:

I want to tell you that, I was you this time last year, extremely apprehensive for what the next year ahead would bring. As stressful as getting a placement is, especially during a pandemic, I really couldn’t have gone to final year without it. The real life, day to day dilemmas are not something a lecture hall can prepare you for.

With already being over halfway through my placement year, I am excited for the next 6 months ahead, new goals, ambitions and one step closer to my final year studies – eeeekk.

My advice for you;

Get as much experience as you can during these strange times; freelance for that local restaurant who needs support during their closures, utilise free online training courses to build up your CV and network on LinkedIn. Most importantly DON’T GIVE UP!! – The skills you will be gain on your placement year are invaluable.

What I would tell my 2nd year self;

  • They understand that you won’t know everything, if not anything – they have been in the same position
  • Ask questions
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Its ok to get things wrong
  • Network
  • Challenge Yourself
  • E N J O Y I T! The year goes so quick.

I want to leave you with this;A year from now you’ll be glad you started today“. For me, after only six months, I can tell you I am very glad I took the leap and pursued a placement year.

P.S.

EXCITING ROLE ALERT FOR PLACMENT STUDENTS 2021-22;

Elite are hiring for next year’s Social Media Marketing Intern, a brilliant opportunity for you all. Check out our website – www.elitees.com and LinkedIn– for more details or feel free to message me!

Wishing you all lots of luck in your placement search.

Courtney McGoldrick is a third year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.

Here’s How To Get a Job in PR – Reason #4 Will Shock You

  1. Apply for a job in PR
  2. Go To The Interview
  3. Smash The Interview
  4. Pretend to be a man because according to a recent survey they still get paid more for doing the same job. See, number 4 was genuinely shocking, I’ll be covering the CIPR State of the Profession next and go into detail. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Accept Job In PR

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Figure 1 – CIPR State of the Profession 2016

Well, now you’re here you may as well read the rest. You can skip to the TL;DR at the bottom if you don’t want to.

Everyone seems to start these things with a bit of background of themselves, so here it goes. My name’s Anthony, I was on placement at a fantastic company (don’t let them know I said that), I’ve done work experience at leading PR agencies (or so they tell me), I’m a CIPR Student Ambassador annnnnnnd I still don’t know why I’m studying Public Relations. Go figure eh? I hear you say, “obviously you know why you’re studying PR, you picked it didn’t you?” (maybe you didn’t say that, but let’s assume you did). Yeah, I did. Originally, I picked Business Economics with Marketing, then I changed my mind picked Communication, Advertising & Marketing, got accepted, changed my mind and picked PR because it seemed more fun. In hindsight, both CAM and PR are really the same but PR has a bit of politics involved. I was, still am, concerned with having fun and enjoying what I do with making money being a nice benefit too.

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I spent most of my first 2 years studying in PR wondering what I had to do to stand out in the industry. I mean if you can’t make yourself stand out, how are you meant to make a company stand out and how are you meant to make a career out of it, right? I spent hours researching everything from speech-writing to how individual leaders, from Chavez to Obama, speak. I’ve worked with members of the CIPR as a student ambassador and watched how they carry themselves in meetings. And luckily for you I’ve come to a conclusion that I want to share with the world.

You’ll never make yourself stand out if you’re trying too hard. You want to be like the CEO of that successful PR agency? Congrats, so does everyone else. You need to let go of everything and just be yourself. Are you the kind of person that cracks jokes all the time? Keep on doing it. Do you see yourself as a professional businessman/woman? Keep on business-ing. Are you rather boring? Keep on studying CAM. The point is, you need to be yourself.

Buttttt back to me, why don’t I know why I’m studying PR? Easy, cause it’s terrifying; what if I’m no good at social media? What if no one likes my writing style? What if someone finds out that I have an undying hatred for humanity? Who cares!? You’ll find your niche, trust me. I haven’t yet, so I’m not a good example but there’s loads of people on my course who seem like they know what they’re doing so I probably will one day too. If not, maybe PR isn’t for me. That’s the beauty of the world though. PR may not be for me or you, but I’ve learnt that it’s not the end of the road. PR has still done a lot for me, I’ve learnt more about businesses and how to make businesses work than what I would have done studying any business degree! The lessons you’ll learn will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career. So hang in there, you won’t get anywhere worrying about the destination. Take a leap of faith and see where it takes you!

But how do you make yourself stand out? “Gotta create your own brand” lecturers have been telling us it every. Single. Year. But how? Start with LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, stop reading and go make one. List your skills and get people to endorse you for them. But be honest about it. I put ‘Public Speaking’ in mine, went into work on Monday got pulled to the side by my boss and asked me to speak at the Chartered Institute of Credit Managers (NI) Legal Action Workshop on the role a debt collection agency can play for businesses. Boom, on stage in front of 100 people with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in credit control all listening to these very well-respected lawyers from North and South of the border, and then me. Banter. If you’re going to exaggerate, be prepared to back it up! Then Twitter, people who work in PR love Twitter, which means you can connect with them! And they can see everything you post and like and retweet… make a separate account for ‘work’. And then you could always start a blog! I did and hit 80,000 views in a month, but that’s a story for another time/I’ve 4 blogs to write and not giving everything away in my first.

So, go out, the tools are there, and start creating you!

TL;DR – Start of it rambles on a bit but the message might be to hang in there, don’t try too hard to be like everyone else and you’ll be just fine.

Anthony Boyd is a final year student on Bsc in Public Relations at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @anthonyboyd16 or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-boyd-4a5a63b4/