Why a PR Career?

Why does a career in PR interest me?

Four years ago, once I finished school, I took a year out away from studies as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and what career path I wanted to follow. Heading off away from my work and responsibilities, I lived in Australia for a year and during that time I visited family friends, from back home that moved out a long time ago whenever I possibly could. Which therefore goes on to lead me into when and why I first thought about PR as a future career for myself.

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I was first introduced to PR by a family friend in Australia, who I and everyone knew as the ‘globe-trotter’. He was constantly travelling with his job working for a PR firm but as he said, at his own leisure (if he didn’t want to he didn’t ever have to, although I understand that this may not sit well with all jobs and PR companies). The excitement of having a fluid job seemed to pique my interest, so being intrigued I started to ask more questions about what exactly he did for a living and with that, he couldn’t answer me with a set-in stone answer as his job was always continually ‘evolving’. He stated the fact that I was a good outgoing person with great communication skills, this would sit very well with people wanting to go into the PR industry for a career. I was never particularly interested in a job that was completely enclosed in a somewhat ‘box’ which would have a repeated, recurrent routine also suited my personality. Having all these thoughts in mind, one particular word that he told me stood out from the rest: ‘Stunts’. Horton (2008) says that, ‘Public relations stunts are an effective form of message delivery when integrated with concepts being communicated’. I began to think of PR stunts and how interesting they were as a form of creative communication and began to think ‘I could think of some great innovative PR stunts myself’. Having this new-found perspective on PR, this was my first overall impression of the industry itself as a whole.

‘Public relations is closely associated with whatever is newest, freshest and most fashionable – and often with what is most successful (and indeed is, disproportionately, a young person’s industry)’ (Morris & Goldsworthy, 2015). With this little seed that my family friend planted in my head, I then started to look at different PR stunts and how they went about being created, what ideas were good and innovative (even mad) by looking at the likes of Red-Bull, who creatively took ‘Red-Bull gives you wings’ maybe even too literally by having a man jump out of a spaceship and plummet to earth, these great stunts began my interest in looking up degrees surrounding PR and Communication.

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Goldsworthy & Morris (2015) state that although PR work might be portrayed as artificial, it is rarely viewed as dull and it likes to be seen as ‘a creative industry’.  The creative side to PR is very appealing to me. The artistic approaches which can be applied to a career in PR would constantly leave me fascinated and with this always thinking and creating new ideas.  In popular culture especially, PR’s role can often be thinking up of ideas for certain events, parties and festivities (which might also lead to attending them). The communication side of this and constantly meeting new people for all various reasons, in my view this has no comparison to a certified office work routine, no matter how small the reality of it may be.

On the subject about a daily office routine, people in PR, like my said family friend, can work almost anywhere, even with a permanent post in a particular business, this doesn’t seclude the fact that in this industry you might and most likely will not be working a 9-5 job every week. Society pressures of having a specific routine do not sit well with me and a repetitive almost mechanical nature in a job wouldn’t suffice. A career in the PR industry could almost guarantee little to none boredom. How the economy of today’s world is working, this further reiterates my point of wanting a job in the PR sector.

Gordon (2011) mentions different types of PR sectors, that you can choose to branch out in, depending on what interests you. ‘PR seems to offer would-be practitioners the chance to decide what interests them, do the PR for it and get paid into the bargain’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2015). This would interest me as I could reach out and dip into areas of PR that would suit my liking, such as fashion, music, nature and even sports. As the variety of PR is so vast and complex, this would give me multiple opportunities to experience different sides to PR and the large variety of work would leave me to choose areas that I also wouldn’t be particularly fond of therefore stay away from and areas that I would like to stick at and delve into more that would suit my particular needs and interests.

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PR consultancies are having to distinguish themselves and seek out a competitive advantage as they are ‘selling an intangible service and ultimately the difference is about personalities, but this is notoriously hard to articulate convincingly’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2015). This therefore means that PR practices need to keep up to date and in trend with social media and society outside of this. Keeping on top of new technologies and rapidly responding to new social trends interest me as I like to keep ‘on trend’ myself, whether it be with my peers on online, so as this is an integrated aspect of PR this would interest me and my tastes of the work surrounding this.

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Like any career, you cannot go into a job knowing everything. ‘There are few if any scientific laws in PR’ (Smith, 2013). Learning from experience is always key, but this is even more validated within the PR industry. Creative working and thinking is wisdom and collective learning is very interesting and a career in this industry is so unsolidified and not set in stone that embracing your imaginative side interests me.

PR’s role can be tough, ‘pitching stories to sceptical journalists or bloggers, or taking that difficult call when the media have uncovered a damaging story’ (Theaker, 2012). Preparation must be done in advance for these types of situations, which can be make or break for some businesses depending on how big stories or certain situations are. Some people may find the responsibility of this too much, or not wanting the stress that may come along with some ambiguous, unplanned situations, although organisations value these type of PR people, that can stay cool, calm and collected in these types of situations. As I have a very calm nature, I like to work under pressure without it being to over bearing for me and I would like to be given the opportunities to experience these types of pressures. Overcoming these aspects of the job, particularly with myself, a strong sense of job satisfaction would come out of these types of situations for me if they are dealt with properly and respectfully. As being helpful in these situations this could make you a valued representative in an organisation which certain businesses would want and would definitely have perks.

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When naming some large international PR consultancies, I couldn’t think of any at all. ‘Most people have difficulty identifying PR campaigns, and, when they try, frequently confuse them with advertising and other forms of marketing’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2008). This interests me are PR as a whole is quite unknown. With certain names, fact and PR concepts, PR is kept at a rather large scale as a blank canvas. The mysteriousness of PR and that surrounding it keeps an interest towards it and I find that extremely interesting.

Public relations is and continues to be a heavily influenced aspect of my personality and I implement some aspects of it into my everyday life, influencing brands I buy such as what I wear, what I eat, and I watch on television.

The fluidity and creativeness aspects of the career, such as stunts really peak my interest in the PR industry as a whole. Interestingly in today’s society PR’s work is still relatively unknown to people outside of the industry and people actually working in a PR career, this ‘secretive’ aspect for me creates a magnetic pull ever more so towards a career in PR as the unknown is exciting and somewhat stimulating.

Alexandra McEvoy is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @alexmcevoy_ ; Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcevoy-111ba5171/

University: The Third Edition

With the aim of forging a path to a future filled with success and happiness, settling on a university degree was possibly one of the most daunting and difficult decisions we, at the tender age of 17, were forced to make. However, the recurring questions of: “what is Communication Management and Public Relations?”, “what can you do with that when you graduate?”, and most common of them all: “whaaaaatttt the **** is that?” have echoed in my ear from the day and hour I accepted the offer on UCAS. There are times I feel like I can’t even walk down the Jordanstown mall without folks knowing I study that course that nobody can describe or explain.

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Before embarking on my undergraduate degree in Public Relations, I had spent the two previous years chancing my arm at two different courses: English and Journalism. However, anybody that has spent more than 42 seconds with me will know that I am almost incapable of making life-impacting decisions, and I was unsure whether I wanted to devote the next three years of my life studying either of these degrees. So, I threw the towel in, packed the bags, and I decided to pursue a new path. Again.

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I have always been an avid believer that good things happen to people who communicate eloquently, confidently and fluently, and the opportunities they have are boundless. Therefore, I have continuously been heavily reliant and focused on the way I communicate in order maximise the potential possibilities there are for myself, too. Brian Tracy describes communication as: “a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life”, which perfectly underscores the importance of it. The reason communication is so significant to me can be encapsulated in a quote by Shannon L. Adler (2018), which is: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” Removing negative energy equates to a happy life, my friends.

As a very charismatic and vocal person, I haven’t been classified as “shy” too many times in the last decade or so. I took this with me all throughout school, and still utilise my boisterous personality to benefit my day-to-day life. My ability to communicate has always been something I took pride in, and I have used it to, as Adler phrased it, receive peace and deter from negative energy of fear and regret. Following this, communication has broadened and enhanced my social, personal and professional life. In my personal life, and especially in the last year, I have been surrounded by good, likeminded people who motivate me to keep making good choices and changes. Whereas, in my professional life, I have climbed the career ladder and now hold a supervisory position within an ostentatious restaurant, where I oversee more than 20 staff members; and no surprise, confidence and a high-quality level of effective communication gave me both of those positive outcomes.

 

So, why a career in Public Relations?

I was feeling similar emotions to Ross Gellar who feared being known for getting divorced, but instead, I was Dalez, and instead of divorcing, I was trialling and swiftly exiting undergraduate degrees like I wasn’t clocking up £20k debt.

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I became interested in Public Relations during my stint at studying Journalism, and it was here that I flourished in the written aspect of it. Throughout my school years my interests centralised on communication; verbal and written and it was in this that I thrived. Fortunately, this was an intricate component in Public Relations, which perhaps meant to me that this would be the one, and I wouldn’t be waving Jordanstown goodbye.

Before making the decision to study it, I did some research into what jobs were associated with Public Relations, (meanwhile, my Mum insisted it was offering cheaper entry into nightclubs and five Jägerbomb’s for a tenner), and then I investigated what other interpersonal skills I would need, coupled with a degree, to become successful. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations describes Public Relations as: “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its public”, and as someone happy enough to “wet the ear” of anybody willing (or unwilling) to listen to what I have to say, PR is well-suited to my personality. This would also mean I would be able to strategically practise my expertise with oral and written communication to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with clients, suppliers, and partner organisations.

During my research, I uncovered that it is essential to be organised, with particular importance placed on the ability to multitask; and as somebody who has a generally busy social life, works full-time while also studying full-time, organisation is a skill I can assure you I have (even if I do rock up 10 minutes late from time to time). It is imperative for me to have a weekly to-do list and have my days mapped out beforehand, to help ensure that I complete each task I have set for myself; otherwise I’d become overwhelmed, quit my job, drop out of university, and continue my life on a different continent somewhere because of a meltdown which stemmed from a week of disorganisation. And it could happen yet, folks. Other sets of skills listed included strong teamwork and problem-solving skills; which are qualities I utilise on a day-to-day basis, leaving me confident enough to exude them professionally.

As well as this, Public Relations provides an extremely broad line of work, which was a crucial requirement for me while I was deciding whether to apply to my undergraduate degree and attaining a qualification which only benefited one specific field of work is exactly what I wanted to avoid. I did some research and found that the possibilities of work were plentiful within Public Relations; I was largely unaware of how extensive the prospects really were. “PR practitioners work across a range of industries and may work in any of the following settings: consumer, corporate, financial, local government, public affairs or trade and technical”. I had always feared that I would qualify and feel trapped within a job, but as Public Relations is so extensive, it would be possible to move within these interrelated industries and fields of work.

 

The Plans For The Future

Regardless whether I follow the path and end up in the Public Relations industry, I think the qualification will be beneficial for me within any job I pursue throughout my life. The knowledge gained in my undergraduate degree can, and has been, transferred to enhance my personal and professional life, as aforementioned. Ideally, I would like to become an entrepreneur and leader; and this coupled with an established blog, and knowledge in Public Relations would prove to be very valuable to a start-up business, where success can be tough – with 50% of new businesses failing “during the first five years”.

Currently employed as a social media manager for a renowned business, I already use and expand my skills I have attained from university to help aid the businesses marketing strategies online. The language, photographs and posts are all pre-empted in order to portray the business in a particular manner, which helps to maintain the respect and good relationship the company has already established with the clientele. This experience, with the background knowledge of Public Relations, marketing and advertising would all be useful in helping me solidify future decisions on how I would like to advertise and appear online, as social media presence is currently incredibly crucial.

With a passion and interest in writing; and more specifically, the conversational style of writing, a Public Relations degree would give me the professional information on effective communication that I would need to ensure that I could have a balance of expressing my own personality, while still appearing eloquent and well-versed. The possibilities for the future are endless, my pals, and maybe even the oul blogging will sky-rocket and take off now shortly due to the growing popularity and demand there is. If you have never had a story relayed to you by Dalez, have you really heard a story?

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Mark Daly is a Final Year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations Student at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markdaly123/

I’m Back.

What to write about? It’s been a while since I’ve been on here, writing about my deepest darkest secrets. And my ideas for my first blog post are lacking. But hopefully the more I write, the more creative juices will just flow from my fingertips to my keyboard.

So ~building suspense~ as my first blog post back, I am going to write about placement. You’ve probably just been knocked off from your seat. Shocked by the creativity of a third year CAM student. Writing about placement.

I was going to be one of those students that gives you monthly updates placement, but I didn’t feel I had the expertise or experience to give you monthly updates. But, I’m 8 months in now and boy, have I gained experience. So here’s my take from placement, with only a few months left.

Don’t Stress // Now, those of you know me are thinking ‘how can Alex tell me not to stress?’ And yes, this is true, I stress when I am running low on milk, so you can imagine the stress a hunt for a placement position brought. This time last year, I received another decline, with the hope of an interview (never mind a job offer) quickly seeming further from my grasp.

I’m sure there are many of you in the same position and don’t stress about it – apply for jobs you are genuinely excited about and in the meantime perfect your CV, write a killer cover letter and gain experience wherever you can to bulk up that LinkedIn Bio.

It’s all about your attitude // ‘What’s for you, won’t pass you’. I remember I was first told this by my Mum and it’s a saying that has really stuck with me. Now 5 weeks into Semester 2, receiving your 900th placement email and with 3 assignment deadlines approaching, this attitude is hard to maintain. I understand that struggle.

But do stay positive, rejections are hard to get over, but you should see them as a learning curve – how can you improve your CV? What techniques can you use in your next interview? Was your cover letter as well-researched and unique as you once thought? Remember, that interview, call back or job offer will come at a time you will least expect it.

Be in the know // Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, we are spoilt on how we can stay connected with industry updates, leaders and campaigns. Whilst I received an email about my position, I first saw it on LinkedIn and without seeing the post, I don’t know if I ever would have applied. I was able to see what the company was up to, who worked there and the company’s culture.

Acting like an MI5 agent and doing a background check on the company that has invited you in for an interview will put you in a strong position. It will show initiative by researching the company and communicate a passion for their activities. So, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile by now, get one, you might sign up and stumble upon a job advert that interests you.

I feel like three hints for the placement process is enough, so I’ll give some advice on what I have learnt on placement so far. And I think the best way to start this, is share what I do, I work at Intel Ireland, holding the position of Media and Education Intern. I could write a whole blog post on what I’ll do, but I’ll leave that for my placement report and upload that to Turnitin rather than here. But in the short, I love it and with final year getting closer and closer, time can slow down.

Don’t take uni for granted // For those studying CAM like me, we have been blessed with a course that is max 12hrs a week, with Monday’s and Friday’s off, enjoy this time. It can seem like a lot with the various assignments, placement emails and simply functioning, but enjoy it. When placement hits, you’ll be working 40hrs a week, with only your evenings to do as you please, rather than finishing at 1pm and feeling like you still have the whole day. 

Placement should be enjoyable // Placement is hard, I’ve learnt that from first hand experience, you’re thrown in the deep-end and suddenly you have responsibilities that matter and have an affect on other people. But this is all a learning curve and you should (hopefully) be enjoying it. You will be working on projects related to your course, working with people who may have your dream job and working for a company you would love to return to. Appreciate your placement opportunity, enjoy it and see it as a chance to learn and develop your skill-set.

So, there you have it – a very small portion of advice relating to placement, take it or leave, these are just my learnings.

And if you’ve learnt nothing, you now know I stress when I’m low on milk.

Alex Slaine is a Third Year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He is currently working as Media and Education Intern at Intel Ireland on his placement year. He can be found on Twitter – @alexslainee; and LinkedIn – Alex Slaine

A graduate’s guide to landing your first job in PR

A graduate’s guide to landing your first job in PR

Natalie Clarke and Charlotte Goss are Account Executives at Holywood based PR and experiential agency, Clearbox. Coming from two different degree backgrounds, and with nearly a year of agency life under their belts, they’re here to serve up some of their best advice for soon-to-be graduates on getting a job in the world of PR… 

We’ve been there. You’re finishing up your dissertation, exams are on the horizon and after that… PANIC! What do I want to do after uni? Where would I like to be? What jobs are out there? What skills and experience do I need to get a job?

One year later, we’re working in a great company with great clients and just generally living our best PR lives. But we know it’s not that easy to just walk straight into a job once you graduate. It can  be a daunting task to get into the PR industry in Northern Ireland – it can feel like everyone knows everyone and competition is fierce.

While university is a great starting point for gaining the basic skills, we felt there were a few extra things worth noting before you start the job hunt.

It’s not all about your degree

We both came from different disciplines: Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University and History and International Politics and Conflict Studies at Queen’s. The courses are very different in terms of subject area, and it goes to show that not everyone in the industry starts off in the same way. You don’t have to have studied PR to get a job in PR; having a broader knowledge of the world around you will set you apart from other applicants. This is particularly important within Northern Ireland where you have to be aware of different ways of thinking, and sensitivity around certain topics of discussion. Having a deeper understanding of these issues is a very useful trait to have. Travelling the world and having interesting hobbies are also great for giving employers a better feel for who you are; it helps them to know if you’re a right fit for their team. Make sure you include the sports team you’re involved in, that summer you worked at Camp America or the time you spent Interrailing on your CV – these are great ways to show your personality and that you have more to offer.

Werrrrkkkk that networking life

It sounds cliché because everyone is always telling you to ‘network’. It seems a bit awkward and forced, doesn’t it? Getting out there and surrounding yourself with people in the industry is important, but try and do it in a way that works for you. That could mean joining a collective like ‘Netwerk’, being a student member of the CIPR and attending industry events, or (if you aren’t ready for all the small talk) just getting in touch with local media on Twitter. Simple things like knowing your Cool FM presenters from your Q Radio presenters can help you to stand out as a graduate who is comfortable with the local media landscape and is ready to dive in to their first industry job.

Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Knock on everybody’s door. You don’t have to wait for a company to be hiring to hand them your CV. Putting a face to a name is also a great way to get an employer to notice you, whether that’s asking to meet for a coffee, or hand delivering your C.V. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, especially in somewhere as small as Northern Ireland. A friendly face and a positive attitude goes further than you’d think.

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PR professionals are multi-tasking machines covering content creation, media relations, social media management, SEO, event management… the list goes on. It’s useful to know what new skills are being demanded of PR graduates and to take some time to read up on them to give yourself an edge. Free online webinars and industry publications like Campaign Live, PR Week and The Drum are a great way to keep up to date. Seeing how brands and agencies launch new products, pull off stunts and do things a little differently can also be a great way to spark your own creativity. Keeping up to date with the news agenda is also an essential part of the job – you need to know what the world is talking about to help build your campaigns and speak to your audience. If a PR-related scandal is happening in the media, read about it and formulate an opinion – how would you deal with it? What can we learn? It’s a great conversation starter and helps you to show you’re engaged in the industry.

The writing’s on the wall

A huge part of any PR job is being able to write compelling and creative content. Building a portfolio of your work is a great way to show potential employers your flair for writing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a post for the Ulster PR Student blog or Facebook posts for your dad’s business. Get drafting, offer to contribute where you can and don’t be afraid to have an opinion in your writing. Make sure to also ask for feedback on your work so can continue to improve your tone and style. Writing experience is great for your CV and gives you something to chat about when it comes to the interview.

There are hundreds of things we wish we knew before starting out, and a lot of that comes with being in the job and experiencing things first hand. Our advice is to put yourself out there and grab every opportunity you can. You never know who you’ll meet or where it will lead.

YOU GOT THIS!

You can follow Natalie and Charlotte on Twitter (@NatalieClarke9 / @CharlotteGoss94) and LinkedIn (Natalie Clarke / Charlotte Goss)

You can also keep up with all things Clearbox on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

F U T U R E (Scary 6 letters)

F U T U R E predicting one day to the next, which may or may not happen.

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Where did you see yourself 10 years ago? Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? Something we don’t often stop and ask ourselves.

 ‘Dream big’ a phrase we are often told when we are young, inspiring to be a singer, air hostess, celebrity the list goes on. Looking back now, surely, I couldn’t be the only one that laughs so much?? An air hostess??? Me who only recently has half got the hang of flying.

Young, full of energy and not a single care in the world at a young age wondering where do we see ourselves in 10-15 years.

Choosing a career path?

Primary school (best years of your life, well best years of my life for sure). I think I potentially changed my mind on what my future career was going to be on a monthly if not daily basis???

I grew up as a pure tomboy in primary school, only for the fact I had long hair looking back at photos it’s the only thing that gave me that feminine side! Everybody has them cute as a button little primary school photos around their houses in frames full of pride and joy! Not me, definitely not. I think I have hidden the majority of my primary school pictures that well I couldn’t find them if I tried.

Never the less, my point is, going into secondary school and beginning first year was an amazing experience. At such a young age, everyone is thinking of their future. Going to careers classes, hearing that the people in your class want to be vets, doctors, nurses, accountants, mechanics, hairdressers, beauticians, zoologists (which I hadn’t even heard of) the endless list of potential jobs was amazing.  It is when I eventually began to realise, I have absolutely no idea what I want to be.

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I loved animals and loved people (I still do!). I always thought of myself as a vet from a young age, (after my air hostess fascination), probably due to the fact of living on a farm, having a dog and pretty much being a cat lady minus the old age!

But the thought of 7 years at university was scary plus the fact my weakest subject in the world was Science plus the fact the closest university to study veterinary was Dublin and I was the world’s worst person with euros (still no better). The thought of an animal dying was emotional never mind witnessing it. That went out the window slowly but surely. (So much respect for vets, they really are stars).

Then come along 3rd and 4th year, I had my life planned out, nursing was the way to go. I was going to be a great little nurse and care for the elderly. Little did I know shortly down the line, I really do hate the sight of blood, and especially needles, they both make me uneasy. Around came work experience, inspiring to be a nurse, I went to an elderly care home to see if I liked the thought of nursing as my future career. An eye opener to say the least, nursing wasn’t for me. I have so much respect for nurses, the long hours, the long days, on your feet 24-7 caring for patients, they are an absolute inspiration.

Never the less, nursing wasn’t for me, I concluded that on day 2 of placement and didn’t return.

Really in a tizzy, what career path was I going to follow and actually like??

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The light-bulb switched in my head one night, after researching many courses which I found interesting, I thought, would I like the PR industry? I decided to go on work experience alongside already having completed a work experience, I went to the Ulster Herald in Omagh which is my local weekly newspaper. That’s when it clicked, bingo, I really could see myself in this industry.

To cut a long story short for I really could talk for days, my future goals and inspirations had changed dramatically over many years. I felt I had found the path I wanted to go down. After researching many courses at universities, I loved the idea of studying Communication, Advertising and Marketing BSc (Hons) at Jordanstown. The industry is massive and being able to go into either of these sectors would be amazing. With high grade boundaries to this course, it seemed so unrealistic to get into, therefore I had many many backups, which are basically the same course as both courses share many modules.

Meetings with teachers began at secondary school which consisted of advice and guidance on courses etc. I was told that my course was ‘unrealistic’ for me to achieve the grade boundaries, not to get my hopes up and look at alternatives or something similar. Any human who hears them words are cross, your heart drops. But, instead I took a completely different approach. From that meeting, I began to keep my head in the books and work hard on my coursework to ensure that I would get the grades to prove them wrong. I was determined.

  • UCAS BH42  for pending offer
  • Grades BH42

I received confirmation, I had successfully got into my first choice. I was stunned! Plus the face on your principle when he hands your results with a cheesy grin really is amazing and unforgettable! Realising how much they have did for us in 7 years, all in the space of seconds.

Next steps;

  • Begin the life of a student studying CAM BH42
  • Live the life of a lord in first year BH42
  • Shop to you drop and moan about not having a loan left BH42

Final steps;

  • Crap myself when I hear the word dissertation BH42

Four years down the line from applying to UCAS (feels like 10 years ago, ageing by the day, over dramatic as always) I am over the moon to say I am now nearing the end of my final year studying Communication, Advertising and Marketing. I really, without a doubt recommend my course.

Not in a million years did I picture myself where I am today. I’m speechless and so happy, so much changes in 4 years and I really and truly am blessed to gain so many great friends for life!

I was never an intelligent person at school, nor am I today! Something that seemed so distant at the beginning, I now have at arm’s reach.

So, my advice is dream big for the future, and if you think you’re dreaming big, dream bigger!!!!

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Let your dreams stay big and your worries stay small

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(I say this so much, I probably say it in my sleep)

Exams approaching, dissertation nearing its due date, graduation creeping around the corner, all so exciting and nerve wrecking. But where does the f u t u r e hold for little old me now? Stay tuned!!

Create your future YOU want, not anybody else’s and let the past fizzle away.

Breige Hollywood is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/breige-hollywood-a7b035116/and Twitter @ HollywoodBreige

Choose PR

Before heading back to uni in September I had to choose which modules I would like to undertake as part of my final year degree. The choice was between; Communication and Organisation or Critical Perspectives of PR. Being a Communication, Advertising and Marketing student made me think the communication module would go more in line with the title of my degree. However, aware of the fact that in previous years I found the communication modules to be lifeless and a bit ‘dull’, I opted for the PR module and quite frankly, I’m so glad I did.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the semester, ‘whats PR?’ I would have responded with some sort of amateur answer like ‘free advertising’. But with a little more milage under my belt it’s clear to say, that’s certainly not the case.

At the start of the semester I was a bit overwhelmed, the lectures seemed to be made up of a string of riddles and the weekly readings left my head in a ‘spin’ and I was starting to rethinking my choice of a module in PR. However, I found that, after the weekly seminar, if I re-read the reading, it all made a little bit more sense. Sometimes it just takes you to look twice at something to comprehend what it’s trying to say.

 

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As the weeks rolled in, the lectures and seminars left me with many questions and wondering what was actually said but, I started to realise that this was the aim and therefore got me thinking about what the lecture meant and forming my own opinions.

The more I came to terms with PR, the more I found the classes fulfilling. PR is endlessly interesting due to it’s highly creative nature. It allow you to express your own opinion about what you believe to be right and wrong. With creativity and writing being such fundamental players in PR; it’s so satisfying when you finally think you’ve ‘hit the nail on the head’ with a creative idea to fit the job at hand. With consumers responding to emotions more than sales pitches now more than ever before and storytelling being a vital component of PR today, how could it be boring?

Throughout the module I have realised the importance of PR in business. In order for businesses to compete, constant human interaction and communication are central functions.  We live in a world where it’s easier to criticise now more than ever, with social media and the internet we can ruin reputations with the click of a button. Failing to acknowledge PR can increase the risk of the public assuming the worst if something does go wrong and ultimately, destroying the reputation of the business. Having a PR employee will mean that you can combat these risks and divert public attention, saving the name of the business before things get out of hand. With consumers expectations on the rise along with ease of criticism, PR is an essential part of success today.

PR is a mix of everything and definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ subject. PR involves writing, pitching, researching and strategising which means you’ll rarely be doing the same thing for too long. Being such a broad subject helps to keep up the momentum and excitement, keeping you on your toes. One minute you’re writing a press release and the next working on promoting a product; so being able to adapt quickly is a must! Being such a fast-paced industry that is constantly changing and evolving, it’s great for those who like a variety and get bored easily.

A15

PR is an excellent skill to have and in many ways is totally invaluable. The world is not decreasing in problems anytime soon, only increasing so there will never be a shortage of PR jobs. It’s true that people usually do not get employed solely based on what they have learnt, but often on what it is they can add to the future of a company and PR gives you the ability to add value to any business.

Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/