A survey of teenagers recently revealed that 70% of 12-18 year olds want work experience to be compulsory. Initially this seems extreme, but in the world of PR it’s not just a good education you need to gain a good job. Although this is important, work experience and the contacts it can give you is what can truly prove that you are suited to, know about (and therefore will be good at) the job you’ll eventually be applying for.
Although I’ve got good qualifications, it may well be extra curricular experiences that will make me memorable to employers. PR involves dealing with bloggers and social media that having an online presence of your own can boost your skills and grant you previously inaccessible chances. Writing my regular food blog honed my writing skills, which meant I was able to win the Guild of Food Writers Young Food Writer of the Year, which in turn raised my profile and led to me being asked to write for a magazine: all of which will make me different to the next job applicant with exactly the same academic qualifications.
Relevant experience shows employers that you really have an interest in the career you’re attempting to start and you haven’t just chosen it out of the blue or because you need the money. I worked in a professional kitchen before I realised that wasn’t the right direction for me, which meant I could redirect my future experience plans to areas I realised I was interested in, leading to a Clareville PR internship and writing achievements from my blog.
My Clareville internship proved another reason why work experience can be so useful: it provides exactly that – experience. It’s not just about boosting your cv, work experience teaches valuable skills you’re not taught at school or university. You may not be getting paid but learning scanning, phone skills and using programmes that are part of everyday work life such as CisionPoint, mean that in the future you can save valuable training time on an internship and start being useful straight away – and therefore more attractive to future employers.
Above all, through being in an office environment, learning new skills and getting more feedback than you might at school, work experience gives you confidence – a vital skill in the fast moving and competitive media world.