10 Things I’ve Learned at Holyrood

Intern Programme

My Time as an intern at Edinburgh PR agency

By Amy Glasgow
Amy Glasgow Intern

AMY Glasgow, a graduate from the University of Glasgow with a degree in Classics, has just completed a fantastic one month internship with us. Before she left she decided to write a blog on what she had learned in her time here at Holyrood PR. This is the brilliant blog she produced.

After a month as an intern with Holyrood, I’ve learnt a lot about PR and about life in an agency.  It’s a fast paced world with the opportunity to work with a range of exciting clients and brands.

This placement has been different to any other work experience I have had.  I’ve been given a level of responsibility that I didn’t expect, and got a chance to do jobs that Account Executives usually do.  Here’s a rundown of the top ten things I’ve learnt during my time at Holyrood PR.

1. It’s ok to feel a little lost and to ask questions.  There were times I was given jobs that I had no clue about.  The team here are so friendly and helpful that I never felt silly for asking obvious or stupid questions, it’s all part of the learning process.

2. It’s hard to come up with catchy titles.  I noticed on almost all of the press releases from Holyrood, there is a pun or a catchy title to them.  When it was my turn to write press releases or come up with titles for media coverage, I really struggled to come up with something that matched the others.  It takes time and a bit of creativity, but I think I’ve got it now!

3. Listen.  There were times during my internship where everyone was busy except me.  This didn’t bother me as I knew that an hour later I could be piled high with jobs to do.  What I learnt was, when I wasn’t doing anything, I gained a strong understanding of the inner workings of the agency by simply paying attention and listening to what everyone around me was doing.  Hearing a phone call from a client, listening to people liaise with each other about jobs, it helped me see how the everyday jobs got done and how clients are kept happy.

4. Make suggestions.  Like I said, sometimes you’ll have very little to do, sometimes you’ll have too much to do, that’s the kind of environment you can expect from an internship with Holyrood – no two days are the same.  If you do feel your list for the day is lacking, be inventive, make suggestions about jobs you think you could be doing.  It helps fill your day, it helps the company, and it shows your willingness to learn, to advance and to be part of the team.

5. Hot drinks.  The office runs on them and by the end of the internship, you will too.  Don’t worry; this is not the kind of place where interns are expected to go around the room taking drinks orders every half hour.  There is always someone on the coffee and tea run, it can be the director one day and you the next, it doesn’t matter.  For the first two weeks I didn’t bother because I don’t usually drink tea and I don’t like coffee; half way through my third week I was telling the director to put one sugar in my tea please!

6. Your phone is your friend.  It can be quite intimidating coming into a brand new work place, put in front of a phone, and asked to call a long list of journalists.  Once you’ve done it, it becomes fairly routine and you learn to adapt your phone manner whether you’re speaking to a newspaper or a client.  It’s great experience and really throws you in at the deep end.

7. Write it down.  You need a notepad, and you need a big one.  You’ll be scribbling down jobs, phone numbers, email addresses, all sorts.  My notebook looks like a disaster zone, with client names and newspapers all over the page as I tried to write information down while listening to a client on the phone.  Prepare for your hands to be covered in pen and your handwriting to get steadily worse as the day progresses!

8. Get out of the office.  I spend pretty much all day, every day, glued to my chair, staring at my computer screen.  I found that stepping out of the office for fifteen or twenty minutes to nip to the shops was a great way to break up the day and think about the tasks that still needed to be done.  It’s also a good way to talk to the team outside the office.  I had fun getting to know the staff whilst walking towards Tesco – they are all really friendly, will answer any questions and make you feel completely welcome.

9. My writing style has changed.  After writing multiple media coverage posts, drafting press releases and so on, there has been a definite change in the way I write.  It’s more succinct, more professional and more aware.  Each time I write something for Holyrood, I have to be conscious of the client I am representing and whether it fits their tone or style.  It’s been great for adapting my own personal style and has improved my own work outside the office.

10. I want to have a career in PR.  An internship can completely confirm or totally destroy your ideas about a career or industry.  My time at Holyrood has more than assured me that I want to progress and build a career in public relations.  Prior to my internship, I would have been a lost in the world of PR, now, leaving it, I feel like I have learned so much and am ready to begin my professional career.

Now that I have come to the end of my internship, I’m thrilled to say that in just over a week’s time I will be working with a company in Glasgow doing in-house PR.  I don’t think that I would have got the job if it hadn’t been for my time here at Holyrood.  I have soaked up the atmosphere, the job, the knowledge, without which I don’t think I would be walking into my first PR job.

Here comes the cheesy part.  I will be forever grateful for the real, hands on experience I was given here at Holyrood.  If you’re looking for a truly immersive PR experience and to really learn about this fast-paced world, I would encourage you to apply for the internship programme at Holyrood PR.  It helped me get a job, who knows what it might do for you.

And congratulations to the whole team who had multiple wins at the Scottish CIPR awards last night – good job guys!

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