My Short and Sweet Stint in the Wonderful World of Public Relations

by Holyrood Partnership

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

PR Internship the Perfect Introduction to a Potential Career

Rachel Proudfoot intern at Edinburgh PR agency

By Rachel Proudfoot

THOUGH I graduated in History and International Relations, it became very apparent that I wasn’t going to pursue a career in either of these fields.

The subjects were purely areas of interest. I decided quite quickly after graduating that I wanted a career in communications, feeling that my creativity, love of writing and curiosity for ever-evolving social media would be best suited to this practice.

All the arts and social science students and graduates out there will have heard the classic ‘your degree subject is transferable’ and ‘it’s the skills that you’ve developed that are important.’

And yet, it was always my fear that I would be turned away from communications roles for not having enough experience. I felt that I was at a disadvantage because I don’t have a communications-related degree.

Luckily, my first job after university was a marketing and sales one which focused on face-to-face student marketing. This was the perfect first step in my career as it allowed me to gain a basic insight into the industry.

But I needed to gain a more in-depth understanding of the field.

Interning with Holyrood PR has been the perfect way to gain some fast-track experience in the wonderful world of public relations. I’ve built upon my understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in the industry, while learning key skills in areas such as search engine optimisation (SEO).

From the word go I was given real responsibilities. I was trusted to write blog posts and press releases for clients and to upload and publish the content online using WordPress. This was, of course, extremely daunting to begin with but I was here to gain this type of real experience so I just had to crack on.

I don’t think I have ever known anyone who enjoys calling strangers up on the phone and pressing them for details to put in a blog post or press release. But again, I was here to learn and build confidence in these things and the only way that I could do that was to get over my fears and just do it.

While it might have come across in these calls that I was confident and knew what I was talking about, I was really reading from the word-for-word script that I had written out prior to every phone call I made. This might sound silly and over the top but if it helps then why not? Nobody else needs to know that that’s what you’re doing.

I’m not going to go through every task that I’ve carried out throughout my time here because that would require a whole other blog post in itself. But here are some of my highlights:

  • Attending the press call for the Hibs visit to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children
    This was a nice chance to see how PR worked outside of the office. It was so lovely seeing the children’s faces light up when their heroes came to pay them a visit.
  • Learning how to use Photoshop
    I’ve always had an interest in photography, so it was especially cool to learn the programme’s uses.  It’s also a really good skill to have in this industry.
  • Gaining some inside trade secrets…
    I would share them with you, but then they wouldn’t be secrets would they?

I can genuinely say that I have really enjoyed my time here and the work that I’ve completed.

My advice for future interns:

You don’t have to be perfect

Don’t worry if the work you produce isn’t perfect. You’re here for one main reason and that’s to learn and develop your skill set while you learn the ins and outs of the industry. So, don’t be disheartened if you get negative feedback on an article you’ve written. Take all your feedback on board and learn from it. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed because everyone started at this stage once. It just makes it all the more rewarding when you are praised for your work.

The Intern Bible is your best friend

On your first day you’ll be landed with a jam-packed ring-binder, full of tips and guidance on all things PR. This will look a little off-putting and, on first sight, it might appear to be last thing you ever want to open. But trust me on this – it’s going to be your best friend throughout your time here. So, don’t worry if you don’t know the step-by-step guide to WordPress uploads, for example, because the answer lies within.

Don’t hold back

Everyone is nervous and everyone doubts themselves, but this is no reason to hold back. When you’re given a task to do, just do it. There is no point in avoiding certain tasks just because they seem daunting. You’re not here to do tea rounds or shadow other people working. You will be given real work at Holyrood PR, so make the most of it.

From my first day when my honest initial reaction was ‘Oh no, how am I ever going to get used to these 7:00am alarms every morning?’ to my last ‘I could actually get used to this 9-5 adulting thing’, my time at Holyrood PR has definitely been a memorable and greatly beneficial one.

I am so grateful to all the team for their help and support throughout my time here. And a special thank you to Melissa for her support and putting up with my constant ‘Melissa, Melissa’ wails from across the room every half hour!

Think you could find success as an intern in our Edinburgh PR Agency?

If you think you have what it takes to follow a strong run of interns please get in touch by filling in the contact form below:

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Holyrood Partnership

Award-winning Scottish public relations agency Holyrood PR in Edinburgh tells powerful stories for its diverse business clients. Here the PR experts celebrate the firm's own stories, photography and video successes.

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