Name: Lucy Hird
Course studied: BA Hons in Media & Communications: Public Relations at Birmingham City University
A-Levels studied: Psychology, History, English Language.
Find Lucy on Twitter @lucyhird.
Why did I choose to do a degree in PR?
I wanted to do something that combined all my written, organisational and communication skills and Public Relations fitted perfectly into all three!
What did I do day-in-day-out at university?
University consisted of a mix of theory and skills based lectures, which was perfect for the PR industry. Everything we learned in abstract was then applied in real life as we took on challenges in the working world. The university's links with industry meant that we were able to pitch to top executives at some of the CIPR's top 100 companies – which was both an amazing experience as well as a fantastic way to get your foot in the door.
What have I learned from my degree?
I learned fantastic base skills in my degree from press releases to pitching, campaign management to communications audits as well as getting the chance to take on video editing or photography modules, which can be invaluable at smaller agencies. I also was able to apply my skills learned in various work experience placements. The placements were the most important part of the degree as it was a chance to practice all of the skills I had learned as well as creating links with potential employers for the future. The university was fully supportive and encouraged students to meet mentors and get involved with regional PR activity.
What have I gained from being a student member of the CIPR?
Being a member of the CIPR throughout my study has been incredibly beneficial. Not only did I receive my copy of PR Week through the letter box, I was also able to attend regional events put on by the CIPR where I met industry professionals and was able to learn and network. In addition I was the CIPR Student Representative for my university in my final year. This meant I was able to go to the CIPR offices in London and meet all the other reps from the country. I was also able to write articles for behindthespin.com and put on the I Heart PR Conference 2012 at my university. The conference saw students giving presentations to win placement prizes with a keynotes speech from Director of Marketing at NEC Group Stuart Cain. Organising the event wasn't easy, but the experience I gained from it was invaluable.
What am I currently doing?
I am now working at Red Consultancy in London as an Assistant Account Executive on some of the biggest brands in the world. Without my degree, my work experience and my CIPR membership I wouldn't be where I am today. Public Relations isn't all parties and networking; it's really hard work. But if you are interested in creating campaigns, knuckling down and seeing your hard work pay off when you open a newspaper or magazine then it's all worth it!
What advice do I have for someone considering a career in PR?
Work experience, work experience, work experience!!! This is the most valuable part of your CV. So many young people have degrees today so you need to stand out from the crowd. Try public and private sector, big agencies and small in-house teams. Learn as much as you can whilst you're there and there might be a job at the end of it!