Wednesday, 15 August 2012

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK

As a graduate, stepping out in to the real world was always going to be a daunting task. During university we were bombarded with statistics about rising unemployment and constantly told that a degree simply wasn’t enough anymore.

So after three years of studying, essay writing and exam taking, I am now facing the harsh reality of what my lecturers tried to warn me about.

As they promised finding a job is no easy task. Neither, for that matter, is knowing what sort of job you want to find. Having studied English I have not arrived at the beginning of a predetermined career path in the same way that someone who had studied Law or Medicine might.

Whereas they were clear in their minds where their lives were headed before they embarked on their degree, I went in knowing that I could read and write pretty well and that I liked the subject. They tell you that you can do anything with an English degree, but you can also do nothing.

As much as you have skills which would be useful in a variety of professions, you are also not really qualified for anything. You have to make something of your abilities, find an outlet for the things you enjoy and are good at in order to succeed. And that, for me, is where PR comes in. I decided that gaining work experience was the key to finding out whether a career in PR was right for me. I wouldn’t buy a dress without first trying it on I thought, so why choose what I may well spend the rest of my life doing without first giving it a whirl.

I first tried PR during a summer break from university when I spent a week working at DDPR. The fact that I was even able to get work experience was a promising start because that in itself can be difficult, so I was very grateful to them for taking me in.

From the minute I arrived I was thrown in at the deep-end, which turned out to be a blessing despite the initial shock. No tea-making, no hole-punching, no stapling, no tedious or mundane tasks of any sort. I was calling journalists, writing press releases, organising events and attending client meetings before I was even halfway through the week. And having done all of these things I realised, I was really enjoying it. I was putting my communication skills, my writing abilities and my creativity to good use. Not only did I want to come back after my week was up, they wanted to have me back because, I can only assume, I was good at what I was doing.

So here I am, writing from the DDPR office because, having recently graduated, I want to gain as much experience in PR as possible, to help me excel in this fast-paced and exciting profession. Although the competition for jobs is strong, PR is a buoyant industry which is expanding and offering good career development opportunities for people just like me.

Lois Tristram