PR Internships: tea job or real work experience?
Babel founder, Narelle, recently answered some of the most common questions from those looking to start a career in PR, and offered her top tips for graduates. Having graduated from University last month myself, it certainly resonated with my present situation. I’m one step ahead of many and am currently midway through a four-week PR internship at Babel PR, so after a week on the job, I thought I’d share my experience so far, which will hopefully prove useful for other recent grads.
My time at Babel began last summer when I arrived for five days’ work experience, still an undergraduate, and excited to work out exactly what PR was. I was lucky enough to know someone who works for the agency, offering me a direct avenue into the company. My top piece of advice for those looking to break into PR is to use your contacts; they may be a valuable tool for finding a career. No ‘little black book’? Do your research – many top PR agencies in London offer summer internships, though if you can’t see anything advertised, not much can go wrong from sending an email. I really enjoyed this initial week with Babel and it gave me a taste of something that I could see myself pursuing.
Mid-way through my final (and most stressful) year of university, I decided I needed to think more about my future career. The real world was looming and Babel was potentially a step from uni work to ‘real’ work. I emailed the team and enquired as to whether they would have me back for a bit longer. I’d enjoyed the short-term spell at the office and, fortunately, it seemed the feeling was mutual; my new, longer-term internship started last week.
My experience in a PR internship in London
Internships currently have a bad reputation for being glorified tea and photocopying jobs, but this has certainly not been the case at Babel. My first week has been packed with getting to grips not only with the world of PR, but also with the B2B tech industry. Every morning the team catches up on the latest news, and my role is to create the ‘Newsround’ which collates this all into a newsletter. I will then spend most of the day aiding the team in any jobs that will help to free up their busy schedules. This includes clippings, monthly reports, organising press lists and contacting university bloggers. These small jobs have given me an insight into the nuances of PR and how these all fit together.
On top of providing experience of working in the PR industry, the internship also presents challenges which are inherent to all industries and careers, which is helping me develop invaluable – and transferrable – skills. As someone who would previously avoid going to the doctors because it potentially meant having to call to book an appointment, I am now completely comfortable with picking up the phone. University also never required me to send professional emails, so this is another area that I am developing and which will be crucial to the world of work. The team have allowed me to become actively involved in all aspects of tech PR, which is a vital part of helping me build and further my career, increasing my knowledge and helping to shape my decisions as to what and where I see myself heading.
So are PR internships worthwhile?
The importance of prior work experience has long been debated. Whilst it is not absolutely necessary, I have found both spells with the Babel team have been invaluable. Without my experience at a London agency, I might have not found a career that I believe I can thrive in. Experience also lets you know what you do not want to do, and this is equally as important in pursuing a career path and having a focus post-uni. With only one week down, I am excited to see what the next three weeks hold.