2 Responses to “The first degree”

  1. Heather Yaxley October 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    It is interesting to read your post from the perspective of a journalism graduate, but there’s a lot more to a PR degree than gaining the skills for the first job in the industry. As you indicate, there was much more to your journalism degree than may be thought, the same is true for studying public relations. And, that’s how it should be if you are investing several years and tens of thousands of pounds in gaining a solid foundation for a career in a field. Indeed, many experienced practitioners sign up for CIPR and other professional qualifications in the field as they value education in improving their career prospects.

    Not only do PR students learn about the practicalities of working in their chosen field (which includes in-house opportunities as well as working in consultancies), they study a wide range of relevant disciplines and principles. It certainly isn’t just in the office that people discover what PR really means – and they would never gain the impression that it is all ‘fluffy stories and client drinks’ when taking a specialist degree. Indeed, one core focus will be on evaluation and planning, which isn’t simply about keeping clients happy, but demonstrating how PR can achieve various business results.

    Likewise, a PR degree isn’t just about learning to use the latest online fads and changing multi-media technologies, but discovering how to keep up with a lifetime of such developments and gain transferable skills and knowledge (ie to facilitate achievement of an organization’s strategic aims).

    You may well find that a few years experience gives a leg up the career ladder, but will it give you the competencies to move easily into senior management and work at a strategic level? Many of those PR graduates will have a series of employers on their CVs from a year’s placement and vacation jobs, and yes, practical campaign experience for charities, local businesses, and even larger organizations who frequently look to the Universities for creative input on real life briefs.

    From what I gather, a lot of the jobs open to those with no qualification and no experience in PR will be unpaid, short-term, disposable opportunities. Yes, talent may well help someone build a reputation and a long-term career, but it is a tough and risky road to take.

    It is a competitive career market out there and sadly it isn’t about experience or qualifications, but increasingly about both. Good luck in your career.

  2. Sophie Longley August 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Coming from a non-PR background (a degree in English Literature) my knowledge of the PR industry was basic – apart from what I had researched. I had PR ‘skills’ but didn’t know how to put them to use. When I began my internship however, everything seemed to click into place. For instance, I knew why it was important to research such and such journalist and why there needs to be brainstorming sessions. I think when you are placed in a PR environment, you easily absorb PR knowledge from people around you. I do feel that PR students do have some advantage over me because they have been ‘taught’ Public Relations for 3 years; but it is amazing what you can learn from being thrown into the deep end within a PR agency.

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