As part of National Careers Week, our intern, Bridie Buckingham wrote about her experiences of being a ‘sourcerer’ intern and the pros of work experience.

Bridie also gives her own to advice for those who are thinking about their future career aspirations.

I’ve been a PR intern at Source PR for over seven months now and I must say they have been some of the best and busiest months of my life. A lot has changed in that time, I moved across the country, started at a new university and changed my degree to a completely new field of study.

Currently, I study English Language and Psychology at the University of Chester – a bit of a tenuous link to PR I know – however, I used to study Public Relations and Brand Communications at a different university last year. I found that I wasn’t learning a lot and my time as a PR intern was actually teaching me more valuable skills, so I transferred courses, moved back home and started an internship at Source PR.

I’m lucky enough to undertake an internship that I can fit around my studies. I make it work but it takes a lot of organisation and planning, something I wasn’t so strong at seven months ago.

When I tell people I work as a PR intern they often assume I just run around getting coffee, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As an intern at Source, I have several responsibilities helping out with content creation, copywriting and social media building; I even have my own desk and a laptop. The workplace experience is invaluable and really allows me to put all that theory from my previous studies into practice. PR Internships are also a great way to see how you would perform in your chosen role after you graduate from your degree. I have also found that my current studies are relating more than I expected them to. Psychology comes in particularly handy when determining the audience of your piece of writing and the best way to increase engagement.

PR Internships are much more hands-on than work experience as you are treated as more of an employee than a helping hand – yet you’re not working full-time on a set salary. Many companies offer summer internships and some universities make it a compulsory part of your studies. As you are at the company on a more long-term basis you start to build relationships with employees, which allows you to make good friends as well as contacts for the future. A lot of internships and placements often lead to full-time jobs further down the line, so it can be a great way to get your foot in the door at your dream company.

The terms ‘work experience,’ ‘internship’ and ‘placement’ are often used interchangeably when they actually mean completely different things. Work experience is often a few days in a work environment where you shadow an employee and carry out small tasks. It allows you a small insight to the working-world so you can decide what’s right for you. Placement is the exact opposite, often salary based as you become an official employee of the business, working full-time, year-round. When taking a placement, you should be at least 90% sure this is the career path for you as it will become your day-to-day and is often a gateway to your dream career.

I’m a firm believer that it is important to take on internships whilst studying, before you go out into the working world, as it is much easier to maintain that position alongside your studies than it is after you graduate. It also looks great on your CV too; experience is something all employers look for and internships give you a huge leg up on the other applicants. If you can, try and find an internship that pays, that way you can earn money as well as valuable workplace experience – two birds with one stone.

In short, be a PR intern wherever you can. The whole experience will benefit you as a person, a student and as a professional.

You will experience so much in so little time, but it’ll be worth it when you end up doing what you love later in life. My advice would be to start with work experience here and there to find out what kind of environment you’d like to work in, then pick up some internships and finally, when you’ve decided it’s for you, apply for a placement at a company you’d love to work for, only then will you discover what it’s really like to work in your chosen career.

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