Entering the full-time working world slap bang in the middle of a global pandemic is not how I pictured starting my placement year; however, after several months in lockdown, I was excited to jump into something new and apply what I had been learning in lectures to real life situations.
With an ever-changing world, came an ever-changing day job and I quickly realised I hadn’t entered the intern role I had imagined. Gone were the ideas of making endless tea and shelving magazines (although, I have learnt a cup of tea goes a long way in agency life & filing is important!) but instead I found myself learning on the job from drafting emails, to drafting press releases, and learning how to sell in client recipes to journalists. When I started, the news agenda was changing daily and the team was needing to adapt plans and strategy, I quickly learnt my role was to be a flexible one!
There’s certainly been a lot I’ve learnt since starting at Ceres. From how the media works to the strategy needed to implement an effective social media campaign, I’ve learnt way more than I envisioned I would when I first applied for the placement. Here’s some of the key things…
1. Confidence is key, and it will come over time.
If you had said to me at the start of the internship to pick up the phone to someone I had never spoken to before and pitch a story, which you have no idea whether they will like or not, I probably would have said “no way”! However, the team at Ceres have been great, they’ve walked me through the process of pitching and it’s true what they say – the more you do it, the easier it becomes! I have found my confidence has, and continues, to grow each week and this in turn really benefits how I not only communicate with journalists, but with the wider team as well.
2. Managing up, a skill I never knew existed or would need!
I quickly realised how busy agency life is. From press release pitching, to digital content creation, to reactive media opportunities, no day is like the next. When I first started, I was told that a key skill I needed to learn was how to ‘manage up’ – not only for the world of PR, but any role I find myself in, in the future. Learning to manage up means I can help not only organise my own time, but also help senior management manage their time effectively too.
I’ve come to realise that it’s a real skill to know how to prioritise what is next on my list. The analogy of the swan I think works very aptly in PR – serene on top but paddling like crazy underneath to make it all work! When I first started, I felt overwhelmed by the amount I needed to do each day, but the team guided me through it and I’ve learnt to stop, take a breath and think about what needs doing in priority. I have also found a quick five minutes away from the desk helps to clear the brain!
4. Securing coverage is extremely satisfying!
3 months ago, I wasn’t even 100% sure on what ‘coverage’ meant, but here I am having just secured coverage in The Sun for National Baking Week, The I for California Walnuts and Delicious for St Pierre and it’s a fantastic feeling that I’m told you never tire of!
I can safely say that I have been fully immersed into the Ceres way of life and, whether it’s packaging hampers for influencers or collating media lists, I love the variety that every day brings – the steady stream of delicious food in the office (when we are allowed in) helps too! So, with that said, I’m very excited to see what the start of 2021 brings for me at Ceres and what else I learn from here.