I still remember the Leeds University media careers day in 2013, when I shuffled up to an account exec from a local PR agency, and whispered the question “how can I get a job in PR?” I then went on to recite my CV and the endless skills and talents I could offer her agency, if only she hired me. Safe to say, I didn’t get the job.
Now, imagine my shock at being asked back to sit alongside other Leeds alumni on a careers panel to talk about my journey into the wonderful world of PR. In the words of the University, the aim was to ‘inspire and mentor the next generation’. Ok – so I might not own my own agency or have extensive experience in the industry, but working at Tangerine was something I was more than happy to shout about.
The easy bit was standing in front of a lecture theatre and raving about the goings-on at Tangerine Towers, and the fantastic work team Tangerine does on a daily basis. The harder part was seeing slightly younger versions of me sat in the audience, acting down-right more intelligent, knowledgeable and sophisticated than I ever was.
After an hour-long panel discussion, I headed to a mini networking event to chat to the students over a few glasses of vino. I wasn’t just surprised, but unbelievably impressed at the insightful conversations they were able to hold. One student asked where I stood on the age old PR v Journalism debate, while another soon-to-be grad showcased the freelance work he was doing alongside getting his degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Another student even passed me her business card!
The truth is grads are getting better and better, year on year, and taking the industry by storm. While traditional media jobs may be in decline, new and exciting technology is opening the doors to a whole host of new career paths.
From what I was told, students no longer have their sights set on one individual role in PR, journalism, TV production or new media, but instead want to specialise across the board. While roles in the industry are evolving quicker than ever, by the sounds of things, university students and future graduates are more than happy to keep up.
By B2B account executive Rachel Billings