Wednesday, May 30, 2007

PR Work Placement and its Advantages

For those of you students who have yet to complete your work placement, then this is for you! Work placement for students is a very important process in the grooming of a student to a PR professional. It provides the crucial link between being a university student and forging a career in the field of PR. There are many advantages of completing work placement while approaching the end of your time at university, such as:
  • Provides you with knowledge of the industry area
  • Consolidates the job experience
  • Generates an awareness of the working environment
  • Develops appropriate attitudes and behaviours to the industry in particular, and work in general
  • Development of transferable skills
  • Enhancement of existing social skills and
  • Increased confidence and independence

The main advantage of such placement is the fact that you can further understand if public relations is a career that you wish to pursue.

Although work placement can be nerve racking at first, it is really a time to show what skills you have learnt during your time at university. I believe it is an opportunity to turn heads at your host organisation and use such skills as the following:

Writing: It seems to be a fairly unexciting and predictable, but being able to clearly express yourself in writing is absolutely critical and a necessary skill when considering a role in public relations. During your time as a student on work placement you will often be given work based on your ability to write. You will be asked to draft press releases, contribute to PR plans, case studies and general office duties. It is essential that students writing skills be of a high standard, as your host organisation will not want to be re-writing any work that you may have produced with grammatical and spelling errors.

Knowing PR Tools and Techniques: Another essential skill as an intern is that of knowing and using basic public relations reference tools and techniques. If you are able to utilise these tools during your stay with your host organisation, you are half way to succeeding in your public relations internship. It is important to know these tools as hands-on experience with writing and delivering a full public relations campaign may be part of the curriculum within your host organisations internship.

Critical Thinking: To become a truly valuable and accomplished public relations consultant, students need to know how to dissect and solve problems without step-by-step instructions. This is a skill, along with writing, is a skill that is generally overlooked and lacking in not only students but practicing consultants as well. How can one improve on their critical thinking? Basically, it just comes down to common sense and hard work. Read a lot, ask questions to your peers and management, and assume a learning philosophy and being curious about everything you attempt while on work placement.

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