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At the Cole face of PR

August, 2012

Emma Cole, 20, a student at the University of Reading, spent two weeks at Maxim learning about the world of PR. Here she shares her thoughts on the experience.

Work experience students: the perfect antidote to that stack of folders that need their staples removing? A cheaper alternative to a fancy coffee machine? Luckily for me, Maxim does not conform to either of these views.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t kept busy during my two weeks at Maxim – although fortunately the tasks I was given were constructive, and actually PR-based.

Some of these assignments I had been expecting, such as proofreading documents, drafting press releases, researching press lists – and others I hadn’t foreseen – modelling for a photoshoot at Five World Kitchen on my first day being a prime example. Although I ended up as an unrecognisable blur in the background of the final advert, co-star Simon and myself are still extremely proud of our convincing performance, and firmly believe that the future success of the restaurant is owed solely to us.

No two days are the same

If there’s one thing that the last fortnight has taught me about working in PR, it’s that no two days are the same. One day you’re working with a woodland burial park, the next you’ve got a 30ft inflatable pig to contend with (true story), but it’s the variation that makes the day interesting.

My colleagues also helped to make the experience an enjoyable one. I was relieved to meet somebody with the same ludicrous fear of spiders as me at the Maxim office - Rachel’s decision to abandon her car in Southborough and walk to the Tunbridge Wells office when she discovered an eight-legged beast crawling on the ceiling of her car certainly made me feel better about my arachnophobia.

I can honestly say that I have taken a lot away from my time with Maxim, from tips on how to write a press release to being cured of my phobia of Microsoft Excel – after being bullied into making a spreadsheet by Rachel and Victoria, I decided to create one of my own accord the following day to help out one of Andy Rayfield’s clients.

Quality feedback

I have also been pleased with the quality of the feedback given to me during the placement. For each piece of work completed, somebody has always sat down with me and explained what was good and what could be improved – and most importantly, why. As a result, I can say with confidence that I feel significantly more prepared to enter into a career in PR than I did a fortnight ago.

All in all I would certainly recommend Maxim to anyone looking to gain work experience in PR. I now feel like I have a good idea of what a working life in public relations would actually be like - and I’m glad to say that I haven’t been put off.

posted in: public relations, students’ views,

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