When I spoke to PR professionals about how to get started in a career in the industry, getting as much experience as possible was the first thing they’d suggest. I applied to Maxim and after brushing up on my understanding of wind farms I was offered a week at the end of the summer.
The week got off to a hairy start. Within moments of arriving I watched as Andrew stood atop a swivvly chair attempting to change the lightbulb above my desk, well aware I could be about to witness the company director fall to his death. After Andrew was safely grounded, the PR began.
My first lesson was in stakeholder mapping. I learnt how PR companies like Maxim develop an understanding of who key figures they’ll be involved with in the future are, and how crucial this task is in producing precise work.
At Maxim you’re given a broad variety of tasks to crack on with yourself, something I found a relief. Work experience is infamous for descending into tea-making and photocopying, but at Maxim I was given real work to look over and even write myself.
I was involved in press releases, articles and blogs. Familiarising yourself with the client and their field, and then researching around that to provide context can be a massive task. Learning the nuanced writing styles and figuring out which angle represents the client best is something you can only gain through experience, but the support I received meant I was never left feeling overwhelmed.
Having no prior experience in PR, I’d wanted to start off at a company that worked with varied clients offering different services.
My experience was exactly that. Scanning through Business Insider for Brexit-related corporate mergers and acquisitions analysis, having moments ago finished off an article explaining the merits of children’s playground equipment is a quite surreal work environment, but one that I really enjoyed.
Erica told me that in PR, you have to be an expert instantly on everything. I’m unsure if that was meant in exasperation, but it stuck with me nonetheless.
The working environment at Maxim is very relaxed and open. This makes it a lot easier to juggle ideas and tasks, and generally keep focused on work. Everybody is very constructive and positive about your work and always takes the time to consider what you’ve produced.
Being at Maxim for the week has confirmed my interest in a career PR, which is all I could have asked for. But I learnt far more, and the hands on, reins off approach they take is daunting at the beginning but by the end, immensely rewarding.
The team have been a pleasure to learn from and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity.
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