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University graduate is given an insight into public relations

February, 2016

Psychology graduate Kathleen Santer, 21, explains her week with Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim.

How did I get to Maxim?

Like a lot of graduates, I left university with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I needed to earn money while I figured out what career I wanted to follow, and before I knew it I had fallen into a waitressing job. I was relatively happy with this to begin with, and it seemed like this ‘Friends: Rachel season 1’ phase, was my best option. It felt good to be in my first full time job, earning a wage and I was lucky enough to get on well with my colleagues. Plus, Ralph Lauren was sure to be just round the corner waiting to give me an amazing job offer…right? (For those of you who don’t watch friends, this link will explain all).

Well, not exactly. Whilst Ralph didn’t walk through the restaurant doors, the editor of the Kent and Sussex Courier, Roger Kasper, did. Oblivious to his position I proceeded to give him and his wife the sob story that was my current career opportunities. After hearing that I was interested in a career in public relations, Roger generously offered to send out my CV, in the hope of getting some work experience.

Fast forward and I’m in Maxim’s meeting room with Phillip, talking about why PR is right for me and what I hope to get out of work experience. Phillip rightly said the only way I would truly know would be to give it a try, later offering me a week with Maxim.

First day jitters

My first day came around quickly, and at 7am I unknowingly started what turned out to be a three hour journey to Maxim. Despite being late, everyone at Maxim made me welcome and I quickly became comfortable in my new, albeit temporary desk.

Tasks at Maxim

As someone who promoted themselves as articulate, I was suddenly very aware that I hadn’t written anything in eight months. So, when I was given the task of writing a website post, it’s safe to say I was anxious. The post explained how funding from an offshore windfarm helped a Kent school create a more sustainable environment. Despite it taking me half the day, Erica was really encouraging and I was pleasantly surprised with the work I produced.

The next task was writing a blog post for a manufacturer of play equipment. I related recent news about rates of childhood obesity in under fives, to playground equipment tailored to that age group. I’m really interested in this topic and the end result was a brief, easy to read blog post.

Knowing your audience

During my week I learnt the importance of knowing my audience, writing in different styles for different clients. To ensure I was using the right tone, I looked to client’s websites, previous press releases and articles. At one point, I was given the task of transforming bullet points about property contracts into a 500 word article. I was able to adopt a formal, to-the-point style, necessary for the client in order to get all information across.

Later, I was drafting a script to be read over a video advising small businesses to take advantage of social media. This required an informative tone, contrasting to the previous article. I enjoyed the research and writing of the script, overcoming the difficulty of getting it under three minutes long.

An invaluable experience

Over the week I was given many more tasks than I could explain here, and I’m really grateful for the support and guidance I received throughout. I’ve acquired a good idea of what PR involves day-to-day and I’ve loved researching such a variety of subjects. Most importantly for me, my week at Maxim has reminded me that I love writing, and has given me the confidence to say that maybe I’m good at it too. I say that knowing I still have a lot to learn, but I’m definitely leaving Maxim eager to develop my skills further, and hopefully work with people as lovely as these in the future.

posted in: public relations, students’ views,

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