Saturday, 11 December 2010

It's who you know, not what you know

By the time I graduate in 2012, after 5 years at two different universities, studying two different courses, I will be 23 years old with about £30,000 worth of debt. So where exactly will this leave me? Will the fact that I’m slightly older than the other graduates competing for jobs make me more desirable to employers or will they prefer a younger model with more miles left on the clock?

Now that we are reaching the halfway point of our second year a lot of my PR coursemates are talking about their plans to do a Masters Degree to enhance their employability. Although this is something that really interests me, I could never realistically do it due to my age and already huge amounts of debt. However, there are still other options.

Next summer I will be undertaking a few weeks of work experience at London’s Premier PR. This is a really big company and I am immensely excited to make the most of this opportunity. I applied to countless London based agencies over the summer of this year and even managed to get an interview with Taylor Herring. I spent hours researching and preparing for that interview. I knew the history of the company and its clients, I could easily define PR and separate it from advertising and marketing. I started reading the newspapers and I had huge monologues prepared for why I wanted to work in PR and why Taylor Herring. I could have talked for hours about all of that stuff. In the end I travelled all the way up to London for a lacklustre interview which lasted less than 10 minutes. I was caught out with questions like ‘who’s your favourite journalist’ and ‘which PR companies do you follow on Twitter?’ They weren’t interested in any of the grade A material I had prepared. So I’m sure you can guess I didn’t get the position.

I felt pretty bad for the next few days, like I had wasted a great opportunity. But then I found out that my aunt works as a receptionist for Premier PR; one of London’s biggest PR agencies, with branches in LA! Before I knew it I had work experience sorted without even needing to go for an interview. In the PR industry it is definitely who you know and not what you know. Anyway, we are getting way off topic here.

I have found out that Premier PR often offers its work experience students a job after they have graduated (if they impressed during their time at the company of course). So I have found myself thinking which is more valuable; a Masters Degree in PR or a year of actual experience and a steady job? Surely it has to be the latter. Of course this is all purely circumstantial and there is no guarantee whatsoever that I will impress Premier PR enough for them to offer me a job.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t choose either of those options right now. I am only 21 and am determined to make the most of my life. There is so much I want to see and do before I am tied down by jobs and families. When I graduate I want to save up some money and travel a much of the world as possible. The job can wait until after that.

You never know, I might impress Premier PR so much that they offer me a job when I get back from it all. I can dream, cant I?


emily said...

well done tom! :) i hope they give you a job!!! you deserve the best job in the whole wide world! :) xxx

Debra said...

Following you on Google Tom. And wishing you all the best with your career and life in general. From reading your post, it looks like you're going places. Happy travels!!!
Hope your visit my site and follow me too.

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Tom Westgate
I am 21 and currently in my second year of a Public Relations and Communications degree at Southampton Solent University and it is awesome. I love hanging out with my friends and I enjoy playing football and rugby and I go surfing with my friends every year! I know when I'm older I definitely want to work in a big city, preferably somewhere hot and on the coast! But before I think about getting a job I want to go travelling. I just want to make the most of my life and see the world! In's allll goood!
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