Nicole Daybell graduated from our BA Media and Communications course in 2019. She spoke to us about her role as a Graduate PR Account Executive at WPR.
What was your first job after graduating?
Graduate PR Account Executive at WPR.
Was it difficult to find that job?
I went to WPR during second year for a week of work experience, and was asked to return two days a week for a paid placement throughout the summer. I was offered a full-time role just before I began third year.
What research and preparation did you do to help get that job?
I researched the work experience scheme at WPR after hearing our Tutor Kelly O'Hanlon talk about what a fantastic place it was.
What did the job involve?
Writing and issuing press releases, compiling media lists, research, pulling together evaluations, contributing to campaign ideas, speaking to the media.
How did university prepare you for work?
University taught me the foundations of the PR industry, as well as allowing me to learn more about other industries within the media. This was equally as important as the PR focus, because it provided me with an understanding of how each industry works - which is useful when liaising with journalists, trying to secure broadcast coverage, or briefing a photographer, for example.
My course also encouraged work experience and professional development, which is hugely beneficial in ensuring you are industry ready by the time you graduate.
Looking back, what was the most useful module as far as your career is concerned?
Definitely the Professional and Academic Development module. I know it’s the module everyone complains about, but it really is the most useful post-university. A lot of my friends who have done other degrees didn’t have much guidance in this area, and they found it really difficult to find jobs in their field after university. Having experience of CV building, work experience and insightful professional development makes such a difference.
At what point, when you were a student, did you start thinking about your career?
I started to think about this from second year onwards when I chose to specialise in the two areas (PR and TV) that I was considering a career in. I then did work experience in both disciplines, so that by the end of second year I knew which career path I wanted to take. My advice for anyone that’s unsure about what career they’d like to go into is to gain experience in a variety of different industries, starting in first year, as this really helps you to discover what you do and don’t enjoy. During second year, I discovered that while I loved making television, the job itself didn’t suit my lifestyle, and this helped me to make the decision to specialise in PR. Thinking about things early allows you the time to find out which direction you want to go in, so you’re not left panicking in third year.
Is your career what you imagined it would be when you were at university?
Everything and more! I spent a lot of third year worrying that once I entered the world of full-time work, I would become a miserable person that lived for the weekend. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, I value my weekends more than ever, but I never dread a Monday morning. The transition from university life to working definitely comes with an adjustment period and new stresses, but if you enjoy what you do, and have a good working environment, you will thrive. I really wish someone had told me this!
What advice would you give current students about preparing for work?
Work experience is one of the best ways to get a foot in the door, so treat each placement as though it is a trial for a potential job.