My first few days as an Intern for The PHA Group saw events such as London Fashion Week and The Brits Awards take place, so with little PR experience under my belt, it’s safe to say that the last two weeks have been pretty jam-packed, with lots going on… and a lot to learn!
As my time working with the Fashion and Lifestyle department draws to a close, I have highlighted my ‘Top Ten Must Do’s’ for any PR Intern during their first stint in the Big Smoke – from practical travel advice, to how to make the very most out of your experience.
So, kicking off with a bit of practical advice… get on the bus!
Yes, the tube is ridiculously fast and efficient and, being a Northerner, I’ve been fascinated by the concept of travelling underground; but I LOVE getting on the bus in London. It’s cheap, you can get on it at night (this doesn’t exist in Sheffield) and you get to see ALL THE SIGHTS. I’m such a tourist, I know.
Read the Evening Standard
I only started doing this during my second week as an Intern, as I was far too busy clinging on for my life on the Bakerloo Line during my first few days to read a newspaper. However, once I mastered the basics of staying upright whilst travelling, I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard and read it on my way home every night. Working in PR, we always need to be up to date with the news agenda and making the most of free publications such as METRO (in the morning) and The Evening Standard (on your way home) on your commute is a great way to keep ahead of the game.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
It may be a cliché, but I’ve learnt that it’s so important to ask questions during your work experience.
Aside from showing people that you are interested in what you’re doing, it’s also very natural that at some points during your internship you may be unsure of what you’re doing. I’ve learnt very quickly that it’s ok not to have all the answers straight away, people are happy to help, and in the long run, it’ll save you a lot of time staring blankly at your computer screen hoping for the best!
Jump on every opportunity
If an opportunity arises, sit in on internal meetings. I was lucky enough to be invited to a brainstorm meeting for a new product launch, and it was a really helpful experience. I’m currently studying for a degree in Events Management, and when I return to Sheffield (sob), I’ll have plenty of knowledge on the starting blocks of a product launch project to take back with me.
Do your research.
It might sound obvious but before I started my work experience, I did a lot of research into the work that The PHA Group has done previously and, believe me, it helped. Admittedly, I was still nervous on my first day, however, once I’d settled in I was able to throw myself straight into the tasks I was given – rather than having to spend time reading up on the relevant clients first.
Spend time getting to know your colleagues.
I started on a really great week at The PHA Group as at the end of every month they have a company awards ceremony followed by a couple of drinks at a nearby bar. This was a great chance to put myself out there, and get to know the girls in my department a bit more as I’m only here for such a short space of time.
When the working week is over…
… Head to The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch and dance the night away. It’s as far away as you can possibly get from a generic nightclub, and their live band will have you hopping to the likes of Chic – Everybody Dance like you don’t have a care in the world. Plus, they serve AMAZING food during the day, too… You’re welcome!
Soak EVERYTHING in!
In a period where Madonna fell, #TheDress broke the internet and Patricia Arquette made THAT speech at the Oscars – good PR has never been more important. As an intern, the best thing you can do is TAKE EVERYTHING IN. literally, everything. From breaking news, to the new selfie Kim Kardashian has uploaded to Instagram – I can safely say there is something to be learnt from everything. There’s never a dull moment in PR, and I’ve found it particularly interesting how celebrities and their PR’s manage to use the good, the bad and, in some cases, the ugly to promote their “brand”.
Use your evenings wisely…
There is so much going on in London on a weekly basis so, if possible, try and get in on the action whilst you are here. I stayed at a friend’s house in Greenwich the night of the 2015 Brit Awards, and although I managed to have a snoop inside the O2, I wish I’d hung around witness what the celebrities were wearing in person. Or stalk Critic’s Choice winner James Bay, you decide. The PHA offices are located really close to Leicester Square and there is always a host of exciting premiers and film events taking place – it’s a great opportunity to have a wander after work and soak up some of the media buzz.
Ring your folks!
Trust me, they’ll be really proud of you. When my first blog post was published during my first week at PHA, not only did my mum send me a picture of herself reading it, she also shared it on Facebook to all her friends. It’ll be the ego boost you need if you have a bad day.