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What a month at The PHA Group

What a month at The PHA Group

By Ellen Maddin, The PHA Group Intern

It’s the final day of August and it’s my final day at The PHA Group. Some say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and my month here definitely has.

I remember the 2-minute wait in reception on my first day felt like an eternity. The nerves were mounting and upon reflection; the 2 double shot cappuccinos I’d had that morning were probably not a good idea.

However, the welcome given to me by the Entrepreneurs and Business Team (Abbi, Emily, Celia, Alice, Prisca, Jasmin, James and Stuart) instantly made me feel better. I cannot express how thankful I am to them; their positive energy is infectious, their work ethic is inspiring and their supportive nature radiates across the pods. Two words to sum them up are: Girl Power! Not forgetting of course James and Stuart who immediately made me feel part of the team!

Now to the important points…

What I have learnt…(a vast amount):

  • I now have a real understanding of how a PR company works
  • I have learnt how to use Gorkana – vital when creating media lists
  • You must be on the ball; constantly keeping an eye on news outlets for coverage opportunities
  • Brainstorming ideas is essential especially when deciding on a new pitch angle – two brains are always better than one!
  • Being confident is a fundamental part of PR – mine has grown while being here!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions (everyone is happy to answer them) – it gives a meaning to the work you are doing and it makes it much more interesting!
  • It has been exciting to see how all the different parts link together to form an overall strategy!

My Highlights

There have been too many highlights to write about them all so here are my top 3:

  1. I loved the mini project I was involved in because I could demonstrate my creative skills. It also gave me an insight into the broad range of work PHA do for their clients. Seeing the finished product was a great way to end my time.
  2. The research tasks I have completed have all been fascinating and have shown me the wide variety of clients PHA-Media have. Everyday has been different!
  3. Knowing that I enjoy writing, Emily (from E&B) set me some blog posts to write for some of The PHA Group’s clients. Understanding when to use a different tone and language style has been incredibly useful!

This internship exceeded my expectations and taught me some invaluable lessons. Notably, to succeed in PR you need to be determined and enthusiastic. A month ago, I was feeling anxious about graduating in a year’s time knowing I’d be entering the ‘real world’. Now I feel like a future career in PR could hopefully be on the cards and that is all testament to what I have experienced at PHA. Thank you everyone!

P.S. influenced by the mini project I was set, my parting gift to the E&B Team is a survival kit

My Public Affairs Internship

By Michael Lach

My internship at The PHA Group started in October 2016, after recently completing my degree in International Relations and Politics from the University of East Anglia. I had always been interested in Politics as well as PR, and when I stumbled upon an online invite one day asking me to attend a ‘PHA Open Day for aspiring PR professionals’ I leapt at the opportunity.

The day encompassed of myself and a few dozen others coming to PHA to learn about all the teams and the work that they do. After hearing from Emily, who did an introduction to the Public Affairs team, I knew that this was definitely something I would be interested in pursuing.

michael lach

Fast forward to February and I’ve now been at PHA in the Public Affairs team for a little over 4 months. During this time I’ve worked on some truly big issues, from helping to safeguard the future of British Film, to helping millions of British overseas citizens. Plus, one of the best things about doing work experience with the PHA Public Affairs team is that unlike in other intern roles where basically your biggest responsibility is in charge of making tea or photocopying, at PHA you are truly part of the team and have responsibilities that matter.

In my first week, I was asked to help set up meetings between our clients and MP’s. It felt great that the company trusted me enough to give me such an important responsibility, which ultimately was crucial to our clients’ interests. My responsibilities have also included preparing briefs and reports for the team and our clients, as well as client events and attending high-profile meetings in Parliament with our clients and some of the UK’s top politicians.

Another thing I have enjoyed is that no day is ever the same! When you come into work in the morning, you could be working on a new client that’s just signed up, meeting with a client, or attending events!

PR internships and graduate jobs: The top tips you need to know

The PR industry is exciting, fast-paced and always on the lookout for fresh talent.

PR has something for everyone: whether you are a creative media graduate, an English student with a flair for writing, or a sports fan with an interest in events.

Yet breaking into the PR industry can be competitive, so here are five insider tips for getting an internship or graduate job in PR.

FYA seminar

All members of the PHA team are encouraged to attend weekly training sessions. Pictured are both permanent team members and interns during a guest speaker seminar.


1 – Do your research

Graduate roles in PR pop up all the time, so making sure you pick the right one for you is vital. The best candidates will have researched the company and have a good understanding of their work.

Going into an interview you should feel confident in your ability to talk about the company’s successful campaigns and what makes them different from their competitors; all of which shows you understand the company and PR.

It’s important to remember that an interview is just as much a chance for you to find out more about the company as it is for the company to find out about you. So don’t be afraid to ask questions and engage in a discussion about the PR campaigns and events you feel passionately about.

Try to name check their clients, express an interest in their founders, and if they’ve won an industry award congratulate them on this – all this knowledge will add personality to your interview and make it memorable.


2 – Tailor your CV

Your CV is the first look at your professional skills and creative experience that an employer gets, so make sure it’s a good one.

Start your CV with a punchy personal summary that both grabs their attention and clearly says what you’re looking for. Try to present your experience in a way that tells the story you want it to – so that writing for your student newspaper, getting involved with event planning and working in a shop all show you have the skills necessary to succeed in PR.

Even the skills you think may be unrelated to PR can be relevant. For example, working in retail demonstrates your ability to communicate with a variety of people and demonstrate a basic awareness of business.


3 – Keep up with social media

Social media is crucial to modern PR and so making sure you stay up to date with your own online channels will help you keep an eye on job opportunities and help recruiters keep an eye on you.

As a free and wide-reaching tool for getting in contact with prospective employees, PR companies will use Twitter as a way to reach job-hunting graduates, so follow their tweets for updates.

Be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile as up-to-date and interesting as possible, that way recruiters can easily see your skills and get in contact with work opportunities.

HR insight: recruitment fees mean PR companies are eager to contact candidates directly, so having a stand-out social media presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress) allows your skill-set to reach a much wider audience in the way that you want it to.

PHA People tweet

Check out The PHA Group’s twitter feed for live updates on recruitment and agency news.


4 – Be enthusiastic at interview

This might sound like an obvious one but it’s surprising just how far genuine enthusiasm can go in a competitive sector such as PR.

It’s refreshing for a company to meet a candidate who is eager to get stuck in and has the enthusiasm to get this attitude across at interview.

Make sure you convey a passion for the industry and a willingness to learn in the areas you are less familiar with. It’s important to emphasise that whilst you aren’t a PR expert, you have the drive to become one, and it’s this positive approach that will stand out.

So be enthusiastic about the agency, the role, the far-reaching influence of PR, and show your ability to work through the challenges that a role in PR can throw at you.


5 – Take the internship and keep in contact

If a graduate job in PR seems too daunting or out of reach, do not fear. Internships and work experience are the perfect PR taster, and whilst unpaid placements can seem unfeasible in a costly city like London, they are a great way to build up your experience and get some great names on your CV while you’re still a student.

Most PR companies will offer some kind of internship and these will vary in their content. The best PR internships out there will get you writing press releases, contributing in client brainstorms and speaking to journalists, so there’s plenty to be learnt and to add to the CV.

We here at The PHA Group champion our interns and make sure we give them as much insight as possible into PR.

But don’t despair if an internship doesn’t immediately lead to a permanent position. Employers will always appreciate a variety of experience with different PR companies. However, when your internship does finish make sure you leave the door open and stay in touch.

If you’ve made a positive impression, then why not remind them of your availability and most recent work experience by dropping them an email every now and then? That way there’s no reason why you won’t be at the front of their minds when they come to recruit for their next graduate role.

PHA social

Socialising and keeping in touch with your colleagues is a great way to network and keep your finger on the PR pulse.