This week, Cullen Communications client executive Emma Walker shares some tips and insights for students hoping to study communications following the CAO first round offers
When something big happens in my life, I can always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing.
The morning the CAO first round offers came out, I was hovering over the ’Refresh’ button on my computer at home, waiting to find out what course the next few years of my life was going to take. Today’s crop of Leaving Cert students will no doubt discover what college or university they will be attending with a simple swipe of their smartphones, but the feelings of excitement and uncertainty are just the same.
It’s not easy for most people to know exactly what they want to do. How do you plan for a career of 40 years or more? I’ve always been a bit jealous of my older brother, who knew from an early age exactly what he wanted to do with his life. With a passion for art and design – and the talent to match – he always wanted to be an architect. Today, that’s what he is.
I, on the other hand, took a more scenic route, having considered and then ruled out pursuing a career as a doctor, nurse and superstar ballerina. Today I am a client executive in a busy Dublin PR agency, courtesy of a Postgrad Diploma in Public Relations and Event Management, and for anyone hoping to break into the thriving world of communications I am here to present the case for PR.
PR is practical
If you like the idea of learning how to do something, then studying communications or Public Relations is definitely something for you. From learning how to research and analyse information, to developing your skills in writing and presenting, studying communications or PR at third level introduces a wide variety of skills which will be useful no matter career path you may decide to take.
Communications is a thriving sector
As difficult as it may be to think about your employment potential at the age of just 18, it is something that has to be considered – take it from a ‘recession graduate’! You’re ideally looking for a sector that’s growing, and PR is certainly doing that. The most recent PR and Communications Jobs Review conducted by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland showed a big increase in recruitment, and that trend is likely to continue.
In PR, every day is different
Like any job in the world, there are good days and not-so-good days in PR, but one thing’s for sure: it’s never boring. You could be brainstorming with colleagues on a new business pitch, working your media contacts on an exciting CSR project, travelling to meet a client to discuss a new project, or about a million other things. Yes it’s busy, yes it can be challenging, but I personally wouldn’t swap the pace of PR for anything else. (Assuming the Bolshoi Ballet doesn’t come knocking on my door.)
You can bring your interests to work
Are you into your cars? Do you have a good eye for fashion? Are you crazy about sport? Just because you study public relations doesn’t mean you have to lose your other interests. On the contrary – agencies need people with a wide variety of skills and interests in order to match the diversity of their clients’ needs. The more eclectic the mix, the more creative the solution. In PR, your interests can always feed into your work – and vice-versa.
Whatever you do, do what you enjoy!
It goes (almost) without saying that you need to enjoy your course. College is a fantastic, fun-filled adventure with new friends and new experiences but there’s also a lot of work involved – weekly assignments, stressful study periods, new subjects to master, exams to prepare for – and if you’re not enjoying the academic side of things, you could be in for a tough time. Choosing a course you enjoy will also help massively when graduation times comes around – I really enjoyed my time studying PR, and now that I have broken into the industry I am loving what every day throws at me. No coincidence there.
We’re always on the look-out for talent
And to everyone getting their Leaving Certificate results this week, we hope the hard work paid off – let the adventure begin!
Emma Walker attained her Post-graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Event Management in 2014 and joined Cullen Communications as a client executive, where she works with clients including Ford, Office Depot and Enterprise Rent-A-Car