When my lecturer announced that there was a UWE industry event to meet the in-house PR and comms team at Burges Salmon, I have to admit I was beyond curious. For some reason I had only ever envisioned celebrities and companies needing public relations, and that law firms were ‘above PR’. It was only until I attended last night that I realised how wrong I was.
Networking events are ALL about first impressions, so it is fair to say I was less impressed with the typical British weather not co-operating with my schedule. Despite the nerves of not knowing what the expect, the fluster from speed walking in the torrential rain and the anticipation waiting for all the students to arrive in the reception, the rest of the evening was like a breath of fresh air.
As we gathered into a communal room for coffees (and a few too many biscuits), we were formally introduced to Simon, Dan, Elspeth and their latest recruit, Ceri. Rather than being thrown into the networking deep end, the event was held in a Q&A panel style, learning about their backgrounds and current roles within Burges Salmon. As the night progressed and I learnt more about how the two professions of law and public relations interconnect, I felt reeled in by the prospect of one day perhaps being able to work in a similar job role. I no longer felt incapable of this career aspect, just because the only law jargon I have picked up on has been from BBC One crime dramas.
PR and spin have always gone hand in hand, but what I found refreshing at the event was the practitioners’ complete honesty. We were able to hear about their most embarrassing PR flops and their not-so-stylish early career paths, which I believe really inspired every student in the room.
From discussing the healthy and happy dynamics of the company to learning how to keep your skill set fresh, I really did feel like the event opened my eyes. For example, I never really considered in-house before, as I thought agency would have more variety… turns out it is the other way around. Your default is to consider working at places that already have a great reputation. My question would be ‘Why?’ as a PR that is looking to make a major impact and a real name for yourself, you should also consider places that really need your help to get their messaging across. That way, you’ll be really valued from day one.
Moral of the story: Never rule anything out, because in this day and age, your possibilities are endless.
And a big thanks to Burges Salmon for having us.