The In betweener - how to get ahead in PR

In a time between the end of my master’s degree and applying for scary real jobs, I find myself getting some valuable work experience at Gravitas PR.

Inspired by the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson film, The Internship, this opportunity for work experience has been a fantastic introduction to an industry I knew relatively little about.

Having worked on a variety of projects from product recall legislation to feminine hygiene products, I’m very lucky to have been given real-life assignments and genuine opportunities to learn about the industry and develop relevant skills.

A few weeks and a holiday since I took my first steps into the Gravitas building, this is my last day at the company. As such, I have compiled a check list for future interns.

Choose accommodation carefully. During my time in Cheltenham I have stayed in three different places and they’ve each had their merits. Whether you’re after somewhere close to a Tesco Express, near a train station or in the centre of town, choose wisely because a good night’s sleep and a manageable commute are important.

Get to work on time. Turning up late to work is my nightmare and I’m sure it would be infuriating to others in the workplace who set aside time from their busy schedules to give you a morning brief. As such, I planned an extra twenty minutes driving time and arrived early every day. Yes, you might miss the last ten minutes of Everybody Loves Raymond, but it’s on repeat so I’m sure you’ll see it again.

Get your lunch in the morning. Get your lunch on your way to work or even the night before. Going to the Co-op at 1.30 will leave you heartbroken when you realise all the good sandwiches have been snatched up by hungry office workers. (If you like low fat tuna with no mayo, no sweet corn and no cucumber, ignore this advice.)

Dress appropriately. I sit here now suitably dressed for the Gravitas office environment: black jeans, comfy casual shoes and an unbuttoned shirt over a t-shirt. However, I turned up on the first day fully suited with a shirt, tie, shiny office shoes and a natty pocket square. While all the other staff came smart-casual, I had misinterpreted the dress code of the agency. Always ask in advance what the dress code will be. If in doubt, dress smarter and be flexible to tone it down later.

Tea or coffee? Make a list! Many work experience people may be constantly ordered to the kitchen area to brew another round of caffeine energy for the office, but I’ve been lucky enough to be welcomed into the Gravitas team and given a variety of responsible roles. However, when I have had to make the drinks, it has been a disaster. Memory is not one of my strong points, so learn from my mistakes; make a list on day one and keep it somewhere safe!

Whilst I may not be a nickel in a blender (like Billy and Nick from The Internship), or a little girl from a steel town who had the dream to dance (another Internship reference), I have found my time at Gravitas extremely valuable. I have been lucky enough to work with a friendly and energetic group of people who have been helpful and patient. I’m very grateful to everyone at Gravitas for making me feel so welcome and leave with great experiences and happy memories.

Michael