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Press Assistant: Inspire Me

By UCL Careers, on 5 December 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Lornette Harley, Press Assistant at Soho Theatre, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

How did you get into your role?Lornette
I did a degree in musical theatre and discovered that that side of theatre wasn’t really for me as much as I loved it. After my degree I got into a lot of event planning and managing which then turned into a lot PR work in the music industry and that was how I realised that I love PR. I did about 3 works on music events and PR work and then a friend of mine sent me the vacancy for the role of Press Assistant at Soho Theatre and I thought it was the perfect mixture of all the things I enjoyed doing, so here I am!

What are the best things about working in your role?
The fact that I am always learning something new and constantly meeting and interacting with new people. The people that I work with are also some of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with. We all sit in one open plan office and the atmosphere is always great. It’s a great role that mixes my love for all things creative with the office work.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
I sometimes think it can be quite difficult to plan my day at work because I never know what’s going to happen when I get there. I’ll have an idea of what I want to get done in a day and then I’ll get a string of emails all marked as high importance and my plan goes flying out of the window. It can be quite difficult to fit in everything that needs to get done.
What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?
Get into theatres, see as much as you possibly can, really immerse yourself in all things theatre so that you know what’s going on. Be aware of the press that is around as well; read the papers and magazines, listen to radio shows and watch news programmes. Also, reach out to your local theatre wherever you might be, see if there are any part time front of house roles that you can do alongside your studies if you have time. Get into a theatre and make yourself known, you never know what possibilities for moving up there might be and if you’re already in the theatre you’re in a better position that people applying from outside. Lastly, remember everyone you speak to (the industry is small and you’re very likely to work with people more than once) and be nice to everyone you come across.

To find our more about working in PR, visit Careers Tagged

Media Week is coming…

By UCL Careers, on 25 November 2015

Interested in media? Want to hear from professionals in the industry? We have a variety of events during our Media Week, 1st – 4th December 2015, that will give you a great insight into this popular sector!

Media Week

Panel events will involve talks from each panel member about their current role, their career path and tips on how you can progress. You will then be able to ask questions to the panel, so come prepared! The sessions will be followed by informal networking to allow you to follow up to any conversations started in the Q&A.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Tuesday 1st December

  • Panel: Get into Publishing, 17.30-19.00. Hear panel members discuss their top tips for getting into this notoriously difficult industry. Speakers include Dr. Nina Buchan, a freelance Science and Medical Editor, and representatives from Sage Publications, HarperCollins, Collins Editing and UCL Press.

Wednesday 2nd December

  • Workshop: Journalism, 13.00-15.00. Two-hour workshop run by News Associates, the top UK journalism school. This session will involve you writing an article in a mock breaking news exercise. Spaces are limited and you will need to pay a returnable deposit.
  • Panel: Get into Broadcasting – TV, Film & Radio, 17.30-19.00. Speakers confirmed include a Director/Producer/Editor for Slack Alice Films, a Lead Producer for the BBC’s Digital Storytelling Team, a freelance Series Producer/Director/Cameraman, an Assistant Producer for BBC World Service and an Account Director at Precious Media.

Thursday 3rd December

  • Presentation: What is Media Analytics?30-14.30. Media is changing. Data and analytics is key to delivering successful media campaigns and growing clients’ business. Find out more about this growing part of the sector in a presentation delivered by GroupM, global media investment group, and part of WPP.
  • Panel: Get into Marketing, PR & Advertising, 17.30-19.00. Panel members include Claremont Communications, Lloyds Bank, Ogilvy, Periscopix, & Gerber Communications.

Friday 4th December

  • Panel: CVs & Applications for Media Careers,00-14.00. Get top tips from industry professionals on how to make your applications stand out and what you can be doing now to increase your chances of securing a role in this industry. Panel members include Head of Commercial Marketing from The Guardian, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, an experienced media recruiter from SapientNitro and a guru around creative industries from CreativeSkillset.

If you are interested in attending any of the above events, please sign up via your MyUCLCareers account. We look forward to seeing you!

Fashion PR Manager: Inspire Me

By UCL Careers, on 5 June 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series,Melissa Collins, PR Manager at River Island, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into Fashion PR.  Melissa Collins PR Manager River Island

How did you get into your role?

Before obtaining my current position at River Island, I gained a lot of experience working for other brands. I started my work experience at different magazines such as Bliss and Cosmo before I decided to pursue a career in PR. Then I secured an internship at Boxfresh for a year before going on to work for a range of brands such as Ralph Lauren, Warehouse and Arcadia where I moved from being a showroom assistant to a press assistant to press officer. In 2012, a senior press officer position came up at River Island and I jumped at the chance as I loved the brand and everything it stood for. After a year and a half, I was promoted to PR Manager and I’ve never looked back.

How important is it to have a degree in fashion to secure a job in the field?

A degree in fashion will start you off in a great position – if a CV was placed on my desk, one of the first things I look for is the candidate’s degree and the course they studied. However, work experience is also crucial when applying for jobs in PR and journalism, alongside having confidence, great presentation skills and knowing the industry you want to work in inside and out. If you’ve worked within the industry already and have that insider experience, it isn’t as essential to have a fashion-related degree but it certainly helps!

What are the best things about working in your role?

The best thing about working in fashion PR is that no two days are ever the same! I could be on a photo shoot one day, a breakfast meeting with journalists or in the press showroom the next. I love this industry, the buzz you get when you see your brand featured in the likes of Vogue, Sunday Times Style and other prestigious magazines is incredible. Also, the creativity is great, you get to put on some fantastic events, press days, product launches and many more. On a whole, the fast fashion industry is constantly changing and I’m excited to see where it goes in the next ten years.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

Time! There are never enough hours in the day. The world of PR has changed a lot of the last few years. When I first started I was working with just magazine/paper/broadcast journalists, but now online plays a huge part, as well as bloggers. I feel like I have to spread myself more thinly across all the areas.

What advice do you have for students wanting to pursue a career in PR?

Fashion PR is fun, creative and very fast paced. It’s really important to gain as much experience as possible; I had to do a lot of work experience and internships to get that first break, but it will come, you just have to be patient. Communicate with as many people as you can, if you meet a lot of people along the way and make a good impression, chances are that they will remember you. During a work placement role, make sure you stand out from the other students and graduates by going above and beyond what is asked of you. That will make you first in mind when that dream role comes up!

 To find out more about PR or Fashion visit Careers Tagged