I was the cliché! I went off to university for three years to have the best time of my life – and I certainly did. I studied Media Communications at De Montfort and began learning about PR in my second year. In the following year, I continued to study PR and it was then that I decided that this was the field of work I wanted to go into. My PR teacher kindly pointed me in the right direction of jobs on the market in the Midlands and companies she recommended. One in particular caught my eye – Prova’s Graduate Scheme – and, as they say, the rest is history.
After a perfect three years at uni, I was passionate about finding a job that made me just as happy. I looked toward the year ahead and hoped I would be feeling just as positive after my first year with Prova. When the nerves set in on my first day walking up to the office, I cast my mind back to the interview I had with Sarah. She was so kind and welcoming – surely the rest of them couldn’t be too bad?
To my relief, I had nothing to worry about. From the get go, Charlotte was like my fairy godmother – always there when I needed to ask a question (and of course, there were lots). Similarly, the rest of the team were just as helpful. A special shout out to Faye, as my line manager, who has always looked out for me. With the patience of a saint, she has always kept her cool and helped me progress along the way.
One notable experience I had during my first week was when I was learning to use the phones – something I was quite anxious about. Ed was explaining to me what to say when answering and how to use all the buttons when the phone rang.
“Go on,” he gestured towards the phone, “this one’s yours.” Shaking like a leaf, I picked up the receiver.
“Good Morning, Prova,” I said, trying to remember everything that Ed had taught me. It was so much easier than I’d thought. Seconds later, I realised that on the other end of the line was another colleague. I’d had nothing to worry about!
So, what’s happened since then? Well we’ve had a Prova baby birth, at least two wardrobe malfunctions, a Christmas party to remember and plenty of cake in-between! Aside from that, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot since joining Prova and, coming to the end of my grad scheme, it only feels right to take a moment and look back on my development through the programme.
For the first three months that I was here, I adjusted to work life and really got to know the clients. I began to understand my role as a junior account executive and the role PR plays for our clients.
In the year that I have been at Prova, I have learnt an invaluable amount. From research to writing, I can see myself how much my attention to detail has developed – a skill that I have come to realise is vital in PR. Something else I discovered was that every client is different. Each client wants different things from PR and it is our objective to deliver exactly that. Something individual and pioneering for each of them which, if anything, makes the job a whole lot more exciting.
I’m still learning daily, especially from St John who sits opposite me, whether it’s sharing his popcorn-shaped nuggets of industry knowledge or a random fact about a classical music artist, there is always something interesting he is telling us about!
In addition to this, I’ve also been lucky enough to attend some insightful training sessions, from Google Analytics training to a variety of PRCA webinars, Prova has helped support me while learning on the job. After Aimee’s recommendation, I have also taken part in the Coventry & Warwickshire First Mentor Scheme, where I regularly meet up with my mentor, who is chairwoman of an international insurance broker. We discuss areas I wish to improve and progress in the coming months from a neutral but professional perspective.
The main advice I would give to anyone going into their first job in PR or a graduate scheme is just to relax. Your colleagues want to help you and you are there to learn. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to do so. Although using your initiative is encouraged and is a really great skill, there’s no harm in getting some advice from someone with more experience than yourself.
Working in an agency has given me great responsibility and has always kept me on my toes – there is never a dull moment. Responsibility has given me a real purpose and allows me to see where I fit in this jigsaw of an industry.
And a year on, having finished my graduate scheme and been appointed to a full time role, am I happy? Yes. I am still extremely happy.