The right path…

In December, I was in a mild panic. Typical Siobhan, I must say. I was panicking like any other soon-to-be graduate about a career after my degree. I was worried about finding the right job or even a job at all. I knew I wanted to be in the PR industry, but where, who and what was still playing on mind. I kept asking myself that inevitable question each graduate asks, what path do I want to take?

In February 2017, I applied for graduate schemes and jobs. Hearing back from a few led to attending interviews and assessments days. It felt exciting but it still didn’t feel right. Feeling right about a placement, job or even work experience is severely underestimated and not often taken into account. I’ve always been told “if you get a good opportunity, go for it”, but what if you don’t feel confident or feel good about the opportunity?

A bad or uneasy feeling about an opportunity is telling and as important as the opportunity itself. I wish somebody had told me this at the start of the year.

In March, I was invited to an assessment day with an agency. I was extremely surprised. This scheme has been widely talked about in the PR industry as an innovative approach and I thought my application would get lost in the influx of incredible candidates. I was thrilled to make it to the assessment day. On the day,  I instantly got that right feeling. The environment felt friendly, fun and creative. I came away from the day, wanting the job even more than when I walked in that morning.

A few days later, I was notified I had been selected for the scheme. As soon as I got the call it felt right. At the start of the year, I panicked about what path to take and what I would do after I graduated. Paths do present themselves but it is crucial to make sure it is not only a great path but the right path. The saying commonly used when talking about love relates here, “when you know, you know”. In the future, this saying and learning curve will help in making decisions that feel right to me.

I am thrilled to say my path starts with Golin London on their new scheme Golin B&B in May and I can’t wait!

Feeling like a fraud…

The journey to university was a struggle. After bad health, an extra year in college and a long commute each day, I finally submitted my application. Late November, an email popped into my account from UCAS.  I had been accepted into my first choice, University of Greenwich.

From this point onwards, I referred to my acceptance as ‘lucky’. Not once, did I mention to anybody how hard I had worked, how I had spent an extra year gaining the grades for the course or my long commute each day to college. I put my acceptance to university down to ‘luck’.

In 2015, I ran in The PR Fraternity elections. A society that runs alongside my PR and Communications degree. All of the candidates were extremely strong and I assumed my chances were nil. Surprisingly, I was voted the role of President. I was extremely happy, but in the later days I found out that the vote had been very close. I chose to focus sorely on this information and again, I counted myself as ‘lucky’.

I didn’t know it at the time but this is called imposter syndrome: the fear of being exposed, that you don’t deserve your success, aren’t as good as others – and could be “found out” at any moment. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

This month, I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. This is where I learnt of imposter syndrome and instantly related. It describes that women are more likely to feel that they are not worthy of their success than men. Men experience imposter syndrome to but use it very differently. Women use imposter syndrome to lean out of work, and men use imposter syndrome to lean into work. Men see imposter syndrome as doing something right, a challenge that they will conquer.

Throughout my presidency last year, I felt the success of the year was purely down to my team, honorary patrons and luck. I still to this day give myself no credit for the achievements throughout the year including a consistent guest speaker series and turning the society around to become the ‘biggest academic society of the year’. A male in this position however, would “always be proud of their success” says Sheryl Sandberg. Men label their success down to hard work, graft and effort.

We as women need to take note. There is a fine line between self-deprecation and self-destruction. We don’t need to start acting like men, or approaching imposter syndrome as a male, because of course, we are women. We just need to be ourselves and own our success.

More information on Sheryl Sandberg’s, Lean In campaign here.
Image credit: http://f–f.info/?p=18021

Back to the city lights..

She threw her arms in the air and shouted ‘I’m baaaaaack’…

I’m back in London. Well, truthfully I’ve been back in London for about a month. After a lovely holiday, a visit to my hometown in Ireland and a crash on the M4 (everyone was fine!), I’ve successfully made it back to the city. Since being back, it’s been a very busy few weeks. Third year feels like another step up from last year. So, please do excuse this post for being so late.

I had already been preparing myself through the summer for this year to be… mental. Last year, we were fortunate enough to know our third year class very well. They were ace. They helped us out so much and also prepped us for what was to come. I was truly happy to see that they all graduated with incredible grades. Now it’s our turn…

I am dreading my dissertation. Who doesn’t? I think the dread and worry is due to wanting to produce a piece of work that I am proud of. I also know that this topic needs to be done justice but I am glad I have chosen something I am thoroughly intrigued by. My topic is a current issue in the PR industry that I am not only passionate about but want to be a part of effectively changing. My dissertation is based on qualitative research and I’ve had such a lovely response from the PR Practitioners that I have asked to interview (all have said yes, woo!). Which only adds to my previous experience of PR industry professionals, the majority are always happy to help, so do not be afraid to ask.

I’ve also got to find myself a job this year. It’s hit home this month that in a blink of an eye I will be graduating. I plan to apply for a number of graduate schemes and jobs in the coming months. I’ve started to think what makes me as an applicant unique. What will make my application (hopefully!) stand out from the thousands I will be competing against, because ultimately, there will be thousands of young PR graduates looking for a first job in 2017. My ideal scenario… to be accepted onto a scheme or get a job in a top agency. Looking for my first job in a top agency is a high goal, I know but I feel anything is achievable if you work your ass off. That is what I’ll be doing this year.

So, if you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s where I’ll be, thoroughly working my ass off.

 

 

What I learnt capturing an event on social media…

This summer, I worked for a digital marketing company as a PR/Content Assistant.

I was asked to attend the company’s business show that allowed local businesses to connect and network. The day included exhibitors, seminars and workshops bringing people from across the region together in one room. My responsibility for the day was capturing the event on the company’s social media.

I had previous experience from my time as President at the PR Fraternity, as our team would manage our own events to a very high standard. Social media was a key factor in gaining a brilliant reputation for the PR Fraternity from industry professionals. At the PR Fraternity events, using imagery seemed to be the most effective content to engage followers.

I used imagery throughout the event which gained great engagment online.  This throws up an important point, always tag, it introduces a new audience to your photograph. I found that by tagging the company’s involved in the photographs, it was being retweeted by them on their account. This alerted their followers/customers to our event and gained more interest from a wider audience.

Another trick is quoting. If people can’t make the event, quoting a speaker or presentation is a great way to engage an online audience. It’s the best of both worlds,  a short quote keeps the audience up to date and relays relevant information.

What gets a quote traction? A hashtag. Hashtags puts your port in front of an audience or community that are actively seeking this topic. It helps your post reach that niche audience you are looking to target. It presents your company or business to an audience that may or may not of heard of you before. Which could consequently result in new opportunities and even new clients. Don’t go overboard though! Use hashtags relevant to your post, it shows professionalism and it isn’t passed off as spam or desperation.

My regret of the day. I didn’t jump on the Facebook Live band-wagon. In my opinion, it’s overtaken Periscope in the live streaming game. I have to say it is a great tool and content creator. After your Facebook Live broadcast, the video can be edited and then posted on your site. Video streaming, especially through Facebook Live, is an incredible opportunity. Baring in mind, the prediction that 75% of content online will be video by 2018. We better all get jumping on the video bandwagon.

In conclusion, the main tips I have learnt from this experience.

  • Visual always gains more engagment and traction, so make this your number one feature of your posts covering the event.
  • Always tag either the company or the individual in the posts or photographs, opening up your content to a whole new audience.
  • Even though visual is now everything, people like to hear relevant information. Quotes do this nicely.
  • Create a hashtag for your event. Make sure it is on each post. Use popular hashtags on your posts but only if relevant to your event.
  • Don’t be afraid to use video. A great tool to  firstly showcase your knowledge and secondly, increase your fan, follower and customer base.

 

 

 

 

Back in Devon… minus the sigh & huff

I am surround by green fields and silence and this time it’s not with a sigh or a huff. I was looking forward to coming home this summer. Second year was hard and took a lot out of me. Everybody tells you it’s a step up from first year, that second year is finally the reality of a degree. Of course, it flies over your head in first year due to your bigger tasks like “what the hell am I eating for dinner?”.

I really tried my best this year. Second year for me, was my year. I wanted to get a first, even if it required blood, sweat and tears (which it did!). From March till about April,  I sat on my butt at my flat table in the kitchen for hours writing essays, reading and generally trying to educate myself. It became a second home for not just me but the rest of my flatmates. But fortunately, guess what? It payed off. This year, I walked out of my second year with a first.

I’ve never been bad at education. I’ve always been average. Yes I assure you, I know it’s nothing to moan about. Starting PR in my first year, I finally felt that I found something I loved, enjoyed and bonus, I was kind of good at. I found myself having ambition and drive to do well. First year, I walked out of the year with a high 2:1. I was happy but I swore I would work my butt off next year and try for a first. (Sitting at that table for so long, my butt didn’t work but more became numb!)

I didn’t think  a first was possible to be blatantly honest. Writing this, I still can’t quite believe I managed it. To some people, it is just a number or a regular thing but for me it finally convinced me that I had found ‘my thing’.  It gave me the confidence to pursue something that I enjoy and love so much.

Anyway, I’m back in Devon now. I took three weeks off seeing people, spending time with family and enjoying Devon in the sunshine. It was a lovely break. The sun has not lasted long, of course but I have found myself a ‘summer’ job and guess what? It’s in PR. I’ve been very lucky that a digital marketing agency down here have taken a chance with me. I am a PR  / Content Assistant for three months until third year comes calling in September.

Moral of the story: Stop doubting yourself, work hard and make it happen.

 

Made to Stick // TFL ‘Report it to Stop it’ Campaign

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I have lived in London for two years. Thankfully, I have had a great time in the city but a city comes with its chances. At first, being a country girl I was always on my guard. After a few months, complacency sets in and slowly you start to turn into that ‘typical Londoner’. Always in a rush, always unaware of surroundings.

At the start of my academic year, as a group project we looked at the TFL sexual harassment campaign. This campaign was created after researched showed 90% of incidents on London Public Transport go unreported. The campaign encourages commuters to report harassment on London’s Public Transport. Personally, I only realised the significance of the campaign when being faced with the issue myself.

A few weeks ago on two occasions I have been made to feel uncomfortable on London Transport. Something that I have never had to experience. It’s a coincidence both incidents happened in one week.  The incidents were minor but even so, I was made to feel so uncomfortable that I started to question my safety. Forgetting about gender, male or female, nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable on public transport.

I completely connected with the TFL campaign months after I had been exposed to it.   After the incident, I realised the campaign message was made to stick. I knew instantly how to report, where to report and what to report, all from a short video  TFL had created back in April 2015.  Campaign messages can still connect with their target audiences successfully. This TFL campaign shows that even with the many messages in this noisy old world, a campaign can still break through the noise.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable on public transport, it is wrong. In the words of TFL – report it to stop it.  Find out more about the campaign here. Watch the video here.

My snapshot of Internal Communications with CommsQuest.

When CommsQuest Communication Consulting (a communication, change and engagement consultancy) came to our class to talk about engagement and internal communications, I became extremely interested. Working for a high profile company through my teenage years I came to notice quickly that internal comms in a company is everything. Effective internal communication is a business imperative for companies seeking to stand out. Success, in what is now an ever-evolving and connected world, depends on it.

CommsQuest set up a competition within our class at University of Greenwich with the prize being of spending a day at CommsQuest with their team in Hertford to get a glimpse into the world of consulting. I was really glad to be offered the opportunity along with my fellow classmate, Cleo to spend the day with CommsQuest in Hertford. The day started with an early start and a coffee briefing on what the day had to bring. We began with our task, helped by Darran Mustoe, we were to create a film talking to small businesses about communications. When you think of communications in business, you don’t think of your local florist down the road or that clothes shop on the corner. Communications is everywhere, and this what I learned…

We used film to capture key messages from our speakers as it is becoming an increasingly important part of the internal comms channels mix, and has the power to move people emotionally to take action or change behaviours. Filming this video allowed me to learn what makes a good communicator but also work on my very own communication skills. Throughout the day we were taught coaching tips on how to brief interviewee’s, how to keep them comfortable and how to get great content. It was a real learning curve.

After an intense couple of hours with back-to-back interviews, Darren and ourselves discussed our lessons learned. These helped shape an upcoming TV workshop that the team are holding in a few weeks for an aviation client and equip them with the skills to use film as storytelling communicators (not just movie makers). Myself and Cleo also had the opportunity to quiz Lorraine and David for loads of career advice and insight into running a business.

A day at CommsQuest taught me a lot. The film participants were all local contacts that had relationships with CommsQuest and due to this each interviewees everyone was happy to help in the film.  The main thing being ‘relationships are everything’ as it attracts new clients and retains existing clients. Looking after these relationships and maintaining them to the highest standard can greatly benefit a business and this is one thing I found CommsQuest prides themselves on.

I never considered a career path into internal comms because honestly, I always thought it wasn’t really the ‘exciting’ part of communications. Internal communication ensures people within organisations are committed to achieving ground-breaking business results, the exciting part comes in helping to improve collaboration, productivity and performance. In fact, in my small experience at CommsQuest, I did find it exciting, intriguing and I got a quick snap shot of what the industry is really like. Internal communications is now a path I might just stroll down.

Big thanks to David Norton and Lorraine Hambleton at CommsQuest for having us for the day! Also to Darren Mustoe for teaching us the ins and outs of the film process!

To find out more about CommsQuest Communication Consulting, visit www.CommsQuest.com Or you can follow them on Twitter @CommsQuest LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/commsquest-communication-consulting or find them on Facebook.

To find out more about Darren Mustoe Communications visit www.darranmustoecommunications.co.uk