Having recently finished my journalism degree at the University of Lincoln, I was keen to start my new career journey – whether that be in the world of PR, journalism, marketing, or honestly whatever comes my way!
Having already undertaken a work placement at a tech-based PR firm in Newark at the start of the year, my experience in the world of PR was somewhat tunnelled. While there I had spent my time creating social media schedules and news releases about technology and telecoms and wanted to branch out into something a little different.
I contacted Jez directly to arrange a week’s experience at Shooting Star, to which he swiftly replied and invited me to join the team in June. If university taught me one thing about starting a career it was this: you need to get your foot in the door – especially in a competitive field like journalism or PR. Make an effort to find the name of the CEO or the manager, send them an interesting email, a great cover letter, and a current CV and personalise it to the role you are interested in. Even if there isn’t a vacancy available for employment, you are likely to be put on the waiting list and be kept in mind for the future, or even offered a work experience opportunity.
I was lucky enough in my work experience that Shooting Star were happy to have me on board, and I was excited to begin my time learning the ropes.
On my first day I was welcomed with some friendly faces in the office; Nikhita, Emma and Sam were so warm and helpful, and they gave me a quick tour before I settled down at my desk. My desk was in fact in a great spot, as I was surrounded by all the group and really felt part of the team. Throughout the week I joined in with conversations, the tea-making and the general gossip of the office; making a real effort to involve myself within the team and feel part of the company.
My workload for my first day was creating social media posts for a popular fish and chip company, writing an award entry for a software company, and helping upload a blog post onto the Shooting Star website.
The second day I really felt as though I was thrown in at the deep end – my workload was so packed, and the day was so busy it went by in a blur! At the start of the day I was given two news releases to write up for a new client; both needed quotes and so I rang both contacts up for an interview. There was a great buzz in the office throughout the morning – the annual Lincolnshire Show was starting the next day and the team were getting ready for an event on behalf of Visit Lincoln. I was given the responsibility to directly contact journalists around the region, from local press to ITV Calendar and BBC Look North, to invite them to the breakfast the next morning. Initially it was quite daunting, but I soon got the hang of ringing the journalists up and was pretty confident talking to them about what the day would entail. I also helped create some gift bags for the show (which was great fun and gave me a break away from the screen!) and wrote a blog post for a client. The day went by so fast, but it was a great to feel busy and really contributing to the team.
Ready and raring to go after that busy day, I found that Wednesday was totally different. With half the team attending the Lincolnshire Show, the office was quiet – but there was still plenty of work to do. After finalising my news releases with Jez, I tried my hand at formatting a website for a national sports association (via WordPress) and ended up spending the rest of the day working on this. It’s not often I’m given the opportunity to work on a national website!
I spent most of the day away from the office on Thursday, attending the second day of the Lincolnshire Show with Alex and spending the whole afternoon networking with prospective clients. It was great fun!
The week whizzed by, and before I knew it it was my last day at Shooting Star! My work experience had brought about a variety of work for me, from writing award entries and social media posts and helping build websites to networking with clients. What I most enjoyed most was the diversity of work and the fact that I worked in areas that I am generally interested in, which I found helped tremendously when writing. Having a passion for what you write makes a real difference.
I would recommend work experience to anyone. It gives you a great understanding of the world of work and offers the chance to develop skills that you may not have learnt at university, college or school. Shooting Star is a fantastic place to visit for a week or two. The team are lovely, the work is so diverse, and it has been a real pleasure to undertake my work experience here. Thank you everyone!