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Learning about life in Public Relations

June, 2019

University of York student Lydia Thurlow, 21, joined the team at Kent PR agency Maxim during a week-long experience learning what public relations is all about.

Having just finished my second year at York University and soon to start my final year in education, I decided it was time to start thinking about the reality of work beyond the buzz of campus life. I have always had a part-time job alongside academic work but, with the end of my scholarly journey fast approaching, it dawned on me, a future career is something that needs thinking about. 

This realisation is what led me to seek out work experience at Maxim. Having always been unsure as to what career may best suit me, I think it’s fair to say I am still ‘exploring my options’, yet PR is an avenue I was keen to understand. I have always enjoyed working with people and I feel my strengths lie in writing, organising and thinking creatively, hence why PR was something that appealed. I live fairly local to Tunbridge Wells and, having researched Maxim prior to requesting a work placement, I was intrigued by the diverse range of clients and various services that they offer. 

My week at Maxim

Despite only being at Maxim for a week, I still feel I have greatly benefitted from the range of tasks I completed and the feedback that followed. I am in no way perturbed by constructive criticism and in fact, having experts in their field evaluate and comment on my work was a beneficial part of each exercise.  I managed to draft press releases and client website posts, review and edit articles, and help with the organisation of events for a number of different clients, meaning that every day had something new to offer. I was even lucky enough to escape the office and attend a client visit to Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex.

Lydia Thurlow pictured during her visit to Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex headquarters.

Coming into Maxim, I had limited knowledge of what PR entailed and only had the prior experience of managing social media and marketing emails for my Dad’s business. I therefore came to Maxim with a marketing mindset but soon came to learn that, despite some forms of press releases having an advertising focus, the ‘flowery’ language used in that field was not required for the documents I was creating.  Instead I was taught that my press releases should be succinct and to the point, outlining the facts whilst still maintaining an interest, to encourage journalists to cover the story. 

Additionally, my visit with Phil and Alice to the Air Ambulance headquarters provided an insight into the communication process between the client and PR team. It was a really interesting visit with an opportunity to look around and see the helicopters and headquarters, alongside attending the meeting. 

The meeting was also valuable as I learnt the way in which past and present projects are reviewed and discussed, alongside how future tasks are planned to be successful. I appreciated the benefit of visiting the client in person too, as it helped me to understand the way in which a good relationship is maintained, and a positive rapport is built.

Overall, I feel I learnt a lot from my experience at Maxim. Everyone ensured I was kept busy and the feedback I received was always constructive. I will ensure I remember and put everything I have learnt into practice in the future, and hope this is not my final experience working with a wonderful team. 

posted in: maxim/client news, public relations, students’ views,

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