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To dunk or not to dunk, that is the question

November, 2017

Newcastle University graduate Beth Starke, 22, spent a week getting to grips with the world of PR (and causing a heated debate over whether to dunk biscuits in tea) at the Tunbridge Wells-based communications agency Maxim.

I have unfortunately joined the long line of university graduates that cannot get a job and do not know what they are doing. Having had my gap year fun of travelling the globe, I now wanted to settle down and start a career. This, however, was proving much more difficult than first thought due to the highly competitive nature of the PR industry of which I wanted to get into. What I did not realise was my luck was just about to change.

Maxim to the rescue

It was another dreary day of being unemployed so I went to visit my granddad. After giving him the cake I had made we spoke about what kind of job I wanted and in what industry. Lo and behold he said his former neighbour (Erica) worked for a PR company; Maxim.

Jumping on this, I asked him whether he could get in contact and if they did work experience. In no time at all I was invited to the office for an informal chat with Director, Philip Jones. While I forgot the cake they asked me to bring, I didn’t disappoint too much as they offered me a week’s work experience.

Thirst for knowledge (and tea)

Maxim presented me with many varied tasks of writing press releases, blog posts and condensing articles down into short, snappy pieces. Although I had never done this before, the team gave me all the support I could need and were extremely encouraging. They even went out of their way to find pieces of work concerning my love of fitness and the radio.

I was taught how essential it was to keep up-to-date with the news and to have my own twitter account. I am now enthralled by twitter and regularly check my feed for the latest news. However, the biggest thing I can take away from Maxim is the importance of a cup of tea. It can solve any problem and can be drunk continually, without stopping throughout the day. Maxim took full advantage of this, and I was slightly shocked by how much tea one team can consume.

What I really took away from my week in PR is how much knowledge you can gain. Having to write press releases, articles and blogs on subjects I pretty much knew nothing about meant I learnt so much through my research. I am now confident(ish) in freehold and leasehold buildings, and have insight into the latest GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that is coming into force in May 2018.

Drinking on the job

I also got the privilege of coming along to one of Maxim’s network (drinking) evenings. This was with fellow experts in like-minded communication fields. Rachel and her friend Helen (Senior Publicist for BBC World News) gave me an intense insight into what was to be expected of me in PR. Although it slightly frightened me there was so much to know, they were both so encouraging and informative that I left feeling dizzy (I blame the pint as big as my head) and really excited about what lay ahead of me.

Starting off as pretty much clueless but nonetheless very interested in PR, Maxim has really helped to transform my knowledge and enhance my interest in the industry. I cannot thank the team enough for the opportunity, skills and cuddles with Alice (office pup) they have given me.

posted in: students’ views,

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