Name: Jordan Kavanagh
University: Leeds Beckett
Course: PR and Communication
Why did you choose to study PR?
I wanted to do something that I could remain creative in and a course which I felt opened a lot of doors. PR just seemed to stand out a little more than journalism or marketing with advertising for me. As a mature student I had already had the taste of a few different industries, but felt like I wasn’t making the most of myself or my skills. I feel like PR is forever changing, especially within an agency environment, and that was a huge draw for me.
What has your course involved?
I’m halfway through the second year of my course and so far it’s been fairly varied. We tend to have one PR specific module each semester, one marketing and one other.
It’s great to get a solid foundation and knowledge of PR and how it works whilst developing our writing skills and building a portfolio. It hasn’t involved as much creativity as I would have liked, but that’s where interning comes in.
What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
I would say it’s how it has completely changed in the last 20 or so years with the digital revolution. There are such a wide scope of things to consider in this age of PR, new apps, social networks and publications coming out daily. Although some of the fundamentals are the same, from what we are taught it seems like a different industry now.
Will you do a year in industry placement?
I’ve successfully gained a placement at Finn PR, a communications agency based in Leeds. I previously interned there for 2 weeks and it was a fantastic experience.
I will be a junior account executive for the year, working across a range of clients and within a few different departments within the agency. We had a meeting and I’m going to be doing both consumer and trade PR, and I’ll also be spending some time with the digital and the creative team.
It was really hands on when I interned previously, so I can’t wait to get involved on a full-time placement.
Have you any other PR experience?
I worked at Brass, a full service agency within Leeds for 3 months around my studies and a further 3 months full-time over summer. It was consumer PR accounts I worked on. Brass was a great experience for me, as they are a full service agency I gained a working knowledge of different departments and how they interlink and come together.
I’m currently working at Delete; a digital marketing agency within the Leeds office, as a visibility executive. I mainly work within content creation but also help with brainstorms and SEO research and reporting. Gaining a knowledge of SEO and PPC has also been really handy, I’m trying to get as much experience under my belt as possible.
I found most of these vacancies on the Leeds Beckett student website, and they’ve all been paid placements, so I’ve been really lucky.
What are your aspirations for after university?
I want to get to London and work within an agency there ideally within consumer, travel and third sector accounts. It would be great to get some events experience and work on some big campaigns.
I love the work agencies like Cow, Saatchi, Frank and Exposure do just to name a few, because they’re creative and forward thinking. I’m not really sure exactly where I’ll end up as I’m still fairly new to it all, but I’m excited by that prospect.
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I honestly find most of my news via twitter links, LinkedIn and agency posts. I follow a lot of industry professionals and agencies on both, and they share some really great and relevant content.
Who is your PR inspiration?
I don’t really have a PR Inspiration as such, but I did come across Joe Sinclair, the founder of The Romans agency a while back and really liked his views on starting an agency and just how he interviewed really.
He used Biggie Smalls lyrics and describes himself as a Public Relations Roadman, that was enough for me, but he also says you should take a break and get away from it all every once in a while. I just agree with his views, he seems like a cool guy
What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
Intern, get a taste for the industry and see if it is for you. A degree is a massive commitment both timewise and financially, so before you choose something make sure you’ve given it a go.
Also, get yourself writing, set up a blog, and try to teach yourself how to use other handy tools like Photoshop and Keynote. They’re really valuable further down the line.
My last tip would be get some travelling done whilst you’re at uni or straight after, it’s not overly related to PR, but it’s hella’ fun, and life experience is great to talk about at interviews.