STUDENT LIFE: SUSIE JAMES, UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH

Name: Susie James
University: University of Plymouth
Course: International Relations
Twitter: @susieejames
LinkedIn: Susie James
Blog: Written By S 

Why did you choose to study international relations?
Studying PR was never really an option for me. It had never occurred to me that it was something I would be able to do, so I decided (on a whim) to choose international relations. I wouldn’t say I regret not studying PR because I’ve been able to do internships in order to learn more about the industry as well as honing my writing skills by starting a blog.

Something I wasn’t expecting to do was to see the relationship between politics and PR

What has been the most interesting aspect of studying international relations?
The world of politics is ever changing, and being able to study and focus on the Islamic State for my dissertation is very interesting. Something I wasn’t expecting to do was to see the relationship between politics and PR for example the recent Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that in this day and age, people are much more likely to trust a business than a politician, which is an incredibly strange thought, but when I think about it, resonates true to me and my friends!

How have you gone about getting experience in PR?
As my course is the study of history and politics, I knew I had to do something about forging a career for myself, as I’ve known from a young age that PR was the industry for me. So I went about emailing every PR company under the sun to see if they were looking for summer interns. Luckily enough Rooster PR (a travel and lifestyle agency) was the only one to get back to me, and took me under their wing for the summer of 2014.

2015 was no different and that summer I chose to intern for 3 Monkeys Communications and was able to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I was on the ground for the launch of Windows 10, attended a Christmas in July event for Morrisons as well as having the opportunity to learn so much more about the industry, and meet some key media contacts along the way.

Will you do a year in industry placement? 
Unfortunately my course doesn’t offer a placement year, however an internship fund has been set up to allow students to undertake internships in any career with any company without worrying about the financial aspect, something I took full advantage of last year!

Have you any other PR experience? 
I’ve done two one week placements with PR agencies, one as a fashion intern with B Public Relations and the second with Carver PR, a publicity agency with clients such as Chris Moyles and Suzi Perry, both of which gave me such an incredible insight to a side of the industry I’d never been exposed to before.

I would love to be back in a London based agency working with brands I love

What are your aspirations for after university?
Aside from improving my pretty poor cookery skills and getting a dog, I would love to be back in a London based agency working with brands I love and having the opportunity to write and get creative every day. The most important thing for me is to be able to have fun while I work, and I’m lucky enough to have had that experience at every agency I’ve worked at thus far, so long may it continue!

I also follow a lot of PR companies and CEOs on twitter so am constantly reading reports on dips and trends within the industry.

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I’ve recently joined PRCA so am currently relying on the Precise news updates to keep me aware of upcoming stories. I also follow a lot of PR companies and CEOs on twitter so am constantly reading reports on dips and trends within the industry. Never underestimate the power of twitter!

Who is your PR inspiration?
I really like this question. I’m lucky enough to have come across some very inspirational people in my very short career, so I’ll go with someone I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet but have admired for a long time and that is Ed Williams at Edelman PR.

He’s had such an inspiring career as well as a first class education and for me, is just one of the most interesting people in this industry. I have so much respect for his experience, which is second to none, and I would love to have the opportunity to meet him so I can tell him how awesome I think he is. I’ll also tell him that when I applied for the Edelman graduate scheme, I got to the question that asks you to upload an image of yourself that doesn’t have you in it, and I uploaded a picture of a poodle. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I hope he thinks so too.

develop your telephone manner as much as possible

What are your tips for A level students considering a career in PR?
Bring creativity into everything you do! Write constantly, read magazines and newspapers so you learn about news and the way its written, keep up to date with trends and campaigns and make sure you apply for experience! Even if it’s just a week with a small team it will give you such a great insight into how PR actually works and the type of things that are expected of you. Also (this is some strange advice but bear with me) ring everyone. You’re going to need to be really on it with the phone so develop your telephone manner as much as possible, even if it’s just nominating yourself to ring the Indian restaurant for your takeaway!

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