Where? Firefly Communications, London
What? PR internship
Why did you choose this place? It was a family connection – a relative of mine is the CEO. Luckily I also have relatives living in the city who had a spare room, which meant I could afford to be nearby without the costs of a long commute.
How did you find the application process? It was more a case of keeping an eye out for possibilities; the company weren’t specifically looking for newcomers and I wasn’t looking to go into PR, or for an unpaid position, but utilising what I had easy access to was very beneficial in the long run.
What did you do there? I was an all-rounder – everything from data entry and making tea to calling clients and installing printers. But I was asked to ghost-write an experience blog for one of our clients’ service, and after that I was able to draft blogs for the clients themselves, and proofread ones written by my colleagues. Later on I was appointed co-ordinator for the newsletter and was responsible for writing summaries of the blogs. It was mostly writing to a brief but as I was given more responsibility I was able to be more creative with what I was given.
The good things: The general office experience was good preparation for anything I end up doing, and it was the first nine-to-five job I’d ever had, which really gave me a sense of what the ‘real’ working world was like. Because the job role was so diverse it also gave me access to a huge amount of transferable skills I never would have considered seeking out myself.
The bad things: At the back of my mind I knew that PR wasn’t what I wanted to do, and at times I was frustrated that I was putting so much time and effort into something I just wasn’t passionate about. The living arrangements were also stressful at times – I was incredibly lucky being able to live rent-free in the city, but it was restrictive, and there was no other way I could have afforded living costs while working unpaid in such an expensive area.
Anything else we should know: Never pass up an opportunity to do something you didn’t plan to do, because it might end up being exactly what you always wanted. And even if it doesn’t – as it didn’t for me – you’ll know, and you’ll get to work with some amazing people and see what it’s like for them to be passionate about their career. It’ll make you all the more keen to find your own place in an industry. It also means you get a hugely diverse skill set and experience on your CV, and you never know where you’ll be able to make use of knowing how to link a non-network A3 printer to twelve computers.