When I started my public relations degree in 2010, the first thing that came to mind was Sex and the City’s fashion-obsessed Samantha.
However, I’ve since learnt there’s a lot more to PR than what you see in films. The industry is rapidly expanding, with more and more Australian companies realising the value of sound communication management. A graduate’s role may include forming media relationships, issues and crisis management, managing corporate social responsibility, assembling creative campaigns, using social media to engage the community, and so much more.
Yet it’s important for those contemplating a PR career to understand what it involves, beyond the stereotypes.
Occasionally, you might stage a glamorous event to spread your employer’s messages, but months of planning goes into a few hours of speeches, champagne and happy snaps.
Having just completed a six-week internship at Sportscraft’s PR department in Sydney, I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s like to work in a fashion PR environment. And while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of my degree, let me tell you – the workplace reality is not always as glitzy as Hollywood portrays.
I spent most of my time at Sportscraft sorting through new season sample clothing, making sure the sample showroom was immaculate for media visits and preparing stock for photo shoots. These tasks took a few hours each day; any PR skills learnt in the classroom would have to wait.
Despite these mundane tasks, my internship provided many exciting experiences. I went to my first photo shoot, where I got to see the outcome of my hard work preparing sample clothing. I attended meetings with external agencies discussing Sportscraft’s involvement with numerous fashion festivals, as well as creating internal marketing newsletters and media releases.
During my internship, I was also able to attend Sportscraft’s new season campaign launch. This event was a fantastic opportunity for me to start networking with the national fashion media, and was a highlight of my time with the company.
Working with Sportscraft allowed me put my theoretical skills into practice, gain confidence and better prepare me for my post-uni career.
I highly recommend interning or volunteering to gain valuable work experience. My degree has taught me so much in the last few years, but there is only so much you can learn in a classroom.