Jared writes all the time: press releases, responses to the day's news, case studies, pitches and so on. When not writing, he's on the phone talking to his press contacts
When I got my job at Spreckley, I'd responded to an advertisement in the Media Guardian section. I was luckily reading it as I was working as a temp in the PR department of Sainsbury's HQ, doing the media scanning, otherwise I might not have seen it. I looked up the firm and found that it had a good reputation so I decided to go for it. I had an interview with two people, the managing director and an account director at the agency, and was offered the job the next week.
To get an account executive or assistant account executive job, you need to show that you are a literate and intelligent person who can communicate well. You should show your employer that you can concentrate on the detail and that you have the patience to then check it again and again so no errors get through to clients or to the press.
I studied history at Birmingham University, and I learnt an awful lot there including the basics like the ability to write lucidly and how to research effectively. My history degree showed that I could research and write effectively and understand complex topics and then communicate them to a wider audience in an appropriate style. More importantly, however, I demonstrated the ability to talk to many different people, to talk in front of an audience and to ensure that I knew what I was talking about before I opened my mouth. These skills really helped me to get the job I wanted.
I began as an account assistant, concentrating on administration and research. As I learnt more about PR and specifically about my clients I began to write media alerts and press releases and eventually case studies.
When I had demonstrated my skills at writing and that I was an able communicator on the phone and in person, I was promoted to account executive. At this level I could work a little more on my own initiative and spent a lot of time pitching ideas and submissions to the press for upcoming editorial features. I was also tasked with securing interviews and media responses to news stories as clients broadcast news or unveiled products or research. The role develops into a more independent position giving you more freedom to plan and carry out actions in the way that suits you. You must develop your own style and be comfortable talking to people. Don't be false as people can spot that a mile off.
I do a lot of research into news topics or technologies that my clients want to work in, so that we can address the press in these areas in the right way. As an agency, we work with our clients to develop their messages so their customers and stakeholders get the information they need. I write all the time: press releases, responses to the day's news, case studies, pitches and so on. When I'm not writing, I'm on the phone talking to my press contacts with whom I've developed a good working relationship, asking what news they need to hear and offering them relevant information from my clients.
I love the fast-paced and changing nature - every day is different. You need to chop and change and keep track of so many things. It keeps me on my toes and is quite exhilarating at times, working to deadlines and ensuring everything is proofread to a high standard. However, the job can be very hectic, involving juggling many things at once. Like any job, some of the people you need to regularly speak to might not be the nicest, but there are things you can do to ensure that when you pick up the phone to someone they want to hear from you - it just requires preparation and some intelligence.
I would like to be an account director in the not-too-distant future and maybe to work in-house at a firm that I can identify with and whose business I enjoy.
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