Case study

Graduate account executive — Rachel Hickey

Rachel's degree in public relations combined with relevant work experience have enabled her to get a job as a graduate account executive. Find out more about her role and how she hopes to develop her career further

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BA Hons Media and Communication (Public Relations), which is now the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Media, at Birmingham City University (BCU) and graduated in 2019.

How did you get your job?

Following a week of work experience with WPR in my final year at BCU, I received a job offer from the agency.

How relevant is your degree?

My degree has proven to be extremely relevant to my current role. The context and skills I learned during the course helped develop my understanding of PR and formed a strong foundation for the position I'm in now.

What's a typical working day like?

A typical day involves drafting copy such as press releases, case studies and features. I also liaise with both clients and editors to place this content in the press. Off the back of arranging this coverage, I'm also responsible for documenting it and providing reports to the client on its results. Alongside the usual monthly activity, I also support campaigns that are going on for various clients.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It's great being able to share coverage with clients and talking to the editors of publications. The campaigns we run can also be really fun, especially the ones which involve letting people know they've won an experience or prize.

What are the challenges?

Dealing with last minute requests and working to tight deadlines to ensure content gets to editors or clients in time can be tricky. However, the team at WPR is extremely supportive and good time management skills help take the pressure off.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to be running accounts myself and playing a leading role in the development of campaigns and wider communication strategies.

What advice can you give to others?

  • Do as many placements as possible and try to work across different sectors to better understand where you enjoy working the most. Attitude goes a long way: when on placements this is just as crucial as how you handle the work tasks given to you.
  • Network wherever you can and keep in contact with people you have worked alongside via LinkedIn. Those who get jobs lined up early on are those who have already developed a network of professionals they can get in touch with.
  • A well-developed professional Twitter or LinkedIn account can be useful when it comes to engaging with those working in the industry and ensuring people remember you even a year or so after you've met.

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