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Alicia Williams – My placement experience at Fuel PR

Hear from Alicia Williams, who is currently on placement at Fuel PR, an award winning London PR & Marketing Agency.

How did you find your placement? What was the application process like?

The application process was straight forward. I had an initial 20 minute phone interview with the Head of HR to discuss the role and whether I was suitable. I was then invited to a face to face interview with the Junior Account Manager of the Health and Wellness Team. I was given a short test where I had to write a pitch on one of their clients. Once completed, the JAM reviewed my pitch and I was introduced to the Associate Director. We had a brief discussion and I was offered the job the next day.

I think the best thing I can recommend to anyone is to be yourself, be confident and demonstrate how you can benefit the company with your own skills. I think making a good first impression is vital alongside actually having a true interest in what the company does. It’s definitely a key thing to look for when looking into companies for jobs, by asking yourself do you like the look of what they do, does that suit you? And if it does, go for it because you will truly benefit in a working environment that can both challenge you but also allows you to learn as much as you possibly can which is a crucial element when looking to do a placement year!

How did you find your accommodation during your placement year?

I was lucky enough to have family in London to be able to move in before my start date in July. I later moved in with my sister in a flat in Pimlico, which makes life even easier with it being a 20 minute walk from the office. I have been incredibly lucky with not having to worry about commuting far, or living with strangers. It’s been very comfortable since the start. For anyone looking to do a placement in London, my best recommendation is going onto Spare Room which is an online site for rooms to rent across London. It’s easy to use, with hundreds of rooms being listed with a range of prices and suitable locations. It allows anyone who wants to find a cheaper form of accommodation in London as it only lists the price for the room per month.

What types of things have you learnt on your placement?

Learning to build relationships with press, brands/clients, and influencers and catering the way I communicate to each individual. I have also been able to build on my creative writing skills for Press Releases and understood the significance of tone of voice, having formal and informal writing to suit each particular target audience. Furthermore, taking ownership of client projects, for example monthly reports, brand activities (7-Day Challenge) and social media accounts for clients. I have also been able to take away the knowledge of how PR positions itself within the media and you’re able to separate the misconception between advertising, marketing and PR. And lastly, I have gained a clear understanding of how brands utilise bloggers and influencers to promote their products and their brand messaging to a wider audience – this includes paid for sponsorships and brand support on a gifting basis.

What has your favourite part of your placement been?

Meeting new people, and settling into a company so quickly. There hasn’t exactly been a ‘favourite part’ as it’s been pretty consistent the past 7 months since working at the company. I have loved every second of it. It’s a struggle getting into a normal working routine, it’s far different than spending your day in the library studying.

How you think your placement has prepared you for your final year of study?

By having first-hand experience in the ‘real world’, working in a company which gives me the ability to exploit my own skills but also grow as an individual in the workplace has shown me various things to how I work, and what I enjoy out of a studying environment. If it wasn’t for me choosing to do a placement, I probably would have struggled to complete my final year. By taking on a placement, it gave me the opportunity to grow as an individual and give me more of insight in what I want to do for my future career after graduation. I would highly recommend doing a placement to anyone, for the experience and a more real experience of independence by being responsible for rent, bills, your social life and being able to budget for events whilst living in a different city. It’s also given me an insight into what truly interests me, one key thing is consumer behaviour. May sound a little crazy after already extending university to four years, but I’ve made the decision to do a Masters in Consumer Behaviour to give me the ability to go on to something that truly challenges and motivates me in a working environment.

Why should others consider a placement?

  • First-hand experience
  • Develop your experience, and knowledge around an area in the industry you are studying at university.
  • Get a feel of what it takes to have a 9-5, Monday-Friday job, pay and entitlement.
  • Work a job that doesn’t involve a zero hours contract; key skills developed, particularly time management.
  • Good to build up your network and contacts for once you have graduated.
  • Solid references, if you work hard enough during your placement. Make a good impression.

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