Work Experience

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Top 5 Gluten-Free Bloggers

I’m Sarah, a Politics student and a coeliac blogger. I got diagnosed with coeliac disease around February last year and since then I have been gloriously gluten free!

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye, triggers an immune reaction in people suffering with coeliac disease. When I was diagnosed I became incredibly interested in coeliac food, particularly baking and healthy meals. As a foodie, this seemed like an incredible opportunity to experiment with new ingredients that I would never have thought of and an opportunity to eat healthier!

Fresh bear garlic on wooden table

In order get some inspiration about how to go about baking with out the key ingredient – flour – I went to the world of blogging. It turns out that there were hundreds of blogs about gluten free cooking! The community was buzzing, and I wanted to cook everything, eat everything and go to every single restaurant that was written about (very over excited, but I love my food!). I noticed that although the food looked delicious, the recipes were more often than not laden with sugar, fat and carbs. Now, I am the first to admit that I could never make my meals look as beautiful, delicate and artistic s the photos you see on Pintrest or Instagram, but I did know I could make them a lot healthier!

My aim, once I graduate university, is to pursue a career in PR. I had already done some online communication and website design, so I thought it was only logical to try blogging for myself. I have started by using blogger…free and simple… a good place to start! Before I started blogging I knew what I had to do first – find an area that hadn’t been completely covered my a thousand bloggers already!

So, I present to you: The Ginger Coeliac (I’m a red head…hence the name!). A gluten-free blog about healthy eating and occasionally mentioning a few cheeky treats (including breakfast at Buckingham Palace!). Since doing work experience here at Prohibition PR I have developed skills in blogging, online communication and learned a huge amount about online community management. I am applying these skills to my blog to hopefully improve it and grow it into a key player in the online community, helping those just diagnosed, giving out ideas and showing that being a coeliac is not all doom and gloom!

I have read many coeliac blogs for inspiration, and some are absolutely amazing. The tips, reviews and information helped me no end with ideas when I was first diagnosed. The community isn’t just about discussing an interest, but a way of life: what restaurants you can eat in, what food you can eat, if there are supplements you can take and how to clean up gluten properly to stop you from getting ill. Although it sounds like a bit of a negative community, that is far from the truth. The bloggers help those who need the disease explained to them, but always in a positive light. We create recipes, food replacements (such as gluten free cupcakes) and tell people where we have been that serves the most delicious gluten free food.

After all of my research, here are my top 5 gluten free bloggers:

  1. https://positivelycoeliac.wordpress.com/This is my all time favorite, fantastic writer and always a positive outlook on life!
  2. https://thehappycoeliac.com/ – The most informative blog I have found and uses social media more than any other coeliac blog I have seen, great Facebook updates, competitions and tweets!
  3. https://www.wheatsurrender.co.uk/ – Pretty local to me, living just down the road in York and visiting Leeds often, and the blog makes me laugh! So many puns!
  4. https://glutenfreegirl.com/ – This blog always puts a smile on my face. With the best ideas and a love story intertwined too. What more could you ask for?
  5. https://www.celiactravel.com/ –   Before being diagnosed I went inter railing and ate purely bread and pasta as I was living off €2 a day. So I automatically thought I wouldn’t be able to do this anymore. I thought traveling would become impossible, but this blog has shown me all the tips and tricks I could possibly want!

These blogs helped me so much when I was in need of some inspiration, ides and advice. I love reading all the articles and seeing how these people have turned something so life changing into something positive. It is truly inspiring.

Top interview tips for bagging that PR job you’ve always dreamed of!

The team here at Prohibition HQ has grown quite significantly over the past 12 months – and that has meant holding lots of interviews with some fab PR candidates looking to secure a PR executive role. We also work closely with the PR degree at Leeds Beckett University – our MD, Chris, regularly lectures on the course and we have lots of students joining us in the office for short term work experience placements – so with this in mind, we thought it might be worth offering some tips and advice for those of you looking for a job after graduation.

When it comes to interview prep, those old-school interview favourites such as identifying your ‘biggest strengths and weakness’ are still 99% likely to make an appearance. Love them or hate them – they do offer your interviewer a real insight into how you perceive yourself. When it comes to identifying your strengths, it’s often best to pick three attributes and, where possible, give strong examples of how you have used these in ‘real life’ work situations. The weaknesses are harder! Avoid the typical ‘I’m a perfectionist’ or I ‘tend to work too hard’ and instead, try and highlight specific areas that you have already worked hard to try and rectify – whether it’s a gap in knowledge or practical experience of skills such as pitching or networking.

The general consensus at Prohibition is for candidates to remember to cover off the three Ps – ‘Punctuality’, ‘Preparation’ and ‘Politeness.’ Manners really are so important and being on time, being well presented and well prepared, as well as not talking over people and maintaining strong eye contact, are all really important when it comes to make a good first impression. It’s also worth thinking through your day before planning pre-interview activities – it’s never good to turn up to an interview dripping with sweat after an hour-long gym sesh!

Having some pre-planned answers for those common interview questions is always a good idea. Here’s a list of 10 questions that often crop up and that you should consider before arriving at an interview:

  • Tell us about yourself and your PR experience.
  • What experience do you have in securing media coverage?
  • What would you see as the biggest challenge in a PR executive role?
  • What PR campaign have you admired recently and why?
  • What would you do in ‘X’ scenario
  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What recent social media trend has caught your attention and why?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

It’s also worth being prepared for those tricky curve ball questions such as:

  • Tell me about the worst boss you’ve had?
  • What’s the most embarrassing situation you have found yourself in and how did you get out of it?
  • If you were a kitchen utensil – what would you be?

Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in terms of journo contacts and PR campaign execution – an enthusiastic, willing to learn attitude goes a long way when starting out in PR.

In order to give you the best possible advice, we thought we would asked our friend Helen Salt, Founding Director at leading PR & Public Affairs recruitment firm, Black Cherry Recruitment Ltd, for her top tips to interview success.

Helen comments: “Preparation is always key! We always tell our candidates that their interview prep should include researching the company – have an opinion on their recent campaigns and why you would make a good addition to their company. Name dropping journos you have a good relationship with and having a list of media that you enjoy reading/listing to, is also a good bet. We also always recommend taking a portfolio with you – being able to showcase your experience and offer examples of your work is invaluable. Try and include a variety of work including examples of your writing and coverage you’ve achieved where possible.”

So there’s a few of our top tips for those of you heading out into the world of employment this summer… you’ll probably also really thank us for these last few ‘nuggets’ of wisdom:

  1. Whatever you do, don’t go in for the double cheek ‘PR Kiss’ at interview stage
  2. One of the biggest bug bears from an interviewer’s perspective is bad grammar in your CV – triple check it before you send it to any perspective employer!
  3. If you’re going to ‘inflate’ your experience, make sure it’s believable…
  4. Good hygiene is vital, but don’t overdo the aftershave… you want to leave a lasting impression, not a lasting smell.
  5. Finally, practice really does make perfect… rope in a friend to talk through some of your answers and ask them to throw in some curve balls to keep you on your toes.

 

Top Tips for a successful Work Experience in Public Relations.

Don’t be afraid the agency is not as scary as the name may seem, except Chris Norton, watch out for him!

I had no idea, clue, understanding, gist or hint about Public Relations, the term I like to use for myself in a situation like this is ‘I am a blank canvas’ meaning I have no knowledge but I’m ready to learn and ready to work, so throw all the paint you can on me.  Working for 3 months at Prohibition PR, I can now officially say I have knowledge and understanding about Public Relations and its relative Social Media. So here is an abundance of tips that I have learnt from working at Prohibition PR;

First and foremost to succeed in PR you need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills, practice of these abilities can lead to someone having journalistic and negotiation skills, all of which are the bases or foundation of an industry, they are not just needed in Public Relations and Social Media but business and employment in general.

Ask questions, we are all taught from a very young age to put our hand up to ask a question but for some reason we get to an age (which I think is around high school), where we feel as though it’s not necessary or it’s not ‘cool’ to ask a question, however when we do reach adulthood that confidence of asking a question isn’t there, but if you want an answer, ask a question. In Public Relations, working as an intern, to really understand the business you need to be able to confidently ask questions.

‘Be on your toes’ some would say. PR is a business where people need to be quick thinking, they need to have the ability to produce ideas and generate these ideas at a fast pace because the industry is fast-moving, the industry isn’t for the swift. Public Relations is competitive, savvy thinking and catchy titles with the aim to have top link on a search engine such as; Google gains more exposure, this results in an increase in recognition and profit for a client and the PR agency.

Thoroughly do your homework, before you even step into a Public Relations firm, buy this book, The Social Media Handbook for PR and this will get you ahead of the game and ahead of second year university students studying PR. Get a real understanding of Public Relations before even applying to work in a PR firm.

Understand the importance of clients in PR. Clients is what drives a Public Relations agency as a business in general, PR is the state of a relationship between the public and a company other organisation or famous person. Clients are the core of PR, the importance of brands or clients is as important as the strings on a guitar for a guitarist; an arms-length relationship with a client is not going to harvest effective long-term results and draw other clients to the agency.

‘The power of social media’. In this day and age Social Media and Public Relations go hand in hand. As a young adult living in 2013, I know how important Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are to the young generation however it wasn’t until I started working at Prohibition PR that I understood the engagement between PR and Social Media and how this relationship best serves brands and clients. I learnt that Social Media is a powerful tool, not only for PR but for many industries in general, one being the music industry, working at Prohibition PR I created a blog post about the effects that Social Media has on the Music Industry, which ended up being posted on the official CIPR website (15 minutes of fame), from this I discovered the effects, the pros and the cons of Social Media on the music industry and the mass integration of economic, business, social and political industries on social media.

Grasp the technique of how to write a good blog post. Understand the language and distinguish between the types of languages such as; reporting like a journalist and advertising like an advertiser.  Develop or have a good eye for a story and understand the nature of the PR agency you’re working for and what stories are best suited to them, once this is understand learn to develop the ability to craft content, and write in a way that brands, future clients or the public might be attracted to.

One thing I learnt overall from the work experience that I have done over the years and was reinforced by Prohibition PR was that you should take correction and because it leads to direction, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as an intern or on work experience, see it as a trial run and a place where making mistakes is allowed because no business or agency would take anyone on if making mistakes wasn’t allowed. I had no idea about Public Relations or this sector of media, so Prohibition PR but a foot in the door and allowed me to hop on the train of PR and develop an understanding. I decided to voluntarily work for Prohibition PR because there’s an abundance of knowledge to gain, and I understood or understand how valuable work experience is not only for me and the agency but for applying to university. Working at Prohibition PR on my gap year possibly gave me a hand up or put me at an advantage when I applied to universities, because universities see work experience as vital attribute to a student. It may have been pot luck that Prohibition PR took me on even though I had no experience in PR; however I took the bull by its horn, and just dived in with the attitude to learn and the interest in the business which employers in general want to see.

Voluntary work experience in PR builds character and confidence due to the office type of language and banter, its preparation for the big adult workplace. I will now see how working in the workplace and working at university will be two very different things. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, I did not know anyone in Public Relations, so to what extent or what industry is this quote true? Create a catchy CV and covering letter that thoroughly and sincerely shows off your personality, experiences and skills which also reinforces your ability and interest in PR and social media because this may catch the eye of an employer. I also Google mapped all the PR agencies in Leeds to see how long my journey will be to each agency.

Quick Tips for Working at Prohibition PR

  1. Be prepared to bring a laptop.
  2. Get involved in the office language and friendly banter.
  3. Be prepared to make tea and coffee, however after an embarrassing cup of coffee that I personally made I never had to make one again.
  4. Understand that hard-work is at the centre of this agency and they consider the relationship between them and the client to be very valuable.
  5. Come with the attitude that Prohibition is a great place to work because it
  6. Understand that working for this agency does not just gain an excellent reference but in my experience it gains friendship.Always bring a great lunch, they admire that.

Overall my verdict on work experience is, gain as much as you can. A months work experience is better than 2 weeks’ worth of work experience because you get a real understanding of the business you are working for and the working environment in general.

Prohibition PR Helps Set Up Online Student Magazine – Student Wire

Over the last few months the Prohibition PR team have been working hard to help launch a new online student magazine – Student Wire. The idea was to create a website specifically for students, written by students about being a student!

Our client The Student Store wanted specialist help to create a thriving online community. So we scoped the project out and looked at how we could create something which would help other students out, give advice and provide some great content that was relevant to the audience.

Prior to the launch of the project the team put together a number of focus groups from local universities to bring together thoughts and ideas of what they would like to read.

Emilie Sillett, a second year public relations undergraduate and current intern here at Prohibition HQ was made editor of the magazine due to her rather bubbly personality and passion for creative writing. She was then also asked to help recruit a team of budding journalists and creative writers to help her create a magazine with a difference.

To help increase awareness and garner interest, the magazine was seeded online throughStudent Wire social media and student forums, getting as many people as possible to check it out and create a buzz around the launch of the site. After just four weeks Student Wire is already a huge success and a hit with under graduates from universities all over the UK.

So far it has writers from Leeds Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moore’s, University of Salford and London Metropolitan providing advice, news and ideas on anything from how to choose your student accommodation through to how to cure a hangover.

Emilie is always looking for interesting features and creative writers so drop her an email if you think you are cut out for the job contact@studentwire.co.uk.

For an idea of some of the topics the team write about at Student Wire, check out some of the favourite posts so far:

1. The Student Halls Lottery by Sarah Raynard

2. Clubbing.. Why bother? by editor, Emilie Sillett

3. Celebrities And Their Surprising, Unrelated Degrees by Amanda Champion

4. And have a look at my own article, Technology That Will Make Life Easier.

And finally, the sponsors of Student Wire – the Student Store – has recently launched a photo competition of ‘the work space from hell’.  Be it your messy student house, your dirty desk or your rotten bedroom we want to see. The winner will be determined by public vote via the Student Wire Facebook page – so be creative as possible and you could be in with a chance £100 shopping voucher and the Adobe Creative Cloud software up for grabs! Apply here.

This was a guest article from Laura Crossley.