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6th September 2019
IT’S NOT LIKE THE MOVIES: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CLARK COMMS PR INTERN HANNAH SCALLY
With a shiny new bachelor’s degree and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, university brushed off three years of library dust, patted me on the back and sent me off to face the big wide world of public relations (PR) all on my own.
I secured a six week summer internship with Clark Communications; a PR, digital and design agency with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and thankfully, I was under no illusions that the field consisted purely of afternoon cocktails, posh dinners and overpriced coffee (we’ve all seen Sex and the City). I was fully prepared to face mountains of filing, regular tea making and most likely a terrifying boss - The Devil Wears Prada anyone?
So, you can imagine my astonishment when I arrived on my first day to a briefing that didn’t involve a single administrative task and instead included, like, actual work.
Those with even a basic comprehension of what an internship usually entails are no doubt sceptical at this point – an intern doing work? It can’t be. Well think again! Here’s what I got up to on a typical day:
I quickly concluded that a PR practitioners’ most useful tool is not fancy software, but rather a good, old-fashioned to-do list. Writing mine is usually how I started my day.
Clark operates as an agency within the communications discipline, meaning they touch on just about every PR/marketing service going. The team also works with a wide variety of clients, hence the need for a pretty detailed to-do list. Although my list was usually bursting at the seams, working with such a range of clients has broadened my narrow horizons and helped me develop a more versatile skillset that I will continue to use throughout my career.
After colour coding my to-do list with Paperchase’s finest gel pens (it helps, honest), my morning usually had some consistency, with tasks such as morning media sweeping and team meetings. But after that, no day in the PR industry is the same. My day involved anything from writing photography briefs to creating industry specific social content – all under the watchful eye of Clark’s fantastic team of account handlers.
One of the things I loved most about my time at Clark Comms was being treated as a valued member of the team, as opposed to just a student.
Whether it was writing a specialised feature article for The Herald, or a news release for the agency’s biggest clients, there was nothing off limits for me to try my hand at.
The team were excellent at giving me the creative freedom to experiment and learn whilst offering genuinely useful feedback. When things needed work, or a different approach – which I can assure they did – everyone was completely understanding and eager to help me learn from my mistakes.
Afternoons at Clark were never mundane, the team were always thinking of ways I could get involved with the more… practical side of PR. Granted, this included an unintentional workout chasing nine giant polystyrene letters around Newhaven Harbour for a photocall, but the unpredictability of the industry is what makes it so enjoyable. Not to mention my sense of achievement when those giant letters stood still for five whole minutes and we secured the perfect promotional shot. Other afternoon tasks included organising client recruitment campaigns, building media lists, creative brainstorming and the occasional cuddle from Ian, the office dog.
If you’d asked me at the beginning of the internship what I hoped to get out of my time with Clark, I’d have probably told you industry experience, a better understanding of the ins and outs of a bustling PR office and most probably, a slightly thicker skin.
What I have gained in my time here though, was all of the above and more. The team has gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome and ensure I feel like a valued part of their ever-expanding team. The company’s experience of working with graduates means they are experienced in guiding those new to the profession and, as my university graduation date looms ever closer, my experience with them has undoubtedly made me more confident in taking the first step in my professional PR career. Oh, and the boss wasn’t that terrifying either.