In our last blog post, recent UoW graduate Tessa Preddy gave us the lowdown on her internship. In part II of this interview, Tessa talks about her experience leaving University, and offers some advice for prospective and current communications students!
How have you found moving to Wellington?
It’s been great, I love Wellington, it's a super cool city. I would definitely recommend moving here although there are way too many good places to eat and drink which is mainly where my paycheck goes. My advice for students is to move away to the bigger cities like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch as there are so many opportunities for communications work! Spread your wings and get out of Hamilton!
What helped you get settled into a new city and settled in your new start?
When I first moved, it was a bit difficult because I didn’t have any accomodation sorted. None of my apartment viewings went to plan, so I ended up in a not so preferable situation that I then moved out of. So try to be a bit more prepared on where you are going to live for sure. But at the same time try and go with the flow and know that when things don’t really work out it’s not the end of the world, you have to play it by ear and be adaptable! Make sure you keep in contact with friends and family at home and definitely try and do something like play a sport or join a group to try and meet people.
5 things people still at uni or close leaving uni should know?
What courses should PR students take at University?
I majored in public relations and leadership communication. To be honest, I think that public relations and leadership communication are too similar, so if I had to go back I probably would have dropped LCOMM. I think LCOMM is really good for business students who want a bit of PR, management and comms experience. Other courses that seem to go well with PR are strategic management, Human resources, marketing or languages/ linguistics. PR professionals do a lot of business strategy as well, so strategic management is a good one to have alongside PR.
Do you think a PR major is necessary to enter the industry?
I wouldn’t say it’s 100% necessary but it is definitely extremely helpful especially in getting PR internships and grad roles. People can work their way into PR roles or move from marketing but if you’re wanting to get into PR straight out of uni I would definitely recommend taking it as a major.
Do marketing and PR really work quite closely together?
Yeah we do. We work relatively closely together. When we work with our hotel client, we work with their marketing team. It’s often for advertising; we will create content like art work and copy for them. So, they will say ‘hey there’s this deal that needs to happen’ and we will come up with an advertisement or campaign around it and get our designer to come up with some artwork. We’ll send it back to them and then help them figure out where it needs to be put out. So yes, we do work with marketing a bit. That’s the other thing with PR, you work with every part of the company. So you need to have good knowledge of every aspect of the company you work for. One of the things I’ve learned is that the PR person in the company or working for the company needs to know everything that’s happening in order to effectively comms it. If someone comes to you when a crisis is about to happen, and you know absolutely nothing about what’s going on, it’s going to be a lot harder to try and fix it.
Do people take PR seriously in the industry?
I haven’t had that much experience in the industry yet but I think it depends. At the moment I think PR is highly valued and it’s being taken seriously since we are in the middle of a crisis. But in other times, when things are normal I don’t think people always see the benefits of PR/comms until it's too late and there’s a crisis to clean up.