And I thought my student days were gone…

As my colleague Barry mentioned in one of éclat’s previous blogs, a handful of us here at éclat are undergoing the Advanced Certificate course with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). As we are now two thirds of the way through our studies, I thought it was a good time to talk about what we’ve all learned so far.

My degree in English Literature and Hispanic Studies (in other words, Spanish), lends itself nicely to a career that leans heavily on writing and communication so, for me, Public Relations is a great fit. Nevertheless, starting a job in PR was like entering a whole new world, and I certainly hit the ground running. Working in a small agency like ours is an excellent way to start a career, and I’m sure my colleagues will tell you, I was full of questions when I first arrived. I remember on my first day, one of the account managers said, “No question is a stupid question” – she may have begun to rethink that two weeks into working with me…

My point is, despite having an awesome group of people to depend on and learn from, I didn’t start out with the same foundation in the theory behind PR that many in the office have. As a consequence, when offered the opportunity, I jumped at the chance of gaining a specific qualification in PR, to enhance my knowledge and be provided with more insight into the job I do every day.

The CIPR course I am enrolled in is being fully funded by éclat and is all carried out online, so I am able to fit it in around any other commitments. Beginning in April, the course is split into three parts, or assignments – the critical reasoning test; a planning assignment; and a critique. For me, the critical reasoning test played to my strengths. It consists of two essays based on various topics linked to PR, in which you must incorporate theory and practical examples, as well as your own ideas. The planning assignment I found slightly trickier. Being a more practical piece of work – writing a PR campaign plan – this part of the course really tested what I have learned whilst working at éclat. However, I have to admit, I did quite enjoy putting my ‘account director’ hat on for a few weeks, or at least pretending to. As I mentioned above, we are now two thirds of the way into the course so just have the critique assignment to complete. For this, we will be critiquing an existing PR campaign, using research and theory for support.

Having embarked on most of this course now, I would definitely say it has been a great opportunity and I would recommend it to any graduate hoping to transition into a career in PR. I will also be honest and say, whilst enjoyable and incredibly valuable, the course is time-consuming and therefore requires organisation, commitment, and determination to do well. Nevertheless, it only takes one year to qualify and is a great certification that will enhance your PR career, equipping you with a pool of knowledge you didn’t have a year ago.

On that note, I better get back to studying!

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