By Esme Horwood
A year ago, I had recently finished my degree in English at Bournemouth University and was looking forward to a well-needed break. But at the back of my mind, the pressure to now launch myself into a career, and be successful, was lurking. With a communications related degree under my belt, I knew that I wanted to gain more ‘real-life’ experience in the media and comms industry before I started applying for actual jobs. A paid internship in London in either a publishing or comms company was my goal, but the prospect of actually attending interviews and writing cover letters was daunting.
With one in four graduates having completed an unpaid internship in order to just get their foot in the door, I was determined not to get roped into the world of free labour and to focus only on applying to paid internships. It was hard to find the right opportunity that would be able to provide me with the experience I needed, a salary and the necessary responsibilities to allow me to build the skills I knew I lacked. I was shocked to see the high number of unpaid roles being advertised. After attending several interviews and building up my confidence in a pressured environment, I came across Platform’s internship job spec on the Bournemouth University career hub.
They offered me a six-month paid internship and I was so excited to finally be on the first step of my career. Over the next five months I had the opportunity to work across five different accounts at the agency, helping with a variety of tasks such as reporting, media coverage tracking, writing pitches and byline articles, social media and, of course, helping to prepare for one of the biggest trade events of the year: NAB Show! With very little experience in PR and having never studied any aspect of it, the team at Platform were extremely supportive and helped me develop the skills and knowledge I needed to kickstart a successful career in comms. This wasn’t a “coffee and tea maker” type of internship and the team really put their trust in my abilities so that I was able to get the best out of my time with the company.
Towards the end of my internship, I was offered a position as an Account Executive at Platform. I already felt like part of the team and was really enjoying getting to know the clients and be a part of Platform’s mission, so of course I accepted the role. Since becoming a full-time member of the team, I’ve been able to use the skills I’ve learnt to interact more with clients and build deeper relationships with media and analysts. Writing this now nearly a year after joining Platform, I’ve realised just how valuable the right type of internship can be, not just for the intern, but for the company as well.
With internships having been a controversial topic over the past few years, research has found that employers are now more open to the possibility of hiring interns and seeing what they can bring to the table. A report found that 74% of employers make job offers straight away after the internship has finished, with 87% of interns who are offered jobs accepting. I certainly benefited from my internship at Platform, and would not have progressed so quickly to being a full-time comms specialist if they hadn’t decided to give me this opportunity.
Thank you, Platform team!