Part 2 - Postgraduate Study - How our blogger and content writer is using post graduate study to level up her career during the pandemic.
I started my PR and Digital Communications Masters at the beginning of October. The first semester taught me about the different aspects of the public relations industry, as well as new practical skills, such as creating infographics, using analytics and SEO, planning and creating a social media calendar, and devising hypothetical PR campaigns.
The first semester was assessed mostly through essays, which I didn’t mind too much, as the rest of the course will be practical.
For the second project, I had to produce my first creative content portfolio. This involved creating three social media videos, a six month social media strategy, and a blog post. I was surprised at how I didn’t feel stressed through this experience - it caused me to use my creativity in ways I haven’t for a long time, and it felt refreshing. The great thing is, I have now come out the other end of this project able to put video editing as a new skill on my CV, and the course is not even halfway through.
Video production is a skill that is in demand right now in marketing and communications, because audiences are increasingly using more platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok, so there is demand for more moving images.
However, there is still a lot of growing to do, even though I know the fundamentals…
Going into the second semester will be different, and I will have a lot more to juggle. I have taken on two content creation roles on the side. One role involves writing copy for the students union in the run up to their student election - will be creating blog posts, email marketing, and lots more - this role shows promise to continue throughout the rest of the year. The other role is Social Media intern for a start up that is using innovative data analysis methods to inform business leaders and decision makers about the issue of child labour in supply chains across the world. This role will involve a lot of audience research, strategic social media planning, and working remotely in a team that is scattered across the world, in countries including India and the USA.
These roles will work towards my industry practice module, where I will be expected to complete at least ten days of work as part of the assessment. The great thing is about the University of Salford, is that they are connected to many potential employers who are looking to take on new graduates. Even in the pandemic, there are opportunities to be found, if you know where to look. The university’s career services are fantastic, and there is loads of advice on how to create a CV, cover letter and portfolio.
For the kind of roles I want to do after the course, I will need a professional portfolio - an online collection of all the work I have done. At the end of my Masters course, I will have a number of different kinds of work to show - including the videos I made for the project, the social media content I am about to create for the start up, and the blog and web content I will be making for the student elections and beyond.
The final assessment allows students to choose between a written academic dissertation, and a practical project, whereby you build your own creative PR campaign and implement it in real life. Without question, I will be choosing the practical project, as it will count towards my work experience, and my portfolio.
I believe I will be able to work part time alongside the big project, so I am hoping to gain some experience working in an internal communications team, or for a PR agency. There are no shortage of PR agencies in Manchester - each one is different, and specialises in a different sector - I am aiming to work for a year or two at an agency after I finish the course, to give myself a strong foundation of experience, and to grow into myself as a professional, before re-evaluating and seeing where I want to go next.
Ultimately, I see myself living a more flexible lifestyle, where I fit my work around my life, rather than the other way round. I am happy to see that the way the world of work is growing and evolving means that this is a possibility that is entirely within my reach.