Tuesday, 6 September 2011

3 months and still standing!

Admittedly I’ve been terribly anti social lately – but I have a good reason - within the space of three months I have started my dream job, left University after three years, bought a house, acquired a puppy and graduated. So needless to say one of the first things to disappear was the time to update my blog. However during this time I have made some startling conclusions which I thought I would share so that those entering the job market could gain something from my three months head start – and those heading back to University can realise how lucky they are to see episodes of ‘This Morning’ and ‘Jeremy Kyle’.

I have learnt a million things since starting work but there are six major things that have really stood out to me:

- Your Facebook will become dormant

When at University my Facebook was stupidly active and I constantly had it on in the background whilst I was working on assignments and/or getting ready to go out. I haven’t been on my Facebook for around two months now and am pretty unsure when I will next go on and update my status…

- You’ll realise how much you can get done in one day

I’ve always been proactive and managed to keep myself busy at University between lectures and seminars. At work you will be amazed at how much you get done in one day and the time will fly by.

- That 9am lecture isn’t that early

Due to the commute to work I am setting off every morning at 7:30am. When I was at University I was aware there were two 7:30’s in one day but I rarely saw both. Now, I am awake, dressed and in the car and on my way to work. There are other people up at that time too…

- You’ll see your work colleagues more than you’ll see your friends

Spending over 9 hours a day with colleagues will mean that they will inevitably become the people who you spend the most time with. I am very lucky and work with fantastic people who I get on with very well. So make sure that when you’re looking for jobs consider the type of work environment you want to go into and ensure it matches with your personality.

- Deadlines?! What deadlines?!

At University I was the Marketing student representative and sat in on meetings were students were moaning about having deadlines on the same day. At work you have a million deadlines on the same day and to be honest, it would be better if everything was done yesterday. There is no such thing as ASAP as everything needs to be done ASAP. I simply cannot stress enough the importance of planning your time properly and being organised. I never imagined that I would have so many folders in my email inbox, but without them I would be screwed and wouldn’t be able to find everything.

- A good cup of tea (and team treats) can make your day

Often when everyone has their heads down and is focusing on their work it is easy to lose track of time. So by offering people a cup of tea it is a great time to take a breather and refocus on what you need to get done. And when you make someone a good cup of tea they really appreciate it. It's the small things that make your day - like having a joke with your work mates or getting a phonecall from a client who say thank you.

It’s been a great adventure so far and it seems strange that I am not heading back to University this September. I have met some really great people and am working with some brilliant clients so I'm in a very lucky situation.

I would be interested to hear other graduates experiences if they have started work – or if any employers have tips about making the transition from University into the work place feel free to share!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

@PRprofessionals - To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question #dilemma

It’s not an uncommon sight to see an individual nearly ran over because of mindlessly crossing the road whilst tapping away on their phones….I say this because it has happened to me, on numerous occasions. When I first got my Blackberry I was amazed at the amount of tasks I could do on it but has this fascination with multi-tasking gone too far?

I attended a conference in London and a comment was made about no one tweeting about the event. I personally was amazed with this, new to the whole ‘tweeting from conferences’ it felt completely alien to me to get my phone out and type on it whilst listening to someone talking.

But it’s not as strange as I first thought…

Rob Dyson (@RobmDyson), PR Manager at Whizz-Kidz, said: “I tweet from conferences. To share resources, tips and advice from the speakers with those who can't be there. Whenever I do, I always get people saying "thanks" so I keep it up.”

The more I have used Twitter the more I have followed conferences by searching for their hashtags, and the more useful I have found it!

There are plenty of advantages to tweeting from conferences such as:

- Speakers feel like they are making valid points which can be motivating and a confidence boost.
- Those who can’t attend the event feel involved and can keep up with the action.

-Could be seen as the new way to make notes. You could use them as a reference to look back on.

-It can be interesting to get an input from others and allows those who can’t attend attendance to get their pressing questions answered.

But is it in the spirit of sharing information or is it just an excuse not to concentrate?

The disadvantages can be:

- There is a high chance you could miss vital information.

- It is not guaranteed that the individual will just tweet as they might reply to an email or a text. There was a discussion by Richard Bailey (@behindthespin), a lecturer at Leeds University who decided to test out what would happen. It was met with contrasting responses…

So, we have established there are pros and cons but I think it raises a bigger question: Should it be socially acceptable?

I completely understand the benefit of tweeting from a conference and the insights that can be gained. The whole beauty of social media is the fact that you can gain hundreds of points of view in real time instead of waiting for an ‘official’ blog post which may not include questions that weren’t answered or the reaction of the room.

But if I told my grandma that I used my phone when someone was speaking to me she would clip me around the ear! Whatever happened to good old fashioned eye contact when someone is speaking to you?

However, it is completely dependant on the situation; it is different when being spoken to directly when compared with attending a conference with over 100 people in the room.

What do you find acceptable? Would you mind if someone tweeted whilst you were speaking? Do you actively encourage tweets during your presentations? Do you tweet from conferences? What’s your secret to multitasking?

For general phone use I have identified 4 types of phone ‘multi-taskers’, which one are you?!

The Ignorers:
They blatantly ignore you and concentrate on their phone. They don’t hear what you say and probably wouldn’t be interested even if they could.

The Pretenders: They are looking at you but they attempt to use their phone in their pocket or by placing it under the table. Another breed of the pretender tends to draw out sentences and fill them with ‘ermmmm’ whilst they try and finish whatever they are doing on their phone.

The Postponers: Their phone goes, they raise their hand and stop you from speaking and you must remain silent until they have finished. For me, the most irritating of them all...

The Touch Typers: This breed exhibits a high level of skill and practice. They maintain eye contact as they know exactly which buttons to press.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Guest Post: Charlotte Willcocks

It is the time of year....students are either looking for placement years, placement weeks or even placement days! So I thought it would be a good idea for one student who has been through the process to share her hints and tips with you about:

How to gain experience with no experience!

The catch 22 nature of the work experience world is well known. Employers expect you to already have experience, but you are looking to them for guidance on getting some industry experience. The whole process can be extremely frustrating. Over the last five months I have experienced this first hand, the weeks of tedious application forms and covering letters followed by the agonising wait for a reply that may never come.

Therefore the best defence is a strong offence, it is vital to make yourself stand heads and shoulders above the hundreds of the hopefuls. The most effective way of doing this is to think about the transferable skills necessary for the industry you are interested in and think of other ways to gain this skills other than industry experience, if this is not an option. Here are some methods that I used to secure my own placement:

1. Get involved in a society committee – this will give you the opportunity to practice public speaking, meeting organisation, event organisation, networking, leadership and team working skills, which I have found to be invaluable for my PR portfolio.

2. Start a blog – Due to the fast paced nature of PR it is vital to get to grips with new media. I started a music blog to act as a practice run and to find my own writing style.

3. Tweet, Tweet- It may be hard to get your head around but Twitter is one of the quickest and easiest ways to follow and chat to practitioners within the industry.

4. Persistence is the key – If there is a reply you are really counting on and you haven’t heard from them in a while, there’s no harm in emailing them, even if it’s to find out why they haven’t replied and what you can improve on for next time.

5. Create a LinkedIn page – Not only is this a good way to increase your presence online, it can act as a helpful tool when you get to the interview stage to get some background knowledge on those interviewing you.

6. Be Creative – This is not something that can be done with all companies, but if it is a creative firm you are applying to make your application stand out by using different media, such as YouTube.

I found that by implementing these methods I was able to prove that I was serious about PR with no formal industry experience and create an impressive portfolio of work, which led to me catching the attention of a highly respected consumer consultancy in London, Frank PR, who offered me a twelve month placement.

So in the end there is a way around the catch 22 nature of the placement search, it’s just about proving that you have put in the extra effort to secure the certain transferable skills that make you the perfect candidate for the position.


Charlotte Willcocks is a 2nd year Business and Public Relations student at the University of Lincoln. She has bagged herself a 12 month placement at Frank PR working alongside Jay Sorrels, the head of digital at Frank PR. I'd like to take this opportunity to say: Good luck Charlotte!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


As you may or may not know motorbiking is my passion in life....yes, even above shopping. Today, I achieved something that I have been wanting to do for quite a while. I had an article published on the MCN website!

It can be viewed here: No More Numb Bums

So check it out :-)

The title is rather strange admittedly, however once you have read the article you will see why I chose to give it such a title.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Guest Post: Petya N. Georgieva

Note from Carli: I always strive to discuss and learn about other's opinions both inside and outside the PR discipline. When the chance came to learn about PR in Bulgaria I thought I would allow others to learn too so invited Petya to write a guest post for my blog. Here, Petya N. Georgieva, a PR specialist and a blogger from Bulgaria gives her thoughts on what a young PR professional can bring to a business. You can check out her communications blog Higher & Higher or follow her on Twitter @pgeorgieva.

Young PR pros’ biggest assets: ideas, knowledge, initiative and passion

The PR profession is one of the most interesting jobs in the whole world.

I started discovering it in 2006 when I started my bachelor degree in Public Relations in Sofia University, Bulgaria. Considering that the PR profession has a pretty young history (no more than 15 years) in Bulgaria, it is interesting to think: Why did I choose PR in particular?

The truth is that I wanted to be a journalist since I was a child. With the time passing by, I noticed I was more interested in the process of “producing and creating” news rather than covering them. Communications and marketing are really interesting fields for me and after long research I realized that my career will be in the PR sector.

I was soon to discover that the PR skills are easier to understand in practice. I started working for PR agencies while I was in the first year at the university. It was a very useful experience. I was reading and studying at the university and practicing at work (which included experimenting, making mistakes, and working really hard).

As I’m from the young PR generation in my country and I’m following the international trends in PR, I regrettably notice that in Bulgaria traditional PR is still more often practiced than PR 2.0.
This can be easily explained, of course. As a former socialist country which is in addition pretty small as territory and population, Bulgaria’s market is small and young and in comparison to Europe, it is not so developed yet. It’s great to see that since 2001 things are rapidly changing and as a result the PR profession is becoming more popular. It’s nice to see also that some of the leading PR agencies in the state have already adopted the PR 2.0 tools and are providing highly professional services.

On the other hand, as a PR addict, I hope I will have the opportunity to explore the world of (international) public relations abroad, which means venturing out of my comfort zone. Moving away from one’s comfort zone is equal to gaining new knowledge. In addition, regarding the fact that the origins of the modern PR profession were in the USA and the UK, the both countries are my top two destinations for career development. At least, that’s my long-term vision on my future career moves. I’m sure that working for big markets is more different, offers different challenges for the PR pros and helps them learn different things. Here I should highlight that I know I’m aiming pretty high but ambition is what helps us to reach new horizons. Higher aims make us more ambitious and more constant in what we try to achieve. Higher aims lead to deeper knowledge and as consequence higher and higher achievements.#

Thankfully, social media channels are great supportive tools to get your name known no matter your current location or nationality. Just try to imagine the world without all these modern channels or without the tech revolution, which made it possible to present ourselves to wide groups of international publics and to stay constantly connected with them. And that’s my main message to all the young PR pros out there: your biggest assets are your ideas, knowledge, initiative and passion – and their power can be really amazing. And one of your biggest chances is to present your assets on the social web. This means: listening to the web, interaction, engagement, networking, etc. After all, it depends only on you to demonstrate your passion to communicate and ambition to learn more about PR. And if you can successfully promote yourself on the social web and build your own professional network of PR pros who know you and what you do, this will be your strongest point in your portfolio.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

What Would I do?

At around 11am this morning, whilst eating my mid morning snack of Weetabix my mind went into over drive whilst watching This Morning with Phil and Holly. Usually full of good news stories and the odd fashion section presented by Jason Gardiner they ventured into the discussion of a number of websites offering a service to match married people actively seeking an affair.

One lady who used this service, for a number of years, was sat with her back to the camera as she wanted the hide her identity. Although how she was planning to convince people that it wasn’t her I have no idea! If one of my friends was on This Morning and I could hear their voice, see their hair and knew they weren’t at home I am sure even the dimmest of friends could work that out.

She explained how the service had helped her find a person to fulfil her sexual appetite as her husband couldn’t and that her relationship had in fact improved since she had joined the site.
The purpose of this blog however is not to assess this ladies relationship or condone or condemn the website itself, as it could be seen to be cashing in on something that is happening anyway, but instead to point out that this is a real life case of a moral dilemma that I have discussed in previous posts.

It got me pondering: What would I do if the PR agency I started to work for in July had this website as a client?

The feature was presented on this morning was essentially free advertising for this website and I am sure many people will have done the same as me and logged on to see what all the fuss was about. Oh and even if I wanted to join, which for the record – I don’t - I wouldn’t be able to because I’m not married!

I noted that the spokeswoman from the website was very calm and collected. Many people have said that it looked like she was wearing some sort of disguise, a blonde long haired wig and glasses. Is this because she doesn’t want to be recognised? Or create an impression? If however she wasn’t ‘in disguise’ and in fact looks like that all the time then I apologise! :-)

Just thought I would share my pondering with you all and also point out that if you are having an affair don’t go onto primetime morning television to be interviewed with Phil and Holly without disguising your voice or body, as unsurprisingly people will be able to recognise you from the back……

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The 2011 Adventure

2011 is here! And with it comes plenty of exciting things:

The final instalment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a census and a VAT increase to 20%...

However we must not forget: Carli Ann Smith is on the job market!!

As of July 2011 I will be transforming from a PR student to a PR practitioner and I cannot wait.

For those that are interested to know more about my experience and projects I have worked on, feel free to add me on LinkedIn if you haven't already or email me on carli_smith@hotmail.com and I will send you my CV.

Here is to a fantastic new year :-) I am ready for every challenge that 2011 has to throw at me so come on let's make it a great one!