There, I said it. Out and proud, I work in the public sector, and I love it. Anyway, now that is over, therapy done, I can tell you how I got here…..
Graduating in 2009, I had had my fix of public relations and wanted rid. I decided I was going to find a job back at home for a year, and spend time with friends and hang on to the student lifestyle for 12months more. And then, I would find my dream PR job, move to the City and live the dream. It all started well, I found a job, working as manager of a small charity. Being the only paid employee I was master of my own office, and took care of everything needed to run the charity day to day. Volunteer management, marketing, promotions, fundraising; bid writing, training – all of it. I slowly fell into a comfortable place within the 3rd sector, and liked – no, really liked – my job. However, I wanted more and at the many meetings I had with local government colleagues around my charities work, the more I felt that was where I should be, and where a difference could be made… by me.
As luck would have it an email dropped into my inbox from the University of Lincoln careers service promoting the new Lincolnshire County Council’s Management Programme for recent graduates. Short version – I applied, and I got the job. Hoo-rah! So, in 2010 I moved back to Lincoln, back to the memories, back to the city I used to and once again call home.
My job role has evolved a lot in the last 2 years; I have undertaken placements in Customer Services, Information Governance, Business Support, Economic Regeneration, Fire and Rescue, Children’s Services and the Directors Office. I am currently, ready for this… Project Manager – Olympics in Lincolnshire (amongst others things). My job is varied, different every day, working on a whole host of projects, events, reports and pieces of work. Although my job title doesn’t allude to it, I do use an awful lot of the PR skills I picked up during my degree days. The projects I work on have generally been quite high profile, especially my latest, and so all the usual suspects: press releases, communications, liaising with media, getting the message across, and of course crisis PR. You may not believe it, but sometimes the council gets some stick for the decisions it makes. And sometimes, just sometimes we get some bad press. And so I have had to give comments to the press about stories they are going to be running, or advise the communications team on what we want to say about certain events and press stories. A lot of my PR skills have been transferred from university to the position I am in now.
The best thing about working for a public sector or third sector organisation is that the people who work there are there for a reason. To make a difference. If you want a role where you will work alongside passionate people who care for what they are doing and the impact it will have on the community and society in which we live, research into these sectors. There are some truly great things happening and being a part of them really can’t be bad!
I wouldn’t have got either of my jobs mentioned here if it wasn’t for my degree. PR lends itself to a whole host of employment opportunities.
So my best advice would be to:
1 – Do the course. Its fab, you will learn so much.
2 – Don’t be afraid to explore other options rather than working for a PR agency. Your PR skills are valuable to a lot of different roles and organisations.
3 – Please don’t dismiss the public and/or third sector. They are great places to work, and generally have stationary cupboards to die for.
I have twitter: @sallyelizabeth
I have LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sallyelizabeth
I have Yammer: https://www.yammer.com/lincolnshire.gov.uk/users/sallyrateSally Rate
I have an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to get in touch if you want to ask a question, congratulate me on my outstanding blog post, or invite me for lunch, anything.
QUICK! LOOK! One more thing: The county council are going to be looking for new recruits to the graduate scheme this summer, to start towards the end of the year. Keep your eyes peeled. https://jobs.lincolnshire.gov.uk/