Agency work experience: more than just cups of tea

Before arriving at Octopus Group for my work experience, I thought that I ought to brush up on my photocopying and tea making skills, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From day one I’ve been exposed to the diverse world of PR and marketing, and I have been given the opportunity to learn directly through experience and having real responsibility.

The remarkable sense of community within Octopus Group, and the culture of friendliness, made me feel instantly welcome, quickly ridding any nerves that I had and allowing me to throw myself into my work.

My tasks and what I’ve learnt

I’ve been fortunate to work on a variety of assignments, and I quickly learnt that no two days in PR are the same. The team I worked with service HR, technology and finance companies, which gave me the chance to be exposed to new fields that I previously knew little about. As a result, researching and understanding clients became key to effectively completing my tasks.

I learnt how to gain exposure for clients through posting blogs, finding suitable forward features and contacting journalists. I also grasped the importance of a company’s identity, when creating presentations in line with their branding and compiling a global media list for a client.

No job is a small job. Everything has its importance, and it’s rewarding when you see your work being developed through to the next stage. I had the opportunity to participate in brainstorms, which require fast-paced creativity, and also to sit in on a presentation by a top media lawyer about the rights of clients.

My first taste of agency life could not have been more engaging and exciting.

For anyone considering gaining industry experience, don’t hesitate, my time with Octopus Group has been invaluable.

Here are my top tips on how to succeed in your role

1. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking if you’re on target and what more you can do can only advance and focus your work. I was regularly given direct guidance and feedback and it improved my performance.

2. Understand Why Not Just What­

When researching or completing a task, ask why you are doing it as well as for the brief. This allows you to see the bigger picture and the impact the task will have.

3. Be Prepared To Multi-task

There are often last-minute tasks which take priority. Stay on top of any ongoing work, so you can move around your “to do list” for a time-critical task.

4. Speak Your Mind

If you have an idea, share it! Even if it’s not a eureka moment, it will contribute to the discussion and spark other people’s imaginations as well as showing your creativity.

5. Talk To Everyone

Speak to people outside of your team and try and understand what their role is. You will learn how the agency works and other areas you might be interested in.

6. Go Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Push yourself to try new things. I had never spoken to a journalist on a phone before Octopus Group and was nervous to do so, but you can only learn by putting both feet forward.

7. Introspection

Experience can give you a sense of clarity as to what career route you want to take. First-hand learning can give you an understanding of whether your skills are suited to the environment. Throw yourself into your role to get the most out of it and seize every opportunity that comes your way to broaden your skillset and knowledge.

If you follow these tips, you’ll get more out of your work experience and learn more about agency life than you would from making a million tea rounds.