Words by Callum Wears-Service, Network Communication Intern.
Who’d have thought in this age of email and online resumes that good old-fashioned door-knocking would have got me my first job in PR?
Not that I don’t fully appreciate the value of technology when it comes to chasing jobs and building relationships, but when you’re one of many people chasing a job, I like to stand out from the crowd from the outset. I’m rather impatient too, and would prefer a straight forward ‘no’ at the start rather than waiting weeks for a response.
My interest in public relations began when I was 14, while studying history, when the name Edward Bernays came up. Bernays is the so-called ‘father of public relations’ – and after investigating the techniques he used during both peace and wartime, and how these influenced public opinion and government actions, my interest in PR grew.
After leaving school and enjoying a gap year, I enrolled in AUT’s Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in public relations, a course that’s been challenging and fun, as well as giving me the knowledge and skills I’m now putting into practice.
I now find myself entering an industry that, as of 2017, is worth $15 billion a year globally, and which has grown far from its roots in publicity and propaganda and into a profession focussed on fostering mutual understanding.
In the long term I see myself working in political communication, either helping a political party convey ideas to the public, or for organisations who are keen to have an input on government policy.
For now, though, I’m more than happy learning the ropes at Network – one of New Zealand’s oldest and best PR agencies, and an agency with a stellar alumni.
Starting at the bottom has meant beginning with the most basic tasks – data entry – but even that has let me to gain a better understanding of a client’s core business, as well as what interests the media.
My time here hasn’t all been excel spreadsheets though. Within a few weeks I took part in my first brainstorming session, helping to devise campaign ideas for a major client. I was stoked to be able to contribute and feel part of something real instead of just learning about it in a lecture theatre or textbook. Seeing how tactics are formulated and built on was fascinating, and now I’m really keen to see if any of my ideas make it into the final campaign.
So, I’m “on my way” as they say - and it all started with a simple knock on the glass double doors located on the first floor of 26 Lorne Street, Auckland Central.