Hi, I'm Georgia Cooksey. I graduated from University of Birmingham in 2020 during the pandemic, with a 2:1 degree in BA Modern Languages Spanish from the College of Arts and Law.
I now work as an Account Executive at an award-winning Communications and PR company in Birmingham and this role is very varied. It involves things like tracking stakeholder sentiment, PR, B2B corporate comms, research, editing, proofreading, copywriting, interactions with journalists, and social media account management.
To be honest, I didn't really know what I wanted to do before I came to university, though I knew by the end of my degree I wanted to work with words and also clients and current affairs. So that led me to communications in the end really.
In terms of work experience, I had a lot of years in customer services and I had a little bit of experience as a website content assistant, but by far the most valuable experience I had in terms of work experience was my placement on my year abroad where I worked as a Social Media Manager, a Proofreader and a Translator for a translation agency in Spain. This gave me insight into how to protect business reputations via communications and how to positively shift and influence the dialogue surrounding businesses, which is basically what I do now.
The thing I love about my current role is how dynamic it is and how you can never predict the challenges or the tasks you will face each day. I also love the involvement I have with current affairs and the media.
But I think the most challenging thing about the role is actually probably what I love about it. It is the relationship with the current affairs and the media because our clients and stakeholders reputations actually rest on the portrayals in the media by journalists etc.
So I think the most difficult yet interesting thing that I have to do is come up with ways to counteract journalists views if they paint our clients in a negative light.
I think the biggest challenge for me in my career journey was actually my lack of corporate experience and having to keep being rejected from many interview processes and in fact, some preliminary application processes as well, despite my academic achievements that should have set me in good stead. I overcame this by applying the knowledge I've learnt in my part-time roles during my degree and on my year abroad placement in the interview processes and focusing on promoting the skills that I have from these that are compatible with those skills desired by employers. I think my placement on my year abroad was absolutely invaluable and I do actually believe that I wouldn't have got this job without it.
Also I think the research and communication skills and just the general awareness of current affairs that become part and parcel of a uni degree have been invaluable to my career formation. I think my career plan is to hopefully progress to Senior Account Executive within the next five to ten years and maybe even become an Account Manager or a Director, who knows!
The advice I would give to students is to dip your toe in interviews for different types of jobs if you're not sure where you quite want to go. I actually applied for marketing jobs, admin jobs, communication jobs and translation jobs and eventually you do get a feel for what is right for you.
In terms of getting into communications and PR, I think the key is to be politically aware, hungry for knowledge, have an interest in the way the world works and also in the built environment because this is a huge sector that's massive for communications clients at the moment and it's only going to get bigger from here.
My other piece of final advice is, use LinkedIn because you might get spotted on there, and also not to be disheartened if you keep getting lots of rejections. Rejections only set you up for better things so don't despair, persevere no matter how many rejections you get during the start of your career journey because you will find something that's right for you and you'll be really successful. So, I hope that helps! Thanks.