#Startingout: Career profile with Jessica Pardoe

#Startingout: Career profile with Jessica Pardoe

Welcome to the very first instalment in my #Startingout career series! I am so excited to start off this new series, I’ve loved interviewing some lovely professionals from around the country in a variety of sectors.

But first, what is this all about?

Final semester of final year. It’s a weird time. People are starting to question your every decision for your future and if I’m going to be honest, it can appear quite confusing navigating the big wide world of graduate jobs. It can leave you questioning everything you wanted, there are so many options! At the end of the day, I learn best by learning from other people so what better way to tackle this common worry than asking people who have recently made the transition from University to the working world themselves?

#Startingout will consist of interviews with recent graduates who are now working in a PR/Communications related field. These individuals will be sharing their experiences of going from University to full-time work, giving tips, guidance and insight into how they started their careers. They’ll be sharing their lessons and what they wish they had told themselves during final year.

So let’s get to it!

#Startingout career profile with Jessica Pardoe.

Jess is a full-time PR and outreach executive at a digital marketing agency in Manchester. She graduated last year from LJMU with a first class honours degree in business and PR and moved to Manchester shortly after to begin her career. Alongside her job, she also has been blogging on her PR & Lifestyle blog for over 2 years which is a finalist in the PR, Marketing & Comms category of the UK Blog Awards 2019.

I first came across Jess through the PR student blogging community and have loved following her journey since. So, how did she start out in the industry and what she has learnt along the way…..

LE: What made you go into PR/How did you find out about the industry?

Jess: To be honest, I came into it on a whim. When I was at sixth form I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to do – I just knew I wanted to be at University for the experience more than anything. So I chose the business & PR course because it looked like it was ‘a bit of me’ – it looked hands-on, interactive and like something I could get stuck in to. I didn’t really go into the course expecting much, I knew I wanted a career in business but I didn’t know what my future would look like. However, I soon became fascinated with the industry and was amazed by how Public Relations is pretty much behind everything. I knew pretty much from the start of my university course that this was a path I wanted to pursue. So I worked hard, took my education really seriously and grafted my way into a good role in PR after graduation. And I’m really happy I did.

LE: What do you find most interesting about the industry? 

Jess: I find it really interesting how PR is behind pretty much everything. I love the quote that “everything you do and say is PR” because it’s honestly true. Coming from the agency side of things, I love how Public Relations can really take a brand to the next level. I think one of the big struggles in our industry is proving the value of what we do, but the results often speak for themselves. From a digital perspective, some of the online coverage I’ve achieved for my clients has helped to raise their website and it’s effectiveness through the roof. I honestly find that SO interesting, and I think I always will.

LE: What industry do you work in now and what kind of things do you do?

Jess: I work in digital PR in an SEO and digital marketing agency. So I operate alongside my team to achieve the same goal – to boost leads for our clients. The other guys in my agency work on the techy SEO stuff, and I spend my days trying to achieve great coverage for my clients and running really exciting campaigns. At the moment, while I’m just starting out in my career, I’m enjoying agency life because you get to work with a number of different brands and people – all from different industries. In house communications is something I’d like to go into later in life, but at the moment – I think working in an agency is giving me the best breadth of opportunity.

In terms of what I do, I manage outreach for a number of different accounts. I mainly spend my days planning and executing campaigns. Whether it’s selling in new stories or working with journalists to create them – my goal every day is to win coverage for my clients, and I always get a buzz when I do that.

LE: How and when did you find your first graduate job?

Jess: So I got my graduate job in quite a weird way. At the end of second year, I decided I wanted to start getting some work experience so I put a call out on LinkedIn and for some reason, it got shared around so much that it actually ended up with over 1 million views – I couldn’t believe it. Anyway, from that, I got a few 1/2 week internships offers, and then I was lucky enough to be offered a one day a week paid placement if I wanted it. Of course, I said yes and started working for the agency (that I still work for now) every Friday for the duration of my final year. Nearing the end, I took on 2 days as my workload started to increase and then, just before I was set to travel around over the summer, they offered me a full-time position. They said they’d be willing to wait after I came back from my time abroad if I’d be happy to pick up some freelance work in the interim and of course I said yes.

LE: If you could go back to yourself in final year, what tips would you give yourself / what would you tell yourself?

Jess: Take up as many experiences as you can! And this doesn’t mean just for your career either. I would always recommend filling my time (because I seemed to have a lot of spare days in final year) doing work experience and networking. But also, I would tell myself to take advantage of the opportunities that my university was offering too. I applied for a summer school in Shanghai, which was all expenses paid, in third year and I got on it – I couldn’t believe it. It was the best 2 weeks of my life and if I had my time at university again I would tell myself to definitely apply for more of those placements.

LE: What is the biggest lesson or challenge you’ve learnt or come across since leaving University? 

Jess: Getting used to working full time and not being a student any more for sure. I found it, and am still finding it, really hard to adjust. I think if you have a good uni experience like I did, it’s incredibly hard to let that go and I still miss living with my friends and just generally being in that learning environment with my course mates too. I think because I pretty much went straight into working after graduating, I didn’t have enough time to process the transition – so I’m still getting over that now. And though working in PR is amazing and I’m so excited for what the future holds, I’m certain that my university years were the best 3 years of my life. So what I’d say to anybody still studying is enjoy it because honestly when you start working full time you’ll realise you took going for lunch at 3pm on a Wednesday and staying out til 3am on a Monday for granted. So lap it up! (But in the same breath, working in PR is so exciting and if you love your job like I do, you’ll find comfort in that).

LE: Who inspires you?

Jess: I have quite a lot of inspirations, one of my biggest is Anne Boden who’s the CEO of Starling Bank. To me, she’s a real woman making a difference and she’s really a true hero in my eyes. In PR, my biggest inspiration is Amanda Coleman who heads up the comms in the Greater Manchester Police – which is my dream job. Amanda is so, so lovely and such a great person to know and she’s the type of woman I’d love to be. My other inspirations include Ella Minty, Kate Cox, Sarah Hall and Jane Ainsworth, who are all strong and powerful women making a huge difference in PR. When it comes to PR blogging (and I do need a lot of inspiration here as sometimes by blog falls by the wayside) my inspirations include yourself (!), Orlagh Shanks, the Ulster PR girls, Livi Wilkes, Rebecca Henderson, Marcel Klebba, Stephen Waddington and of course Ella and Amanda too.

In terms of general people who inspire me – I have a few. My parents who always, always make me want to be and do better but who are always proud of me every step of the way. My Nan. My Granddad who always used to say I would go on to achieve wonderful things. My friends and my boyfriend. And my last one would be one of my old lecturers, Keith, who always saw a potential in me despite me being one of the quieter and more reserved members of my class. He gave me the encouragement to push through my third year of university and go on to achieve good things.

 


“I soon became fascinated with the industry and was amazed by how Public Relations is pretty much behind everything. I knew pretty much from the start of my university course that this was a path I wanted to pursue”
“I love how Public Relations can really take a brand to the next level. I think one of the big struggles in our industry is proving the value of what we do, but the results often speak for themselves”
Jessica Pardoe, PR & Outreach Executive, Tecmark

 

Thank you, Jess, for taking part and sharing some honest wisdom! Be sure to follow her on Twitter. You can also find her on LinkedIn. To find out more about Jess visit her blog here.

Stay tuned for next week’s interview!

Luce x

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