It’s that time of year where we get the career panic and begin fruitlessly emailing every company we can think of to land a last minute summer internship. This week we caught up with third year history student Holly Mitchell to find out about her internship in PR. Read on for her top tips on obtaining that internship!
‘I acquired my Marketing and PR Internship at Fortnum and Mason simply by emailing them-among tens of other leading retailers- expressing my interest in work experience in the retail sector, and in particular my wish to pursue a career in either Marketing or Buying and my absolute willingness to do it for free. I attached my CV and hoped for the best! I received a response around two months later. The correspondence was incredibly informal and relaxed, and they even allowed me to pick a 4-week placement to the exact dates I wanted in August 2012. The whole experience was quite contrary to my fears that employers would have a dismissive ‘take it or leave it’ attitude towards internships. They were incredibly accommodating and willing for me to be able to take this opportunity as well as making sure I actually liked the sound of the role.
The basis of the role was supporting the Marketing Department in day-to-day activities. They have a PR agency who look after all of their press related activity, so part of my role was to liaise between F&M and the PR team. This involved collating and organising product loans to be send to target publications such as Vogue, GQ, Elle, RED magazine as well as broadsheet magazines such as You, independent, Telegraph etc. I also supported the team in organising in store events and out-of-store exhibitions for their famous hampers.
I really loved the role. The press liaison was certainly incredibly busy and demanding at times and the internship was unpaid, but they did pay for my travel within London. Despite the dent I saw in my bank account, being so involved in a business with a pivotal role in the 2012 Jubilee and being in the heart of London during the Olympics was incredible. I got real-hands-on experience within the retail marketing sector, but they were also keen for me to get the most out of the experience and really considered my personal interests. They gave me the opportunity to shadow the bakery buying team and allowed me to get involved with the in-store bakery demonstrations. I also got to eat a lot, and I mean A LOT. At least twice a week part of my job would be trying all the new ice cream and brunches, and I was even the first person to sample their brand new Fortnum savoury Afternoon Tea.
My advice to anyone applying for this sort of internship would be to be prepared to get plenty of rejections if you even get a response. You will need to contact as many people as humanly possible. For this role, I wasn’t even applying for a formally advertised positions. I ended up straying from the traditional online application route and took a more personal approach- writing personalised emails with my CV to any addresses I could find from retailer websites or their career sites (which most of them have). This got me far more human responses, even if they were rejections, but even then people took the time to wish me luck.
Photos from my internship can be found at www.hollybakesthingsandtakesph…