24 hours with.... PR Executive, Rachel Phillips

Name: Rachel Phillips
Job title: Account Executive
Sector: Public Relations
Company: CHA

How long have you worked in this role?
CHA is my first job in public relations; I have been with the company officially for 18 months. I started on a three-month work experience programme and was then offered a junior account executive position after the second month in the placement. I was then promoted into an Account Executive role.

Describe your typical day...
My day in the office usually starts at just before 9am. Our team spends the first 15 minutes to half an hour of the day reading the national newspapers and monitoring the day’s big news. As a B2B PR consultancy we are most interested in the big business stories of the day. The rest of the day is spent working on different campaigns for my clients, both corporate and consultancy. In my role this means a lot of communication with journalists in the HR, business and sector trade press (such as retail, marketing and even pharmacy), as well as the business correspondents working for national media outlets. I also draft press releases, case studies about work that my clients have done and quotes on behalf of my clients’ expert spokespeople.

What's your company culture like?
We are a small and industrious team and we all get on really well. We pride ourselves on really strong relationships with our clients and key journalists, because providing extra value for both is a key goal for us. Our company values are Intuitive, Smart and Tenacious. These mean spotting opportunities and problems before they happen, being thoughtful and clear about what will get our clients the best, most consistent results and then always outperforming against our targets.

What is your favourite part of the job?
I really enjoy the excitement of securing a great media opportunity and hearing or seeing my client perform well. The other big buzz for me comes from hearing that a particular piece of media coverage, live interview or speaking opportunity I helped to creat and set-up, has led to a sales lead, or job, for my client. That’s the ultimate, tangible result of profile building and reputation management.

Is there anything you would like to change?
If I could work standing up or on a treadmill that would be great. I don’t like being sat down for so much of my day.

What is your favourite way to wind down?
Though it’s a big part of my job, I still love to read. This also means the tube journeys to and from work are far more enjoyable.

What has been your career path to date and how does it look going forward?
This is my first job after University, I studied English Literature at Cardiff. When I left I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I was aiming for jobs where I could write and hoped to be working with lots of different people. Since I’ve started working I’ve completed a CIPR foundation course in Public Relations and additional training on the use of social media in PR. As for the future I wouldn’t say I have a strict five year plan, instead I know what things interest me and am open minded about the route I’d like my career to take. Though the job market is a tough place right now I think opportunities are there for the people who are savvy about playing to their strengths and for those who will keep trying despite rejection.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself in your writing. As a graduate you don’t have a big list of career achievements yet so companies aren’t hiring you for your experience but more for your perceived potential. This can be intimidating and as a safety net you can begin to write in corporate jargon in an attempt to sound professional. Instead be honest and show your personality, it will help them decide if you will fit in with their team and you will stand out from all the other ‘team players’ they are bound to read about.

If you were not doing this, what would be your plan B?
Oh, so many things: film maker, social worker, poet, dancer, puppeteer… the list goes on and on!

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