Appearing in Behind the Spin’s #socialstudent list with the final rank of 14th and her highest as 4th, Chelsea Galpin is only a first year student at Leeds Metropolitan University and showing such potential already! Having just completed a placement with Wolfstar Consultancy, Chelsea is now working for Leeds Charity Fashion show as a publicist.
Behind the Spin’s #socialstudent list uses Klout and Peer Index to measure a user’s influence over their social network. But in your opinion, can they be trusted as an accurate measure of your influence?
I believe that although Klout may not be 100% reliable, it provides a rough estimate of online influence. It puts a figure against your online influence and this means that finally it can be measured in some way and I’m sure that any kind of measurement is more useful than none. Until it can be better measured Klout is more useful than Peer Index as that is slightly harder to judge and measures different things to Klout. But again, it still provides some sort of figure of online influence and this is useful for many reasons.
PR has seen a real shift over recent years toward digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. How do you think using these tools affects your career?
Since I started my course, I have been building an online profile consisting of a blog, Twitter and LinkedIn. For me, I think these are crucial when pursuing a career in PR. As many would say, PR is moving away from traditional means and moving more and more into the realm of social media. Those pursuing a career in PR need to prove to potential employers that they are capable of using social media. However, this is not the only reason that I believe social media is useful for pursuing a career. Many PR professionals will say that before interviewing potential candidates, they are likely to Google the candidate to see what they’re like and what their online profile consists of. Putting relevant information and discussing new and interesting topics shows that you have an online presence. You can also interact with other PR professionals on the likes of Twitter which can create a huge contact list – this will always be useful when working in PR!
So why did you want to go into PR at Leeds Met?
I’ve always had an interest in media relations and research showed me that PR was interesting and always changing – I often get bored of doing the same thing so thought PR would be perfect for me and my capabilities. I wanted to live in a vibrant City as a change from my hometown. I didn’t want to live in London and Leeds Metropolitan’s course is CIPR certified. I attended an open day with this information in-mind and found that Leeds just felt ‘right’ for me. It has everything I was looking for so for me, it was the natural choice. In my first year, I have had 7 modules and the one I have found most useful is the PR Skills module. This module encourages students to seek placements for use in their portfolio (which is then assessed) and provides valuable experience that a University course cannot teach you. The portfolio can then be used when seeking further placements as well as when seeking a career once your University education is finished.
Do you think a degree is a necessity for people wanting to work in the industry?
They can be very useful as it provides education in things you are unlikely to know without going to University. However, I do believe that you can enter the PR industry without a specific PR degree. After speaking to professionals, many have said they would consider candidates with a degree in something other than PR such as English. This shows commitment to education and that you are capable of learning new things, as well as gaining skills that non-university students wouldn’t have.
You’re only in your first year but have some good experience under your belt, how have you found it?
I have had a placement at Wolfstar Consultancy throughout my first year at University and I could not fault it –
The whole team have been friendly and guided me through work and they have always kept in mind that I’m still learning and only a first year student. I have worked on clients such as Sony Ericsson, Camira Fabrics and even contributed to the Wolfstar blog. I have been involved in research, media lists and blog posts amongst other things. Just writing a blog post for Wolfstar gave me some responsibility and seeing the finished results was always good. I have been able to build my PR experience a great deal and feel that I have gained so much through working once a week at Wolfstar.
Currently, I am working on publicising Leeds Charity Fashion Show which is in partnership with UNICEF and contains celebrity guests from Made In Chelsea. I have built a blog for the show which is updated with new designers and I have also created a Twitter page to engage the people of Leeds. Working on this has given me more freedom than working at Wolfstar and providing me with a completely different experience.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
After University I plan to seek work in the private sector, although I am not sure whether it will be in-house or at an agency as I have only had a placement at an agency so it is difficult to compare at the moment. In five years time I hope to be in a stable career that has many prospects including travelling. PR is a tough market for jobs but Leeds Met are always pushing students to build on their portfolios in order to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs so I plan on completing more placements to gain more experience.
Top Tips for other students:
I would recommend other students build their online profile as it can involve potential future employers and do wonders for your online reputation. This can be done through the use of Twitter, LinkedIn and creating a personal blog that discusses industry topics. Gaining experience in your first year can also compliment your degree, giving you an advantage over those who haven’t completed a placement. I would also recommend that students get involved in as many opportunities as possible as it demonstrates your commitment to your course.
Check out Chelsea on Twitter @ChelseaGalpinPR and her blog to discover just what makes her a #socialstudent.