Making university count…

We are always pleased to hear about how well our graduates are doing, and we are especially pleased when they tell the world about how much their degree has helped them to succeed.

Sophie Longley, one of graduates who is now working in PR, has written in a blog post about how her degree has helped her in her career so far:

Three vital PR skills you have already learnt from being a university student

Three months ago I was prepping myself for the final hurdle of university life- third year exams. Highlighting notes, reading books and writing essays were the tasks of the day. As you may guess, this is the typical life of an English Literature student. Although I loved university, I couldn’t wait to ditch the library books and step foot in to a PR agency. I was eagerly counting down the days until I took my first steps in to the unfamiliar world of financial PR.

“Financial PR”, a friend of mine gasped, “how does that relate to an English degree? Initially I thought the same thing; I mean, what do Mark Carney and Shakespeare have in common? But what I have learnt from my first month as an intern is that public relations and an English degree have a lot more in common than you may think.

Here are three top skills you have unwittingly picked up from your university degree that you can use to your advantage in PR.

Meeting deadlines

I have quickly learnt that a deadline means a deadline in PR. Whether it’s sending out a press release on time or preparing press coverage for your clients, PRs need to stick to a deadline. Funnily enough, it’s the same for a student. Ever had three 3,000 word essays all due at the same time? I know I have. And if you can meet those deadlines and cope well under the pressure then you have earned yourself a useful PR skill without realising it.


Probably the most useful skill to have in PR and something that you have picked up from your first day as a university student. Remember introducing yourself to your new flatmates and people on your course, as well as meeting new faces at socials? An outgoing, friendly personality is extremely useful in PR. You need to build relations with journalists and network with other PRs, as you never know when you might need them. Although, don’t forget that the PRs and journalists that you meet at networking events are professionals – not students!


For any university degree, I bet you have been told to carry out research; whether it be an author, a historical event or a political movement. Aside from socialising or ‘networking’, university has taught me that the more time you spend researching, the more likely you are to be an expert in your field. Knowing your stuff is vital for PR. For example, it is best to research a journalist before you meet them and if you are just starting out in PR, it is useful to research your chosen sector.

If you can do all this within your first year of university, you are well on your way to becoming a successful PR professional.

Sophie Longley blog

To see the blog site:


About Cindy

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
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