THE INDUSTRY IN LONDON
The art of communication – including language, pictures, and sounds – has long been considered a strength of British culture. Keen readers know that Britain’s famous wit and humor finds its way into every piece of writing. The English language itself has absorbed words and turns of phrase from every invading and occupying army and every colonized nation – along with their food, architecture, and art. While declining, newspaper circulation remains high compared to other countries and the average London commuter still spends their time on the train reading the news – though these days they are more likely to read it on a device!
At the same time, the stereotypical British reserve and courtesy contribute to a distaste for “boasting” or the “hard sell”. This means that anyone looking to promote an idea or sell a product must be very creative, inspiring the award-winning and innovative marketing and advertising for which British agencies are known.
Any student looking to develop skills in effective communication in all its forms will find a lot to learn in London’s thriving, multicultural work environment.
|Intense competition from local students combined with union rules mean internships in major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, and studios are typically not possible.|
|There are no internships available in Broadcast Journalism nor in news programs or similar.|
Students who choose a Communications & Journalism may be placed in any of the opportunities below. If a particular sub-area catches your eye, let us know on your MyInternship form.
Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations (XX = Most Popular)
Every industry has professionals dedicated to getting the message out and influencing people to take action. A placement in marketing, advertising or public relations could be in an agency which performs these services for a number of clients, or a dedicated team or department within a business or charity. Tasks may include writing and distributing press releases, social media management, liaising with clients, identifying and implementing new marketing strategies, forecasting, and market research, developing the brand, database management, arranging promotional events, collecting brand coverage and administrative duties. These days most companies will invest significant resources in their online campaigns, and so familiarity with social media is essential and social-media-based tasks are likely to form a large part of your role.
Writing & Content Development
Many companies and organizations are looking for assistance with producing writing and content for their blog, website, print materials, campaigns or publications. Content development can take many forms – both short (social media posts, product descriptions, image captions) and long (feature blogs, news articles), and its purpose may be to inform readers, raise awareness, build community or promote a brand or product. Please note in most circumstances you will not be credited with a byline or contributor note for the work you produce during your placement. Writing and content internships can be based within companies, charities, NGOs, community organizations or publications. Associated tasks include editing, researching, fact checking, updating databases, sorting and tagging content, conducting image searches, preparing layouts and curating content or profiles.
An event planning placement allows students to gain experience in all aspects of preparing for and executing events. Previous students have assisted with events of all sizes and forms, from parties, club nights and celebrations to fundraisers, festivals or corporate entertaining. Tasks could include event implementation work such as contacting sponsors, dealing with clients and guests, sourcing venues and arranging vendors; along with office based tasks such as market analysis, post-event processing, administration, and research. Employers will typically want to see previous event experience on your CV, so make sure to highlight this, even if it’s just for a university club or organization. Please note that we cannot guarantee that the specific dates of your internship will coincide with the date of an event, so your placement may not include every part of the event cycle. Students working in events should be prepared to work flexible hours, including some late nights and potentially even weekends in order to make the most of the opportunity.
There’s no denying it’s been a tough decade for publishing as people increasingly prefer to read online and are becoming more resistant to paying for quality content. The contraction in the industry has meant that even experienced, qualified professionals may struggle to find full employment. However, FIE does have some opportunities for highly qualified and experienced students to contribute to specialized publications. Areas of focus which students have been involved with in the past have included business, finance, tourism, arts, and design. If there are particular fields which interest you, please note these on MyInternship but use your communication skills to make it clear to your Internship Mentor that you understand it’s a competitive field and note you are open to a role in any area of focus (otherwise, you might not be considered for the full variety of roles available). A strong portfolio of work is essential, so make sure to include this with your MyInternship application.
REALITIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The communications industry in the UK is likely to be very different from what you are used to, including tone, style, and even spelling! You should arrive at your internship humble and ready to learn. For example, you may find that your placement doesn’t structure a press release the way you were taught in class.
Communications touch absolutely every industry, so make sure to communicate to your Internship Mentor and potential employers if you have particular areas of interest or knowledge – a great way to do this is adding an interests and hobbies section to your CV!
Major creative decisions – such as creating new advertising campaigns or contributing directly to client accounts – are normally only open to senior members of staff. Interns will be exposed to the inner workings of creative decisions at their placement, but are not likely to be given creative control over their work.
- Knowledge of the relevant communications field and how it operates
- Awareness of differences between British and American spelling
- Excellent communications skills, both verbal and written
- Strong writing, proofreading, and editing skills, ideally with a portfolio to demonstrate these
- Relevant skills in social media or communication tools, ideally with a portfolio to demonstrate these
- Flexibility and willingness to work irregular hours, such as evenings and some weekends (especially if working in events)
Relevant academic experience. Applicable majors include Communications, Journalism, Media, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, English, and Literature
TIPS AND TRICKS: SHOWING YOU'RE A STRONG CANDIDATE
- If you’ve got great, public online profiles or portfolios links to these on your CV, or link to ones you’ve worked on
- Demonstrate your writing and editing skills with impeccable grammar and spelling in your MyInternship materials – triple check everything is perfect!
- List by name any programs or tools you are familiar with, such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), content management systems (WordPress, Joomla!), design (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Canva), or programming languages
- List any language skills and your level of proficiency