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A placement year was one of the main reasons why I chose Bournemouth University and, after finishing mine, I can see just how valuable and useful one year can be.

I was lucky enough to spend my placement year at L’Oréal within the Active Cosmetics Division’s PR & Communications team. I thought I had an idea of what to expect but, realistically, it is hard to be completely prepared. Leaving the structure and constant assessment of University and going straight into a global organisation three weeks later where I needed to hit the ground running was a lot to take in.

But that is what I loved. It was a challenge, there was always something to get stuck in to and learn. My role mainly surrounded supporting the wider communications team, spending most of my time in social media management and influencer strategy. I have influencers who know who I am, have my own relationships with and have had dinner with high profile influencers and press from titles I’ve read for years – I never thought during an internship I would be in the same room as Vogue, Grazia and more.

Throughout the year I was able to attend 8 incredible events from dinner at The Ritz to launching a new brand in the UK (L’Oréal’s biggest brand acquisition to date!). Not many people can say they’ve hoovered and hand-picked flower stems off of the carpet of the Ritz or tried to stop a lizard from jumping off a table towards press (yes, this actually happened!). I ran an Instagram & Facebook account for a year, created my own content, ran my own outreach projects, arranged stock for launches, monitored coverage, saw first hand how strategies are devised, executed and much more. I even got to go to Facebook and Instagram! I wasn’t just an intern, what I did made a difference, even if it was spending half a day unpacking boxes or filling out post forms!

From just one year, I have had an invaluable insight first hand in how the industry works and what day-to-day press office life could be like in a global corporation. It’s helped me to evaluate myself, what I enjoy, my strengths and weaknesses. It’s made me think in different ways and given me confidence I didn’t know I had in me. I’ve seen and done things I never could have dreamed of, learnt more than I thought possible and achieved things I am so proud of. It’s helped me to understand so much and made me fall in love with this industry even more.

For anyone looking for a placement I would say don’t apply for placements ‘just because’. Get your CV and cover letter sorted early so you have time to think about positions and companies available. It can be hard when everyone is applying for placements and someone else has applied to 5 more than you. But a placement year is such an amazing time to learn so make sure the role you apply for is something you are interested in and passionate about – that helps a lot! And then when you eventually do start your placement, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be able to do the job straight away, no one expects that! Mistakes will be made, that’s inevitable and I made my fair few but just be ready to learn and get involved – the rest will be history!

I’m leaving my placement inspired and more motivated than I’ve ever been. I’ve seen where I can be and I’m more motivated than ever to get there. I’ve met the most amazing group of people along the way who I’ve learnt so much from, made incredible memories and will always remember my placement year. I was lucky enough to be on a team where each day I was encouraged and supported and I learnt and developed so much from them. I look up to my team and those I worked with, thinking that one day I want to be where they are and one day I hope someone else thinks that about me.

“Lucy has been a pleasure to work with this year, she has developed both professionally and personally in the role and has developed all of the competencies to be strengths. Through constantly improving and striving to excel in the role, Lucy has achieved amazing results and key PR wins completely by herself.”  – Lizi Hart, Assistant Influencer Manager, L’Oréal

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