VIS Megan - Large

"Everyone says that your years at University are the best of your life, and they really are!"

Volunteer in the Spotlight - Megan Hallinan

Volunteer in the Spotlight is a regular feature that highlights the alumni that help current students achieve more. Megan Hallinan (Creative Writing with French & Film, 2009) works in PR in London. Read about her career and why she volunteered at the University.

Tell us about yourself and your career journey.

I graduated in 2009 and worked for a short time in television, having gained experience and contacts through XTV. In television production you mostly work on short term contracts, but I wanted something more stable and long-term, so I ended up working for a Broadcast PR agency. This seemed like the perfect role for me at the time, combining my experience of TV with PR (I was Head of Publicity for XTV and also volunteered for the RSPCA Press Office in Exeter). Over the next six years I worked both in-house and for agencies, doing PR for a wide range of sectors, from finance to gaming. A couple of months ago moved into food/retail, taking on the role of Head of PR for HelloFresh in the UK. 

What aspects of your working life have you enjoyed the most so far? 

I've been fortunate to travel quite a lot in my career, especially when I worked in gaming, with frequent trips to San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, which I really loved. I travel less now, but there are still so many things that I get a buzz from - seeing a story I've pitched making it into a newspaper or onto a major website is a great feeling, as well as planning and executing successful events. 

If you weren’t in this sector, what do you think you would be doing instead?

I always dreamed of being a writer from a young age and the majority of my degree at Exeter was in Creative Writing. PR has been a happy medium for me as I still get to use my writing skills to an extent, but also have a secure job and comfortable salary. Further down the line, it's something I'd like to pursue again. 

What advice would you give to current students, and how can Exeter graduates get into your area of work? 

The advice I always give, which I can't stress enough, is to get as much experience as you can. It's not enough to just have a degree any more - you need to have an edge over the hundreds of other people who are going for the same job as you. I think sometimes people take 'work experience' to mean working for a PR agency in one of the big cities, but that doesn't have to be the case. The great thing about PR is that everything needs public relations, whether that's a beauty brand, a charity or a sports team.  If you're passionate about something, show it! Set up a blog or social media accounts to demonstrate your love for something. PR is constantly changing and the rise of bloggers and social influencers is huge for brands, so having an understanding of this as a graduate will instantly give you the upper hand. 

And finally, what inspires you to volunteer so much of your time to help Exeter students?

Everyone says that your years at University are the best of your life, and they really are! I had such a fantastic time at Exeter, forged friendships for life (including my now husband!) and learned so much, so I'm always happy to give something back. The working world is now more competitive than ever and I like to be able to share my experiences and advice to help Exeter students to get ahead. 

Date: 18 November 2015

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