Journalism graduate achieves goals with Everton Football Club
Monday 03 April 2017
Rachel Cummins graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Journalism in 2014. She now works as a PR officer at Everton Football Club.
After a bit of a roundabout career journey, she's found her role in an industry she's passionate about.
Earlier this year, Rachel returned to Sheffield Hallam to take part in a Grad Talk, an event which sees alumni come back to share with third year students their valuable insights about their job-seeking experiences and how they are using the skills they developed at Hallam in their current work.
We caught up with Rachel to find out more about her job, why she thinks opportunities like Grad Talk are so important, and what she took away from the experience.
Please give a brief overview of your career journey to date – is your current job something you’ve always wanted to do?
I didn't want to work in PR when I graduated; I wanted to be a sports journalist. However, roles are hard to come by, so I decided to take a job as PR executive at an agency working for Aldi after two weeks work experience there.
Retail was never really my passion so after 10 months I took a job as a communications assistant at Manchester City Football Club. This was actually a step down the ladder but took me into an industry I was passionate about. I did the PR for the club's charitable activity for 18 months and learnt so much. It was here that I really found myself and the person I wanted to become.
Now I'm a public relations officer at Everton Football Club. I cover all areas off the pitch including: community, commercial, club projects and the academy and ladies teams. It's been a steep learning curve and I'm still trying to keep my head down and learn from the people around me but I've enjoyed every second.
I'm sure that I wouldn't be where I am today without Sheffield Hallam.
Did you take part in any similar Grad Talk type events while you were studying? If so, what did you take away from this?
I did - I actually snuck in when I was in my second year! For me, it was just about getting really excited to graduate. I was already working hard getting experience so it was amazing to see what people were up to and to imagine where I could end up if I applied myself as well.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Lots of press releases and writing content! People around the Club come to me with their upcoming projects and I try to build a PR plan around it, before implementing. It's basically a case of getting as many positive stories about the Club in the media as possible!
What are some of the stand out projects that you’ve worked on recently?
At City I worked with a terminally ill teenager who was a ball boy at the Club, he got the chance to meet his first team heroes and Pep Guardiola before he passed away. On a personal level it was incredibly rewarding and professionally it was a great success.
One of the largest events I've worked on was helping to put on a live broadcast of Sky Sports News' morning show at the City Football Academy. I've never been part of such a large production and I loved every second. It was a dream come true!
I'm still very new at Everton so I'm sure there are still big things on the horizon.
What was your role in Grad Talk?
My role was very varied - I spoke on the panel about ways to get experience, building your CV so that it stands out at shortlisting, and interview techniques which have worked for me.
Why do you feel that sharing your experiences with students is so important?
It's so important, not only will it help to inspire current students over the finish line but it helps them to be realistic about what's around the corner - it's important to get that balance right. I've learnt a lot over the years and it's important to share these insights.
Did you benefit in any way from the Grad Talk experience?
Definitely! Sometimes I take for granted how far I've come and talking about it to people reminds you of how lucky you are - I was even more enthusiastic in the office the next day!
If, like Rachel, you would like to impart your experiences since graduation with current students or alumni, we'd love to hear from you. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org