So, you want my job? News and digital specialist for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Francesca Martin's job as news and digital specialist for the MHRA?

No two days are the same, says Francesca Martin at the MHRA
No two days are the same, says Francesca Martin at the MHRA
Francesca Martin

News and digital specialist, MHRA

Starting salary/salary band for the job? 
Civil service grade HEO

What qualifications do you need?
Most of us have a degree but experience in comms is a must. You must be able to multi-task, cope with tight deadlines and be willing to work overtime and on-call when needed. You also need a confident telephone voice. I used to be so scared of making phone calls when I was younger but that fear soon disappears.

What level of experience do you need?
Having good knowledge and experience of working in a busy digital comms and media environment helps. A bit of creativity goes a long way too. I have a science background and I feel it helps with the more technical work we do. Experience in managing social media helps a lot too – be prepared to do a lot of stats.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
Not necessarily but it does help. I came from the private sector and you do notice the difference.  

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
We’re always super busy in the press office. On top of our normal project tasks, we might find ourselves dealing with multiple enquiries. One day we’re in the office taking calls and the next we’re on site with journalists filming interviews and radio shows. You need to be super organised and able to deal with a heavy workload – it isn’t laid back.

What is the best part of the job?
No two days are the same. One day I’ll be at the BBC, the next I’m at a conference taking pictures of important people– it’s not your standard office job. 

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job? 
We do get to see some of the devices and medicines seized. Did you know you can get butterscotch Viagra jam for your toast?! Our investigators seized it for a reason, so you probably shouldn’t try it.

If you get an interview, do say?
I understand social media.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
I’m impatient and like to do things my own way.

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Any PR/comms role, journalism etc.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role.

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