It’s usually in those last few months before college graduation, when reality sets in and the task of finding a job looms. Goodbye, cushy college life! Hello, real world. All of that course work and preparation over the past few years have led to this moment that once seemed impossibly far away. Questions like, Which job is best for my skill set? and Where do I even start? are some of the most common questions that college students face today. I know I had them myself.
While some navigate the job-seeking process with ease, others struggle to find their bearings — which was definitely the category I fell into. I knew I wanted to be a part of a fast-paced, collaborative PR agency, but after that I didn’t have many answers as to what I was looking for. There were mistakes made and lessons learned along the way, but since my graduation a couple years ago, there are four things I’ve found that can make applying for that first PR job a little less daunting.
Do Your Homework!
Every PR agency is different and there is no way to tell what they’re looking for (or what works for you) without doing your research. Start by narrowing down the locations you could see yourself working in and then study the agencies there and the type of work they do. Do they have mainly B2B or consumer clients? Or some of both? What services do they offer? Knowing what each agency does helps narrow down your top picks.
Networking is Your New Best Friend
PR is all about people and communicating, so knowing how to relate to others outside of work can be your best in-road for getting work. Networking events can seem awkward at first (small talk central!), but they’re also incredibly valuable for building out your list of contacts. Look for events that take place through career services at your school, or maybe a coffee shop is hosting a meetup of local businesses. Whatever it is, go check it out. This is great practice if these kinds of events are intimidating; it just gets easier the more you do it. And, you never know who you might meet!
Your Resume is More Than a Piece of Paper
Don’t get me wrong, the tangible resume you share with a company is a big deal, and it’s important to know what is worth including and what isn’t. But in today’s digital world, there is a lot more that companies look at and consider when hiring you. You know that picture you just posted on Facebook or the article you shared on LinkedIn? Employers can see that. Be sure the online presence you’re creating is someone that is both employable and likable.
Practice Might Not Make Perfect- But it Does Make a Difference
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when it’s in a field like PR where how you communicate is a big factor. But instead of panicking in the days leading up to the actual meeting, use that time to practice! Have your parents or a friend ask you potential interview questions. Stand in front of the mirror and practice telling someone about yourself. You might still stumble over a few words in the actual interview, but I promise, that extra preparation will make all the difference. Also be sure to come up with smart questions that you have about that particular agency – which goes back to point 1. Research, research, research.
Applying for that first job after college can seem overwhelming, but it’s important to put it into perspective. You’ll never have more opportunities or options than you do right after college, so don’t be afraid to seize the moment and meet the challenge head on — really good things lie ahead.
Think you’re ready to land your first PR job? Put your skills to the test and apply for one of our current openings.