15 Nov How to Land a PR Job After College
There’s no other feeling that quite matches walking across the stage in your cap and gown, barely hearing anything because your family and friends are shouting your name, and finally receiving your hard-earned diploma in hand on graduation day. Congratulations – the easy part is over and your job search has officially commenced!
While some may be excited and ready to tackle the job-hunting world, others might be worried, overwhelmed, or even scared at figuring out what’s next. Lucky for you, I already went through this lovely process and can share some tips I’ve found to be extremely beneficial for landing a job in public relations.
Say Yes to Internships:
Yes it’s true – internships really do help set the foundation for your PR career. I know you’ve heard this said thousands of times, but there is truth to it. Internships place you in a real-world setting with teams, clients, and ACTUAL work. This could mean learning valuable information such as media list building, pitch and/or press release writing, researching speaking & award opportunities, monitoring media coverage, drafting social media posts, etc. Not only does this boost your resume, but also shows your PR skills in action and gives you things to speak to when interviewing with a potential employer. I would say aim for at least 2-3 internships during school and even AFTER graduation. You never know where an internship may take you – always keep this in mind.
Online Portfolios Go a Long Way:
Highlighting the work you’ve accomplished is essential in PR. If you don’t have an online portfolio already (and no, I don’t mean a LinkedIn profile), you need to make one right this second. Almost all employers ask to see writing samples or portfolios during the interview process. I suggest creating your personal website – using Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc – and making everything accessible with one quick “click.” Important things to include are a short bio, headshot (if possible – I know taking pictures is kind of a pain), a downloadable resume, writing samples (blogs, press releases, authored articles, PR/marketing plans), evidence of social media work, and digital/graphic design pieces. Having an online link already makes you ahead of the game by allowing future employers to see all about you…INSTANTLY!
Make Social Media Your BFF (If it isn’t already):
Your textbooks weren’t wrong – PR is all about relationship building. What better way to get the ball rolling on this than adding employers you’re interested in on all social channels. Get ready to like/love, tweet/retweet, comment, and make yourself visible to organizations online. I suggest you follow companies on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr if these apply). This is useful to keep you in the loop of what they’re doing/working on, the culture of the company, job openings, etc. Interacting with individuals from your “dream job” shows them that you care and sets you apart from everyone else. You never know, you could be commenting on a picture and receive a response from the CEO – if the company is small enough. With this being said, you have to remember this works both ways. If you’re interacting with a potential employer, there’s a big chance they will look at your channels (if your profiles’ aren’t private) to find out more about you. Always make sure to put your best image forward.
Keep An Open Mind:
Everyone starts somewhere. To my earlier point, it’s okay to accept an internship after graduation. It’s even okay to accept a non-ideal job. I know it’s hard, but keep an open mind to the various opportunities you are offered. While your dream job may be in fashion or sports PR, landing a job in the health, tech, or business industry may get you a step closer in that direction, or may even be a very rewarding experience in the long run. The key to having an open mind is knowing what you want, not settling, but not closing yourself off from anything. Showing your dynamic and well-rounded PR skills in different areas makes you a strong candidate!
Landing a job in public relations can seem a little daunting at first, but these “tips” will give you the experience you need to get a little closer to your dream job. Enjoy the ride and have fun, because your PR career is only beginning!