PR & Journalism Education

The Undergraduate’s Guide to Landing a Job in PR

In today’s economy, your odds of landing a job could be comparable to winning the lottery. Five years ago, landing a decent job after college was not that hard, as long as you had a degree. At least that’s what a lot of us think. Today, recent graduates are struggling to land not only a decent job, but any job at all.

In discussions with other graduates who have successfully landed a job after college, here is a guide to some ‘hidden secrets’ you may find useful when you begin searching for your dream job:

•    Be persistent. Stay positive. You have to realize you are going to apply to far more positions than you’ll get interviews. It’s more likely you’ll receive an email from Human Resources with a response like: “Sorry we have reviewed your application materials and although you have a number of great qualifications for the position, we have chosen other applicants who are a better fit at this time.  We will keep your information on file. ” Don’t get discouraged. If you get discouraged by all the ‘no’ answers you hear in your life, you’ll get nowhere.

•    Build Your Network. I just graduated from school and prior to graduation, I decided to visit my school’s career and corporate services office. It was here that met a very helpful, insightful woman named Margaret. Margaret became a mentor in my job search process, and one of the most honest pieces of advice she gave me was: networking and knowing the right people and can be more helpful in landing a job in today’s economy. Networking today is both offline and online – be sure to leverage social networking tools to build your network throughout your college years and beyond.  “The statistic is 80% of people get jobs through someone they know.  This is very, very important.  Things I would consider doing would be to join an alumni chapter and even email the president of the chapter before you move and ask if someone within the chapter works in the field you are interested in and if this person would be willing to speak with you and give you some advice.” Another thing to consider is acquiring an online Associate Business Degree to connect with other business students and learn the basics of entrepreneurship.

•    In-Person, ‘Surprise’ Visit. Why not show up at a company corporate office, with confidence and a big smile on your face? You may think companies would just push you out the door for interrupting their busy day. Many are shocked you had the go-getter ambition to research the company and physically find them to deliver your resume in person.  In a super-competitive job market, this could be the best approach to separate you from the pack of other candidates.

•    Follow Up. No matter if you applied through the website, via email, or through a paper application, follow-up is essential to get an interview. Call your prospective employer about a week after you apply and ask to speak to the human resources manager. If nobody answers, leave a message. The more information you leave the better – it shows your interest in the company.

•    Be Professional and Classy. Carry yourself with a sense of class and professionalism all the time, not just in an interview. You never know who you’re going to meet waiting in line for the bathroom at your favorite local café.

•   Keep an Open Mind. Your main goal in life may be to work in the music industry as a publicist. This is very competitive and specific. You might need more real-world experience before you can get a job in the music industry – or you might need to work for less pay as you’re starting out. Just realize that it’s one step further in your career.  Keep an open mind and with ambition and passion, you will land your dream job.

Even in the worst economy, we’ve seen in decades, hundreds of recent graduates start new jobs in PR each week. If you follow some of the suggestions outlined in this post, you could gain a competitive advantage. Good luck in your search.

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