#MediaMonday – Cathryn CrenoApril 26, 2010
Best advice for a college grad?April 29, 2010
College graduation for me was several years ago, but I still remember the excitement of getting a degree and the fear that I would never find a job. Fortunately, a well-timed PRSA event provided me the introduction to what would become my internship following graduation. And that internship is what led to my first real job and subsequently every opportunity since.
So, in honor of Friday’s #HAPPO focusing on recent college grads, I offer some tips on how to make the most of the next few weeks before graduation:
- Get to know the public relations community. What agencies are in town and what types of clients are they working with? Who is heading up the in-house public relations teams at the corporations in your community? What about the non-profit or government sectors?
- Assuming that you’ve had an internship or two, be sure to stay in touch with your supervisors. These folks should be able to introduce you to other colleagues in the industry.
- Don’t underestimate the power of an informational interview. Identify what companies you’d be interested in getting to know and ask for a 30-minute meeting. This is your time to get advice on your resume, find out what skills are being valued in the marketplace and ask a lot of questions. I have never hired a single account service person for our agency that I didn’t have a previous relationship with.
- Get involved with a professional association. If you were a member of a student chapter of PRSA or IABC, most will offer a reduced rate to participate in and join following graduation. These associations provide professional development opportunities and networking with the industry leaders in your community.
- Polish up your portfolio. Employers are going to want to see samples of your public relations skills. So be sure to gather copies of the articles you wrote for the campus newspaper or the promotional campaign you created and implemented for a campus program. Be prepared to share these samples during the informational interview as well.
- Pay attention to the media in your market. You should be reading your daily campus paper but think about adding in the local daily, perhaps the business publication and certainly some TV or radio news. To be a good public relations professional means knowing what is happening in the world.
- Spend some time with your social media sites. Recognizing that employers are likely using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for business and personal use, it would stand to reason they will likely check you out. Are your status updates reflective of the professional you are about to become? How about all those photo albums? As an employer, I expect you to have had fun during college (who didn’t?) but as you think about entering the professional world, there are some things that may not be as appropriate to share. You may even want to follow some of the local industry leaders or potential employers.
- Don’t get discouraged or frustrated if it takes some time to find the right opportunity. I am a firm believer in the right job will find the right person and vice versa. So consider every person you meet as an opportunity – for an informational interview, for an introduction, for a job interview, for advice, etc. You will know, without question, if you have found the right opportunity.
Congratulations and good luck!