You’ve just graduated from college, you’ve taken your graduation trip to celebrate and now you are faced with the constant “what’s next?” question. For outsiders, finding a job once you graduate from college is sometimes considered to be easy. There is a lot of competition and more hoops to jump through to land your first “real” job, and to my surprise the tests weren’t over because I had graduated.
When I made it to the final step of my interview process for my first PR job post-graduation, I was faced with taking a writing test. My first thought was to use Google to see what others had to say about writing tests for PR jobs. To my surprise this was a common thing, but not anything that had ever been talked about in my classes. I researched on what kind of things would be expected of me, but ultimately I was nervous. This test could mean I would never get a job, and I potentially spent the last four years focused on the wrong thing (I can be a dramatic person sometimes). I am sitting here writing this today, so I must have done something right and learned a few things through school.
Now, that I have secured my first “real” job, I feel like it is only fair to share some of the things that helped me conquer the writing test. I hope by sharing it will help the next frantic graduates when they turn to Google for answers.
When it comes to anything new and unfamiliar, research can be your best friend. My initial reaction to anything that is unfamiliar is to research until I gain as much understanding as possible. The research about the writing test included what to expect on this test, what employers are looking for and what I can do to prepare to do my best on this test.
This should be an easy one, but know your AP style and use the guide. I had a professor tell me “never assume you know.” There are plenty of AP style things that I feel like I know just from using them so frequently, but every time I want to assume “I know” something I hear a faint reminder in my head to never do so. In school, the AP Stylebook was always fair game to use when writing, so treat the writing test the same way.
Writing in short sentences has been a tip that I have been given since high school English classes. This is not meant to say never use long sentences, but in a timed situation where you are trying to work fast it can be helpful. Using short sentences can minimize the chances to misplace a comma or make other grammar mistakes.
Lastly, you have to remember to breathe. When I first opened my writing test, I felt myself begin to panic. It seemed like a lot of work without enough time. Remind yourself of the last four years you just spent studying and practicing, you got this.