It wasn’t so long ago that I started my career as a public relations professional. To be honest, it feels like yesterday that I walked into this office, full of confidence for my interview. Public Relations is a great career path for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is the experience. Being part of a rapidly growing technology marketing agency, I’ve learned more than I would have ever expected in about a year and a half.
The hardest thing today for college students looking for their first job is finding the right fit. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have ended up working for GMG, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t work my butt off to get myself into this position. My experience, of course, isn’t the same for everyone who gets into this field, but good advice nonetheless for people looking to make it in PR. Here are four things you can do to get your career started in the crazy, rewarding and fast paced world of PR.
- PR Internships
This goes without saying. The first thing that you will be asked in an interview (of any job, not just PR) will be about your experience. Not having prior internships in PR will be detrimental to your chances to getting the job (but anything is possible). I made this the number one tip not only because I think it’s the most important, but also because internships in PR will determine whether or not it’s the right career path for you. A PR internship is the foundation of what you will learn and experience as an entry-level account coordinator or executive. I got my first internship with the help of my cousin and my second through my roommate’s recommendation. (Shout out to Dena and Marcus!)
Networking has evolved so much thanks to social media. For now, let’s focus on LinkedIn, aka the greatest networking tool next to your mom or dad passing your resume to a friend or previous colleague of theirs who could “help you out.” LinkedIn has grown rapidly since its birth, and it has become one of the most powerful allies for college students looking to start their careers. For example, you’ve just connected with a high school friend who, it turns out, has been working in a PR agency for the past year. You reach out, ask them how it’s going and see if they can get your resume in the door (this is the hardest part of getting a job today!). Getting your resume in front of someone who is tasked with hiring a new employee can be very challenging, but have patience because this won’t be the first or last time you go through this process.
3. Work Ethic
As a millennial – born in 1991 – I have to disagree with the stigma we have of poor work ethics and a strong sense of entitlement. I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe what millennials want is to make sure the obscene amount of money spent paying for college was worth it! (Not to mention many of us are in student debt up to our ears…) Regardless, millennials simply have a strong desire to succeed. Be confident and enthusiastic about every piece of work you do. This is especially relevant to your first year in PR, which isn’t easy for anyone. You will be responsible for juggling multiple projects simultaneously, working longer hours to make your life a little bit easier and doing your best to consistently improve your performance.
Ever heard of the saying, “Patience is a virtue”? Waiting for something you want isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. In fact, it can be incredibly difficult. I can say with confidence that you might not get your dream job right away, but who’s to say that first job won’t lead you right to it? Even after getting the job, patience lets you deal with all of the things entry-level PR pros go through. It’s part of the process, and you’ll come out with a positive outlook. I sure did.
I hope that whoever reads this will take solace in the fact that they are not alone. There are millions of students graduating every spring and winter who are in the market for their first job. There are millions of students who are in the market for a job in PR. The question is, will you be the one who takes every possible step to get your career started? Or are you the one who waits for a job to magically appear? The choice is yours.