7 Tips You Need to Know to
Launch Your PR Career
7 Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your
• If you’re a new college graduate seeking to kick off your career in PR, it’s
important to start off on the right foot. The following seven job search and
career tips can help you to stand out from the crowd and improve your
chances of landing the job you desire.
Focus on specific jobs
• After you’ve graduated from college, it can be
tempting to take the very first job you can get.
While there is definitely something to be said for
this strategy—after all, you never know what
connections you might develop or what
opportunities might arise even from a job that
may be considered less than ideal—it’s also
important to make sure you’re not settling too
early. If you can, spend some time identifying your
long-term career goals, and then focus your
attention on specific jobs or opportunities that
will help to send you down that path.
Polish the less-prominent areas of your
• These days, even students and recent graduates need an exceptional LinkedIn
profile in order to conduct an effective job search. You should particularly focus on
profile areas that your classmates (and competitors) may be neglecting. For example,
you can ask for recommendations from key contacts, including your professors,
fellow students you’ve collaborated with on projects, and internship or work
placement supervisors. Round out the personal information and interests section
with thoughtful details. While this section may not seem important, it can often
serve as a helpful conversation starter for your initial interactions with a recruiter.
Keep the information in the experience section as relevant as possible. Highlight
student projects and internships over run-of-the-mill jobs such as waiting tables.
Wear your “new grad” label proudly
• As is the case with most professions, there’s a lot of goodwill
within the professional PR community toward new graduates.
Thus, you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of that while
you can. As a new graduate, you’ll likely find that people are very
willing to do what they can to help you out, whether it involves
chatting with you about their own career path or introducing you
to an important contact at their company. When it comes to
giving recent graduates a hand, there’s a feeling of “we’ve all
been there,” so try to make the most of your status as a new
Target 10 key people, and reach out to them
on social media
• When it comes to launching your PR career, your network is everything, so you’ll
want to start building yours as soon as possible. The great news is that social media
makes this task easier than ever. Begin by identifying 10 people who either have jobs
you might want or who have followed a career path that you find interesting. Then
figure out which social networks would work best for connecting with them: Twitter
is often a great place to introduce yourself to someone, or you can engage with
them through LinkedIn or comments on their blog. Remember that these online
overtures are the first impression that your new contacts will have of you, so try to
make sure that your communications are professional and that they add value.
Meet contacts in person
• Social media is a great way to initiate contact, but whenever possible it’s best
to follow up with an in-person meeting. In order to continue building your
network, strive for two meetings over coffee or other types of meet-ups each
week with professionals or other young alumni whom you’d like to get to
know better. Again, the “new grad” label will work to your advantage here,
and you’ll be surprised at how many professional contacts are willing to meet
and chat with you. Expand your network even further by asking your new
contacts to introduce you to connections of their own.
• While identifying volunteer opportunities may take
some effort, it’s one of the most effective ways to
meet important contacts and demonstrate what kind
of worker you are. One of the best places to start is
with your local chapter of the Public Relations
Society of America (PRSA). Volunteering on the
programming, student relations, or membership
committees will put you in direct contact with a wide
range of people who can help you to expand your
network and learn about new opportunities.
Market yourself creatively
• In order to land your first PR job, it’s vital that you find a way to stand out
from the crowd. A typical PR agency will receive hundreds of resumes from
new graduates every year, so creativity is an essential tool. Challenge yourself
to do something that no one else is doing. Some innovative strategies
undertaken by recent PR graduates include a 6-second video resume on Vine
and a resume presented in the form of an infographic. While these creative
approaches may not land you your dream job right away, they can certainly
help you to get noticed, which is often more than half the battle.