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7 Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your PR Career


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7 helpful job search tips for new graduates looking to break into professional PR.

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7 Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your PR Career

  1. 1. 7 Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your PR Career Rachael Hesling
  2. 2. 7 Tips You Need to Know to Launch Your PR Career • 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. Polish the less-prominent areas of your LinkedIn profile • 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.
  5. 5. 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 graduate.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. Volunteer • 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.
  9. 9. 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.