Tips for College Graduates Looking to Break Into PR

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gradWith graduation around the corner, capstone projects and finals aren’t the only things top of mind for the Class of 2016. During the month of May, employers start to see an influx of resumes from college graduates.

Here are five tips to help new grads break into the field of public relations:

1) Update Your LinkedIn Profile – According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 84 percent of surveyed HR professionals are recruiting via social media. As a premier social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn is the perfect profile to use for networking. When updating your LinkedIn profile, focus on these three areas:

-Use a professional photo – This isn’t the place for selfies and party pictures. You know how you’re always being told to dress for success? Apply that tip to your LinkedIn photo!
-Update your experience – The modern day college student has a combination of internships and waitressing/bartending/retail jobs. Use your LinkedIn profile to promote the positions that apply to your future career. An HR recruiter would much rather know about your PR internship over a retail job.
-Gather recommendations – Reach out to your professors and internship colleagues/supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations. These people are experts in the field and have wide networks that can influence future job opportunities.

2) Market Yourself – As a PR professional, you are in the business of selling a product, brand or idea. With this in mind, you should be able to market yourself…right? Much like when you pitch reporters, you are competing in a crowded space. Think outside the box! We’ve seen budding PR pros grab attention by adding a unique twist to resumes. Turn your resume into an infographic to showcase your design skills. Record a video resume and put your broadcast experience to the test. Display your tech prowess through an online resume website. If you want to be really creative, draw inspiration from the woman who used legos to build the ultimate resume.

3) Be Strategic in Your Job Search – With the stress of securing a job, college graduates often make the mistake of applying to any and all PR jobs. Focus on the jobs that are going to help you obtain your career goals. PR has many facets – media relations, content creation, event planning and more. Which is most appealing to you? Not to mention, what sector of PR interests you the most? From healthcare to entertainment and education to sports, start gaining experience in the sectors that you are passionate about.

4) Attend Networking Events – The hallmark of a PR pro is in their ability to network with many different publics. Show off your newly acquired skills by attending networking events. It’s a great way to expand your network and secure a future job opportunity. Not only does the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and local Social Media Club (SMC) provide great opportunities for networking, so do non-PR focused organizations. For example, there is The Young Professionals Network (YPN) of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce or The Austin Young Chamber of Commerce (AYC) – both are great places to meet like-minded, career-oriented individuals. Last but not least, don’t forget your alma mater’s alumni groups!

5) Volunteer – According to Nielsen’s June 2014 Doing Well by Doing Good report, 67 percent of millennials would prefer to work for a socially responsible company. Businesses are changing their mission statements to reflect a growing culture of social impact. Volunteer for causes you are passionate about to be a contributing member to society and a great culture fit for your future employer. Not to mention, your desired employer might be involved with that non-profit.

 

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