Graduation is an exciting yet unfortunately stressful time for many aspiring publicists; I was there myself only a few years ago. If you're graduating this December, you may be feeling bogged down by news reports and articles suggesting that the job market is lackluster, yet instead of being overwhelmed by what you read, take action instead. After all, the world literally is at your fingertips… or the click of a mouse.
There are now more tools and opportunities then ever before to break into the PR industry.
Develop Your Professional Social Media Accounts
Yes, you’re likely already on every social media outlet there is, but are you presenting yourself in a professional manner? Better yet, are you telling people you’re on the job hunt? Fun fact, I actually obtained my first agency job upon graduation through Twitter!
Your professors have told you time and time again to delete those scandalous Halloween pictures and those tweets complaining about just how nagging your boss can be. But really, delete them and clean up your social media act! Change all your bios to read that you’re a recent grad (or soon to be) looking for an entry-level position in the PR field. I encourage you to put your creative spin on it to show your personality but be sure to let everyone know that you’re searching.
Socialize with Professionals Through Social Media
Now that your accounts are presentable it is time to get social! Social media is, after all, about interacting with others. Follow and like all local professionals and businesses in your desired field. Many corporations also have career groups on LinkedIn, request to join these of any businesses you’re interested in working for.
Just following, liking or joining doesn’t mean you’re on their radar though. Actively engage in conversation by responding to their comments and sharing relevant information they put out. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them questions of your own such as, "what advice do you have for recent grads interested in joining your team?”
Create a Digital Portfolio
There is no better way for potential employers to see value in you than to share your actual work with them. Although time consuming, a digital portfolio is a free and valuable aid in landing a job. Sites such as Weebly or WordPress are easy for beginners to navigate and have free layouts.
What to include? Your digital portfolio should consist of samples of your work broken down into university, internship and self-driven sections. Include projects you’ve worked on, articles you’ve written, guest blog posts and don’t forget sample press releases, even if you wrote them for class.
Participate in Industry Events
Google, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Take to the search engine and look for networking opportunities in your area. Femfessionals, Young Professionals Network, Public Relations Society of America and the Levo League are some of my personal favorites with chapters across the country.
Most organizations have at least one event a month and usually you can see who is attending ahead of time through their website. Don’t be afraid to go to these networking opportunities alone as you will be forced to talk with others not just the friend you dragged with you for company!
Ask for Informational Interviews
Think for a second, who do you wish you were professionally? Find people doing what you want to be doing and reach out to them with an email. What is the worst that could happen if you hit send? They say, no. Best case? They say yes, and you've taken an important first step toward creating a relationship that could result in invaluable advice and guidance (for a great template to use when reaching out to someone you admire, check out these pitch templates).
Compose a well-crafted email explaining how you admire them and if they would be willing to meet with you and offer any advice. Most likely this prospective mentor will be flattered and admire your courage and ambition for reaching out to a complete stranger.
About Patricia Maristch
A graduate from Immaculata University and young entrepreneur, Patricia Maristch is the founder and principal of Piqued PR, a boutique lifestyle public relations agency piquing the interest of press and consumers. Her years of retail experience, shopaholic tendencies and constant desire for all things luxe, provides a unique viewpoint to public relations and social media. She understands her clients' audience because she IS their audience.
Photo Credit: reality-check