Between the applications, interviews, and waiting games, the process of landing a PR job after graduation can feel very overwhelming (I’ve been there!). After spending years learning a new skill set you suddenly are facing a brand new challenge – breaking into the job market. For me personally, asking for guidance and putting in some extra effort early on helped me secure a job post grad. Here are some of my personal tips to stand out from the crowd and better position yourself to land a job after college.
Build Your Digital Portfolio
More often than not, the first thing a recruiter sees is your resume. So, how do you make it stand out? You’ll want to make sure it’s neat, organized and that any relevant experience is front and center. (Canva.com is great for building resumes!) You should also tailor both your resume and cover letter to better match the company (and position) that you are applying to. You can do this by pulling keywords from the job description and implementing them in your materials.
If you really want to go the extra mile, I’d recommend creating your own website. I made mine on Wix.com and used it as a digital portfolio showcasing my resume, writing samples, and testimonials from past employers/professors. When applying for jobs you can include the link on your resume and/or in your cover letter.
Use Internships as a Springboard
One of my top tips for securing a great job post grad is to intern as much as possible while in college. I would aim to complete 2-4 internships before graduating. Even if you only have time to intern once a week, still go for it! Internships are all about dipping your toe in the water and showing future employers you went the extra mile to get experience before graduation.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to create a LinkedIn account to showcase what an amazing candidate you are.
Your LinkedIn profile should include:
- A professional headshot (don’t be afraid to throw on a blazer in front of a clean background and have a friend snap a pic!)
- A short bio that lists the degree you are pursuing, your skills, and career interests.
- A list of completed internships, any clubs you were a member of at school, and any awards you’ve received.
Don’t forget to make your profile public so recruiters know they can reach out to you.
Network, Network, Network
Once you have a LinkedIn profile set up, you should use it to your advantage. Feel free to find people in roles you’re interested in and ask to connect. Once connected, you can let them know you admire their career path and would love to grab a coffee or hop on a quick phone call to pick their brain a bit about the industry and their career. Oftentimes, these short intro conversations can lead to great professional relationships and can open doors for career opportunities.
Get The Most Out of School
Offline, I suggest fostering relationships with some of your professors. They’ve been in your position before and can be great mentors to lean on while you figure out exactly what you want to do with your career. I had two professors in college that were wonderful mentors to me and I owe a lot of my career success to their guidance.
You can also look into career-related clubs that your school has to offer. These are not only great for learning more about your chosen career path but often allow you to make great professional connections. I joined my college’s PRSSA chapter and participated in the
Bateman National Case Study Competition. I learned so much throughout the process and it was a great addition to my resume!
Want to learn more about how to start a career at a public relations agency? Check out our Q+A with Vested’s people team for more insider tips and tricks!