For a public relations student and any student for that matter, graduation sneaks in the most exciting and scary way possible – but being thrown into the real world doesn’t have to be such a frightening moment in a college graduate’s life. Breaking into the public relations field can be daunting but with the right tools and preparation, the uneasy pit in any graduate’s stomach can slowly widdle away to nothing. I remember being a college freshman and thinking that I had all the time in the world to figure out where I wanted to be and how I wanted to get there but what I learned was that college is over in a blink of an eye and those four years are given as a buffer to prepare for the life you want to live and the dreams you wish to achieve.
Get real world experience before actually being thrown into the real world: Integrating public relations into your everyday life is something that you should do as soon as you begin learning about the art. Everyone needs PR whether they realize it or not and as a public relations or communications student, you can create opportunities in other aspects of your life that you may have seen as unrelated in the past. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer if you can manage their social media page, draft a press release or create a press kit – They will love the opportunity to expand their reach while also supplementing your educational experience.
Get internships- Heck, get 20:Internships in the public relations field help you understand the various business environments that could potentially become part of your daily routine. Start searching for internships early and often. When you graduate, you will find that most jobs require a certain amount of experience and what a better way to gain that experience than by pursuing internships that can expand your knowledge base and make you a more well rounded and qualified candidate. Additionally, internships can help you find which sectors of public relations do and don’t interest you.
Network, network, network: Building a strong contact list is important when breaking into any industry but in a field like public relations, networking is especially important. You will find that the community that is the public relations industry, individuals are very willing to help potential professionals get started and connected with the right companies and people. Getting out of the house and off the campus will help you expand your reach in the professional world and will help you gain connections that could potentially impact your career in the future. I suggest joining a local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America or the Public Relations Student Society of America for great networking and outreach opportunities.
Have a grade “A” portfolio: All of the work you have done in your undergraduate and professional career thus far should be featured in one clean and organized location. Developing a professional portfolio of work will allow potential employees and clients to see your quality of work and your stories of success. Be sure to include only high quality work that would leave a positive impression on potential employers. Be creative with your presentation, everyone has a book or a zip drive but your portfolio should be made to stand out – How to do that is up to you.
Now that you are on your way to learning about the public relations industry we encourage you to put into practice everything you have read in this blog – Create your own opportunities, pursue as many internships as you can, network till the cows come home and have a portfolio that will knock us off our feet. College is the time to build the foundations of your career and with these tips, we wish you the best.
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