Managing Your College Career

One of the great things about public relations is that the skills of the profession can literally be applied to literally any industry, subject or interest.  For a college student, this presents an excellent opportunity to pursue a career in an interest area that they truly love.  In order to successfully attain that dream job, motivated college students should make sure they build the credentials needed, before they graduate.   Following is a step-by-step guide to preparing for, finding and securing the job from which to launch a dream career.

In College

Don’t wait until your junior or senior year to start worrying about getting a job (if you are a junior or senior….get going TODAY.  From the moment you enter college, you should begin thinking about the long term implications of the activities and experiences you create for yourself.  Your college career acts as critical preparation for your professional endeavors.  Make the most of this time.

  1.  Get involved.  Don’t just go to classes and go home.  Sign up and participate in several clubs and campus activities.  You will make friends and fully enjoy the college experience, and more importantly, your active participation in campus organizations builds important leadership skills for future employment.
  2. Get a job.  Future employers love to see a student who holds a job.  It is a bonus if you can show you are holding a job to help finance your own education.  Working during college also shows employers that you are responsible.  Also, these employers may become future job references.
  3. Don’t just make the grade.  Good grades are important, but classroom experiences and projects may also provide you with excellent materials to build a professional portfolio.  Save writing samples, multi-media projects and presentations to show employers skills that may apply to a future position.
  4. Get to know your professors.  Regardless of your major or the courses you take, professors are eager to help students who show an interest in learning.  Visit professors during officer hours or chat after class.  These professors may become your best professional references and may also help you with the job search.  Many professors have had careers outside of academia, and these folks may have connections that can help you get that first job or internship.  Stay in touch with professors you respect and like.
  5. Keep a current resume.  Having an accurate and updated resume allows you to get a jump on great internships or opportunities while other students scramble to get their credentials in line.
  6. Build your Linked-In professional page.  A recent statistic claims an overwhelming percentage of human resources professionals use Linked-In to identify viable candidates.

Excerpts taken from my article published in PRSA’s PR Tactics.

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