Hopefully you have taken all of the steps to ensure a well-rounded college experience and you have built an impressive portfolio of work. Now you want to land the perfect entry level job or internship/training position. Follow these simple strategies for a more effective search:
1. Graduating in Dec? You should begin informational interviews as early as November before your graduation. A lot of people quit right after Dec. bonuses are distributed. Fiscal budgets go into effect in January. Keep an eye on agency job sites throughout the month and ready industry news to see new client wins or executive hires! Great leads there.
2. Professionalize and maintain social media. Most important is Linked-in and Twitter these days, especially if you are job hunting. Follow influencers, industry media and target companies (and executives), write a smart Linked-in summary and use both for professional networking. Bonus: have your own blog.
3. Produce a portfolio both hard copies and an online version.
4. Apply for positions throughout college and throughout the school year. While many summer internships or jobs get inundated with candidates in the spring, others have more need and availability throughout the school year. If you can intern or work two days a week in the spring or fall, you will likely find more opportunities available. And don’t wait until right before application deadlines. Apply online as required, but also snail mail your materials to your top pick companies!
4. Don’t just count on popular job or internship sites. These are great resources that should certainly be used. However, some of the best jobs or internships aren’t even posted. If there is an industry or company that appeals to you, pinpoint these companies. Apply directly to that organization, regardless of apparent openings.
5 Don’t limit your search to public relations firms or in-house public relations departments. Many companies will take on interns as supplemental employees.
6. Businesses that do not have a public relations department may be eager for your expertise and assistance and you may be able to create and build a new position (social media director anyone?) within that organization. If you can write a compelling letter about how you will help their organization and meet a business need, they’ll likely find a spot for you.
7. Get a name. Yes, you should follow the procedure outlined by job sites or company career pages, which is usually to send an email or face to careers@prcompanyX. However, your best bet may be to research key contacts on Linked-in or call the receptionist at an organization and get the real name of the person responsible for making hiring decisions.
8. PROOFREAD!!! Verify spelling. In addition to the human resource professional’s name, you should send your job query to your potential boss. This person’s name is likely on the company web site in the press room. Just be sure to let HR and that boss know you have copied their colleague.
9. Spread the word. Literally anyone you know or meet, may become a professional contact or lead. Let people know your career aspirations. An uncle, professor, employer, the receptionist at the doctor’s office or friend may know someone in the business that could help you find a job or internship. Don’t be afraid to strike up friendly conversations with casual acquaintances, these may indeed lead to a career lead. Tweeting out to admired executives or company representatives also can work if done carefully and with purpose.
10. Read the industry trade publications. New clients wins will likely indicate an upcoming hiring push, new executive appointments (or departures) may mean staffing changes. Be sure to reference your research and insights in your customized cover letter!
While most recent graduates and college seniors tend to adopt the standard tactics of sending your resume to as many places as possible, a better strategy is to customize your resume for EACH position and to be resourceful and creative with how you approach the job search. There are hundreds of thriving public relations firms and companies who are eager to hire star rising professionals! It is your job to take the time and initiative to find them.