When you go to school and earn a degree in public relations, communications, or English, landing a job can prove to be a bit more difficult than in a more specific field like pharmacy technician schools. You can improve your changes by focusing on some of your extra-curricular work, volunteer opportunities, and internships.
Four years of hard work and the investment in a college education makes many students feel entitled to immediate job offers right out of school. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and it’s even harder these days. With senior level employees losing their positions and taking lower paid jobs just to stay in the industry, there is more competition than ever for work.
Whether you attend a traditional college or a college like South University, you’ll have to do a certain amount of practical work – activities you’ll do daily in a full-time job like writing press releases, creating marketing collateral, and shooting video news releases, etc. Make sure to save all of these clips to build out your portfolio. Better yet, make sure you have them digitally to post to your own blog/website/online portfolio. Go the extra mile and reserve your own domain name with your work samples which you can add to your resume when applying for jobs.
If you major in a non-specific area such as communications or English, you are going to have to get crafty when applying for jobs. Taking a minor in something more specific could give you the extra edge you need. After finishing your school assignments, start learning how to write proper press releases, how to design promotional materials, and follow how companies are communicating online through social media. Employers are looking for candidates who take initiative and learn skills that might be outside their curriculum.
When you look at job descriptions for entry-level jobs at companies, it usually says that they are looking for people with 1-2 years worth of experience. It obviously a catch-22 because you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. Many PR and advertising agencies offer unpaid internships for students for college credit. If you’re lucky, you might even find a paid internship. You are going to have to take a couple of internships in order to build up your experience level.
While it may be your dream to work at a cutting edge PR firm or ad agency, there is very little chance of landing a position with little experience. In order to break into an entry-level field, it is important to perform research on the companies who are looking for fresh talent.
A Huffington Post article demonstrates the highest growing fields: gamification and social gaming are generating major marketing dollars, online publishing and e-commerce will continue to grow, and biotechnology and environmental services are gaining more government grants. Applying to these organizations or agencies who have clients like this on their roster can be an excellent way to launch your career.
Landing a job at a major corporation or Fortune 500 company looks good on any resume. Whether you find an entry-level role in the marketing department or work as an administrative assistant, these positions can enhance your business knowledge and give your a great network of colleagues and references. It could be a great place to start and move into the PR department as your next step.
Possible Scams for Entry-Level Workers
When searching for jobs online, be aware of possible scam artists and sales cults. If you see a job posting that wants you to create elaborate sample work or write relevant press releases, be very skeptical because they may just be looking for free work. If a job posting promises entry-level management opportunities, or the job description sounds vague, you might be headed into a sales cult. Horror stories of these organizations can be found on The Consumerist website.
Starting your journey into the the PR field may seem overwhelming at first. Look daily as entry-level positions get filled as quickly as they come. Make sure you communicate and network with as many people as possible – you want to stay top of mind – and potentially be contacted before the company posts the position. If you find yourself in a rut or dead end job to make ends meet before you land the perfect entry-level PR opportunity, make sure to keep educating yourself in order to remain a relevant job candidate.