8 Ways to Stand Out as a Recent College Graduate in the PR Industry
by Kennedy Glanzer
Graduating college and applying for jobs is overwhelming, intimidating, and just plain terrifying. Trust me, I recently went through that crucial yet daunting experience that we all face after the diploma is handed over.
Throughout my experience working in the PR industry, I’ve worked extremely hard and learned how to stand out and succeed. So I’ve come up with 8 tips to help you land your dream job, excel in it, and prove yourself as a recent college graduate in the ever so hectic and cluttered public relations industry.
Growing up, my parents always told me, “if you want it bad enough, you can do it.” I never really thought much into that statement because it’s very cliché, right? Everyone says that. However, it wasn’t until I landed my first job in PR that I sat back and thought, “Wow.. my parents couldn’t have been more correct.”
Passion is something nobody can take away from you, and it’ll set you apart from everyone else. When you’re passionate about something and genuinely want it to be a part of your life or career, you’re the only one who can make it happen. That unbreakable, irreplaceable, and fierce passion will take you a lot farther than one could’ve ever expected. I promise.
2. Nail the Interview
As a recent college graduate, your resume and interview skills are crucial. It’s imperative your resume is as best as it can be, and that you know the piece of paper inside and out. The interview is your one opportunity to prove you’re qualified for the position and that you’ll succeed in the job you’re applying for.
The first impression is everything. Dress the part, look professional, show up early (you never know what could go wrong during your commute), and put a big smile on that face. Show the interviewer you want to be there.
During the interview, be able to explain why you’re there and why you want to work for that company. But beyond that, you’ll stand out if you explain exactly what you want to do, what you want to learn, discuss the skills you want to improve on, and, as always, explain what you’re going to bring to the table.
This is a short tip, but one of the most important. So, you crushed your interview and you’ve landed a job in the public relations industry. What do you do now? Well, now it is time to take all the training and tools you learned in college and throughout your internships and apply it. But, as you’ll soon find, that’s not always enough. You must watch your colleagues to see how they do their job. I’ve learned a substantial amount of tips and tricks just by watching my colleagues and learning from their example. Your colleagues have been in the industry longer than you have, so LEARN FROM THEM.
This is also a short but substantial tool. STAY ORGANIZED. It’s going to be challenging to perform your job well if your stuff is all over the place, and you’re not organized. Trust me. Develop systems that will allow you to stay above water, even on the busiest weeks, and develop dependable routines.
5. Understand the Importance of a Great Pitch
A crucial part of public relations is media relations. If you plan on working in public relations, understanding and mastering the art of the pitch is a must. When you speak to reporters, you have 30 seconds to catch their attention, 30 seconds to make them care about why you’re calling, and just 30 seconds to convince them to do this story because if they don’t, someone else will.
6. Stay Informed
To succeed in PR, it’s imperative to stay informed at all times. Watch the news, read the news, read, read, read. It makes it difficult to talk to reporters if you have no idea what’s currently going on in the media. You will perform better and deliver more creative ideas for pitching if you understand popular culture and trending stories. Beyond simply being informed, you can use the current news as talking points when calling reporters. Chat with them about what’s going on in the news and what your clients can offer in relation to those stories.
7. Be CONFIDENT
It’s hard to be confident when you just start your first job. I know. We’ve all been there. BUT, I’m here to tell you BE CONFIDENT. Whether it’s your first job or your hundredth, you have to project confidence and believe that you are in your position because you deserve it.
If you’re confused, ASK QUESTIONS. You aren’t annoying anybody. Trust me, your office would rather you ask questions and complete tasks correctly, instead of completing them wrong because you didn’t ask a question. Ask, ask, ask.
8. Go Above and Beyond
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But if you genuinely want to stand out, go above and beyond! It’s not difficult. Do your work and do it thoroughly. Make sure all of the boxes are checked before you’re completing any task asked by a colleague or your boss. This is your time to shine. This is your time to prove yourself. This is YOUR work. Make it unique. Make it YOURS.