To the class of 2020, congratulations! This time has not been easy. You had to adjust to virtual classrooms when you expected to be enjoying the final semester in college on campus with friends. But the work and dedication you needed to finish your degree in a new and strange situation will help you in the next chapter.
Traditionally at Crenshaw Communications, our offices would be filled with recent PR grads eager to learn about life at an agency and the ins and outs of the public relations business. This summer may look different for both well established PR pros and new grads. But just because a new graduate isn’t working in an agency doesn’t mean they can’t learn about PR and start to plan a career. Here are a few ideas for recent grads or career-changers who want to prepare for a future PR career.
Flood your inbox with newsletters
Traditional learning has formally ended, but you can continue your education. Sign up for newsletters from PR publications like PR Daily, PR Week, and O’Dwyers. They offer useful content in tips, trends and recent campaigns by agencies. For a newcomer who wants to be more fluent in the language of agencies and PR professionals, reading up on the PR world will help in interviews and networking approaches. And it goes without saying that you should read major news publications like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., as well as vertical pubs that match your interests.
Network network, network
Take this time to identify a list of PR professionals you’d like to engage. Generating opportunities is all about connections, and the more people you engage, the more support you will have. Data shows 63% of job seekers found new positions by tapping their network of connections! Plan to network with those in different industries — in-house PR and agency people in vertical industries, from tech PR to hospitality. Having conversations can help you narrow your interests and options and there’s nothing like hearing a first-hand account of what a typical day is like.
Clean up your online presence
Have you ever Googled yourself? What comes up if a future employer reviews your digital footprint? Will they see pictures or tweets that question your professionalism or don’t mesh with a company’s values? It may be best to set your Facebook and Instagram to private while you are actively interviewing. Your LinkedIn should be kept up to date as this will be one the first places companies look. It’s essential to show a professional demeanor through social content and interactions.
Become a virtual intern
This summer we will see spikes in virtual internships as companies in some cities maintain a remote work structure. It’s a good time to research PR agencies in cities that are reopening as well as the PR capitals like New York, where virtual internships will be available. Although the number of paid internships may be lower than previous years as many agencies have cut back or frozen hiring due to the pandemic, things are picking up in the major metro areas. An internship remains a great opportunity to learn how to draft a press release, research media contacts and draft social media posts for brand campaigns. These tasks can be done digitally and a supervisor would be happy to jump on a video call to explain more.
So class of 2020, learning doesn’t have to stop here. Spend the summer on all things PR so when the time comes, you’ll stand out from other job candidates. If you’re a recent college grad and would like more information or just want to talk about life at a PR agency, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at @colleeno_pr.