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Graduation 2018 – What are the Next Steps for Freshly-Minted PR Professionals?

June 8, 2018 Leanna Bernhard

Ahh, the season of cap and gown photoshoots, graduation parties and endless, “I can’t believe those four years are actually over that quickly” Instagram captions is upon us. The class of 2018 is entering the workforce, at a time when unemployment is at its lowest level in 10 years. Unfortunately, students with a communication degree have the highest rate of unemployment of any major (7.4 percent).

So, what can these bright, new alumni do to ensure they find a job ASAP? Read on for a few tips:

Keep in touch with your mentors

Connections will take you further than you realize: 85 percent of jobs are filled by networking. Keep in touch with past professors, internship coordinators and classmates, and let them know you are job-hunting. Research companies you’d love to work for, ask their leaders if they’ll grab coffee with you and treat it like an informal interview. Many are likely keeping an updated roster of talent they can quickly pull from if they have a sudden opening, and if all goes well, you’ll be added to that list. Or at the very least, they’ll keep you in mind if they hear of a new opportunity. People talk, and you want to be the person they’re talking about. 

People talk, and you want to be the person they’re talking about.

Don’t forget about LinkedIn

Recruiters are constantly scouring LinkedIn for talent to fill their clients’ open positions. Make sure your page is updated and has a professional profile photo and skill endorsements. You can also let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities.

Create a virtual portfolio

In this day and age, even the smallest thing can set you apart. Build a free website using WordPress to showcase your resume, portfolio and writing samples. Sure, you can provide them as attachments, but including your own website link with your job application looks more professional. Here are a few tips for making it stand out.

Treat the job search like a full-time job

Because new jobs are posted everyday, make sure you are consistently looking for opportunities. Most companies want to hire as quickly as possible and may fill a position within a week. If you aren’t looking everyday, you’ll miss openings. Thoroughly research companies to include specific details in your cover letters. Make cold calls. Visit businesses. Go to networking events.

Remember to keep in mind that your first job doesn’t have to, and most likely won’t, be your dream job. After college, I accepted an unpaid, full-time agency internship over a paid, full-time sales job, and it gave me the experience I needed to land a PR agency job a couple of months later. Everyone has to start somewhere. With these tips in mind, you’ll be landing your first job in no time.

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