Q. I am extremely interested in an agency job, but I have no experience. I am a collegiate senior and will graduate in May. My major is Public Relations with an Advertising Minor, and it seems as though Ketchum is my dream job. How should I go about building my experiences to get to the level of professionalism that is needed to work for Ketchum eventually? -TMN
A. You are starting at a severe disadvantage to most other intern and entry-level candidates who have built strong resumes filled with relevant experience. It is not unusual to see resumes of graduating seniors who have had three or more intern experiences and job-relevant experience in two or more nonprofit organizations. So, you immediately need to pursue practical, hands-on experience that demonstrates your PR interest and capability. While valuable, academic training alone is not sufficient. You should seek out campus activities that allow you to develop your PR skills. Local civic organizations also provide opportunities to gain practical PR experience. In January, start applying for internships, probably at smaller, local agencies. Building a portfolio of your work will help in your pursuit of a job at Ketchum or any other major agency.