Q. I am graduating in mid-January and have been replying to job postings at agencies for the past two months, but I’m not getting much interest. Since I am a good writer and have done two PR internships during college, is it possible for me to do freelance work until a full-time job comes up? How do I go about it? -BP
A. First of all, you’re applying for jobs far too early. Most agencies hire entry-level staff closer to their actual availability, not before they graduate. In the current job market, you might be better off pursuing a post-graduation internship since that’s becoming the most direct route to entry-level positions at many agencies — even if you already have done a couple of internships. The internship experience is entirely different when you graduate and are available to work full time for three to six months. You become part of the organization, not a part-timer who goes away at the end of the Summer.
As for freelance work, it would be hard to set up a viable business without having proven yourself in the real world. There’s a reason most freelancers have worked for several years in agencies or corporations. They build a reputation for their work, and they have established a network of colleagues who respect their talent — and will give them assignments. Working alone as a freelancer is not easy. It’s important at this stage of your career to be in an office environment where you can learn team skills, and enjoy the fun — and challenges — of working with others. However, if you are strong in social media, graphic arts or other technical skills, it is possible to find freelance and part-time assignments at smaller agencies and firms that provide services to them. Some expect you to work virtually, while others want you onsite. Bottom line, I suggest that you ramp up your search in a month or so and focus on landing a great internship.