Students at California State University, Chico run a creative public relations agency and also host an informative blog that provides their perspectives on PR and the all-important job search process. I asked TGC to write a guest post, so junior Jamie Kim enlisted soon-to-graduate seniors to provide their top job-hunting suggestions. Here’s Jamie’s report:
Three more semesters are left in my college career. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m excited to finally graduate and find my niche in the real world of public relations, but terrified to be another PR student job-hunting in such a grim economy.
Luckily, I am surrounded by a bright group of PR students in their last year of college who were kind enough to take me back to the basics of job-hunting with three simple questions.
Where’s your elevator pitch?
“Every job hunter has his or her own fantasy about when “the one”—that is, the perfect job—finally comes into the picture. However, this discovery is often unexpected and requires the job hunter to act quickly. But if you, the potential employer, are met at a conference, a meeting or even in an elevator, how do you make an impression sans resume, cover letter or links to that latest blog post? One thing I have found particularly helpful when trying to network is having an elevator pitch ready.
An elevator pitch is a short description of “what you do and why someone should work with you,” as the site Dumb Little Man – Tips for Life highlights in a great article about how to write an effective elevator pitch. Check it out for specific tips on preparing yourself for an unexpected networking- or job- opportunity.” – Sara Nielsen
Have you researched campus resources?
“While living in the 21st century has certainly come with technological convenience, it seems job hunters may rely too much on one source of job hunting-the internet. Although sites like Monster and Craigslist are useful in looking for that perfect job, you may find it helpful to use the resources that are perhaps the most overlooked – college campuses! Every college is equipped with all the tools to help a young graduate land a job, so why not take advantage of them? Resources like professors are particularly invaluable, as they have experience in the field you may be pursuing. In addition to professors, one may use the local campus career center, attend job fairs on campus or talk to an internship coordinator. Try not to limit yourself to one or two methods of job hunting when there are so many available.
Meanwhile, check out how many avenues of assistance your local career center can provide.” –Anna Heidecker
Have you Googled yourself lately?
“Gone are the days when all recruiters knew about you was what you put on your resume, what your references glowingly raved about and the list of accomplishments that you spun in every interview.
These days, recruiters have Google. With the click of a mouse, those photos from you at last night’s party are on the screen. And your chances at a job are lost. Think the powers of Google are being exaggerated? Check out what happened to Michael Phelps’ online reputation just 24 hours after photos of him smoking marijuana surfaced.
Having a positive online image is just as important now as having the right experience, skills and references. There are too few jobs for too many applicants for recruiters to consider anyone who can’t even take the time to Google themselves and see what comes up.Before you send out those cover letters, make sure that your Facebook and MySpace are set to private, but that your LinkedIn and Twitter are appropriate and ready to view. Make sure all your profile pictures are appropriate and appealing. If there are any third-party mentions of you on Web sites that aren’t so flattering, make sure that you are aware and able to address the situation.
The Google search of your name might be the make-or-break to score that interview—make sure yours makes the right impression.” Christine Amorose
Three down. How many more to go? A lot. You can never really prepapre too much or look too hard for that (perfect?) job. Just keep in mind: While it’s OK to try to differentiate ourselves from other potential employees, we shouldn’t forget the basic things that should be accomplished before beginning an extravagant job-hunt. Good luck to all! -Jamie Kim