During a visit to the University of Oklahoma last week, I met some 40 students who comprise the on-campus PR and advertising agency, Lindsey + Asp. The undergraduate juniors and seniors are doing impressive work for a dozen paying clients ranging from the Norman Police Department to American Airlines.
After spending two days in Norman, I told agency adviser Robert “Pritch” Pritchard that his students already are impressive young professionals, and they’ll be job-ready when they graduate. During a campus tour, I listened as seniors discussed their job search plans–all are eager to move into full-time jobs. Later, I was asked about timing for launch of a job search and what they need to be doing between now and graduation.
Don’t apply too early. Unfortunately, we’re in a “when needed” hiring economy so early applications are mostly ignored. With the glut of available talent, few, if any, employers are making hiring decisions three to six months before candidates become available.
Network Via Informational Interviews. Instead of sending unsolicited resumes between now and May graduation, use this time to network into places where you’d eventually like to apply. Seek informational interviews, and try to attend networking events hosted by PR and advertising professional organizations. And be sure to practice proper networking etiquette.
Gain On-Campus/Volunteer Experience. Make good use of your final year in college. Fill your resume with relevant experience that will be noted by hiring managers. Experience with your on-campus agency and local nonprofits will enhance your resume.
Think Outside the Box. If you have the exact qualifications spelled out in a job posting, you can send a note to the hiring organization explaining that you’re not available full time, but would be able to work part time between now and graduation. This approach might appeal to organizations uncertain about the long-term viability of the assignment on which you’d be working.