If you’re armed with a PR degree and little prospects for a relevant job, consider a foot-in-the-door approach to move towards your desired career goal.
Aylwin Lewis, CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works, recently talked with PR students at DePaul about his chain’s use of values-driven communication as the main tool to recruit and keep employees and customers. It was an inspiring presentation that gave us a peek into the up-and-coming chain that is using internal communications to build a Starbucks-quality brand.
Ears perked up when Aylwin Lewis mentioned his employees can work their way up to nearly six-figure salaries (and all employees receive bonuses based on the success of the business). Afterwards, one student asked me if it was a sign of defeat to take a job in fast food if she can’t land a PR or marketing position. Since her resume has no relevant PR experience, I suggested that she consider non-traditional entry points for her desired career.
Most recent graduates will switch jobs a dozen or more times during their careers, so the most important thing to do now is to land a job that builds a base of experience that might launch into future PR opportunities.
I’ve often suggested that students consider jobs in quality companies that are known for promoting from within. My first corporate job was with such a company, Eli Lilly. The company routinely tapped sales representatives and other employees for jobs in corporate affairs and public relations. So remain open for non-traditional entry points at quality companies that are known for good culture and potential for job progression.