As a student you commit a large amount of time and energy to get a degree that sets your course for the future. Many variables affect your potential success–exposure to the profession you’re pursuing, what you learned in college, and how you apply real life experiences to your job search.
Bottom line, graduates who have been involved in relevant PR activities move up the career ladder much faster than those lacking such experience. And individuals with networking skills and experience have far better chances of being discovered. Here are five ways students can gain an incredible amount of experience in the PR field:
- Familiarize. Read blogs and take in all the information about PR that you can get your hands on. Allow yourself to take advantage of social media and follow key industry influencers on Twitter and Facebook. Knowledge is power and the more you know about PR and its effect on organizations will allow you to engage in a better targeted job search campaign.
- Build a portfolio. A portfolio will give you something to put together to utilize your very best work. The more interesting you can make your work, the more likely you will impress potential employers or clients. E-portfolios are replacing traditional hard copy ones, but both are still necessary.
- Internships. Internships are the single strongest contributor to success in the PR field. An internship doesn’t guarantee a job afterwards, but it allows you to get the qualifications and a strong reference that can lead to potential work. There is nothing that shows people that you are capable of sacrifice like a non-paid internship where you go and make a huge difference by the time your time there is finished.
- Comment on articles. Find articles that are relevant to your field of business and begin to engage with them. Interact with the community, don’t just observe. The more you have to say, the more feedback you will gain.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become the essential networking tool. It’s a one-stop center for employers and employees alike. You’re able to network directly within a particular job category. Groups are established in which you can post directly to them with the chance that your words and opinions are noticed by the right people.
PR is a career that requires a strong network, so start early to develop your personal contacts. By investing time in building your network, you’ll develop contacts, friendships and mentors that will help you achieve career success.
Richard McMunn writes about careers and recruitment.