Go to class. Study. Labs. Tests. Papers. Graduation. Get a job.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
In other majors, that’s normally how it works. However, in the public relaons field, school is only the half of it. In PR, it’s about hustle, hustle and more hustle. It’s what you’re doing to stand out. Internships, portfolios, connections, professionalism, organizations, leadership, social media appearance and much more goes into landing your first job in the PR world.
A huge misconception is that PR is a field where everything is all glamour and parties–wrong. A lot of people aren’t aware of the grind that goes into PR. Pursuing a career in PR as a college student is difficult because no one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience. That rises the million dollar question: well, how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me without any experience?
￼Here are ten smart moves to make you stand out, and to help you gain experience:
1) Be interesting – When you apply to jobs, and speak during interviews, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, there is nothing better then hitting it off with someone. People want to like you, they are looking for something to like-give it to them! Talk about how you love working out, or your love for the whales. Just be interesting, be you and be likable. That will go further then you can imagine.
2) Blogging – There is just no excuse not to blog. Make it a challenge for yourself to create a blog and blog everyday, or even every week. By blogging, you are giving yourself that experience that employers are looking for. Wring is a vital part of PR, and if employers don’t know how you write then it could be a deal breaker. It will also come across as passionate, and employers love passionate and commited individuals!
3) Learn things on your own – Just because you haven’t had an internship that taught you how to use Excel, Photoshop or Cision, go on YouTube and learn! There are a million how-to videos to become experts in these programs. Being able to use PR programs and software makes you more marketable because then the employers won’t have to teach it to you.
4) Be involved – Being involved on campus can be as good as having an internship. Find an organization that you like, and apply to have some type of leadership role in that organization. Ideally, get a position where you are doing the PR and communications for that particular organization.
5) Perfect your portfolio – Write constantly. Not only write constantly, but also write well. Before applying to a job, have a mentor edit your porolio pieces to make sure they’re perfect. An impressive portfolio leads to an impressive job.
6) Use Twitter to your advantage – Everyone in the PR world has Twitter, and everyone in college has a Twitter-do you see the connection? It never hurts to make connections on Twier. Start following some PR people who you look up to, and you will learn a lot just from 140 characters.
7) Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from winning the game! – I hate to use clichés, but seriously! Just because you think you might not be well qualified for the job, it doesn’t hurt to apply. Although experience is important, if the company likes you and believes in you then you have a prey good shot.
8) Make the cold calls – The great thing about PR is that everyone is nice and willing to make new connections. If you know someone in your area that you would love to get coffee with, reach out and ask them-they’ll probably say yes. Or if you don’t know anyone, add them on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter. Reaching out never hurts.
9) Join PRSSA – The Public Relations Student Society of America is essenal for connecting and networking. Many colleges around America have a chapter, and if yours doesn’t, don’t be afraid to create one. It is a great place to meet people, to network and to gain leadership experience.
10) Be kind – Believe it or not, this is the most important tip. Being kind is the most underrated and the most essential rule to hustling in PR. You could be the best writer, but if you are mean then you will fail in PR. So much of what we do is with people; you need to make people like you. The classroom won’t get you to your dream job in PR. If you follow these rules on how to hustle as a PR student, I guarantee that you will be further along then most people.￼
What tips would you add to this list? How do you stand out from the crowd?
Nora Cromer, a junior at The Ohio State University, is an avid member of the Public Relaons Student Society of America (PRSSA), and the PRacce, a naonally-affiliated student run PR firm. She is the co-director of professional development for the PRacce, and an account executive. Over the past year Nora has interned at the American Red Cross, Belle Communications and Ohio Dance. She also maintains a personal blog, and is a contribung writer for Elite Daily and PR Diva. She works part time at a campus bar, and she loves running. As a fitness fanactic and PR connoisseur, Nora keeps very busy. Feel free to follow her on Twittter: @NoraCromer or Instagram: @nora _thaexplora.
This post was originally posted in January 2015 on PR Diva.