As an incoming senior at the University of Rhode Island, I have heard over and over again from professors, family, and job-seeking friends how competitive the job market will be once I graduate and head off into the “real world.” When May 2015 rolls around and I walk across that stage with my glorious diploma, I will be up against thousands of students vying for a job in the PR world. Although there is no direct road map to success upon graduation, there are some ways to set yourself apart when it comes to marketing your abilities to future employers.
Gain As Much Experience as you Can
It is a no-brainer that internships look great on your resume, but landing an internship is much more than a resume-filler. It was the smaller internships that I held on campus that led me to this amazing opportunity at Regan Communications. Although my previous internship experience didn’t include working at a huge PR firm in New York City, I was able to learn key skills in the PR field, including marketing strategy, event planning, and the importance of social media, all of which were both transferable and valuable when it came to applying to my current position. No matter how small your internship may seem, soak in everything you learn from your supervisor and fellow interns. It is the skills you learn throughout your internship experience that will groom you to be a successful employee.
Be a Self-Motivated student
One of the most discouraging phrases I always hear is “it’s all about who you know.” For me, this wasn’t the case. I knew this summer I wanted to intern for a successful, thriving PR firm and gain experience for my future career. Was it possible for me just to apply without knowing anyone? Of course it was! I applied for my summer internship all the way back in fall, and was surprised to learn that I was the first person who had contacted Regan Communications about an internship opportunity. It is never, ever too early to apply for the job you may want. Be motivated, be persistent, and be confident when marketing yourself after graduation.
What will set you apart from other applicants will be those details on your resume that show you challenged yourself with different experiences and extra responsibilities. This illustrates that you went above and beyond to better yourself. I recently decided to take my Spanish minor and turn it into a double major. Yes, taking six classes each semester senior year might not be ideal, but challenging myself will hopefully further my professional career after graduation. If you’re an engineer, take a business class. If you are a nursing major, take an accounting class. Those small decisions you make in your four years as an undergrad will make a huge difference when you are marketing yourself to future employers.