The first thing you need to do if you are about to graduate and are planning to get a PR job is to decide (in your final year of college) what sector of the field you would like to work in. Having a clear idea of what it is you would like to do can help in planning your job search. Most graduates get jobs in PR consultancies, where they get to work on various projects at different levels. This would help you gain some much-needed experience for a career in public relations.
While a degree in mass communications, journalism, or advertising is definitely useful, it is not a required qualification. The crucial thing to demonstrate is that you are able to utilize your education and combine it with your skills successfully.
When going for an interview with a PR consultancy, you should make sure that you understand what the job demands and which post you are actually interested in. An employer needs to know if you have the right skills, acumen, and level of confidence to be able to communicate with different people on different levels. Your skills, backed by any experience that you might have gained during your student life (like organizing and publicizing university events), can get you a PR job after graduation. That said, to get their first experiences in the PR world, students often volunteer to work with PR consultancies or nonprofit agencies. Of course, sometimes the tasks that one is asked to do in such a volunteer role might seem irrelevant and routine, but they will inevitably add to the overall experience.
One of the most important things to do as you seek your first PR role is to ensure that your resume and cover letter outline all your skills, relevant qualifications, and experiences in a clear-cut manner. Of course, each cover letter should be modified according to the job that you are applying for, so close attention should be paid to this.
Where to Look for Post-Graduate Jobs
Many PR consultancies are happy to offer internships to graduates who have some experience; however, a lot of these internships are unpaid. The good thing is that if you work with zeal and show good results, they are likely to consider you for a paying job after you complete your internship.
The other place to look for post-graduate PR jobs is on the web. In the US, www.prcrossing.com and the PR Week site are two very good websites to use when looking for job postings. Beyond these sites, there are also newspapers and job consultants who might have lists of openings.
To make sure that you get into the right niche, decide on an area within PR and then make sure that you gain as much experience as you can by doing volunteer work within that area. After that, you can update and modify your resume and cover letter according to the job you are applying for.