If you are a new graduate, or are about to graduate, there are a few things you can do that will increase your attractiveness to employers, here are some starting places: Nail the basic skills - writing a press release about a water filtration system is not nearly as exciting as creating a new ad campaign or convincing a senior VP to try social networking as a marketing tool. It is, however, crucial to getting a job. The three skills that are probably most crucial and in shortest supply are writing, critical thinking, and having knowledge of basic PR tools.
Writing is the ability to say clearly, concisely, and without grammar and spelling errors what you want people to know. Whether you are writing press releases or a departmental memo, if you can't write, you can't do your job. Critical thinking is crucial to reading the marketplace. It is necessary to assess competitors’ PR campaigns, the state of the market, what demographic you should be writing to and a great deal more. Critical thinking is how you figure out what you should be writing about.
Basic PR tools aren't easy to learn in a college setting, but understanding how to use references such as Bacon’s and Lexis-Nexis can put you a strong notch up above your competitors for a position. Also, working on building a strong, popular blog or website will allow you to practice your PR techniques in the real world before you start working, and give you an example of your work to show an employer, other than class work. Branch out - the courses in a PR college major haven't changed much in the past 30 years, but the industry has. Taking classes on web design, photography, multi media, and a host of other electives or minors can give you an edge.
Now, a lot of this stuff should be fairly basic, but even if you've been working in public relations jobs for a while, keeping it in mind, and updating your skill set every once in a while, especially the job you are in doesn't give you the opportunity to learn new skills often, can really help you advance.
Oh, and one last thing, getting multiculturally trained is a very good idea. The Chevrolet Nova is a classic example of a PR firm not understanding the international market - little things like not realizing 'no va' translates in Spanish to 'doesn't go' really hurt sales for that product. Or the Gerber baby food fiasco, when the Gerber PR department didn't realize that in South Africa, people expect a food jar to have a picture of what is in the jar - and sent out shipment after shipment with pictures of the Gerber baby on every jar. Nothing says you need to work in an international PR position, but knowing one or two international markets can really open up your options.
Once you know what kind of job you want, and you have done what you can to brush up your resume, it's time to take a look at the pr job lists.
Big job sites like PRCrossing have PR job listings. This site also specializes in PR jobs. Wherever you go to look for jobs, make sure that the jobs you apply to are ones that fit your needs. The higher pay at the next job level up can be tempting, but if you don't meet the job requirements, you are setting yourself up for problems.
So, you found jobs you like, you sent in your applications, and are waiting to hear back. Now is the time to put your research skills to the test and learn everything you can about the companies you applied to. You should have done some basic research before applying, but before going into interviews, you should know everything you can about the company. And you may not have time to do the research after you know you're getting that interview.
Now, prepping for an interview is prepping for an interview regardless of the industry. You want to have a list of questions prepared that you need answered, you want to be prepared for the various dreaded interview questions - what are your negative qualities, what can you bring to this company, etc.
Once you land a job offer there is one last important step to remember -- get it in writing. Internal changes have caused many people to receive one job offer, and once they sign on the dotted line, end up in a completely different position. So make sure what ever offer you get is clearly detailed, in writing. It can save you a great deal of trouble down the line.