Don’t feel like you have enough experience in the final leg of college? It’s not too late

Time is running out for all of you juniors and seniors.  The job search is either well underway or in the near future.  Maybe your career wasn’t first on your list up to this point, but now it’s time to focus.  If you feel like your resume is not as full as it should be, there’s till time to get the experience you feel you need to prepare yourself for the real world in PR.

Here are six things you can start doing right now to help even out the competition.

  1. Join organizations.  If your campus has a PRSSA chapter and you are not a member, you should be.  PRSSA offers several networking opportunities, events and a complete job bank.  Not to mention, being an active member in your chapter can help get you relevant PR experience like event planning and publicity.  Many PRSSA chapters have their own student run PR firm.  Become an account executive and build up your portfolio and resume.  Having these organizations on your resume, especially if you are an executive board member, will stand out to the PR community.  If these options are not available to you, see if there are any organizations for public relations professionals in the city you live in.  They often offer student memberships at discounted prices and can provide similar networking opportunities and many events with beneficial lectures.
  2. Volunteer to use your skills.  Heard about a new restaurant opening up on campus?  Is the student newspaper not as popular on campus as it could be?  You can help!  Volunteer your time and PR services to people and organizations in need.  You can create a section of your resume devoted to pro-bono PR, and hone in on your ability to identify client needs, create a communication plan and time line as well as attract new business.
  3. Research companies that you could see yourself working at in the future.  Begin engaging with these companies right now by scheduling informational interviews or a tour, following their Twitters or finding a connection in your own LinkedIn network.
  4. Attend career fairs.  Most campuses host career fairs at least twice a year.  Even if you are a junior, you can start building a relationship with recruiters you meet at these events.  Get as many business cards as possible, and if nothing else it will be a great learning experience.
  5. Intern.  Plenty of other students take full coarse loads and internships on in tandem…I do it!  I find it actually helps me with my coursework to be able to apply real world experience, and there is no better place to learn about a profession than in a professional setting.  For many entry level positions, there are minimum internship requirements.
  6. Talk to your professors about your career goals.  Many of them were working in the field not too long ago and may be willing to help you build your network if not help you hone in on what steps you need to take in order to succeed.
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