One side benefit of having been around the block a few times, as they say, is the opportunity to share some of my experience with students. When I attend IABC events, I usually encounter students and recent grads eager to speak with the more seasoned practitioners.
I consider myself a student, too, albeit one with a little more mileage than a recent grad. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:
- A presence on social media platforms is a must if you want to distinguish yourself and attract potential employers. Think of a niche you can blog about, whether it’s fashion or cars.
- Learn to use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Perhaps set up a few pertinent boards on Pinterest, too.
- Read leading PR, communication and digital marketing bloggers, and comment on their posts. Follow them on Twitter and elsewhere. As Mitch Joel says, it’s “permission-based stalking.” Need some names to get started? Joe Thornley, Shel Holtz, Neville Hobson, Dave Fleet, Kami Watson Huyse, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman, Mitch Joel, Valeria Maltoni.
- Listen and learn from podcasts. I don’t know what I’d do without my weekly fix of For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report and Inside PR.
- Internships and networking (both in person and online) are the best ways to score an interview and land a job.
- Think about creating a video résumé and putting it on your blog or website.
- Your job interview starts as soon as you approach the employer’s building. Be kind to the receptionist!
- Don’t just join IABC; volunteer to get known.
- Never be afraid of hard work.
- It’s best to work for someone else before starting your own business. Learn on their dime.
- If you don’t have enough samples of your work to show, volunteer to create a website or brochure for a church or small charity, or write articles for a community newspaper. Whatever your skill set, use it!
- You have to hustle. No one is going to hand you anything on a platter (I think my Mom said this first).
Donna Papacosta of Trafalgar Communications is a writer, speaker, podcaster and consultant who helps individuals and companies to find their passions, share their stories and build their businesses. Connect with Donna @DonnaPapacosta.