Get Hired! Five Insider Strategies for College Grads Seeking PR Jobs

You’ve finished the last of your classes, cramming for finals is behind you … you have your diploma in hand and celebrated the special event with family and friends … you are officially a college graduate!

Now what?

How do you find a job? With 1.5 million new grads joining the job market this year, how do you set yourself a part from the sea of other grads on the market looking for the coveted entry level communications positions? What can you do to stand out? The answers and more:

  • Internships are a must, and in a tight job market they are a table stake. Having internship experience – particularly the training and insights that go along with it – on your resume is a great way to demonstrate that you have the chops to do the job. While not having internship experience on your resume can put you at a disadvantage, don’t despair … it’s not too late. Though most grads aren’t thrilled with the prospect of doing an internship post graduation, it can be a great way to get your foot in the door and build the necessary creds at the same time. At Ketchum, a majority of our entry level hires are made from our internship pools.
  • The cover letter is key. Since strong writing skills are a must for communications professionals, a well-written, strategic cover letter can make or break a candidate …
  • Showcase your skills and capabilities in the most visual way possible. Storytelling, the ability to communicate a message in a visual way is transforming the communications industry, and it’s changing how job applicants can make their mark on the application process. While standard resumes (and cover letters) are still important, candidates now have the ability to set themselves apart from their competition by getting creative in how they showcase their credentials, via online portfolios, videos, blogs and website.
  • Be digital. Showing you have digital aptitude and a digital footprint is important and a sought after skill for hiring managers. A word of caution, your social footprint needs to be appropriate to be helpful. Facebook and other social media outlets are no longer just social tools, if used appropriately they are a great way for candidates to brand themselves and sell their capabilities to prospective employers.
  • Activate your network to help you find your dream job. Don’t be afraid to tap into your network to ensure your resume gets in the hands of the right person. Taking this extra step not only showcases that you understand the importance of business connections, it also demonstrates that you will go above and beyond to get the job. A great way to leverage your network (and show your digital know how) is to make sure you have and utilize a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn provides candidates with a way to research companies, hiring managers and even HR professional that maybe viewing your resume.

The job market is certainly a tight one for new 2012 graduates, but with a bit of tenacity and attention to the aforementioned tips, you can set yourself apart from other candidates and find the right job for you.

About Michele Lanza

In her current role as Partner/SVP, Global Talent Acquisition at Ketchum, Michele manages the recruiting function for the agency, helping to bring top talent into the organization. She worked at Ketchum from 1996-2003, working her way up to become the VP/HR Manager for Ketchum West. Michele then boomeranged back to Ketchum in 2008, after spending four years working as an executive recruiter at one of the top search firms in the Bay Area, specializing in public relations and marketing. Michele has over 15 years of human resources experience, with an emphasis in staffing. Prior to her tenure at Ketchum, Michele worked for Film Realite, a commercial production company and for the YMCA. Follow her on Twitter here: @MicheleL