Still, as much as PR can be stressful, hectic and definitely never sleeps, it's extremely exciting and rewarding to communicate on behalf of large brands and be in on the latest media trends. PR is everything from social media content creation/management to event execution, to media relations and copy development. I've done everything from coordinating 25 top New York media members' exclusive new product tasting in a hot air balloon, to working with 22 top food bloggers to develop a new product -- and more.
Needless to say, there's something thrilling about helping a brand develop their social voice, flying across the country to execute a media event or seeing your client placed in some of the country's top media outlets -- all because of your stellar skills!
As a good family friend put it, PR can be a bit glamorous at times -- but it can also kick your ass. And because it's a high-demand industry (like marketing and advertising), it can be hard to know where or how to get your foot in the door.
Tips for breaking through the PR clutter--
1. Create an online presence. The best way to showcase your natural ability to create buzz? A Twitter handle with 500+ followers or a personal blog with well-written, interesting content. PR is about making a splash in the media space -- and now more than ever, that space is digital.
Warning: Know this online presence will be looked at by employers! Be weary about what you post and share.
2. Get your resume down to one, fabulous page. Your resume should be you in a nutshell -- skip the boring format you found online and make it a one-pager you're proud of. PR execs love quick, concise content -- and the more visual, the better. Keep this in mind when compiling your resume, and think about how you can expand your portfolio through sites like hirewired.
3. Expect to intern. I had four internships before I was hired on full-time -- which is pretty standard for the marketing world. It's not that no one wants to hire you or thinks you'll be great, it's just that PR is so fast-paced that agencies need someone who can jump in and run with whatever needs to be worked on. Unfortunately, that person typically has a bit of experience under their belt, so hiring right-out-of-college grads is pretty uncommon.
Ask yourself: are you willing to go the extra mile? I can't tell you how many interns we've had at my agency that are entitled. PR execs want to see someone with a burning desire to learn the business and a positive attitude - not someone who is pissed off that this is their fourth internship.
4. Read. PR is an ever-changing industry, so be sure to stay updated on the latest current events and industry headlines. If you're interviewing for an internship at a firm that recently headlined a client in USA Today (which actually happened to me during an interview), you'll impress the execs that much more by mentioning that in your interview. If Facebook released a new update that affects brand pages (like Facebook Timeline), demonstrating your awareness of the social media space will only further establish your credibility as a potential hire.
PR pubs I like: PR Daily, Mashable, Spin Sucks
5. Connect. Connections are (seriously) everything in this industry. After three internships and an exhausting and seemingly hopeless job search, I got the internship that led to my current job through a family friend's niece. (I know, random!) I connected with her just after graduating to get her input on my resume and general advice on getting into the industry. Three months later, an internship position opened up and she recommended me for it. Fast forward two years, and she's my current roommate! You never know where a fearless phone call or e-mail will take you. (E-mail me or find me on LinkedIn if you're feeling fearless.)
- Read Kelly Cutrone's book, "If You Have to Cry, Go Outside"
- Go on an informational interview
- Attend a free seminar/professional meet-up
- Follow agencies you like and job-sourcing groups on Twitter (they often post about openings!)
- Practice your skills -- test yourself by writing practice press releases and pitches in your free time. The more you familiarize yourself with the work you'll eventually be doing full-time on day, the more prepared you'll be when that day actually comes!
The bottom line? PR is one of the most exciting, rewarding industries out there. But it's no cake walk.
For more general post-college tips, check out one of my all-time favorite posts -- "You've graduated college. Now what?"