Congratulations, you did it! Graduation has come and gone. You’ve celebrated (maybe a little too much) with your family and friends, and you've been applying for PR jobs every since. However, despite sending your resume out religiously and even landing a few interviews (that quite honestly you thought you nailed), you've have yet to get a job offer. So frustrating.
So, what’s an aspiring PR professional to do?
Well, you could cry and get depressed about life and tailspin into self-doubt and anxiety about whether or not a career in PR is even in the cards for you. But because you were likely attracted to public relations as a career because it requires hard work, a thick skin and creative problem solving, you know it is not in you to give up on your dream so quickly.
Here is what you do: carve out an afternoon of solitude and take yourself on a little career planning retreat. Grab a notebook or open up your laptop and brainstorm how you can reclaim inspiration and gain a clear direction on what you can do, right now, to change your story from bing-watching Netflix to gainfully employed.
Know this: You create your own opportunities
If might not feel like it right now, but you are in a very exciting time in your life where the future has yet to be written. So rather that waiting for job listing to appear, make an ideal company list and prepare to proactively reach out to at least twenty PR agencies and brands in your area of interest.
Getting the job often comes down to being both a cultural fit for where you are applying, as well as having a specific set of skills that interplays well with those of the existing team. Your next task is to take what you know of each company and figure out what exactly about your experience is likely to be most helpful and most interesting to them. Secondly, really hone in on what it is about that company culture, history or product that calls out to your personally. Choose several skills and experiences for each of the companies on your ideal company list and write notes or bullet points as part of your research in a "why me" section. You'll use these notes later when crafting a letter of introduction (make sure to avoid these) common cover letter mistakes).
Before reaching out to your company contact, ensure that your digital presence, including LinkedIn, social media accounts and Google search results are consistent, professional and up-to-date. Examine your resume and portfolio and give them a refresh (have a trusted friend give them a look and point out anything that is confusing, inconsistent or designed poorly).
Now it's time to ensure you are following each company through social media, and begin engaging with them where appropriate. Then, write a compelling pitch letter addressed by name to an ideal company contact.
You may choose to simply ask if there are any open positions, to ask for an informational interview, or to simply write a company love letter with a short PS about your career aspirations. Point is, you are taking ownership of your career direction and putting out feelers to get you closer to the job you want.