Friday, May 20, 2011

Gaining experience before "The First Job"

On the last day of her internship with C. Pharr, our summer intern Sara Corwin shares some fantastic tips that can help students seeking their first jobs or professionals hoping to find their spot in the world of PR.

One of the most important aspects of being a college student is getting a head start within the industry of your field of study. To avoid feeling like a fish out of water after graduation, embrace what is available to you now to help build your skills and professional manner while you are a student. This is an important aspect that will build your resume, not only helping you prepare for a job but aid in landing one too. Gaining experience is achievable with a lot of determination and a little creativity.
  • PR covers various industries. If you have a particular interest for sports, fashion or green living, for example, show off your knowledge and creativity by creating a blog or tweeting on what you are passionate about.
  • Volunteering for local nonprofits or other organizations may also demonstrate your passion for a particular industry and will show that you are actively engaging in that field. Design and write their newsletters, post event information online, pass out flyers and brochures or simply lend a helping hand at events or within their office.
  • Internships are also a great opportunity that is a must-have for PR, marketing and journalism students. Always keep an eye open and apply to several. You can also speak with a local organization and see if they need any help with a little PR. You never know, you could become their very first intern.
  • Attend industry-related events, such as lectures downtown, networking events at local eateries and luncheons. Be sure to take notes, have personal business cards on hand and follow up with the professionals you meet. Embrace LinkedIn!
  • Seek out professionals for mentoring, shadowing or informational meetings. If you want to learn more about a particular business or industry, just ask!
  • Be a part of your school’s organizations. You can boost your written and verbal communication skills by writing for the school newspaper. See if your school has a chapter for PRSSA or other journalistic society. If your school does not have PRSSA, or there is not a PR position within an organization, take the initiative to make one. Do PR for your sorority or another organization you are a member of. You can show leadership and utilize your skills by running for officer positions.
There are plenty of opportunities out there to become more involved in PR before graduating and landing your first job. Get creative and embrace the resources available to you.

This post was contributed by Sara Corwin. Read more insights by Sara on her blog: or find her on Twitter: @scorwin42.