Are you a recent public relations graduate? Congratulations! Now comes the fun part, job hunting, building your experience and standing out to employers. If you’re having a hard time landing a gig, then continue reading to see our 10 tips on how to stand out as a recent grad and ways to make yourself employable.
1) Know about your industry
As a recent grad, you may only know about the industry from what your professors told you. Use those research skills to research the industry! Stay up to date on trends, issues, stories, key players in the industry, who is doing what, and how you can be involved. Given the industry we are in, it’s crucial you keep yourself up to date with everything PR related. Going into an interview knowing about your industry will impress your potential employer. Check out these resources to help you stay up to date:
- To learn more about the top agencies in Vancouver, check out Upcity and Clutch.
- Everything PR offers PR stories worldwide. You can filter your search to a specific city, find RFP, news stories and much more.
- PR in Canada is specific to Canada (the name gives it away). They offer stories, events, awards, networking and more.
2) Write & Pitch
It’s time to put your writing skills to the test, along with building relationships with publications and journalist. Having tangible examples of published stories can help you stand out to your potential employer. Especially within the PR industry, your connections with media personnels can increase your chances of being employable, as you will be able to get stories covered. You can write about various topics, from the best places to eat in your city, to events going on in the city, and everything in between. When writing articles, keep it related to your passion and your identity. Be sure to include photos within your article. You can also reach out to nonprofits or organizations you’re passionate about and volunteer to write for them. This will help you gain experience and give you the opportunity to pitch to specific journalists within that niche. With the recent decline in journalism, publications are always looking for pieces to publish. Here are a few publications you can pitch stories to:
- Not sure where to find email’s specific to your niche? Try, Muckrack!
- Daily Hive Vancouver
3) Create Content
One of the best ways to showcase your skills is to create your own content. How? Start a blog, write articles, take your own photos, and editing videos. Collaborate with influencers to gain experience with photography, editing, and copy writing. Creating your own content will show your employer what you are capable of, the skills you currently have, plus it shows your personality. Check out Medium this platform allows you to share stories and connect with others on topics you’re interested in!
As a recent graduate myself, I cannot stress the importance of volunteering. It’s an easy way to not only gain experience, but also have an insight into various elements of PR. Having volunteer experience will allow you to build references, and have tangible experience. All of which, employers like to see! You can volunteer with agencies to support at events, and nonprofits to support with PR related work. Not sure where you can volunteer? Check out these resources:
- CPRS always has volunteer opportunities available within the industry
- Go volunteer is a great resource to explore various volunteering options
- Indeed also is a great resource to check out when looking for volunteer gigs.
Internships are the best way to gain experience within the industry! Although you may not get paid for an internship, it’s a great way to build your skills, and have tangible examples to show future employers. You will learn more about the industry, have the chance to put your education to the test, and build your confidence. Internships are also a great way to build references. Don’t forget to ask your supervisor for a reference letter! Organization’s may not always post internship postings to their website. If that is the case, email them a pitch about yourself along with a call to action. You’d be surprised at the responses you may get!
Check out LinkedIn’s job tools to look for intern opportunities. Just be sure to have an account to use this tool to its full advantage.
6) Have a killer LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the #1 tool for all industry professionals to use. It’s your digital portfolio where you’re able to showcase all your skills, education, work experience and references. Building connections via LinkedIn is also a great way to meet professionals within the industry. Although you want to maintain a professional outlook on this platform, don’t be afraid to show your personality with the content you post. Check out our article for tips on how LinkedIn can elevate your professional career (link)
If you have had the opportunity to volunteer for organizations, events or a project, be sure to ask for a reference letter. This will be able to validate the skills you are trying to showcase, along with giving the employer the opportunity to call to ask questions. You can also ask those supervisors if they could endorse a skill on your LinkedIn profile. Just as a general tip, try to have at least 3 references from various backgrounds, and if possible, all related to PR!
Check out the balance career’s article to learn more about the importance of references
Networking is key in this industry! It can open job, internship, volunteer and mentorship opportunities. You can network in multiple different ways such as attending events, online via LinkedIn, workshops, conferences, seminars… the list can go on. When networking, your first impression is what could land you a potential gig. What can you do to nail the first impression? Make sure you have a proper handshake (not too strong, and not too soft), dress to impress, make eye contact, and be confident! Not sure where to find networking opportunities? Here are a few options:
- CPRS always has various events ongoing within the City, and it always focuses on all things PR
- IABC (International Association of Business Communicators BC) has various events, workshops and seminars available all relating to the communication industry.
9) Join the CPRS
The CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society) has locations throughout Canada. They are specific to PR and offer a number of services to their members. Students get a discounted membership (better take advantage of it while you can!) They offer networking events, mentors, educational workshops, job and volunteer opportunities. You can build an endless amount of connections through this organization which will help open doors for you throughout your career!
10) Take Jelly Academy
Working in PR, digital marketing is a big part of the industry. It will gain more importance in the years to come for businesses as well. Being a graduate, I know the last thing you want to hear is you should go back to school. BUT Jelly Academy is different compared to traditional school, for one, it’s only once a week for 6 weeks!(We may be a little bias here, but hear us out). Plus the content you’re learning will be able to provide you hard skills, and a better understanding of how to utilize digital marketing/ads within your career. It will cover 4 main topics: social media, digital ads, public relations and content marketing. You will also gain the following certifications:
- Hootsuite Social Marketing Certificate
- Facebook Blueprint 310-101
- SEMrush Toolkit Certificate
- Google Certificates in the following: AdWords Fundamentals, Search Advertising, Display Advertising, and Google Analytics.
You will be learning from industry experts whose career specializes in the content being taught. The reason Jelly Academy will make you stand out to employers is because of the hard skills you will be learning. Digital marketing skills are in demand right now and are part of your PR career. Visit Jelly Academy for more information!