I often have the opportunity to speak with marketing, PR, and communications majors. Through serving on a careers in communications panel at Stockton University, speaking to a group of PR majors at Monmouth University, and serving as an alumni career mentor to students of Stockton University, I hear and feel their struggles in finding a job in the industry (being in their shoes just several years ago)! Getting started is never easy.
I’ve had some pretty great mentors along the way and people who helped inspire me to be the marketer I am today. If you know someone who is studying marketing, communications, PR, or another related field, please send this article their way. If you yourself are the student, I hope you will find the following information valuable in helping you launch a successful career in this competitive industry.
First, you need a resume.
You may be thinking … “but I’m a college student, I don’t have a resume, I don’t have much job history.” Okay, so create one. Add your classes that are relevant for the internship in which you’re applying for. Consider transferable skills you have from any jobs you’ve had, for example:
|Your Job||Job You Seek||Transferrable Skills|
|Retail Associate||Photo/Fashion Editorial Intern||
Your college’s career center will be able to help you put your resume together. The list above will get you started. Be sure to show what you’ve done, not tell. Highlight any accomplishments. Always triple check grammar.
There’s no such thing as doing too many internships.
It’s never too early to do your first one.
I did six! I always knew I wanted to do something creative but knowing a business side was also important to me. I started my freshman year off as a business major and quickly gravitated toward my writing courses. My junior year I declared myself a communications major with a writing minor.
Taking a variety of classes can help you decide what you’re passionate about, but taking an internship can help you decide for free. While I learned a lot in the classroom, some of my biggest lessons came from my internships. Stockton required that I just take one but I wanted to learn as much as I could and be prepared for the real world. What I loved most about interning was gaining that hands on experience. I was able to build up a nice portfolio of published articles and graphic designs. Going into my interviews, I was able to apply what I learned to intelligently answer employer questions.
Internships are everywhere.
When I was in college, unpaid internships were common, but now there are limited circumstances in which this is the case. Employers are being required to pay interns. Need a summer job? Make it an internship! Where to look:
- Start with your college’s career center. These tend to be some of the safest bets and I know a few colleges that run a process in which they scan employers and job listings. It’s likely your college also has some kind of internship listing that you can check in with.
- Craigslist, but proceed with caution. I’ve seen some really great job postings on Craigslist and I’ve seen some questionable ones.
- Indeed.com. A little less shady than Craigslist. Some job listings seem legit – others, not so much.
- Ed2010. This is one of my best-kept secrets. Ed2010 is a dream internship-listing site for internship seekers who aspire to work in the magazine industry.
- In your local community. Go out there and work for a company you admire. I wanted to work in the arts at one point and an admiral theater was nearby. I had not seen any listings from its employees about needing an intern so I reached out. I was put in touch with its marketing/pr director, who took me on for a summer. My internship at Algonquin Arts was one of my most memorable internships. Thanks to its marketing and pr director at the time, I gained first hand experience writing press releases and crafting social media posts for business, among other things. Most companies would be happy to have free or cheap labor, but just make sure you can learn something from offering it and are not being take advantage of!
Network. Meet as many people as you can in your industry through Linkedin, Twitter, and networking events (start with your local chamber of commerce).
Don’t give up. Finding any job can be a full-time job in itself and the process could be discouraging. Through being aggressive, I was able to land a few ongoing freelance writing gigs out of college but it took me over a year to land a full-time job with health benefits and all the dressings. There were many times where I got discouraged. Trust me, I get it! But you can’t ever give up! Keep your eye on the prize. What are you passionate about? What do you hope to achieve? Identify these things and go get them. If you find yourself not getting any interviews after a few months, you may want to re-think your resume. Reach out to one of those awesome connections you made at a networking event and ask them if they would not mind giving you their feedback. One very important thing to do is customize your resume and cover letter for each job. Having a general resume is great but you’ll want to make some tweaks to show what you’ve done that could contribute to in each unique position. This brings me too …
5 Mistakes Students Make When Applying for Jobs
- Making your cover letter a book. Hiring managers are busy. Keep your cover later short and sweet. Include the most relevant information only to introduce yourself and what you have to offer.
- Not submitting a cover letter, even if the job listing does not say to. It does not need to be anything fancy – just a few sentences telling the employer what attracted you to the job and why you think you’d be a great fit.
- Acting entitled and not being polite. Let’s face it – no one is indispensable. You need the job more than it needs you. Don’t piss the hiring manager off. Be respectful in every communication. While interviews are a two way streak, you never want to be rude.
- Not following directions in the job listing. If it says to submit writing or design samples, submit them. If you don’t have any, create them.
- Dressing for a night on the town, not a job interview. It’s always better to overdress than underdress. Dress the part! Arrive 10 minutes early. Send a thank you email. Answer questions clearly and ask at least two of your own (this is what I expect from people I interview).
Featured image source: PickTheBrain.com