It’s that time again, when college seniors go into panic mode over graduating and finding a job. Concerns about particular companies, starting salaries and limited opportunities fill them with anxiety. Some thoughts about common questions may be helpful to consider as you seek a first job–or even an internship–in public relations:
Get started now. There are very few job offers made immediately after an interview. It’s often a painfully slow process. An application today may mean an interview in a week or two, possibly followed by two or three more interviews over the course of a month, and then the wait for an offer. So now’s a good time to start looking for a job or a summer internship.
Be careful of misleading ads: Job listings under the heading of “public relations” and “marketing” are often thinly-disguised sales jobs. You probably didn’t go to college to find yourself doing cold-calls to sell extended warranties or pet insurance, so get an honest job description before you go for the interview.
Know before you go: Learn as much about the organization as possible before the interview. If you know who you’ll interview with, find out what you can about him or her. Information is power, so know as much as you can before you go through the process.
Have questions ready: I knew a very talented student who wasn’t offered a good Manhattan agency job because she didn’t ask any questions during the interview. It’s often better to be more interested than interesting, so arrive armed with good questions. They’ll be impressed that you asked.
Pause before taking the first offer: If something feels wrong, avoid taking a job just because you’re afraid you won’t be offered another. And don’t agree to a ridiculously low salary for the same reason. Understand that YOU have value. Don’t sell yourself short. Which leads me to…
Trust yourself: You’ll know when an opportunity feels right. Use your heart and your head. Trust your instincts and go with what you know. There’s no need to panic if you’re prepared. You’ll do fine.