It's the end of another academic year. For members of the class of 2014, departing alma mater will lead to reflection and a fair share of celebration. Once the festivities end, you'll be left to grapple with the question that has probably already plagued the end of your academic career: What are you going to do with the rest of your life?
If your answer to that question is to find a job in public relations, then you're probably in need some advice. Here are 7 useful tips for entering the world of professional communications:
- Continue to develop and display your strong writing skills. You probably got your degree in a writing-intensive major. Now is the time when you put those writing chops to use. Whether it's an introductory email to a prospective employer, an all-important cover letter or a writing test to land the job you've been interviewing for, strong writing skills are essential for PR professionals, and your talent will be your ticket into the industry.
- Clean up your social media profiles. Those pictures of you dominating the beer pong table to the delight of all of your college friends don't exactly scream, "Hire me!" Delete them, adjust your privacy settings, start a new account—do whatever it takes so that when a prospective employer looks up your Facebook or Twitter account, they don't see the message from your buddy about how crazy last Friday night was. Instead, start to use social media to show your earnest interest in becoming a PR professional.
- Build a professional network on LinkedIn. You're about to start to use LinkedIn all the time. You may think that the network is just Facebook for old people (and you may be right), but that doesn't make it any less useful for you in your job search and connection building after you're employed. Connect with friends, acquaintances, co-workers from your internships or anyone else who may help in your professional life. Join alumni and networking groups.
- Considering joining the Public Relations Society of America. The PRSA has more than 21,000 members, making it the largest professional organization dedicated to the PR industry. The organization is committed to providing support to its members, offering training and professional development. Membership will help you to identify mentors and internships, and show that you're serious.
- Dress appropriately. We all know how comfortable sweatpants are, but you should start to dress as if you're about to meet a client or media professional. When you do land an interview, err on the conservative side. The way you present yourself matters; don't let it get in the way.
- Speak your mind. Your next employer will probably belong to a different generation, which means that he or she has a radically different worldview from you. Something that may seem to be common knowledge to you might actually be an insightful piece of wisdom. If you think you have a good idea, don't be afraid to share it.
- Don't stress too much. The biggest mistake you can make as a young professional is putting too much stress on yourself. Nothing good stems from a frenzied brain.
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene