October 2, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera

Ahh, yes.  The feeling of student loans breathing down your neck.  The nagging feeling that you aren’t doing anything with your life and nobody would ever want to hire you. The pressure from your parents to stop wasting time, get off your butt, and dust the cobwebs off your resume.  

That’s it: the feeling of searching for a job after graduation.

It should go without saying, these are feelings you probably want to avoid.  To that end, it’s imperative that you be proactive about a job search prior to graduation.  

But how should you go about doing so? 

To answer this question, I’ve outlined these four tips to help you find potential employment options before graduating.

1. Research

Before you mindlessly spam your resume to hundreds of companies, it’s first a good idea to know where you would like to work in the first place.  PR is a versatile industry where you could land in completely different job positions depending on which company you decide to roll with.

For this reason, it’s important to have a vision for what your ideal job would look like.  Ask yourself questions.  What type of work do you enjoy most? Content creation? Writing?  What types of brands resonate with you?  Are you into fashion? Or is sports your passion?

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After you’ve narrowed things down, seek out the companies where you think you would be a good fit.  Then read their mission statements.  Figure out what they are looking for, and then become that.  Cater your resume to that job position.

Sure, you might not get your ideal position as Senior Director of Marketing for Pixar on your first go, but having that as a long-term goal gives you a place to start.  Maybe you could apply to a PR position at a smaller animation company first, and then use that experience to leverage yourself into the job that you actually want later.

2. Leverage Your Internships

Usually students get an internship their Junior or Senior year of college, but they don’t always make the most of it.  Sometimes, students choose to do the bare-minimum, and treat it like a graduation requirement.  Which it is.  But it’s also more than that.

An internship is a place to get experience, but it’s also a place to show what you’re made of.  Show off those skills you learned from your coursework. 

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 Treat your internship like a 120-hour-long job interview, because it sort of is.  According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship and Co-op survey, 60% of paid internships result in job offers.

This means that you should: one, consider going the extra mile to acquire a paid internship, and two, make yourself as indispensable as possible after you acquire one.  Your efforts might just be rewarded with a job offer.

3. Network

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It feels as though no matter what I write about, it always comes back to networking.  Put simply, that’s because networking is to PR as the Whopper is to Burger King.  It’s an industry staple.  You can’t avoid it. 

Depending on who you ask, 70%-85% of positions are filled through networking.  So yeah, I would say it’s a skill you should be honing sooner rather than later. 

But let’s say you already knew that.  Where do you get started?  Well, first off, you can start by reading the blog post I wrote to answer that exact question.

If you don’t have the attention span for that, however, let me give you the sparknotes version.

  • Attend virtual events, like our PRSSA Virtual Panels
  • Use LinkedIn to connect with our professional panelists
  • Ask around, talk to classmates and professors
  • Make a study group
  • Get more involved, join a committee or a new club

The bottom-line is this: if you want to be successful in PR you have to network.  It might be tempting to make the excuse that, because things are virtual, networking is impossible.  However, it’s not, and it might just land you the first job of your career.

4. Attend Career Fairs

This is probably the most straightforward advice I can give when it comes to searching for a job.  Career fairs are the place where employers are actively searching for new employees.  This can be intimidating, however, since it’s the most obvious place to search for a job, meaning it can be competitive.

That being said, if you aren’t willing to put yourself out there, you aren’t going to see any results.  Understand that finding a job is a numbers game.  The more career fairs and virtual events you attend, the more potential employers you will meet.  The more employers you meet, the higher the likelihood becomes that you will get hired!

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If you’re excited and ready to immerse yourself in the now-virtual world of career-fairs, but don’t know where to start, do not fret.  I am here to help.

A good place to start would be at CSU Fullerton’s Career Center website, where they have a full list of upcoming virtual career fairs and workshops.  Additionally, the website for National Career Fairs also has a diverse selection of virtual career fairs.  Just look under the Southern California section to find a myriad of options.