Summer 2017 Intern Diaries: You Just Graduated…Now What?
Graduating college has easily been the most exciting, terrifying, fun and bittersweet thing I have ever experienced. I think the saying goes, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” While I do believe this to be true, and I have been in a minor state of confusion since graduating three short months ago, I am beginning to come to terms with this new chapter of life and embrace it.
I am starting to realize that there are about a million other aspiring young professionals in my exact same position and now is not the time to sit idle waiting for an opportunity to come knocking. One thing I have found the most helpful in my post grad journey is listening to every piece of advice that is given to me. PR News posted a great article highlighting six tips for recent grads. According to the article, nearly 1.1 million students received bachelor’s degrees this year, with nearly 10 percent being communications/journalism majors. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and I want to share their tips with you and throw a little of my own knowledge at you. Here’s my take on each of the tips from PR News.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of good writing skills
Writing is the focal point of any career in the communications industry. This article highlights the importance of improving your writing skills and says one way to become a better writer is to read. I would also like to say - don’t throw away your AP Stylebook!! Mine still comes in handy and I refer to it whenever I am questioning something.
- Network anywhere and everywhere
This is something that I used to brush off whenever it was said to me. I used to think that having a strong resume and writing samples would be enough to get my foot in the door of any company, but boy was I wrong. Learning about and accepting the importance of networking has been so challenging for me, but I have learned that it is the most important piece of advice given to me. You can find connections in the most unlikely places, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! More likely than not, the person you are talking to has been in your shoes once before and will respect you for reaching out and trying to form a connection.
- Be persistent in your follow-up
Okay, I lied. This has been one of the most challenging concepts for me to grasp post grad. In my generation, we expect everything to be immediate. I am so used to sending someone a text message and receiving a response almost immediately. This is not always a given in the corporate world. I have gone weeks, sometimes even months, without a response to an email. It has been one of the most frustrating things I have ever had to deal with. Persistence is key in the PR world and I am learning now to not feel awkward by sending a second, or even third email or phone call. As long as you are polite, it is okay to bother someone until they respond.
- Clean up your social media presence
This seems like such an obvious thing to do, but it is still worth mentioning. With social media being at the forefront of the communications industry, your personal sites will without a doubt be looked at by your interviewer/employer. This article could not have said it any better: If a company if seriously interested in hiring you, it is going to Google you. Make sure you are presenting yourself in the best light possible and keeping your social platforms clean!
- Know thyself
“Remember that you and your brain are a precious commodity.” It’s so easy to get lost in the craziness of your job search and it’s also easy to lose yourself during the process. Don’t settle. Don’t accept a job just because you feel like you’re desperate and are going to have to compromise yourself in the process. You have worked hard to get where you are today, and you deserve to work for a company that values what you bring to the table. I find myself struggling with this. While I was interviewing for jobs and internships the spring of my senior year, I was so concerned about landing my “dream job.” I can only look back at this and laugh. No one (okay, well maybe some people, but it is highly unlikely) lands their dream job right after graduating. With that being said, although it is unlikely that you will be working at your dream company right off the bat, there is no need to settle for a position you are not interested in. Don’t lose sight of what you want out of job.
- Go for it
At this point in your life, you have nothing to lose from applying for a “reach” position. There is no way to plan what path you will end up taking, so just go with the flow and relax, because good things are going to happen.