Category Archives: Post Graduation

The Almost Post-Graduate Checklist

Happy Monday…or not, I usually feel like this on Monday:

But today? Today I am fired up because I have new post for you and I am so psyched to get your feedback. As many of you are making the final steps towards your last few weeks as a university student, you probably have many emotions: happiness, fear, poverty (which may or may not be a real emotion), hunger and sleep deprivation (once again, maybe not an emotion). BUT never fear, I have some blogging caffeine to send your way!

This is the first post in my “getting you hired after you graduate” series (that name is a work in progress) and it’s a quick, down and dirty checklist of items that YOU need to make sure you have in order for your post-graduate hiring push.

As I came upon the final weeks before my graduation, I had a job in hand (well, a paid internship), but that didn’t stop me from making sure my ducks were in a row – social media, resume & online presence – I wanted to make sure if ANYBODY even thought about hiring me, I would be ready. Below are a few items (and resources) for YOUR “Hire Me NOW! Almost Post-Graduate Checklist”:

  1. Social Media: Are you social media-ready for a snooping hiring manager? According to a 2012 study by CareerBuilder, some 38% of hiring managers said they screened candidates via social media. So please make sure you’re not trashing employers, showing excessive bad behaviour, or saying incendiary things that will make a hiring manager think twice. Good rule of thumb is: “would I say this in front of my nan?” HOWEVER, social media is also a chance to show HOW good of a candidate you are; I am a huge advocate for having a professional Twitter handle and a Linkedin page where you can list accomplishments, past projects, your skills, jobs and showcase thought leadership in your field. As you’re nearing the end, do a Social Media audit and make sure you’re in good shape
  2. Resume: With the host of social media sites and other ways to network, we sometimes forget that the little, modest resume is still your best bet to get hired. Take some time over the next few weeks to really give your resume a hard look. Have a professor, or the career center at your Uni also look it over – you should include ALL relevant experience, including any school projects that were in PR/social media, related job experience (internships to the TOP!) and even communications courses. Hiring managers know that as an entry-level pro, you’re not going to have a TON of experience, but you can still polish it up and make it shine. Check out this great post from NYC PR Girls for more on that winning entry-level PR resume.
  3. Online Presence: I CANNOT stress this enough! In this day and age, in PR and social media, you need to have an online presence. Of course, many will say you don’t have to have one, but I’m here to tell you:

    You NEED to have an online presence. Whether it be centered around social media, an About.me page, an entire blog, an online portfolio or even ONE page with your resume and a few links…well, I think you get it. Plus, having a polished online presence will shoot your light years above the competition – it will show that you can write, are strategically thinking and you understand the importance of image and content curation (three VERY important things in PR). A domain name is less than $20 per year, a WordPress blog is even cheaper…even Tumblr can be a good site to use. Use your online space to advertise yourself, write great content or house your portfolio.

Hopefully, this has been an educational and thought-provoking post and a great way to kick off this little mini-series. Graduation is coming up on you faster than you realize and if you get ready now, you’ll have a better chance to land that dream job.

If you have any questions or just want to pop in and say hello, the comment section (or the contact page or my Twitter) is always open. Until then…

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing

50 Days Later…post post-graduate intern tips

Hello PR peeps…I know, I know, I moved to New York and got brand new, stopped blogging. You officially have 10 seconds to gripe at me. Go.

Okay, stop, it’s over…stop living in the past.

Anyway, today will be a short post about something I am personally dealing with: the end of a post-grad internship that might not turn into a job…I’m hyperventilating, in case you were wondering. The thing is, I’m worried (I’ve moved across the country to the most expensive city in the world and I might be unemployed…soon), but I’m not…I’ve got an action plan in place and I’m going to share it with you…because I’m cool like that.

This is my “cool like that” move…courtesy of iworkinpr

So…we’re about 2 weeks to a month out of being done with this internship thing, here are a few steps you should be taking:

  1. Have you talked to HR? Have you made it explicitly known that you are interested in a possible extension and any upcoming positions. Take a look at the agency website, they may have posted a position that you are right for. Go in there with some talking points, in your Sunday best and let them know! A closed mouth does NOT get fed
  2. Schedule a sit-down with your immediate supervisor(s), this is a good time to gauge what they think of you and whether or not a recommendation from the will be glowing or worth skipping over. Ask about your strengths and weaknesses; what you did well and what you could have done better.
  3. Try and get AS MUCH facetime with senior people as possible. This could be as simple as asking for a quick meeting to ask for career advice or passing them by in the hallway and “formally” introducing yourself. This has 2 advantages:they can remember you for future opportunities and reccommend you to HR and the 2nd one is, they probably have experience at other agencies and connects.
  4. LOOK FOR A JOB. I cannot stress this enough. Obviously don’t do so during company time, but now is the time to start perusing boards, Linkedin, agencies twitter feeds, etc. It takes 2-4 weeks to get hired, so you have exactly 2-4 weeks to not be unemployed
  5. Soak up these last few weeks and learn as much as possible and maybe save a few pennies as well.

This is what I have been doing…has it been working? Only time will tell! Do you have any post-post-grad internship tips? Let me know!

Until next time!
XOXOXO, Jess AsPRing

Boyz II Men, Graduation and Moving to New York

I know you’re probably thinking, what does the 1990’s Motown Philly band have to do with anything on this blog? Well, it doesn’t…not really, at least.

Let me explain: I am nearing the end of my college career and I have been a college student for a looooooooong time, like I could have had a Master’s by now, and although I am glad to be moving on to the next level, I am kind of sad it’s over: queue Boyz II Men and their 1992 mega hit End of the Road, which I am inserting below for yo’ viewing pleasure:

The thing is: yea, I’m glad this is over but I am entering a whole new territory and I am worried about my future and I know you all are too, and I have something to tell you:

IT’S OKAY.

That’s right: it’s okay to be afraid, to be worried, to be scared and to be nervous. You’re not ready to jump into the “real world”? That’s fine, you can take some time to figure it out, you can look at a different career fields than the one you majored in! Travel, fall in love, fall out of love, move, or stay where you are.

The point is, we’re young, we’ve accomplished something big and we are solely in control of our lives. You can be afraid, but do NOT let that fear stop you from accomplishing your next big goal. I’m worried as hell about this move to New York, but I am not about to let it stop me from this dream I have.

Just a little Thursday “pick me up”…I am moving TO NEW YORK TOMORROW!!! I am sooooo excited. The next time you hear from me, I will be a New Yorker 😉

XOXOXO,

Jess AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles, Pt. II: When Should I Start Looking for a Job?

Happy Monday mi amigos/amigas! With Spring winding down very quickly, so I wanted to make sure we got the “Senior Chronicles” going in full force, so you (and by “you” I mean “WE”) can get ready for graduation!

I hope you remember part I of the Senior Chronicles, in case you didn’t, here it is! Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified. It was basically my fear of the unknown (AKA life after graduation, employment, in particular); so I started thinking: why fear it, when I can conquer it? I can’t sit around and wait for  job to land in my lap, I need to get out there and TAKE IT! So, the Senior Chronicles is all about the job hunt, kiddies, and the 2nd post in this series is a great starting point:

WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR A JOB?!?!?!?!?

PR is a unique field for many reasons, one reason is the industry hiring practices: while a bank or a hospital may have regular hiring intervals, PR agencies, organizations, etc. only hire on an as-needed basis. Meaning, if they have a new account, or somebody leaves, then they need people. This puts us graduating seniors in a sticky situation because traditionally, in the summer, things slow down a bit in the PR world, so chances are, not much hiring is going on. Which is a bummer, because who wants to spend the Summer on your parent’s couch?

Another thing to think about is how quickly a PR agency hires its folks: from posting the job announcement to getting that warm body in the seat, it is only about a 3-5 week process, so if you don’t graduate until May, applying for a great job in February probably isn’t a good idea. I know, at this point, you’re probably saying:

SO WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING FOR A FREAKIN’ JOB JESS?!?!?!

My answer? Yesterday! You should be always keeping your eyes open for announcements and openings; but not JUST announcements, look out for when an agency gets a new client, loses a client, merges or get’s bought. These are all indicators of jobs lost or created. BUT the catch is, don’t start applying just yet. Hiring managers are looking to fill these openings ASAP, and if you can’t start, it will mostly likely just frustrate them.

So what have I been doing? I’m glad you asked.

Starting back in NOVEMBER, I started connecting with agencies, recruiter, HR people and hiring managers on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, on email, via telephone, carrier pigeon…you name it (except the carrier pigeon…they freak me out!) and let them know while I am not graduating for quite some time, that I would like the opportunity to forward my resume and stay in touch. I got a lot of great feedback and it served a few purposes:

  1. It got my resume in front of them; which means they know my name and were able to go over the experience I had thusfar
  2. I was able to give them my blog and social media information; so they could see my work, links, influence level, etc.
  3. It gave me a reason to call them again in a few months, with an updated copy of my resume.

Believe it or not, I got some really great feedback, a few “call us when you graduate!” emails and I even had to turn down TWO interview requests, because I hadn’t yet graduated (which sucked!). The point is, I got my name in their box and let them know that I will be open for business soon.

I am going to follow up with all of them very soon, letting my contacts know that I graduated. BUT first, I am going to spend two months doing a full-time post-graduate internship in NEW YORK CITY!!!! That’s right, I got the job and I am ready to rock it out (more on that later)!!!

Well that’s it for this installment of “The Senior Chronicles” check back next Monday for my take on the “perfect entry-level resume” with a very special guest (oooh…mystery, suspense…) until then…

XOXOXO,

Jess_AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified.

I have no idea what I’m doing…

Hey there people and happy Monday! As I get closer and closer to graduation, I am noticing a few things:

  • ALOT of you are also getting close to graduation (congratulations!!!)
  • We all have the same questions: how do I get a job? When should I start looking? What will my first paycheck look like? Is it OK to do a post-grad internship?

I  want to help!!! Now, I’m no expert (far from it); in fact, I am a young woman who is on the same journey as you, but I am going to chronicle my experiences and let you know what did and what didn’t work for me and offer as much insight and advice as possible. So let’s get started:

I. Am. Terrified.

There, I said it, I said the sentence on many of our minds that we are afraid to say out loud. Like most of you, I have been trying to get good grades, interning to gain experience, networking and constantly updating my resume. But I’m still scared about my life post-grad and my career options; the competition is fierce and many entry-level positions either come from an agency’s internship pool or it’s hired out before it’s even listed! Thousands of people are all vying for the same 10 positions, so where do I fit in?

The truth is, I really don’t know where I will be in a few months, or how this job search will work out for me. What I do know is, I can’t give up. You don’t know this, but PR is not my first career: before PR found me, I was a paralegal, a recreation administrator, a teaching assistant, a tour guide…pretty much every job you can think of. When I (literally) landed in PR it was like a breath of fresh air: I love it, I love what I do and I can’t let fear stop me. And you shouldn’t let it stop you either.

The next few months will be a busy time for us, we need to graduate, finish our Spring internships, AND look for a post-graduate position. Now’s not the time to let fear or exhaustion slow you down. I’ll be chronicling my experiences and hopefully you will all chime in, let’s do this together!

Until next time…

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing