As most of you know, among being a wannabe fashionista and foodie, I am a public relations professional by day. I eat, live, and breathe PR! Not even kidding right now. When I attended this session at the 77th Annual Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference on “Best Practices for Leveraging Instagram as a PR Tool,” I began to become consumed in a PR high and SO excited to share what I learned. Continue reading
So you’ve graduated from college and you have to be an adult . . . this typically means going in for your first ‘real’ job interview. Tons of thoughts run through your mind and you feel like you’re going to vomit just at the thought of it. Well, at least this is how I felt. Interviews are the moment of truth. It’s pretty much Judgement Day. Did all of your hard work pay off? Did you gain all of the skills necessary? Truth is, YES. Yes, you are ready. Skills are a very important aspect of a job interview, but so are the many small details that go along with it like your attire and follow-up emails.
I completed my first interview one month after graduating college and I was hired. Since then, I have mentored interns and have learned a thing or two. Here is what I have learned through interviewing:
- Research – You should know virtually everything about the company you are interviewing with before the interview. Know their mission statement, board of directors, programs and services, annual event, social media status, etc. We are blessed to have information always readily available. Take advantage of it!
- Relax – Seriously, take a chill pill! I know this ultimately decides your future, but it really doesn’t. If you don’t get the first job you interview for, it’s OKAY. There will be another opportunity. You need to relax and be realistic.
- Have Confidence – I am in no way saying you should be arrogant, but you should be confident about your skills and talents. I mean you did just pay thousands of dollars for the degree you have. Be confident and sell yourself to the employer.
- Sell Yourself – The interviewers know nothing about you other than what’s on your resume. It’s your job to sell you . . . sell your brand. Be yourself. Why are you better than other candidates? What makes you unique? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Sell them as if you are selling a car. You know yourself better than anyone else. You can do it!
- Attire – Showing up to an interview with wrinkly clothes or a dress too short is not acceptable. Unfortunately, us humans are programmed to judge by appearance. Looking the part for your interview is essential. For women, a knee-length skirt or dress with a blazer is perfect. For men, slacks, a button-up, and tie are acceptable. You are representing their brand and they need to have confidence that you can do that in a professional manner. (Need help with this? Check out my blog on professional work attire)
- Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions during an interview. Yes, their job is to ask you a million questions, but you are allowed to ask as well. Ask them “why do you enjoy working here” or “what is your work morale like?” These questions not only show that you are interested, but they matter to your happiness.
- Show off your work – As a PR professional, you should have a portfolio always handy. I have a leather portfolio which includes sample news releases, papers, and marketing collateral that I created in college. My portfolio was half of the reason I was hired. Employers want to see what you are capable of.
- Follow-up – Always send a follow-up within 4-6 hours of your interview. This can be by email or a simple thank you note. Showing gratitude towards professionals for their time is imperative.
Above all, make sure that the job you are interviewing for aligns with your personal values and beliefs. I see too many professionals unhappy with their jobs because they took whatever was thrown at them first. In order to thrive in any work environment, you need to be passionate and happy with whatever your cause is. Don’t ever compromise your own needs for a company’s.
We have all heard it before that “practice makes perfect.” This is the same instance with interviewing. No one will be absolutely perfect on their first try. If you are not hired from your first interview, do not get discouraged. It just means that it was not meant to be and your brand does not fit their’s. It’s nothing personal. I always recommend getting involved in community organizations for networking and social events. I received my first job because of an organization I am in and the connections I have made. Every person you meet is important!
Good luck PR dolls! If you have more questions on interviews, feel free to comment below and I will get back with you ASAP. What tips do you have for preparing for an interview? I would love to read them & share them on my Twitter!
So you’re a college graduate with a perfected portfolio and skills in social media and making the infamous ramen noodles. Let’s face it, you’re FRESH MEAT! haha okay not really! But as a fresh PR grad, where do you go next?! What should you know before the job hunt? CHILL! I’m here to help!
A little background: I graduated in May 2013 at 20 years old. Yeah, that’s scary! I barely knew what my signature cocktail was and I was being thrown into the real world where having a job was the only way to survive. Obviously, I made it and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s my advice for the PR newbie:
- Brand yourself – Whether this be through a blog or a social media platform, know who you are and have that “brand” uniform throughout everything. Business cards, resume, you name it! An employer likes to see confidence . . . but don’t overdo it!
- Spring clean often – Do you have pics from a late night going out with your girlfriends? Maybe you were “white girl wasted?” Yeah, those pics needs to go NOW! Believe it or not, the rumors are true. Today’s employers will creep on your social media harder than any ex of yours. Employers want to know that you will carry on their mission and values in the work place as well as on a Friday night.
- Know PR – You’re probably thinking “‘I’ve got my degree, what more is there to know?” A LOT! I suggest following some PR blogs. Some of my favorite are rebeccapotzner.com, kaylahollatz.com, thewritewoman.com and chelseakrost.com. These ladies are only a few of the inspirational PR pros that I keep up with. This is a great place to learn new PR advances and build your own community of PR buddies. Twitter is also a great resource to get connected with PR tweeps all around the world.
- Stay informed – As PR pros, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on issues and trends that affect the world around us. I, personally, use the ABC News app for my phone and when I get up and before I got to bed, I scroll through the feed.
- Have thick skin – Entering the professional world can be scary enough, but add self-doubt and criticism and it can be terrifying. There is ALWAYS room for improvement of your skills. When working with long-time PR pros, accept and show appreciation towards their advice. They are just trying to help. Remember, it’s not personal!
- Network – This doesn’t stop once you graduate. Networking will still be an active part of your roll in PR. Put yourself out there and get to know other professionals in the field. Who knows?! You may need them one day!
- Save everything – Invest in a high-storage USB drive to save all of your important projects. As you progress through your career, you will need to update your portfolio and life will be much easier if it is all saved!
- Have fun – Life is far too short. Don’t get too caught up in the lime light that you forget to enjoy yourself. You’re young . . . embrace it!
These are just a few of the lessons I have learned since being a PR professional. I still have SO MUCH to learn and look forward to the trials and tribulations along the way. Best of luck PR newbies! Show the world what you’re made of!