By Kaylee Weatherly, Collegiate Outreach
For those of you graduating this spring, the thought of what’s next may cause you some stress and questioning. It’s best to think of this as a time of many possibilities, because it is. There are a lot of different paths to take in public relations – whether it is to find a full-time job at an agency or in-house, try another internship, or go to graduate school. But don’t feel that these are the only directions. You can go into PR indirectly, even if you don’t take a job specifically titled “public relations,” you might even still be performing the basic functions of PR and will get tons of experience there.
- Full-time job– Full-time jobs are hard to come by these days, and even if you receive an entry-level position, there still might not be much job security. Many people right out of college face the anxiety that they have to take the first full-time position offered to them, even if it’s not what they’re interested in. Keeping an open mind is good, but be careful. If there’s no passion to be brought, then what’s the point of working 40 hours a week at something you can’t see yourself doing? If you still want to shop around, internships and temporary positions can also be a good path for you until you figure out what kind of work you really like.
- Internships- Internships are always great experiences, but make sure to know your worth. Always go into an internship that will teach you something and will set measurable goals for you to reach. Agencies offer great full-time, paid positions. Nonprofits are usually unpaid, but you’ll get to wear a lot of different hats and work for a great cause. The following Forbes article asks the founder of Internqueen.com how to land a great internship: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/01/31/how-to-get-an-internship/
- Graduate school- My decision to go straight to graduate school right after my undergraduate career was tough and filled with questions about what I really wanted for a career, what I was passionate about, and whether I could afford more student loans. At the time of graduation, I felt like I wasn’t prepared enough to go straight into the ever-changing field of PR. Sure, I knew how to write a good press release, but I knew that wasn’t the only skill I needed to know. I wanted to also gain a solid background as to why we do the things we do in PR and how to conduct strategic PR, not just tactical PR. Yes, the student loans are expensive (especially because I decided to get a masters at a private school), but my thought is that it’s just going to be like any other bill you will have to pay. Here’s a great article about choosing to get a masters degree in PR and why it will help you. http://prnewpros.prsa.org/?p=1071.
But don’t think that a masters in PR is the only option. You can also choose to get a degree in communication or an MBA.
There are many options you have after graduation. The important thing is to tame your career anxiety by allowing it to motivate you. It’s also important to continue to network and meet people in the PR field, like joining the Young Professionals of PRSA organization. It will help keep your foot in the door and offer you a lot of opportunities to meet other PR professionals like yourself.
Congratulations on graduating – now go show the world what you’ve got to offer!