What Young Communicators Need To Do To Land Their First PR Job

Photo via Pixabay

If you’re not sure how old Britney Spears is, have never had a cell phone without a camera and were born in 1995 or later, the advice below is for you.

Gen Z — welcome to the workforce! You have already made such an impact on employers; you care more about inclusion policies and having a sense of purpose than vacation days and end-of-year bonuses. However, you do have high expectations for your first job.

The guide, Get Ready for Generation Z, found that Gen Z job seekers expect their first salary out of college to be more than $45K. As employers and potential colleagues, we applaud your tenacity and eagerness to hit the ground running. We like that you are self-educators and thrive on getting information on your own. However, while you’re used to having a world of answers at your fingertips via the Internet, there are some things about the job process, especially in public relations and communications, that you can’t just Google.

Here are five pieces of advice that a search engine can’t tell you:

1. Quality over quantity: Generation Z is the most active when it comes to volunteering, taking advanced high school and college courses and taking on grueling internships. While all of this is impressive, we, as the hiring team, still only want to review a one-page resume.

Remember, you should be tailoring your resume to different job opportunities and companies, so you can pick and choose which experiences should be seen by a particular employer. It’s a great conversation starter during an in-person interview to describe an experience that you left off your resume. Your potential employer will be eager to learn something new about you that they haven’t already read.

2. Show, don’t tell: It’s safe to assume that your potential future employer can read. Instead of repeating verbatim what is on your (what should be one-page) resume during an interview, try to explain your past internships or activities with examples and anecdotes.

Detailing your skill sets by sharing examples not only shows off your critical thinking skills, but it also gives your future employer an actual idea of your personality and how you would fit in within their company.

3. Networking: Yes, you have thousands of followers on Instagram, but you still need to learn to connect with people face-to-face to develop substantive, professional relationships.

When looking for your first job, connect with people who have jobs that you’re interested in AND those who have jobs you aren’t interested in. It is invaluable to get career insight from somebody who uses skills you haven’t honed and has experience that you don’t. This can also better inform your job search. Though you might think you want to move in one direction, learning first-hand about the realities of your desired career might prompt you to change your mind. Think of networking as both a professional growth and an educational experience. You should simultaneously be learning about your desired career path and exploring other possibilities while always putting your best foot forward. It’s ok to change your mind!

4. Ask the right questions: It’s easy for employers to tell how smart a candidate is by the questions that are asked in an interview. Hopefully your interviewer leaves at least five to 10 minutes for questions at the end of a phone or in-person interview. Don’t go easy on them — ask the tough questions! Here are some of our favorites:

  • What is the culture like? What does your floor plan look like?
  • Is your company diverse? How do you attract different people?
  • What systems do you have in place to help my professional development?
  • What is the one thing a new hire can do to show success in the first 30 days at the company?

5. Do your research: Gone are the days of shooting your resume off to as many online portals or HR emails as you can. Do your research. Know who you are speaking with on the phone. Look up the company’s values and purpose. Do you agree with them? Will you challenge them?

Just as much as you care about our company’s mission, we care about your ability to help fulfill it. And please remember to stay courteous. If an opportunity isn’t for you or you got a better job offer, let the other companies know. We are not an ex-boyfriend / girlfriend that you get to ghost.