Last month, I had the honor of accepting the Rising Star Award from the Mayborn School of Journalism at University of North Texas. The entire evening was filled with students and professionals in the media, advertising and public relations industry.
As part of the event, I hosted a small, roundtable discussion for public relations students eager to learn more about the industry. From seniors to freshmen, the budding PR pros all asked a variety of questions, from how to get a job to what it was like to live in New York. With graduation season abuzz, I figured I’d share the top three questions to help new graduates get a better lay of the land.
How did you get your job?
I’ve been following SHIFT since my sophomore year of college, so I had the benefit of understanding the company before I applied. But it takes more than just sending in your resume. I actually applied to SHIFT twice. The second time, instead of following up with an email, I created a video and emailed it directly to the account director at the New York office. When applying for any job, do your research and read up on the latest company news. This will show hiring managers you’re genuinely interested in the position, and will earn you major points during the interview.
Prior to SHIFT, I started my career as an intern for a nonprofit organization in Texas, and seized any opportunity available. During my time there, I developed great relationships with the staff, and ultimately, encountered my next job and mentor. Internships are what you make of them, so don’t be passive or too shy. Show your enthusiasm by asking questions, attending meetings and taking notes.
What’s it like moving thousands of miles away?
Interestingly enough, nearly every student asked this question. My answer: it’s an adventure I encourage everyone to take. By moving thousands of miles across the country, you can expand your horizons and learn things beyond the typical job experience.
While I want to say it’s just as glamourous as the movies, I did encounter a few bumps. But that’s what made the journey even more memorable. These obstacles enabled me to grow both personally and professionally.
To help with your move, I recommend scoping out the area a couple of times to visualize your daily routine. You can also follow local bloggers to gain insight into the culture and neighborhood.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Working at my second internship, I learned to ask a valuable question that applies to nearly every situation in work and life, “So, what?” This taught me to think from a different perspective. And while it’s a simple question, it can be tough to answer.
For job seekers, answering this question from the company’s point of view can help you ace a tough interview. You can present a killer resume with great skills and experience, but ultimately, hiring managers will ask, “so, what?” What can you do for the company?
Interviewers want to know how your skills and experience translate to value for their team, clients and company. Take ownership of your achievements and show what you can bring to the table, whether it’s media relationships or creative thinking.
The job market has never been more competitive, so to all graduating classmen, work hard (and smart), take risks and ask the right questions.
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