How did you get your first full-time job?
It was hard work! I started my job search in November of my senior year. I knew I wanted to move to Boston so I did a lot of research on the companies out here and I used to Twitter to make contacts at said companies. In February, I came out did informational interviews. Pretty much everyone said they weren’t hiring.
Around that time I did an informational phone interview with my current boss, and we hit it off pretty good. Again, she wasn’t hiring, but told me to get back in contact with her if I did move out here. One thing led to another, and she ended up having an opening for me a month later and I got this job. Yay!
Basically, I was really persistent and I tried to keep my chin up no matter how many times people told me they had a hiring freeze. I think what really worked for me was doing the internship at SHIFT after graduation. It kept me in the PR “loop” and made me look more proactive to potential employers.
I don’t think more experience could ever hurt you when you are young and just starting out. Doing an internship after graduation isn’t the most popular idea with people because there is definitely this expectation that you “have” to get a job. But I would tell anyone that there is no shame in doing an internship and waiting tables the summer after you graduate until you hit your big break.
How long did it take to get your job from the time you graduated?
I started at Kel & Partners in August, so three months.
What has helped you stand out from other recent graduates? Did you have a strategy for this? How has social media helped your career?
I think that my involvement with social media helped me stand out from other candidates. Twitter is awesome! It really helped me build a network in Boston while I was still living in Upstate, NY. People always asked about my blog during interviews.
Social media also helped me at my last internship and at my current job because I think people recognized that I had a skill-set and an interest in that area, so I’ve been given fun and interesting projects that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work on if I didn’t know about social media. I definitely had a strategy for this, and I based that strategy off of several bloggers and social media marketing pros that I look up to. (Julia Roy, Sarah Evans and Julia Allison from Non Society have influenced me more than they know!)
What advice do you have for young PR pros?
Oh gosh, I’m still learning new things every day myself! I guess it’s these four things:
1. Do internships in a lot of different areas. I did corporate, agency and nonprofit PR/marketing internships so I got a feel for a variety of stuff. I would also say to really take a good hard look at yourself, think about which internship made you happiest, don’t deny it and find a job in that area. Don’t be afraid of what you really want.
2. Get involved in social media, without a doubt. Even if you see yourself working in the most traditional, old school, anti-Twitter industry – there is still value in growing your network and personal brand in social media. It can definitely be intimidating at first, but you may find you have a strong interest in that area, after all. I thought Twitter was dumb at first, but I gave it a solid chance for about a month and then I was hooked – and it’s turned out to be a great opportunity for me.
3. Have a question? Google it first! Try to fix it yourself. Want to know how to make a row in Excel? Google it. Want to know how to make a folder on the shared drive? Try a few things on your own, and then ask for help. As an intern and as an account coordinator, always try to be proactive and make your manager’s job easier by trying to manage yourself.
4. Don’t expect to have it all figured out by age 23. You’re gonna make mistakes and you’re gonna be confused sometimes, but that’s part of the excitement of your early twenties. Work hard, learn all you can, make connections and don’t forget to have a blast while doing it.
Janet is a self-proclaimed internet geek, marketing girl, and consummate creative-type living in Boston, MA. She is originally from Buffalo, NY, and received her B.A. in Communication/Journalism in May 2009 from St. John Fisher College.
Janet interned for at SHIFT Communications before landing her first “big kid job” as an account coordinator at Kel & Partners. Her passions include fitness and writing. She indulges both passions over at her blog, Social Health Nut.
Connect with her on Twitter @janetaronica or shoot her an e-mail at janetaronica [at] gmail.com.