Looking for jobs can be a stressful time, but one of the most important things to remember is to stand out from the crowd, and this can be done by focusing on you, and making sure you are the best version of yourself that you can be.
One of the things I am constantly thinking is ‘how can I make myself more marketable to a job?’ and the short version is that every job is different, so you have to adaptable. But if that was my only point I wanted to make, this blog post would be extremely short, and we can’t be having that.
I want to share with you some tips that I have picked up throughout my university life as well as the experience I have had in the PR industry. It has helped me prepare myself for any job I may apply for, as well as putting myself above others.
Here are seven tips that will help you stand out from your competition, and hopefully land you that PR job of your dreams, although I’m not saying these are the only things you should do, so don’t hold me responsible if you don’t!
- Practice your writing. This may be ringing around in your mind as it the main thing that people always say to me, but I assure you that it is important to be able to write well. Yes, your future place of employment will probably teach you about their clients and industries, but you need to go in prepared to write effectively, persuasively and creatively, and sometimes in less than 140 characters!
- Find opportunities to shine. I have been lucky with my degree, because we are constantly doing group work, and it has shown me what my strengths are. You need to figure out what yours are and the play to them. You need to be able to establish yourself as a leader and show what you can do to the best of your ability. Remember, you are never too young to lead, and it can be anything from a university project to a committee. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
- Get experience. When you apply for a job, there will be other people with the same abilities as you and the same degree as you. What makes you stand out is the experience that you have done in your own time. Do not underestimate the experience that you will gain, and the relationships you will make. There will come a time that you will face these people in an interview, or will need them as a reference, or they may be the key to getting your foot in the door at the dream job you’ve always wanted. As a bonus, they also look great on your CV and the power of real-life experience is unmatched.
- Volunteer. It is great to show that you are willing to give your time to something without getting paid. Get involved in whatever you can, I currently volunteer at a charity which helps people with disabilities become more confident. I feel great that my time is spent helping people who need me, and it is also a great conversation starter. Again, it also looks great on your CV, showing your future employer that you are well rounded and have a heart for service.
- Be comfortable being on the phone. It is said that us as the younger generation (if I can still be classed as that) that we shouldn’t be calling our phones ‘phones’ anymore because they aren’t used for speaking into. We are all aware that we now live in a world that revolves around texting and emailing, but in the world of client and media relationships, the phone still matters. Electronic information gets overlooked so pick up the phone and call someone. Conversation is still alive, especially in the PR industry, so it is best to get some practice in and not be phone shy.
- Speak publicly. Whether you’re presenting a proposal to clients, conducting social media training or talking in front of your peers, public speaking and the ability to speak with confidence to audiences remains a core of what the PR industry does. So you should practice as much as you can and get comfortable and this can be done by holding a meeting, giving a presentation or making a speech. If none of those are an option, then practice in front of the mirror, it will build your confidence and you may feel silly, but this feeling will eventually go, if it doesn’t, just wing it.
- Network early and often. Like the old saying goes, it isn’t what you know, it is who you know. Find reasons to put yourself in front of a wide range of people who aren’t your peers, get their business cards and stay in touch with them. LinkedIn is a great networking site, so constantly keep it updated, and connect with people you meet along the way. If you build your network, it can be used when you’re looking for that first job. There are often events held through university, so attend these, and use every opportunity you can as it will prepare you for the real world.
As a bonus tip, step outside of your comfort zone. All of the above tips link in with each other, and if you successfully manage to apply all of the tips to your life, you will become a better person and better prepared for the real world which may seem scary, but go for it, and I’m sure you’ll shine.