It was all about networking as four recent grads from the Public Relations, Journalism, and Marketing programs shared their insights with current PR majors. PR grads Caitlin O’Donnell ’10 and Jocelyn Kelly ’09, Journalism grad Christina Abatecola ’09, and Marketing grad Sarah Meade ’10, shared words of wisdom about networking, interviewing, and what to expect as an entry-level employee in today’s fast-paced world. Here are some of their suggestions:
I don’t know how to network. How do I begin? The key to networking is to maximize every opportunity. Volunteer, connect with friends, use every opportunity to grow your networking circle. Once you meet someone, stay in touch so your networking circle is active.
How do you handle a phone interview? You cannot prepare enough. It’s not easy to sell yourself over the phone, so make sure you have all your notes laid out in front of you. Remember to smile when you are talking. The caller can’t see you, but they can hear the enthusiasm in your voice. Smile, Smile, Smile!
About interviewing – any words of wisdom? • Interviews can take many forms—formal and scripted, or informal and conversational. Be ready to communicate in a variety of situations and settings. • Do your homework! Find out everything you can about the company, the leaders of the organization, and the person interviewing you. During the interview, insert something about your interviewer at the right time in conversation. You will be amazed at the reaction you receive from that person. It will be apparent you did your research.
Is it necessary to bring your portfolio to an interview? That should be a simple question but it isn’t. Some employers aren’t interested in seeing your portfolio during the interview. You need to read the situation. It’s up to you to determine if and when it is appropriate to introduce your portfolio during your interview. On the other hand, some employers seem to enjoy looking at a portfolio during the interview conversation. Suggestion: bring an extra copy of your portfolio that you can leave with the interviewer if they seem interested. Then they can review it at their leisure.
Will my Facebook profile come up during the interview process? You bet it will! Definitely clean up your facebook page. Employers look at the pages of possible candidates. Now is the time to clean up your Facebook page.
What is one significant detail you learned as a result of an internship experience? Consider every task an opportunity. Whether you are taking out the trash or writing a press release, you should consider it an opportunity to contribute to the success of the organization. If you have a “will do” attitude, you get noticed. Doing PR is often not a traditional 9 to 5 job. Be ready to work long, unpredictable days.
How does a new grad enter the workforce during this recession? Consider extending your internship even as you are fully immersed in your search for a full-time position. This is a crazy job market, so you have to do everything you can to market yourself. Internships can be great door-openers and a great way to grow your networking circle.