“You’re graduating this spring?? Oh no, I’m Sorry!! I mean… Congrats?”

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Ok, ya, I get it: It’s a terrible time to graduate from college… terrible economy… undergraduate degrees don’t count for anything anymore because everyone has one…. I’ll never get a job… Thank you, I know, I’ve heard it all and frankly I’m tired of it.

I am aware that it is a challenging time for anyone to get a job, not just those of us in the public relations industry. But crying about it or feeling discouraged is as pointless as sitting around and burning your resume and cover letters in the fire place while listening to Whitney Houston’s  “I Don’t Really Wanna Fight No More” on repeat.

You feel me?

I know that as a recent college graduate it’s going to be a challenge. Ok. Great. I’m up for a challenge. Actually, I’m excited about it and I encourage others who are in my position to adopt this mindset: how often is your life going to be so full of mystery and potential? Soon we will be stuck in the routine of our careers and no doubt looking back nostalgically about that time when were were 22 and couldn’t get a job and did god-knows-what to make money in order to pay the minimum on our student loans 6 months after graduation. 

Maybe I’m being idealistic. 

Don’t get me wrong; I want a job. And I want a job in public relations. But all I’m saying is that all you can do is your best. If you are graduating right now you have your education behind you, your internship experience if you chose to partake, and you need to market yourself to potential employers as someone worth paying. 

Ryan Anderson recently posted a blog about this subject. In his post “Working the bottom rung” he offered 7 tips for the junior PR people, like me. They are the following:

  1. Be reliable.
  2. Have an eagle-eyed attention to detail.
  3. Figure it out.
  4. Become a better writer.
  5. Enjoy the grunt work.  
  6. Be patient.
  7. Bring a big brain.

In my opinion, these tips are pretty straight-forward, and I don’t disagree with any of them. Well, actually, I disagree that you have to honestly enjoy grunt work. As long as you do it, do it well, and do it with a good attitude, I think that’s fine. I know that I have completed a ton of grunt work in the past that I would be lying to myself if i said I actually enjoyed. That is a side-comment though. 

If I were to add one tip to this list it would be this: Make someone’s job easier. If you are hired it is because someone has too much on their plate. I recently went an international career fair summit and one of the business owners said, “I will never hire someone who says to me, ‘I want to work here because I feel like I could learn so much from you.’ As much as I want to say I care about teaching you, why would I pay you for that? I will hire someone who says to me, ‘I can reduce your workload by taking on this…’ That is a reason for me to pay someone.” That stuck in my head. It makes sense. You need to offer value and be able to prove your value and worth at a company.

Bottom Line: When you are trying to get a job: Ask not what you potential employer can do for you, ask what you can do for your potential employer.

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2 responses to ““You’re graduating this spring?? Oh no, I’m Sorry!! I mean… Congrats?”

  1. Great post. I wrote a post on Ryan’s post as well. It’s nice to hear someone else share a “screw the bad economy” attitude.

  2. You’ll be fine. My advice?

    Build a functional, professional resume. Don’t list school first… first list your skills in categories relevant to the role.

    Research the job… make sure you make it as easy as possible for the HR person to see why/how you’re qualified.

    You will have to start at the bottom rung. We all do/did.

    The biggest challenge with new workers (out of college) is self-sense of entitlement… that is thinking you’re entitled to a role versus having earned.

    Add value with EVERY project you touch. Don’t let something leave your computer or desk without being better than when it arrived.

    Nice post, Melissa!

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