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Here are five tips to help PR and marketing students enter the communications field:

1. Gain as much experience as you can.

It?s never too early to start internships. Many PR and marketing firms want job candidates to have experience on their resumes. Unless you already know which company or industry you?d like to work in, internships are a great way to test your options, helping you decide which types of positions you thrive in?and what positions you loathe. Many university programs give students the opportunity to work with real clients as well, which provides valuable learning experiences. No matter the opportunity, save work such as press releases, graphics and other campaign materials to show off in your portfolio. This will help future employers see what you?re capable of.

2. Hone your writing skills.

Many brands are putting press releases to pasture, but communicators must still write well. Hubspot reported an average American?s attention span is eight seconds, and the job of PR and marketing pros?especially those who work on social media?is to capture reader attention in that short time. It?s not an easy task, but well-written content (especially when paired with a visual) stands a greater chance of being read than something long and laced with jargon. Writing well can also help you build relationships with reporters, who look for short, relevant pitches, and it can get you more shares across social media as the profession moves into brand journalism and storytelling.

3. Clean up your social media profiles.

According to a 2014 infographic, 94 percent of recruiters said they used social media to find and reach out to candidates, and 44 percent said they hired through social media. This trend continues to grow as more companies use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to research candidates before an interview even takes place. PR and marketing pros can ensure social media profiles represent them by selecting clear headshots for profile photos, placing resumes and portfolios online (LinkedIn enables users to add both to their profiles) and deleting any inappropriate social media posts. ?The Internet isn?t written in pencil, Mark. It?s written in ink,? Mark Zuckerberg?s fictional girlfriend Erica says in ?The Social Network.? Remember that what you put on social media is online permanently, even if you delete an offending post. Don?t share something you wouldn?t be comfortable publishing on the front page of a newspaper.

4. Network, network, network.

There are essential skills PR and marketing pros should have, but landing your dream job can still come down to whom, rather than what, you know. Get involved with local, national and international associations such as PRSA, and attend conferences along with other networking events to meet people face to face. Take part in Twitter chats and social media groups to network with other professional communicators online. You can also follow industry leaders through Twitter and LinkedIn, which can give you insights into how they?ve made it to their positions. Whether you network at an event in person or over the Internet, make sure to craft an elevator speech or pitch that includes who you are and what you?re looking for.

5. Keep learning.

Gaining knowledge doesn?t stop once you?ve graduated. PR and marketing pros must keep up with trends and continually hone skills to adapt to a changing media landscape. Many social media platforms offer ways to learn. (LinkedIn is even acquiring lynda.com.) Webinars are another great way to glean insights and pick up new skills from communications leaders. That?s why students and recent graduates need to be well prepared to get out in the professional world, to compete with other qualified young professionals for the same job positions. Here are some tips that can be helpful to start with:


You never have enough experience: while in your years of college you can start doing internships and other non-experience required jobs that can be added to your resume. Even if they are in the field you want to focus on or it?s a different job that you may not find that fascinating, all experience is good. They teach you how to work in a team, face real problems and react to conflicts with professionalism, how to use different tools (computer programs, administration procedures, etc.) and if you work hard it will open up more doors thanks to reference letters from your supervisor and tips and advice from other co-workers. It?s also important to do some volunteer work at least once during these early years of your career, because recruitment officers will consider you a committed person and helpful for the community. It can make you stand out from other applicants, and it will be helpful for developing new skills. As I said, you never have enough experience.
Be creative: be ingenious, be innovative, be active, think out of the box. Specially in the communication field (advertising, PR, media, etc.) people try to stand out from the ordinary, offering the brand managers something different; this can go from an original CV format to blog content you have developed. It?s also important to keep proofs or work you have done during your college years or in any other jobs that may be relevant, like reviews, articles, videos, campaigns, assignments that prove your knowledge; any data that shows you have proper skills that adds to the brand/company that you want to work for.
Learning is a constant process: even when you finish college and even after you complete your master?s degree, the learning process is something that should never end. Principally in communication which is a field in on-going evolution, it takes on changes all the time and we need to keep ourselves constantly updated and in the loop. Nowadays this is not a difficult matter to accomplish thanks, once again, to the Internet. There are unlimited resources, training material, webinars and online courses that have become a really flexible way to keep learning about your field or even extend your knowledge to new practices and sciences.
Social media: new platforms can be really helpful as well as damaging for your profile. We can make good use of the social media to connect with other professionals, to grow our network, to expand our interests and see what other peoples? opinions are miles away from you; but also we?ve been using this platforms in a bad way, posting inappropriate comments, photos and videos without thinking that these materials will stay on the Internet forever. It?s time now for you to start cleaning your social media accounts and be aware that companies look into these profiles when they search for new candidates.
Develop your own network: this should be made both in person and online, and not only when you finish your studies but also during your college years; you never know where you are going to find someone who will help you get your dream job or even your future business partner. So yes, getting the required skills and experience is essential, but knowing the right people is important as well. To help you build your network there are different associations that organize conferences, meet & greets and other events where professionals or even recent graduates/students have a big opportunity to chat, give and get advice and opinions and even, with the use of a good pitch, can be an opportunity to show why you would be a good option for their companies. Also social media will help grow your network, especially on Twitter and LinkedIn, where most professionals are and they use these platforms to start discussions over a relevant topic and to share their own stories of how they got the role they have now and give advice on how to get to the position you want. LinkedIn is especially important as a professional network because there are a lot of businesses that look for new candidates on this platform, so keep your profile updated and active.

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