This past year has proved challenging for everyone — no doubt. One group facing particularly unique challenges are recent graduates working to land that first job. Agencies and in-house teams endured tight purse-strings in response to Covid-19, making jobs difficult to come by.
Fortunately, businesses across industries appear to be on the rebound, with some – particularly in technology – experiencing growth. This is good news for PR pros, marketers and recent grads looking to join a team and launch their careers. Still, virtual job hunting can feel demoralizing, as job seekers can’t show off their personalities in person to win employers over. These five communicators were able to make it happen amidst the pandemic. Here’s their advice for those still searching for their next opportunity:
- It’s ok to expand your search.
You might have this perfect little picture of what you think your dream job will or should be, but it’s totally OK to not start your career on the path you always expected – whether that be location, industry, or in-house or agency. In fact, you might find out that you actually like where your first job takes you more than what you always “dreamed of.” Also, networking is super important wherever and however you can make it happen. Can’t stress that enough! — Brianna McGarry, Account Coordinator at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
- Leverage existing connections.
While it can seem pretty awkward, a hello email goes a long way. I reached out to old professors, people I had worked with at internships and even attempted the dreaded LinkedIn “cold-message.” After just saying hi to a few old contacts, seeing how they were doing and talking a lot about their pandemic puppies, I was introduced to other people, given advice, job references and (after what seemed like forever) a job opportunity. While I searched and searched for opportunities, I really learned how much easier it can be with a mutual connection sharing an introduction for you, and you never know who might be able to make that happen for you! — Olivia Cseh, Account Coordinator at March Communications
- Don’t be afraid to slide into LinkedIn DMs.
It might seem scary to do “cold networking” and message people on LinkedIn, but the worst thing that can happen is they say no or ignore your message. At the best, you have a new connection who could open doors in the future. In my experience, people love to talk about themselves, so most of the time they’re willing to hop on a 20 minute phone call and tell you about their experiences. As for job searching, make sure to look at a company’s website! So many job postings don’t make it to LinkedIn, Indeed, or similar sites. — Maddie Veneziano, Account Coordinator at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
- Take chances and appreciate the journey
I am fortunate enough to say that I found my dream job throughout this challenging time. Although I may not have gotten there on the path that I had originally expected when looking for my first job, it was a journey that I am grateful for going through because it got me to where I am now. I worked really hard on my resume for months. I sent it to a few people that I had interned with in the past for feedback. I then researched agencies in cities I was interested in and sent my resume hoping to get a response back. The hardest part was not knowing if agencies were hiring, but I figured, if you don’t take the chance, you will never know. — Regan Schiappa, Account Coordinator at March Communications
- Know that people want to help!
Many recent graduates don’t realize how willing people are to help get you on your right career path after just a quick chat. It may seem challenging to meet people during Covid-19, but remote work can also make it easier to connect with others since schedules are a bit more flexible. After recently switching roles, my biggest advice is to stay true to an industry you’re passionate about and search like crazy for companies hiring. Search each company on LinkedIn and see if you have any connections currently there or if there are any alumni from your school. Reach out to set up a quick chat and more often than not they will help lead you to another connection, each new one growing your network. Even if it doesn’t help you now, there’s opportunity for that connection to pop up again down the road.” — Shannon Kelley, Digital Marketer at Dexter Southfield School
This article was written by PR Club Board Members Jackie Blundell and Elisabeth O’Donnell.