Advice for a Graduating Senior in Public Relations

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“Senior year is like rainbow road in Mario Kart because it looks fun but in reality you just feel like you’re falling off the track into complete emptiness over and over again.” – Will Ferrel

Will Ferrel isn’t far from wrong. Despite the promise of the ‘real world,’ my senior year so far has been full of many “gulps,” “sighs” and concerned facial expressions. It’s scary to know that in six short months I could easily be working a big-girl job in a big-girl world. Fortunately, I was able to schedule an informational interview with Hilary Marvin, an account coordinator for Allison & Partners PR, who shared with me advice on what she wishes she would have known during senior year, how to get started in the PR industry, and what she now looks for when hiring college graduates. I doubt I’m the only one who will find her advice helpful, so here’s some of those pearls of wisdom: What she wishes she would have known:

  1. Have patience. “I think patience is a big key. There were times in my job search where I grew extremely frustrated in not finding jobs that I felt were the right fit, but being persistent and patient as much as you can makes the whole job search process much less stressful.”

  2. Enjoy school as much as you can while you still can.I know when the end of my senior year was approaching, I couldn’t wait to be done and get started in the working world. But you will miss it more than you anticipate, so just try to enjoy the time while you can; trust me, you’ll look back and wonder why you were in such a rush to get out.”

How “soon-to-be college graduates” can get started in the PR industry:

  1. Schedule as many informational interviews as possible.If you know you want to work for a particular agency but they don’t have any openings, reach out anyway, and ask if there’s any way you could have 15 minutes of their time. If nothing else, it shows how interested you are in working for the agency, and could potentially help make you a top-of-mind consideration when positions do open.”

  2. Be willing to look outside of the box. “If you have your heart set on working in an agency, I would definitely recommend having some other options in mind so you can really cast a wide net – whether that be nonprofit PR, in-house PR, etc. There’s more than one way to get your foot in the door and earn that experience that’ll make you more attractive to prospective employers.

What she looks for when hiring a college graduate:

  1. An eagerness to learn and accept constructive criticism.You’re not going to get it all right all the time at your first job, which makes it the ideal learning experience.”

  2. Being proactive. “Being able to take the initiative to conduct research or write a first draft of a pitch shows your commitment to your employer and your willingness to learn and grow.”

Feel free to share your own pieces of wisdom for college graduates!

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