Advice to graduates: don’t be hopeless

29 Apr

Students are about to graduate with record debts and into a challenging jobs market. I fear many will be unprepared for the challenges ahead. Why?

Bill Sledzik and Todd Defren have been offering some overdue tough love to a millennial generation that has had it easy up to now and which has a strong sense of entitlement and of their abilities. Yet as Sledzik writes:

"Everyone isn’t above average in all they do. And in real life, only the winner gets the trophy."

So is it a hopeless situation? Not at all.

The best public relations graduates are still highly sought-after. Read about Katy Jameson's experience here (and note that I welcome more graduate tales for Behind the Spin).

Then there's the comparison with others. Journalism graduates, say. Note how this advice (8 things college journalists should do before they graduate) is applicable to PR graduates. To summarise:

  1. Create an online portfolio
  2. Blog
  3. Network
  4. Get a new wardrobe (this is less applicable to PR graduates, in my experience)
  5. Clean up your social media profiles
  6. Talk to your professors (we have networks too)
  7. Band together
  8. Have a plan B

Here's a prediction. Whatever the outcome of the election, there will be fewer places at university and the fees students pay will be very much higher in future. You'll soon be looking back on a golden age of carefree and low-cost living. If it can also help you to a good graduate job then you'll be well placed.

3 Responses to “Advice to graduates: don’t be hopeless”

  1. Richard Millington 01/05/2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Take the initiative. Go beyond your course and learn something that fellow students don’t. Blog about it. Talk to experts about it. Find companies that want to know it.

  2. andra anastasiu 07/05/2010 at 2:41 am #

    This is a very interesting blog for me, as I am myself graduating this year. I should add that first and foremost, one should choose or at least have a hint in which area they want to do PR, because the posibilities are enourmous. For me, this is an issue, as there are so many areas which I like, in theory…In this case, should we go at first for a consultancy?

  3. Richard Bailey 07/05/2010 at 9:23 am #

    Thank you for your comment, Andra.
    Most students tend to believe that consultancy experience is a necessary first step in a PR career, though I often challenge this assumption.
    For one thing, there are more PR and communication jobs within organisations than in consultancies. For another, the variety of in-house PR roles is often greater (stakeholder communications) than in consultancies, where junior staff are often exclusively focused on media publicity.
    That said, outside government, the largest teams of PR practitioners tend to be in the consultancies – and they often give the best graduate opportunities (including training programmes).

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