Turner PR

Tips On How to Land Your First Job in PR (When PR Internships Aren’t Available)

Graduation Day is right around the corner. But in 2020, thanks to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, college seniors will miss out on the ceremonial pomp and circumstance that accompanies this time of year. But that’s not all they’re missing out on. For thousands of young adults, internships that will get their careers started on the right foot will be unavailable.

TURNER’s internship program is on hold this summer, with plans to resume in the fall. But future public relations pros can still hone their skills without internships during this time of social distancing. Here are five recommended tips that will get you ahead of the pack when searching for your first PR job.

Tip 1: Start A Blog

Starting a blog is the easy part. Keeping a blog going? That takes a little more effort. But it’s worth it to establish an online outpost where you can share industry specific insights. Whether you’re focusing on wellness, travel, fashion or beyond, just make sure it’s something you’re passionate about and have a clear take on.

Make a goal for yourself to complete two posts a week that show off both your knowledge of a topic and your writing skills. Make no mistake: being a strong writer is an essential ingredient in PR world success. Your blog will serve as a calling card for future employers, demonstrating that you know your stuff… and can string a coherent sentence together outside of the classroom.

  • Writing Tip: For virtual editing help, check out Grammarly. The free plan can make basic writing corrections and suggestions that will clean up your copy in the blink of an eye.

Internship blog

Tip 2: Get Google Adwords and Analytics Certified

SEO skills look great on a resume in virtually any industry — but especially in the PR industry.  Google Adwords and Analytics are both great places to start. Adwords certification will show off your proficiency in online advertising, while Analytics certification demonstrates your ability to understand data and provide insight.

Tip 3: Keep Learning

Maybe you’re out of school, but learning is a lifelong process. And fortunately, there are a wealth of online resources (many of them cheap/free) that can get you up to speed with some key skills and tools. Think of them as online internships.

  • To help out new grads impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the PR Council has recently announced the launch of its Agency Ready Certificate, which TURNER’s team will be joining. Participate in agency leader-led webinars. Learn about important industry tech platforms. Connect with agency leaders, hear about day-to-day life in agencies from young employees and even take part in a virtual new business pitch. The program kicks off in early June – sign up to participate here.
  • The Public Relations Society of America is the preeminent learning organization for PR and communication professionals, offering a wide variety of online educational resources.
  • Coursera offers a range of free online course options focused on the public relations world. You can take virtual classes on such subjects as social media, content strategy, influencer marketing, data analytics and much more.
  • Udemy is another online vault filled with PR-centric video courses, covering everything from crisis communications, crafting the perfect press release and brand building.
  • Google is another great (and free) online learning resource. Discover a range of in-depth courses content that can help you develop into an extremely hire-able candidate. We suggest getting started with this “Fundamentals of Digital Marketing” course.
  • LinkedIn’s free online courses run the gamut of topics, from entrepreneurship to SEO strategy to team building. All good skills to add to your arsenal!
  • Whether you’re a social media maven or a newbie, Hootsuite’s online courses can get you up to speed on the latest strategies for digital success. Ditto for Sprout’s e-learning options.


Tip 4: Make Connections

Just because we’re all social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t network. Remember that blog you started? One great way to connect with PR pros is to start an interview series. You’ll learn all about their jobs — especially how their jobs have changed during the COVID-19 crisis. You’ll be privy to their hard-earned PR expertise, insights and know-how. And you’ll also simply be getting to know them. Once it’s time to start applying for internships or jobs, you’ll already have a leg up. For more interview subjects, you could also reach out to journalists who cover specific beats and get their insight into the current situation.

  • Resume Tip: Make sure you add your “extracurricular” networking activities to your resume in a clear manner. When referencing your blog, for instance, include that you’ve “identified leading PR professionals to interview.” Put into words that you are now better at gathering sources, conducting interviews, writing, managing deadlines, writing for different platforms, etc.

Meanwhile, over on LinkedIn, spend some time making connections there and building your profile into something substantial. It may not be the sexiest of social media platforms, but it is something that employers pay attention to, and can lead you in some fruitful directions. Check out some LinkedIn best practices. Oh, and TURNER is over here on LinkedIn.

Your university’s alumni association is an essential networking resource as well, connecting you to generations of grads, many of whom can provide you with valuable advice and job-hunting tips. Like almost every other type of group, these associations are shifting into the virtual space, with meetings and events taking place online. And don’t be afraid to reach out and make contact with an alumnus or two — they want to help and most would love to “meet-up” online for a chat. Also, lean heavily on your school’s career center for guidance during this time.

Public relations internship

Tip 5: Hone Your Remote Work Skills

As you’ve probably noticed, the business world has gone remote in recent months. While the work-from-home life isn’t going to be in full-effect forever, it likely will continue for some time. And when things do get back to normal, many of the virtual tools and skills that we used during the coronavirus crisis will remain in place and be implemented into every day office routines.

Definitely take some time to become a pro at remote working and collaboration. Start projects with fellow students and friends that make use of Slack, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google docs and beyond. This will show hiring managers that you can work independently, that you’re a team player, and know how to get things done outside of the office.

This is an anxious era — especially for college grads stepping into an uncertain job market. But don’t lose hope. Continue applying for jobs and internships when they become available. We may be in dark times, but TURNER sees a bright future ahead.

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