Graduation is coming up very quickly and as the excitement and anticipation is building so probably is your post-grad panic.
I graduated in 2011 when the economy was still on the “rebound” and even though things were getting better and employment was starting to pick up the job search was still extremely hard and stressful. My post-college journey had a lot unexpected twists and turns to get me to where I am today.
My Post-Grad Panic
In the months leading up to graduation I started pushing out my resume and cover letter to every position that I qualified for, and got a few responses but a lot more rejection. I had done everything right though, I had an internship, I was involved in PRSSA and I worked for the school newspaper, so why was this job search so hard? I knew I had the skills and qualifications, but so did every other applicant.
Over those next few months I kept editing, refining and tweaking my resume and cover letter. I probably created about 100 different versions that I kept testing for each job I applied to until I finally created one that I was truly happy with.
In April of 2012 I had officially been out of college for one year and was still jobless. Since I had a lot of free time during that year I took some time off from job searching to travel and I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of that while you still can.
Go Big or Go Home
With all the fun I was having running around without responsibilities I still was itching to start my career and put my skills to use. I realized I needed to do something big, I couldn’t stay in my small Tennessee town forever. I had a friend who landed a job at a hospital in Seattle and once it was official she told me that I should just move out there as well. I knew I needed to be in a big city where public relations agencies had a presence. So, I packed up my belonging and threw them in the moving truck and we drove across the country all the way to Seattle.
Once here, my job search started all over again. Within a few weeks of moving, I joined a public relations team at a local volunteer-run nonprofit. This was the perfect opportunity to add new and local experience to my resume. At one of our events I met a lady who’s friend worked at one of the global PR firms in Seattle and she offered to forward my resume.
A few days later I got a call to come in for an interview. It was an internship position but designed for post-grads – so perfect for me. I did several rounds of interviews and felt really good about it, but then everything went silent. Several weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything more. I started to think they must have picked someone else over me and that was it. Almost a month later I received a call from one of the VP’s calling to offer me the position! I was so excited I could barely contain myself.
Breaking into PR
My internship got my foot in the door, but those next few months were crucial in proving myself and my abilities to the company. At the end of my internship I was hired on full-time. I’ve now been there for close to a year and a half, and just this month got my second promotion. This took a lot of hard work and courage to do a crazy cross-country move, but I think that if a small town southern girl like me can wind up in a big city working at a global PR agency, there’s nothing stopping you!
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