PR Student: Shannon Baird
This article was produced in cooperation with the COMMS 425 lab.
Being a busy communications student does not mean you cannot get a full-time job even while taking day classes. Take it from the BYU public relations students who are working full-time and going to school; you have more resources at your disposal than you realize. Here are their four tips for getting hired as a comms student, long before you graduate:
- Get to Know Your Internship Office
One of the most helpful resources for finding a job before graduation is the internship office. The BYU School of Communications Internship Office has an online job board where you can find which employers are hiring right now. From there, you can submit your portfolio and resume by sending an email or giving a phone call to the point of contact.
Stop by the internship office anytime to see what new internship opportunities are available, or to meet with the internship advisor if you are not sure where to start.
“One of the most helpful things that got me hired full-time was working in a lot of other small internships. Nothing compares to the hands-on experience of working for clients or an in-house team,” said Hayley Tyler, a senior in the public relations program and the director of public relations at Fundwise Capital.
The best thing you can do for your career is to get out there and start applying! Unpaid internships look a lot better on your resume than having nothing there at all.
- Discover Your Network
Often, communications students do not think they have enough professional connections to get a job. The trick is, every person around you knows hundreds of people who could be looking to hire someone just like you. Asking friends to delve into their networks gives you a wealth of connections you did not have before.
Some of the best people to connect you with internships are your very own professors. Professors are connected with alumni and past colleagues who are working in prominent communications positions. They can help you get hired. Sometimes, simply name dropping that connection is enough to land an interview.
Other good networking opportunities happen as you participate in school associations like PRSSA. When you attend events, you meet professionals that can help you land a great job in the communications field. The student leaders, who know a lot of professionals and have lots of internship experience, are also great connections for expanding your network.
- Interview Like an Asset
“Most people don’t realize you can apply for jobs you may not think you qualify for. The more you explain how you can be an asset to the company, the more they will want to have you,” said Megan Jones, a senior in the public relations program and a current social media manager.
Learning the most up-to-date trends in your classes puts you on the cutting edge of your practice. Use that to your advantage when interviewing for jobs. Show a potential employer that you are passionate about what you are learning, and that you can not wait to apply your skills to their company.
It is also wise to be upfront and flexible about your schedule. “Being willing to work weird hours so you can also go to school shows employers that you’re committed to the company and that your job is a priority,” said Jones.
- Revamp Your Resume/Portfolio
As much as you know about creating a professional portfolio and resume, there is always something you can do to improve. Utilize your professors, classmates and again, the internship office, to get feedback on the materials you use to represent yourself. These people know what employers are looking for, and they can help you stand out.
Using your class work on your resume can also help you stand out amongst applicants. Talk about that case study you did in class, about the clients you’ve worked for and about the kind of work you did. Show examples in your portfolio. Your class examples show the type of cutting edge practice employers need to freshen up their company.
Some final advice from these full-time students is to be sure to apply for jobs that really interest you. “When you are doing something you love, balance in your life will come more naturally,” said Jayce Brown, a senior in the public relations program and the digital marketing manager at e-Assist Dental Solutions. Brown and the other full-time communications students encourage you to get out there and show employers what you have got. Use these resources to your advantage and get hired long before graduation.
For more opportunities to work before graduation, check out the classes being offered in BYU’s YDigital Agency. Y Digital offers students the opportunity to do digital marketing for Fortune 500 companies every semester of the year.