5 tips for landing your first PR job after college

From resources for finding internships to why hard-copy portfolios are still important, this advice will help lead you to the interview—and beyond.

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At the very least, a good public relations practitioner has excellent writing skills, the ability to multi-task, a sense of empathy, a respect for urgency, and an understanding of how to use business strategy to guide PR tactics and implementation.

But what else do you need to impress potential employers?

I routinely reply to emails or return phone calls from college students looking for advice. In an effort to continue to help the “PR pros of the future,” here are five tips to help prepare for your first interview:

1. Apply for internships

Public relations is different from other college majors because employers expect you to have experience by the time you graduate. College courses provide you with critical knowledge but you also need “real world” exposure.

An internship might give you the opportunity to write press releases, build media lists, make media calls, participate in social media strategy sessions, or just sit in on senior level strategy meetings. Internships can also help you decide on a career path. Are you a fit for corporate PR, the not-for-profit world, or agency life? Plus, an internship is the perfect opportunity to start building a portfolio (see tip No. 2) and reference letters.

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