By Cassandra Bianco (@cnbianco)
Hello recent college grads. You are tugging on my heart strings.
It was only a few years back that I too partook in the surreal experience. Though elated, we all had one itchy thought permeating our celebration. On the stadium-sized screens, out of hundreds, the film crew focused on one girl’s cap, which in neon orange read, “HIRE ME?” I reminisce only happy thoughts, but still, this moment stands out the most.
In Amy Poehler’s speech to Harvard grads, she gives some superb wise words. She has inspired me to pass along some insider info:
5 Tips on How to Secure a PR/Social Media/Marketing Job
AKA How To Implant Spider Legs on Your Resume, Ensuring it Creeps to the Tippy Top
- Hit up alumni, the Twitter-friendly way. A fellow UF gator listened to an intern podcast I co-produced at my first agency, Peppercom. She heard my alma mater shout out, then connected with me on LinkedIn. We corresponded, I gave a mini pep talk, and sure enough she landed the internship. That’s the way to do it my friends. It’s investigative research to the core. PS, please do not mistaken outreach for stalking, there is a fine line here. PPS, remember, the social media cardinal rule: spam me not. Address the cover letter with the head of HR, and not the generic “to whom…”
- Prove your top strengths: working autonomously, networking and writing. Agencies need these fortes, and especially need better writers now, more than ever. Unlike 20th century pitching and press releases, we also create solid content on a daily basis for websites, ad copy and social media campaigns. If your tweets aren’t niche, your community won’t engage, and it’s guaranteed they will steadily unfollow. If you have reporting experience, you’ll be able to walk onto the job scene up to snuff. Submit articles or look into stringer jobs at newspapers, online mags or credible blogs. This will prove that you are nimble, and will step up your game naturally for the craft of media relations.
- Check yourself, before you wreck yoself, SEO-wise. Ice Cube had that part right. For your personal SEO, A LinkedIn account is a must. Ask professors and former bosses to write recommendations. Take down the Facebook party profile picture. Make sure your Twitter stream has some interesting thoughts on industry related articles. Before going on second-round interviews, I perused through my interviewer’s Twitter stream. It secretly arms you going in—having insight on their thought process, and what interests and motivates them. Slightly creepy? Nope, it’s public online information.
- Drop the right pickup line. “I’ll be in town for interviews, and I was hoping you might be interested in meeting for an informational session.” This was the line I used as job-seeker, and sure enough, 4 of the 10 “meetings” turned into interviews. This is how vendors get through agency doors to win new clients, and it works well with HR too.
- You are what you read. During the interview, be sure to highlight why certain blogs or media interest you. For me? Fast Company places as the favorite, because the content is nothing but excellent, interesting, and almost always worth sharing. Fast Company also has fantastic contributors for the weekly newsletters. During questions, be ready to answer, “what do you think will be the next leading app or social media platform?” And “WHY?” (i.e. successful venture capitalist backing, program functionality, cool factor, etc…) As marketers we need to instinctively function as hubs. Show through past projects how you are keen to learn, social media savvy and creative. It’s what agencies thrive on.
Power to the newbies. Peace.