Deciding what to do after graduating from high school requires lots of thought. Some people choose to enter the workforce immediately or to perform service work, but many enter a four-year college. Choosing to attend college is only part of deciding what to do with your life, though. You also have to choose a career, such as being a public relations manager. If this is the career for you, follow these steps to become a PR manager after your college graduation.
Choose Your Classes Wisely
The classes you take and the major you choose both affect how well prepared you will be for a job as a PR manager. Some universities offer public relations majors, but a major in communications, fundraising or English would also work. While choosing your classes, keep in mind what kind of business you want to work for. It’s important to be well-rounded, so don’t be afraid to take some classes that are not related to PR. However, the majority of them should directly tie into your future career.
Take Advantage of Extracurricular Activities
College is not just about academics. Particularly if you live on campus, social activities probably take up a large portion of your free time. You can use your free time to prepare you for your career by accepting leadership roles in clubs and societies, many of which have PR officers. Linda Ching, who works as a PR manager, credits school leadership positions as key parts of her preparation.
Talk to Your Professors
When applying for any job, you need letters of recommendation or the names of people who can be contacted for references. This is particularly true for professions such as PR managers in which people have to prove their communication skills. Do not wait until senior year to get to know professors who could recommend you to companies. Develop meaningful personal relationships with professors within your major. You will learn more about the field of public relations and be better prepared for the interview process.
While you generally must have at least a bachelor’s degree to serve as a PR manager, you can probably get an internship with one during college. Your school may offer opportunities during the school year, but you can also complete internships over the summer. Internships will help you build your resume and will give you needed experience in your field.
Consider Graduate School
Some companies are willing to hire public relations managers who hold only bachelors’ degrees. Others require at least a master’s degree. If a company that you want to work for has requirements about graduate school, see if it offers assistance with tuition. A master’s degree will also make you more competitive for openings that have lower credentials.
Pick an Entry-Level Position
Especially if you want to work for a large corporation, your first job after college will probably not be as a PR manager. You have to be able to prove to your employer that you have the necessary skills to complete this job well. As a result, you may have to apply for a lower position at first. Entry-level positions that can lead to a future job as a PR manager include social media coordinators and receptionists.
Be Open to Opportunities
As you work other jobs on your path to becoming a PR manager, always stay alert for opportunities to move closer to your goal. These include projects related to public relations, invitations to take on more responsibilities and special training. You may be tempted to pass these opportunities up since they usually mean more work. However, if you want to impress your employer and truly prepare yourself, you need to be willing to work hard.
Becoming a PR manager is a stable and rewarding career choice. Before you graduate college, think about how you hope to attain this goal. While your life may not progress according to your plans, the application process will go much more smoothly if you have an idea of what you want.