CL’s Advice from PR Professionals
January 10, 2013 | by

When you go on a job interview, you’re bound to run into other applicants. Sometimes, they’ll be vying for a different position than you are. Sometimes, they’ll be there interviewing for the exact same job you are. So how do you keep it classy and cool? Breeze through your interview by showing HR how intelligent you are about the field? Score the job, and begin your career in PR? These fabulous ladies and gents know how to do just that. How? They’ve already done it.

Ace the interview:

“Since my Freshman year I have been applying for internships and have gone on more than a dozen interviews in the Public Relation field. From what I have learned through my experience there are three things one must do to best be prepared for the interview. First, be comfortable in your appearance. The interviewee will get distracted if you are constantly fidgeting with your hair or pulling at your shirt. It will show your focus is elsewhere when it should be on the interview. Secondly, be prepared! It is the worst possible feeling walking into an interview and they ask questions like, ‘what would you do to better our organization’s event planning?’ If you are unaware of the events they plan, who they target and more importantly what you believe is not working, [it] will show the company you do not care about the company, but only care about just getting a job and making money. And lastly, do not be afraid to ask questions. The more you ask, and the more you show an interest in the company, the more they will notice you and think to themselves, ‘wow, this person really wants to be a part of what’s going on here,’” Melissa Candolfi, 22, West Virginia University, College Lifestyles™ Campus Representative.

“One of my main tips is to make sure you do a little research on the company before you go in for an interview. Come prepared with an answer for why you want to work there and familiarize yourself with some of their projects and work. Also, be sure to ask questions during the interview – what are they looking for in a candidate, why did they choose to work there, etc. Make sure to bring your resume and samples of work in case they don’t have a copy, but it’s also nice for you to be able to reference. After the interview, send a follow-up thank you note. If you’re going the handwritten route, I would also suggest sending an email as well – sometimes decisions can be made quickly, even before the handwritten one arrives,” Kaitlyn Kline, 25, Edinboro Universityof PA 2009, B.A. in Psychology; Point Park University 2012, M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication; Social Media Coordinator at Smith Brothers Agency; College Lifestyles™ Alumnae.

“You have to have to be a good communicator, because PR is so much communication. Speak well. Have good written examples to bring with you,” Carmen Fortunato, 23, Slippery Rock University May 2013, B.A. in Communications & PR; Advertising Intern at Pittsburgh Magazine.

“I think sometimes people get so caught up in being “professional” and businesslike that they forget to have a personality. When you’re interviewing at a business, they want you to be accomplished and talented of course, but they’re also looking for someone they can work with. Will you get along with others? Will you fit in with the company dynamic? Are you a genuinely good person? Kindness, a positive attitude and being genuine can take you a long way.

“Also, remember to trust your gut. If something seems off about a company or you don’t think a job is a good fit for you, it’s okay to say no. When you’re desperate, it may seem like it’s worth it, but in my experiences, it’s so much better to wait for a job that’s a good fit. You’ll know at an interview if a position isn’t a great fit, so trust yourself. You spend so much of your waking hours working that it’s not worth it to be miserable,” Karen Hurt, 24, Millikin University 2010, B.A. in Theatre & Communication; Literary Publicist at Bohlsen Group; College Lifestyles™ Alumnae.

Score the job or internship:

“I believe the best way to score the job is leaving a lasting impression and that doesn’t mean just having a killer interview. Leave something behind for them to remember you. Everyone will leave their resumes but be the person who goes above and beyond. Bring a portfolio for them keep and look over. Within the next 24 hours send out a thank you e-mail. If you show your appreciation it will show your professionalism and maturity. And always network!! Maybe you did not get this job, but by keeping in touch with this company, they know of other openings and could pass along your resume. This is a competitive field and it is okay to be a little bit aggressive,” Melissa Candolfi, 22, West Virginia University, College Lifestyles™ Campus Representative.

Networking and getting as much experience as you possibly can, [and] get as much hands-on material as you can in the field that you want,” Carmen Fortunato, 23, Slippery Rock University May 2013, B.A. in Communications & PR; Advertising Intern at Pittsburgh Magazine.

Kick off your career:

“If you are having trouble finding a career it is ok to look back and ask for help. I’ve always spoken with my professors or past internship supervisors and that is how I’ve continued finding out about new opportunities. They know people who know of jobs. It is always difficult to transition into a new career or internship, but in order to be successful by preparing for the job [it] is all about time managing and sorting out your priorities. If you are moving and starting a new job let the company know. They will be more impressed by you giving them a heads up about your hectic week because you’re relocating rather then you committing to something and not doing your best job at it,” Melissa Candolfi, 22, West Virginia University, College Lifestyles™ Campus Representative.

“Once you’re hired, be sure to be proactive about projects you’re interested in working on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or go after what you want!” – Kaitlyn Kline, 25, Edinboro University of PA 2009, B.A. in Psychology; Point Park University 2012, M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication; Social Media Coordinator at Smith Brothers Agency; College Lifestyles™ Alumnae.

Want to learn more about the Public Relations field? Check out these College Lifestyles™ articles:

“CL’s Guide to: Online Resources for PR Students”

“DeCLassified: PR Job Applications”

“Major of the Month: PR”

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About Author

Debra Schreiber is an alumni from Duquesne Unversity. Follow her at @debstyle89. To stay tuned to more articles for classy co-eds be sure to follow College Lifestyles on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
 
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