We’re easing in on one full month since Commencement 2016 at Curry College, where I ride herd over the Communication Department’s Public Relations Concentration and serve as Faculty Adviser to the Curry College Public Relations Student Association.
My PR troops who graduated are doing their usual mind-boggling job of balancing summer work with job search and “OMG, I’m an adult!” realizations.
Most of them are prepared for the inevitable dive into the deep end of grownup-ness and are methodically chipping away at the quest for full-time, professional (as in “this is what I invested a bazillion dollars to do”) employment. Others…not so much…but they’ll get into the swing of things soon…when the reality of student loan bills hits.
The question that I have for each one of these future professionals is this: “Have you really and truly wrapped your head around the concept of starting your career?”
And, as a follow-up, “Do you have your answer ready when your interviewer asks you (probably not these exact words, but the meaning is there), ‘Why are we having this conversation?’”
You see…that’s the sticking point for most newly-minted college grads. Nine-times-out-of-ten the company doesn’t need them. At least not them specifically.
No…the company needs to fill an entry-level gruntwork position, and, for the most part, anyone with a pulse who has taken a shower recently meets the basic requirements.
This leads us back to conversations I have day after day with my troops at Curry. “What do you want to be doing? What kind of work environment are you most comfortable in? What products or services are you most interested in? Which was your favorite internship?”
If you give serious thought to these questions both individually and collectively, you’ll start getting a sense of just where you should be focusing your job search efforts.
The shotgun approach to job search just doesn’t work. You’ve spent too much time and energy honing your communication skills and constructing the framework of what ultimately will be your brand…who you are, what you’re good at.
No. You have to focus. Especially for those of us in public relations, the possibilities are incredible. You may have to think outside your geographic comfort zone. You may even have to move somewhere else. But that’s what makes this stage of your life fun! You’re going to be trying new things…perhaps in new places…as you start out on your new life as a professional.
But back to the beginning and your interview. Now’s the time to take the time to focus on what you want to be doing…and why you want to be doing it. Get a pencil and a pad of paper (Google the words…these things really do exist!), and write your answer to this question: “Why are we having this conversation?”
There…you’ve said it. Now…go out and make it happen!