Inside the Profession

Friday Five: Securing A Job After College

PRSA Friday Five banner

After working extraordinarily hard (and probably partying pretty hard) most of the Class of 2014 probably assumed they would have jobs lined up after graduation. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s recent study, however, may put a damper on that dream. According to the report, between 3 and 8 percent of new graduates won’t find work right away.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five”– an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we discover tips to help improve your chances of securing a post-graduation job. How to work with your professional references, advice and life lessons you may not have heard in college, and action items for you to complete before your job search are all covered. We’ll also look at some things you should NOT do while applying for a job (such as wearing PJs to the interview).

Don’t Surprise Your Job References (Culpwrit)

You’ve made it past the initial interview, but before your dream company will hire you, they will want to confirm that you’re as good as you say. One way to check that your resume represents you accordantly is through your references. Even if you think you have a good relationship with your references, Ron Culp, professional director of the graduate program in public relations and advertising at DePaul University, shares best practices when providing references.

An important tip Culp lists is asking your reference permission prior to providing their name. Never assume someone will accept reference check calls,” said Culp. “In addition to your email or phone request, be sure to include your resume and include a bit of small talk–especially if you’ve been out-of-touch for several years.” See all of Culp’s tips in the original blog post.

How NOT to apply for a job (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Online job applications make it easy to apply to a significant number of jobs in a short amount of time. While that may seem like it would make life easier for the applicant, there are some pitfalls that must be avoided.

Mark Ragan, CEO of Lawrence Ragan Communications, shares a story about a job he recently posted and his head-scratching correspondence with an applicant. The job posting requested a cover letter, and when the applicant didn’t provide one, Ragan gave the applicant a chance to submit it. Ragan explained what happened next: “I replied to the young man, reminding him of my request for a cover letter. A few minutes later I get this reply, ‘which company are you again?’”

Ragan provides four lessons from this experience in his post.

7 Pieces of Job Advice Your College Isn’t Giving You (Mashable)

It has been a few weeks since most colleges and universities issued diplomas to the class of 2014. For those who haven’t yet secured a job and have begun to panic, Mashable offers seven pieces advice your college may not have mentioned to you.

One tip Millennials may not have thought of: in-person networking. “LinkedIn, as useful as it is, doesn’t hold a monopoly over online job networking. Using a site to RSVP to in-person networking and social events is a great way to meet potential employers. You can also find volunteer work through the site, which, aside from being a great addition to your resume, can help you meet new people.” Read the other six pieces of advice via the article.

5 Things Graduates Should Do to Find a Job (US News & World Report)

Lindsay Olson, a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, shares her insider perspective regarding what graduates should do to find a job. One tip you may not have thought of – upgrade your wardrobe.

Olson suggests that job-seekers spend their graduation money on a new wardrobe. For women, Olson suggests three staple items:  a dark skirt, dark pants and a white button-up shirt that can be accessorized. For men, Olson suggests a button-up shirt and dressy pants. One last, important wardrobe tip from Olson—purchase nice shoes. Olson asked, “Do you want your scuffed ‘church shoes’ from freshman year to be the message you send potential employers?”

Read all of Olson’s tips via the article.

9 Essential Life Lessons They Won’t Teach You in College (  

You work hard in high school, go to a good college and then get a great job. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Well, the dream doesn’t always become a reality. There are some life lessons that you won’t learn in college, and the author, Amy McCarthy, lists them for you.

Among the lesson that may be difficult to accept is —your major may not matter in the long run. McCarthy explained: “Sure, your degree may say that you’re going to do public relations or marketing, but in this tough job market, you’ll take what you can get. A 2013 study said that 32 percent of college grads never worked in a field related to their major. The job you do land out of college will probably be sales of some kind, so get ready for that.” Read the full article to view all of the life lessons.

About the author

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR, is public relations manager for the Public Relations Society of America. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at St. John’s University, Staten Island. Mottola obtained a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University in 2010. You can connect with her on Twitter @RoeMoPR or on LinkedIn.


  • Rosanne,

    I have to say I really appreciate this blog post. Although I am not a graduating senior, as a junior going into my final internships, I feel that you have some excellent points on entering the job market, as well as maintaing your personal brand. You do an excellent job at highlighting the main issues people have with finding a job, however I really agree with your advice on the personal brand side of things.

    For example, the “9 Essential Life Lessons They Won’t Teach You in College” article from Bustle was very helpful in making sure students known the “street version” of how to maintain their personal brand. I personally find this very important and refer to it often in my own personal PR blog: should you be interested in possibly listing me as a source.

    Though I am a student, I do feel that being currently in the situation of applying for internships and eventually jobs, I feel I have a good grasp on truly how difficult it is landing a meaningful job. I plan to actually write my next blog post (to be out by June 6th) on the job hunt and what that means for your personal image and brand.

    Thanks for such helpful, congregated material for all of us out their looking for jobs! I appreciate your advice!


    • Kelly, thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment. Internships are great “practice” and the interview experience will help you when you’re ready to apply for full time jobs. Best of luck and keep up the good work.

Leave a Comment