According to Matt Prince, social media director for Taco Bell, over 50 percent of the workforce will be millennial workers by 2020. But before you start pumping your fist in the air with millennial pride, keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily good news for you and me.
Along with being one of the most tech savvy generations in history, millennials are also the most over educated generation too. It’s projected that over 60 percent of millennials will graduate with a college degree before entering the workforce. How is that bad news? Well, it may mean that differentiating yourself in a saturated job market has never been harder.
Luckily, there is hope. There is still a place for you and me in the public relations workforce, but you have to be willing to go the extra mile.
Enhance Your Education Through PRSSA
Regrettably, I spent the majority of my college experience wandering the lone world of undeclared misfits, but after being invited to get involved in PRSSA, I quickly became involved. I attended meetings, National Conferences, served on our Chapter’s board, and compiled a winning Regional Conference bid. It was within PRSSA that I learned the relationship aspect of public relations. These relationships and relationship-building skills will prove invaluable in the workforce.
Broaden Your Network With Internships
Internships are all about getting experience. There is just one problem. It’s a silly paradox, but it was true for me; to get experience, I needed experience. So I examined job descriptions for some of the jobs and internships I wanted. I noted the qualifications and experience that was required and turned to local startup companies, student projects, the local PRSA Chapter and the university’s student-run firm and volunteered.
Volunteering my social media, blog writing and media pitching skills helped me land a paid press/media internship in Washington, D.C. In that position, I assisted in media outreach, press tours and speech writing for Senator Lee (R-UT). I learned from incredible mentors and made extraordinary contacts that opened the door to a full-time career. Remember, your resume lists “experience,” not, “job history.” Get as much experience as you can.
Launch Your Career With PRSA
I now work as the public relations and marketing manager for a financial tech company called, Finicity. I manage the internal and external messaging and outreach strategies to help bring visibility and credibility to the Finicity products and culture. I draw on the principles and skills I learned, like press pitches, press releases and relationship building, on a daily basis. I work with bloggers, media thought leaders and key influencers to collaborate on projects and objectives.
However, the world and the industry are constantly changing. Many of the principles learned in school will become obsolete — if they aren’t already — in a matter of years. Becoming a continual learner, always honing your skills and persistently improving will allow you to maintain your excellence. PRSA can also help you keep up in an ever changing industry. With PRSA, I have learned the latest field-tested tactics, reporting tools and general best-practices that the industry has to offer.
There will be thousands of others vying for the same job as you – many of which will have very similar resumes, but in words of Boyd Matheson, Chief of Staff for Sen. Lee, “Excellence will always be in demand.”
What can you do to go the extra mile to land your dream job?
Reagan Nickl graduated from the public relations program at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. He is currently the public relations marketing manager at Finicity, a leader in financial technology and personal finance management tools. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, Kati. Nickl can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn or his website. Follow him on Twitter @reagannickl.