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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

The start of my senior year of college is closely approaching, bringing with it the reality of life sans school. I, like many other young PR professionals, have the goal of moving to one of my favorite places in the world after graduation – DC. Now, as much as I hate to admit it, I do not in fact have a bottomless bank account that will fund this three hundred plus mile move. Because of this, the task of securing a post graduation job is imperative if I want to make my Capitol Hill dreams come true. I’ve gathered a list of tips below of things to do to prime you for the work world as you, and I, head into our senior year.

  1. Secure an internship – The first tip on this list is one that falls under the category of something that every young PR professional is on the hunt for – useful experience. Senior year is the last chance to soak up all of the information you can, from a wide array of people, before being thrown into the pressure of a full time job. It is a time to explore options of different fields that might interest you, or continue to pursue an avenue that you’ve previously decided on. At this point most structured internships with large firms and departments have already been filled. Don’t let that discourage you! Small businesses, non-profit organizations and even some of your university’s departments tend to have application deadlines that open up once the semester begins. Use your campus’ career services or professional development center as a resource to find contact information and do your own research on local establishments in your area. If a place that you are interested in doesn’t have a formal internship position, you can offer to help them manage their social media, or if they don’t have an online presence you can be the one to get them set up. Even something as small as creating a Facebook page can translate into valuable experience on your resume!
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  3. Do your research – Freshman year, a good friend Alyssa and I planned that after graduation we would move together to Atlanta. I loved the idea of being able to live in a big city without being too far away from my hometown of Nashville. I have only been to the ATL once for a long weekend in middle school but I would always hear Alyssa rave about how much she loved it and how much fun the two of us would have there. Last year I talked to my mentor who is a PR professional and she clued me in that based on what I told her I wanted in a city, Atlanta wasn’t the right fit for me. My after graduation plan was quickly nixed and I was forced to start from square one again. Moral of the story – do research to find the best city for you. It is important to keep in mind things like how far you’re willing to travel and what type of lifestyle you are going to be able to realistically afford. Do you want the city to have a large urban population? Are you looking for somewhere that has large-scale public transportation? Do you want a more laid back lifestyle of Nashville or are you the fast-paced NYC type? You should also look at where it is that you’re interested in getting a job. For example, my friend Alyssa is interested in doing marketing for the Atlanta Braves, which narrows her options down to one city. Through your research you can make sure that your list of requirements match up with what your dream city has to offer.
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  5. Reach out – One of the most consistent pieces of advice I get from my professors and those in the PR field is to never stop networking. As important as gaining contacts is, it’s also just as important to utilize ones that you already have! Reach out to family members, professors, work colleagues or even speakers that come to your class that live in areas that you’re interested in. Get their feedback on the pros and cons of the city where they live in terms of the job market, housing and even the social scene. Let them know when you will be graduating and express your interest in landing a job in the city they reside. You never know, that person might just be the golden ticket to your next job!

So in short, utilize your senior year and set yourself up for the future of your dreams! I know I will. 🙂

Connect with Jordan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanfd