Only three months stand between the SOJC ‘14 graduates and the real world. I’m supposed to be one of them. Fear and anxiety are beginning to set in as I consider what the hell I want to do after graduation, and how I’m going to land an interview and, more importantly, a job. I’m even considering pushing back my own graduation date to pursue further educational opportunities in order to buy myself some time. How am I supposed to approach this whole “life after college” thing? Qué miedo.
Last week, Colleen Lacter, who is responsible for Symantec’s global communications, came and shared some excellent insight with the teams of Allen Hall Public Relations. Needless to say, I think that her advice was invaluable and helped ease a little of the anxiety with regards to the post-grad interview process.
Here are a few of Lacter’s tips on how to stand out in an interview:
Do your homework. Make sure you know about the company, research who the biggest clients are, and familiarize yourself with recent campaigns.
Expect to spend about 4-8 hours researching for each interview. The questions you ask them are as important as the questions they ask you. You can’t ask good questions if you haven’t done that essential preliminary research into the company or agency, so come prepared with a list of thoughtful questions.
Know where they stand with social media. Take a peak at the company Facebook page(s) and Twitter accounts of executives, and look at how they are (or aren’t) utilizing these media platforms. Analyze the type of content they post and which platforms they use, and read what has been written about them. Dig deep.
Ask what account you will be working on. This showcases your passion, and can provide you with the opportunity to evaluate whether or not your personal values align with the project. For example, if working on a campaign for Big Tobacco conflicts with your moral compass, then learn how to pass. Never compromise your own personal ethics.
Doing preliminary research before an interview always seemed obvious to me, but I never really thought about why it is so important. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the company or agency shows initiative and interest, and can help set you apart from all the other qualified candidates. Showcase your eagerness, passion and interest for public relations, and knock ‘em dead at your next interview.