Thursday, February 10, 2011

Entry-Level Public Relations?

The elusive entry-level PR position; hard to even find posted by companies and when they actually are, they’re even harder to score an interview for. These past couple months of job searching on my part have left me at times doubtful and a little depressed, and at other times mildly irritated. The responses I have gotten from these so-called “entry level” positions (or lack there of) make me wonder if they actually even exist or if my cover letters are hopelessly floating around in the cyber abyss.

My question is; why do companies advertise positions as “entry-level” and then turn down or refuse to even look at candidates who don’t have “enough experience”? What is “enough” experience for an entry-level position? Are my multiple hands-on internships not experience enough? Are the rigorous classes I had to take to earn my bachelor’s degree not enough? And most of all, how am I supposed to gain “enough experience” to be considered for these pseudo entry-level positions when no one is willing to give me a chance to break into the industry?

Another obstacle I seem to be running into is competing for these “entry-level” positions with professionals who have had years of experience and already established themselves in the PR world. Times are tough for everyone right now, and when it comes to getting a steady paycheck people will pretty much take what they can get. I understand and appreciate that more than you could possibly know (especially with the clock ticking down on my student loan grace period). But when experience is a huge selling point in this highly competitive industry, how am I, fresh out of college, supposed to compete with professionals who have years on me? It’s tough to try and convince anyone who is hiring that taking on the “newbie” is a smart move because you can mold them into whatever your company needs them to be. That may be the truth, at least for me, but who is going to pass up someone with ten years of agency experience for someone with only a fraction of that because they can be “molded”?

So where am I supposed to go from here? Do I keep applying to those “entry-level” positions and hope that someone really is looking for a candidate they can mold? What other choice do I have, really? I’m passionate about this industry and I don’t want to give up on breaking into it, but how am I supposed to get there? Words of wisdom, encouragement, and tips on how to navigate through this stressful time would be much appreciated.

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