It’s the worst job market in decades for recent graduates, according to a February article in The Wall Street Journal, as evidenced by a 45% drop in entry-level positions since the start of the pandemic.
While I finish up a conversation with a recent graduate about how competitive her last few interviews have been, and I briefly skim what’s available on Indeed.com, it’s clear that the entry-level job squeeze is real. It’s happening here, and in communications, too.
While the WSJ article is focused on the collegiate responsibility to impart marketable skills to its students, established professionals and their organizations have just as critical of a role to play.
It’s not enough to assume that students will know how to pursue or understand the value in networking and internships. Yes, the onus is on them to take control of their destiny, and, yes, they need to pursue responsibility for their own careers. But it’s also our workplaces they will enter, our business they will need to understand, and our job to mentor them and grow them into positions of increasing responsibility and skill within our organizations.
If you don’t have entry-level positions to offer (which, shameless plug, we can post for free to the PPRS website), here’s how you can help:
- Make connections in the education community. Get to know the professors and Career Services employees in our local colleges and universities and your alma mater, and offer to speak to their students and/or make yourself available as a mentor or professional acquaintance. Don’t forget high school students, too! We need to start the conversations early to promote interest in the study of communications.
- Offer undergraduate and post-graduate internships (remember: submit them on the PPRS website to promote them, free of charge!) In a tough job market, offering internships can help students transition from college to work when entry-level jobs are in short supply.
- Offer job shadowing and informational interviewing. Give students a chance to experience what it’s like to work for or pursue an opportunity with your organization.
- Be a professional sounding board. Offer to review resumes or conduct mock interviews, and provide honest and constructive feedback.
As we continue seeking better relationships with our local partners in education, we’d love to hear more about your ideas on how PPRS members can help students in the communications field to become more competitive, forge stronger connections with the business community, and better prepare students and recent graduates for a career in public relations. Email us at PPRSHbg@gmail.com with your ideas, and if there’s enough participation, we’d love to continue the conversation with a core group of interested parties!
Wishing you a warm and healthy spring,
2021 PPRS President