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Consider Job Detours to Gain Experience, Pay Bills

February 19th, 2012 · 3 Comments

If you’re armed with a PR degree and little prospects for a relevant job, consider a foot-in-the-door approach to move towards your desired career goal.

Aylwin Lewis, CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works, recently talked with PR students at DePaul about his chain’s use of values-driven communication as the main tool to recruit and keep employees and customers.  It was an inspiring presentation that gave us a peek into the up-and-coming chain that is using internal communications to build a Starbucks-quality brand.

Ears perked up when Aylwin Lewis mentioned his employees can work their way up to nearly six-figure salaries (and all employees receive bonuses based on the success of the business).  Afterwards, one student asked me if it was a sign of defeat to take a job in fast food if she can’t land a PR or marketing position.  Since her resume has no relevant PR experience, I suggested that she consider non-traditional entry points for her desired career.

Most recent graduates will switch jobs a dozen or more times during their careers, so the most important thing to do now is to land a job that builds a base of experience that might launch into future PR opportunities.

I’ve often suggested that students consider jobs in quality companies that are known for promoting from within.  My first corporate job was with such a company, Eli Lilly.  The company routinely tapped sales representatives and other employees for jobs in corporate affairs and public relations.  So remain open for non-traditional entry points at quality companies that are known for good culture and potential for job progression.

Tags: Careers · Job Search

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Olivia // Mar 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    As a senior public relations student about to graduate in the spring, I’m glad to finally hear that there are definitely other options after college. Working jobs that are outside of the public relations world gives more insight, tailored knowledge and more experience before entering into a corporate or non-corporate pr practice. It takes a little bit of the pressure off.

  • 2 Morgan // Mar 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I must begin by saying how refreshing it was to read this post. You brought up an interesting point about looking for companies that promote from within. I believe that having a variety of work experience will benefit the individual in any work situation. I am graduating this June, and may follow your “foot-in-the-door” approach when looking for a job.
    Thank you for your post,
    Morgan

  • 3 Urban Petersen Southeast Missouri State University // Apr 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    This is a great post. I am graduating in May and have a lot of job leads…only problem is they are not exactly in my field. I am currently talking with a recruiter for a hospital and she had mentioned this approach because the hospital promotes people quickly and most of the hiring is done within first before being put out into the public.This is an easy way to get to a position you desire while still paying the bills.

    Urban Petersen
    Southeast Missouri State University

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