Written by Ryan C. Sheehy, APR, former faculty advisor for Quotes

So you’re a college student and it’s officially time to transition from a free-to-be-me lifestyle to the real-world professional realm. It’s only natural that you are feeling overwhelmed by the process and need some good advice. As a PR pro with more than a decade of experience, I have tried and true tips for success.

First things first, do a self assessment. Jot down a list of your knowledge, skills and abilities. Then take the time to identify what it is that you really want to do. How do you do this? Take courses that relate to your field of choice; Read up on each industry; Get involved on campus; Volunteer; Speak with pros from each sector – get their perspective and ask to shadow them; Understand the four industry types – agencies, corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

Once you have a good handle of the direction you would like to take, make a wish list of companies you’d like to work for and positions to pursue. Having a clear vision is the best way to eventually make your dreams come true.

Clean up your digital dirt now. “But I keep my Facebook setting on private!” is probably the first thing that pops into your head. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find you on the Web – especially if your “friends” aren’t mindful of privacy settings. Trust me when I tell you plenty of companies search to see if there’s a reason to toss your resume in the trash. Instead of allowing an employer to find incriminating photos or a questionable fan page, simply remove them. Ask your friends to delete the pics and you’ll be good to go. In the field of advertising and public relations, your image and reputation is everything. Do what you can now to make the best name for yourself versus looking like a fool right out of the gate.

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