Graduating? Now What?

Aug 25, 2016


If you’re one of the thousands of communications students finishing a degree in November, then you need to start prepping your professional life now in order to secure a great job in the new year. 

And landing that job requires some serious thought, planning and critical actions … right now!

HSPR general manager, Sarah Mason, develops and delivers a workplace readiness program designed to fill the gap between what you learn in the lecture theatre and the realities of the PR workplace.  Her top tips for soon-to-be job hunters include:


1.  Identify and market your personal brand.  This is simply deciding how you want people to view you and delivering it via your personal style, the way you interact with people and how you represent your digital self. 

Start by creating the best possible LinkedIn profile, add portfolio examples where you can, include referee comments and endorsements.  Get a good head shot – it doesn’t have to be a professional studio shot but should be a ‘head and shoulders’ shot of you dressed in professional work attire, with a plain background. Don’t use the one of you looking hot at your best friend’s wedding…

Answer your phone (it may be your dream job calling), record a professional sounding voicemail message, monitor your emails throughout the day and respond promptly – preferably within the hour.

Plus, ensure all your social media accounts are set to PRIVATE.  Google yourself and if anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see pops up, fix it!


2. Get your CV in order.  Use a free template (there are many online).  List out your professional/work experience first, followed by your education (delete anything from primary school), your skills (proficiency in Word, Excel and PowerPoint are all but mandatory – take online tutorials if you need to), and your interests.

You are extremely unlikely to be any of the following – and please note, you’re not expected to be:  expert, strategic, advanced, experienced, leading.  Avoid using these terms in your CV. 

Do inject some personality into your CV.  If you have a passion for something, tell me.  I’m interested in you as a person as much as I am in your qualifications – probably more so!

3.  Network, network, network.  Go to that uni networking session, attend that industry function.  Students usually receive free or heavily discounted tickets to industry events.  Use it or lose it!

Some networking know-how:   

Volunteer your services to help with the event administration on the day, man the welcome table, distribute name tag.  Introduce yourself as you welcome guests.

If you can’t volunteer, hang out by the tea/coffee station and start by talking to the person next to you.  Have a rehearsed ‘spiel’ – start with your name and why you are here.  Ask lots of (thoughtful) questions. 

Talk to as many relevant people as you can, follow up politely and stay in touch via LinkedIn.   The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

4.  Be prepared.  Do your research on the company and the person/s interviewing you.  As well as rehearsing relevant answers to the standard interview questions, arm yourself with plenty of examples of how you’ve demonstrated the following skills:

    • Resilience
    • Managing change or challenges
    • Teamwork
    • Reliability

5.  Secure a summer internship.  Work (your butt off) for free as part of a work experience program.  You will need to arrange this with your university ASAP to ensure you are covered by existing student insurance schemes.  No insurance makes it challenging for businesses to take you on as an ‘intern’.   

And yes, you do have time as many communications agencies will be on the go slow between November and February 2017 as we slide into the industry’s quiet period.


HSPR Graduate School is a PR industry led bridging program to help students transition from uni to the communications workplace providing a massive career kick start for anyone wanting to enter the PR industry with:

  • vocational skills training in PR practice by real-life experts
  • a host of practical workshops delivering hands-on experiences
  • dedicated interview and CV development coaching sessions
  • an industry networking day to introduce students to a host of high-level PR professionals looking for their next junior recruit

HSPR Grad School is held onsite at one of Australia’s busiest PR consultancies, Hausmann Group in Sydney’s Paddington.  The eight-day intensive work readiness program is limited to 12 students per session to maximize learning opportunities.  Courses take place in both February and July each year, coinciding with both the typical industry recruitment periods and the university timetable.

The next HSPR Grad School course:  6 -16 February 2017

For more details: or 1300 306 703

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