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Landing in the Real World: How to Survive Your First Job

by Mya Tsu, our former Intern - Nov. 13, 2023

Candid picture of recent University of Oklahoma graduate Mya Tsu

Let’s face it, the real world is hard; being a recent college graduate who just entered the workforce is an entirely different challenge. Landing your first big job can be tough and many people may feel a sense of imposter syndrome while settling in.

To make things a bit easier, here are 5 tips to tackle finding and starting your first job.

1. Be patient

Life after college is not like any chapter of life before. I know first-hand the pressure to have a job lined up before graduating. Some of the best advice I received when starting my job hunt was, “Don’t get discouraged, finding a job is a priority for you, but not for anyone else.” You don’t want to try to squeeze in your first job before graduating or you might miss out on opportunities in the rush. Have patience throughout the process and into your first job.

2. Pay attention to the hiring process

How a company and its staff handle interviewing candidates can reveal a lot about the company. This area is hugely overlooked and can be important in deciding the right job for you. Carefully absorb how the company and its people (whom you’ll probably be working with daily) treat you — a big clue as to how you’ll feel as an employee.

3. Ask about the work beyond the job description

Because PR is so diverse, intertwining with marketing and advertising, there are endless possibilities for your role responsibilities. There are industry standards for expectations but as everyone says, “It’s a little bit of everything and every day is different.” Online job descriptions can be general, lengthy, and overwhelm or confuse readers. By asking for specifics about daily tasks, you’ll scrub away the buzzwords and better understand your potential day-to-day. In the same conversation, expressing your passions can help determine if you’ll find opportunities in that role.

4. Be a sponge

Young people are told to “be a sponge” constantly. Yes, it’s cliche but learning about the industry and best business practices from coworkers is important. Listening and absorbing general, non-work-related conversations around the office helps with learning the lingo and building relationships with co-workers. In the same way that a sponge absorbs, it also releases. Sharing your knowledge, thoughts, and feelings, both in the industry and personally, will help both parties get to know one another and how to work best together.

5. Communicate

Living in the PR world, communication is everything. Not only is communication essential in job responsibilities but also when beginning your new job. You’re the new person in the office and possibly the industry, so communication is vital, whether that means asking questions or participating in brainstorming sessions. Communicating with your coworkers creates a positive, healthy work environment for everyone.

Once you land your first job, your life shifts quickly. Now is the time to start making work/life balance a priority. This doesn’t mean hard work isn’t necessary or going above and beyond isn’t recognized, but the transition from college to a full-time 8-5 takes time. Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, mistakes are bound to happen and that’s okay. Take in every experience and opportunity from your first interview to your first day. Give yourself some credit, you made it this far.

Looking to kickstart your career? Anglin is currently on the hunt for a spring intern and it could be you! This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and skills that will set you on the path to success. Don't hesitate - apply today and take the first step towards achieving your career goals.


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