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Combating Agency Tunnel Vision Syndrome

Photo by princess olanrewaju on Unsplash

Published on November 14, 2018, at 3:00 p.m.
by Savanna Guitard.

As some students approach graduation and others gear up for their last semester, entering the workforce is a constant source of stress. Where do you want to live? Where do you want to work? As you start the job hunt, prevent yourself from contracting ATVS — Agency Tunnel Vision Syndrome.

ATVS is when someone believes the only way to be successful in public relations is to work at a top PR agency. While it would be great to get your first job at a PR agency, there are other ways to begin a rewarding PR career while still working with major brands. You can take advantage of many opportunities as a young professional.

When you start to build a solid foundation in your PR career, it is worth considering the following places that often hire public relations professionals.

Photo by Wenni Zhou on Unsplash

Retail stores and restaurants
From local boutiques to large department stores, mom and pop diners to nightclubs and more, these establishments all hire people to run their public relations departments. All companies need visibility in order to stay in business, and many hire younger people who can help their businesses keep up with new trends. PR is always in demand as long as commerce exists.

Make a list of your favorite places to shop or eat, then look on their corporate websites for jobs. As an added benefit, these jobs typically come with employee discounts!

Colleges and universities
Think of where you are right now … as a current student, you have the perfect opportunity to reach other students through PR. Alumni associations, student affairs, admissions and other departments need savvy individuals to keep students plugged in on campus.

Not only do these jobs allow you to build up relationships you already have on campus, but they are also a great way to network with professors and visiting professionals who could help you get closer to your dream job.

A job at a university is a good stepping stone for your career, and you can even start by searching for a PR internship on campus to increase your chances of a job after graduation.

Startups and entrepreneurs
If your dream is to have your own agency someday, then starting at a new company equips you with the knowledge of how to build PR from the ground up. Startups and self-employed professionals such as authors, life coaches and beauty influencers need someone with a background in PR to help publicize their businesses.

Getting your start with a new company gives you the chance to be creative and try new projects as well as gain leadership experience. Stating on your résumé that you ran a company’s PR efforts will help you stand out from other candidates when you apply for future jobs.

A hospital needs more than doctors to run smoothly. There is a business side, which needs a PR professional, to keep the facility up and running. A PR department in a hospital manages internal affairs like company culture and newsletters, and external relations to maintain a solid image in the community.

This may not seem like the most glamorous first job; however, you can gain a distinct skill set from working in such a unique sector of PR. As a plus, you will also be serving a company that improves people’s lives in a big way.

Even if your dream is to work at an agency, don’t let ATVS get the best of you. Any experience you can get right after graduation will help you get closer to that dream job. You never know what job you might end up enjoying, so keep your eye out for other places that need a young PR professional!

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