Finding Your Footing After Graduation with Krystin Arrabito

Earlier in the week was our March general meeting for PRSSA. Our guest speaker this month was a recent Penn State grad, Krystin Arrabito. She came to Penn State as a journalism major, eventually switched to public relations and graduated in 2011. Arrabito is now an account associate at Emanate PR in New York City. She was the perfect person to give us some insight into finding our footing after graduation.

While studying at Penn State, Arrabito was very involved in our PRSSA THON committee. Even though this isn’t exactly related to public relations, it is important to do things like that to build your character. “Show passion points,” she said.

During her time in school, Arrabito had five different internships. Some of the highlights include The Scout Association in London, KMR Communications in New York, and Off The Quad in State College. Her internship at KMR was important because it introduced her to consumer PR, which she found out she loves.

Arrabito shared 10 tips for success:

  1. Network (it really is as important as everyone says it is). Meet with Penn State alumni and use the PRSA member directory. People are more willing to help you than you might think.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of social media, especially LinkedIn. Follow PR influencers on social media. Be on LinkedIn; some employers rely on it for all of their hires. Do a search of alumni who now work at your ideal company.
  3. Talk to your advisers. They can provide lots of job postings, as well as alumni who work there.
  4. Edit, edit, and then edit again (your resume, that is). Ask multiple people to read it, not just for grammar, but for content. Make sure you’re really selling yourself.
  5. Keep up with trends, and be prepared. During interviews, you could be asked about a wide variety of topics. Have a working knowledge of what’s going on in the world. Have a special knowledge of social media because a lot of employers count on our generation for our digital insight.
  6. Showcase your work. Have a digital portfolio and provide the link before you arrive at an interview. If you have a physical portfolio, only use work that’s really good. And when you use it, don’t just hand it to your interviewer. Use it as a reference while you’re talking and provide an explanation.
  7. Send personalized thank-you notes. Always send a note and always talk about something you discussed with that person during the interview. This is especially important with multiple interviewers because they sometimes compare thank-yous to see if you personalized them.
  8. Perfect the art of stalking persistence. Following up is difficult. You should do so no more than once every week, but more likely every two weeks. Find an excuse to send an email. For example, if you saw an article about the company you can provide the link and talk about why it reminded you of your interview.
  9. Tap into the alumni network – we’re everywhere! There are chapters in many major cities and towns.
  10. Take advantage of opportunities NOW. Meaning internships, study abroad, student organizations, etc.

In an interview, it is important to “ask questions that show what you can provide to the employer, not the other way around,” she said. Ask about the company culture or how the interviewer got to that position in the company.

“Demonstrate your drive to learn and showcase your leadership experience,” Arrabito said. These are essential for standing out.

In January of her senior year, Arrabito began her post-grad job search. It wasn’t until October 2011 that she got her start with Emanate PR, an agency born out of Ketchum.

Arribito loves the optimistic, “think-big attitude” of Emanate. She talked about how her agency strives to avoid blunt-force marketing by focusing on relevance marketing. To easily demonstrate the difference, she showed this video.

She also talked about a day in the life of an entry-level professional. The standard answer for this question is that “every day is different,” but Arrabito listed some constants about her job. Every day starts with media monitoring, researching industry trends to share with clients, writing agendas and compiling reports of campaign results. These tasks seem daunting at first, but after a while they become second nature, she said.

What makes her job worth while is that she loves consumer PR. Enjoying what you’re promoting makes you better. “It is important to actually be interested in your products,” she said.

It took her a few months after graduation to finally land the job, so she emphasized persistance. If all else fails, “keep meeting new people.”

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