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Whenever I get the chance to speak with students studying communications and public relations on university courses, I usually end my presentation with five minutes on how to get ahead and get hired.

The smart students are the ones that invest time in work experience. There can be no better way than showing a future employer that you’re ready for work.

But there’s an even smarter way to get ahead in lieu of work a placement.

You can get the attention of a future employer and kickstart your career by building a presence on the social web by blogging, curating content and building networks.

History has shown that it’s a smart way to get ahead.

The inevitable question at the end of a presentation or workshop is, but how? How do you blog, curate and build networks, from a standing start?

There’s no magic: the answer is just do it.

I usually point people in the direction of Antony Mayfield’s book Me and My Web Shadow: How to Manage Your Reputation Online, and then content on the social web about LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging.

There’s no doubt that starting out from scratch is daunting.

As a start point I’d recommend creating a Twitter account and connecting with people on your course, your tutors, and then agencies, companies and media organisations that interest you.

The same applies to LinkedIn. Build a profile and connect with fellow student and tutors.

Blogging is tougher. It requires a plan, thought and commitment. But the payback is a guaranteed head start on your fellow students.

As an entry point into blogging I’d start by seeking out opportunities to guest blog or contribute to an online magazine. It enables you to benefit from the knowledge and network of an existing blogger or editor.

In the public relations sector Behind the Spin, comms2point0PR Examples, and Rachel Miller all publish content from guest contributors. Pipe up if you’re a blogger that accepts guest blogs and want adding to this list.

If you have a favourite blog and fancy your chances drop the blogger or editor an email with a pitch.

In fact you could start with my blog. I’d love to hear from anyone interested in blogging about their studies. How are you coping with the cost, how does theory differ from practice, what are you going to write your dissertation on or the process of job hunting.

Each blogger or online magazine will have its own guidelines. If you follow my blog you’ll have spotted that my posts are typically 300 to 500 words long with a single image.

Drop me an email. I’ll help you figure out how to present your ideas and then publish them on this blog and the CIPR Conversation, along with a brief bio.

Get cracking. You’ve no time to lose.

Photo by Maria Reyes-McDavis via Flickr with thanks.

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About 

European Digital & Social Media Director at Ketchum and President of the CIPR. Author of Brand Anarchy and Brand Vandals; and editor and contributor to Share This and Share This Too.