All those years of building a résumé to get into the right college, all those years of building a résumé to get the right job, and for what? No jobs. Now even low-paying jobs are hard to get, especially when the current job-holders are holding on for dear life.

Our cover girl, Erin Baskin, just out of college, personifies smart and knows what she wants to do, but how does she plan to do it?

“I am very blessed to have an amazing family who has always supported me in all of my endeavors,” she says. The daughter of Dr. Barry and Druann Baskin (an older sister to my best friend, Blair Baskin), she continues, “I was born in Little Rock and have lived here most of my life. I attended Episcopal Collegiate School for high school and then attended the University of Arkansas for college.”

“Originally, I had always wanted to be a fashion designer, point blank,” she explains. “I started off as an apparel studies major, then realized the program was more tailored to buying, not designing. The second semester of my freshman year I switched my major to advertising and public relations. I picked the major because of its wide range of possibilities. Advertising and public relations really became my passion. I try to tell myself that I graduated in four years, but in actuality, I attended the first session of summer school this past June. So, all in all, it took me around four years and two months to graduate.”

She knows she’s not the only one among her peers competing. “A lot of my friends are going to graduate school and getting their master’s. Honestly, it may be more difficult to get a job these days, but my generation doesn’t know any differently. I was actually offered a job at a great company, but the position just wasn’t tailored to my set of skills. I am currently working as a public relations and marketing intern for Verizon Wireless’ South Central Region. I have truly enjoyed the people there and the opportunities to work on events that make a difference in the community, like the HopeLine program and How Sweet the Sound.”

Soirée has photographed many young Little Rock women over the past eight years, beginning with Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s (ACH) Star ACHievers participants, then the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Sweethearts program, where dozens of girls learned to help others. Baskin was among them.

“In high school, I was an ACH Star ACHiever, AHA Sweetheart and a member of the Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council,” she said. “I also attended Ozark Mission Project and volunteered for the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Arkansas C.A.R.E.S., Run For Their Lives, Arkansas Arts Center, Safety Town, Little Rock Marathon, Race for the Cure, St. Andrew’s Vacation Bible School and Boo at the Zoo. I was also a co-chairman for the ArCANsas Student Challenge my senior year. Being a proud member of the Chi Omega, Psi Chapter, I have had the wonderful opportunity to become involved with our national philanthropy, Make-A-Wish. During my four years at college, I have been able to see the impact that Make-A-Wish has on terminally ill children. We hosted parties as a chapter to present the children with their wishes. It was always very touching to see how appreciative the children and their families were.”

It’s difficult to land a dream job in this economy. Lots of people such as Baskin are realizing it’s a brave new world.

“In my case,” she says, “it’s not if the economy was better, but if I could have my dream job. Ideally, I would love to go into fashion advertising or be a public relations practitioner or marketing director for a record label. I’m a social networking maven. I am addicted to facebook, have a Twitter account and write a fashion blog.

When asked to see herself in the next five years, Baskin says, “I hope to think that I will be successful and well-established in my career. I want to truly enjoy my job and look forward to waking up and going to work doing something I love.”

A Cut Above

Soirée: Do you believe in dressing for success?
Erin Baskin: Absolutely. I honestly think that equipping yourself with the right attitude and look is crucial when interviewing for a job. I prefer to wear a high-waisted pencil skirt and blazer when interviewing. It is very important to feel confident when you’re in an interview. When you’re dressed for success, there is no doubt your confidence level will be elevated. Look good, feel good.

What women do you aspire to be like?
There are too many inspirational women in the world to choose just one. I aspire to have the courage to do what is just when nobody else does, like Rosa Parks. I aspire to build an empire out of nothing, like Coco Chanel. I aspire to enchant the world with fantasy and imagination, like J.K. Rowling. I aspire to be humble and a lady, like Audrey Hepburn. I aspire to encourage, support and love unconditionally, like my late grandmother, Marion Baskin.

What are your favorite brands?
Formal wear: Oscar de la Renta and Prabal Gurung—not that I own these. Suits: Theory.  Jeans: Rich & Skinny. Jewelry: Anything that makes a statement; I also love Elizabeth Cole. Perfume: J’adore, Lanvin Rumor for the winter months, Issey Miyake and Marc Jacobs.

Favorite shopping websites?
ShopBop.com—they have marvelous look books; ShopNastyGal.com; Asos.com; ShopMasons.com.