This week, PR pros across the country are gearing up to help our friends. Help a PR Pro OutHelping others is second nature to us, but Help a PR Pro Out is a 4-hour concentrated effort February 19 from 11-3 ET. Conceived by Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon, it is supported by an ever-growing list of PR pros. There’s more information on their Web site, or Facebook page. Most efforts are in major metropolitan areas but since Anchorage isn’t considered one of those (wonder why!) I’m helping behind the scenes however I can. Today, I’m offering suggestions and resources to help job seekers stand out and be recognized.

Network

Never underestimate the power of your network. Who do you know who knows someone who can get you in a door. Always ask those in your network for referrals. Most are more than willing to help, if they see you as a capable and committed professional.

Professional Memberships

Although it may seem like money you can’t afford to spend right now, maintain your membership in professional organizations and attend local meetings. Local groups have job banks and active leaders are asked for referrals by potential employers. Many organizations have national job banks as well. Be sure your name and desires are well known.

Public Relations Society of America

International Association of Business Communicators

Articles

If you’re involved in social networks (if you’re not, you should be), look for articles or blog posts you think potential employers might be interested in seeing. Send them via email or even snail mail with a short note that you thought they might be interested because…

Resume

A traditional paper resume still gives employers a first impression but it’s also the resource senior PR professionals want to forward if we’re recommending you to someone. Does yours put your best foot forward?  Consider using tools such as Visual CV or Prezi as they set you apart from others. Again they are no substitute for paper.

Portfolio

Use your portfolio to tell a story as well. As with your resume, consider a combination of traditional “books” with interactive and online tools. Mashable posted some links earlier this week to way to showcase your portfolio.

Online Presence

Is your LinkedIn profile updated, concise and clear? Be active and professional in LinkedIn engagements. Show your smarts by answering questions. Professional posts are critical on all online networks so be careful of language and photos. Untag if needed.

Thank you

Don’t forget to say thank you again and again. In this day of email, text and twitter a handwritten note is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. Take your note cards with you to the interview. Write it outside and mail in the closest mailbox. It shows initiative and appreciation.

Obviously, this list is just the beginning and many job seekers are already doing these things. What else do you suggest? What was most successful for you during your most recent search? Most importantly, know that we’re here to Help a PR Pro Out.