Friday many of my friends (some I’ve never even met but they are still my friends) staged an all-volunteer event in the social media realm called HAPPO – Help a PR Pro Out. This four-hour event was designed to provide support and tools for public relations professionals looking for work. It offered numerous ways professionals could build networks and reach out to potential employers.
As a HAPPO champion, it was a terrific day and I am SO proud to be associated with this group and our profession. I look forward to hearing more about the success stories. My hope is that job seekers are gratified with the response from their professional colleagues and they see the potential for building networks. At the same time, I hope HAPPO seekers realize a four-hour event probably can’t get them a job but it can build the framework for the future.
It is a little concerning to see comments from those wondering why this was just a one- day event, bothered that they didn’t get a job and especially that the champion in their area didn’t find them a job. In my 30+ years in public relations I have rarely seen the collective, strategic “noise” I saw Friday. HAPPO truly demonstrated the power of networking as connections were made across the country. It validated the strength of the relationships I’ve been building in this profession throughout my career. But it takes more than four hours to build that network and find a job.
I am so happy and proud to be a public relations professional today and thoroughly support the work of each of the champions. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we’ll be happy to review a resume, conduct an informational interview, and set you up with contacts if we know them and if you reach out. We aren’t going to seek your out. Now that HAPPO is over, it’s truly up to each of you to connect with public relations leaders in communities where you want to work, and ask for their help. It’s up to you to reach out to the people you “met” on Twitter and ask them to keep you in mind for jobs. I didn’t build mine in four hours and you won’t either. But there are many professionals more than willing to sit down and help you.
Most importantly…don’t forget to say thank you!
These two simple words are so often forgotten. Many people spent hours and hours helping others though HAPPO. We did it because we love our work and we want to help others. We did it because it comes naturally. We did it because someone helped us and we want to pay it forward. We did it…jut because. We didn’t do it so we could get a pat on the back but so others could succeed. But we’re also more inclined to keep helping those who remember to say thank you.
Hopefully, HAPPO helped you create a virtual and real-life community in public relations, and realize the power this network has. Now it’s up to you to keep building your network. It’s up to the hundreds of individuals who posted resumes today to follow-up and build the strong networks that, quite frankly, allowed us to do HAPPO. So, continue building your networks, attend professional organization meetings, meeting senior public relations professionals, and establish mentor relationships. If you do all these things, I’m sure pretty soon you’ll be HAPPO and you can help put together the next networking event for PR pros looking for a leg up.
Going forward be sure to follow @PRSAJobCenter on Twitter and check out the resources they posted Friday. Here are some other posts I think are useful as well:
What have you found useful? Are there other resources and tips you can share?