December 14, 2011
Guest Post from DeAnn Baxter, APR
Job seekers should take heed from guest post. DeAnn Baxter knows from personal experience in this recession the trials and tribulations of job seeking. Her story has a happy ending as she landed HER dream job. So will you, by following her advice:
We all know seeking a job is tough, especially these days. While things are improving on the job front, you still need to be patient. Your search may take weeks or months, but if you approach it the way you would a public relations campaign, your strategies and tactics will help you. The key is to stay focused and keep at it!
Target your search.
Understanding that link between what you want and what the employer needs is the way to secure employment. Don’t grasp at straws, applying for every job out there, hoping something will eventually stick. What interests you? What do you like about public relations? What kind of work environment do you find stimulating? That area where the Venn diagram overlaps is your sweet spot; apply for jobs in that space and don’t stray, or you’ll be looking again in six months.
Prove your worth.
Provide helpful tips in social media spaces. Start a blog to share your knowledge and demonstrate what you’re learning about a specific industry. Comment on industry blogs or answer questions on LinkedIn. Read industry newsletters to stay on top of trends and educate yourself on areas where you’re weakest. Whatever you do, don’t waste your time!
Watch your online profile.
When you post on Twitter, it’s there for the world to see. When you announce each job you’ve applied for, and follow-up with “…and it’s my dream job!!!!” people will not take you seriously. Instead, link to articles about public relations or your target industry to position yourself as an expert.
Looking for a PR job? join the Help A PR Pro Out tweet chat December 15 at 1 PM ET to get resume writing tips from professionals. Use #HAPPO on Tweetchat.com to join in.
Be persistent, but don’t overdo it.
When you’re in front of a potential employer, ask questions like “When will I hear from you again?” or “Would next Tuesday afternoon be a good time to follow-up with you?” Put your mind at ease knowing that you have a firm date as to when you and your potential employer will be in touch again. If you don’t hear from them by that time, you know you can call without being annoying.
Don’t take no for an answer.
So, you didn’t get the job. Ask what you could’ve done better. Some HR folks are unable to give that kind of feedback, while others are willing to give you pointers. Listen carefully, take their advice to heart, and press Keep the faith.
Don’t get discouraged. Find others in the same boat, or find a mentor willing to help. A second set of eyes on your resume can go a long way, as can a word of advice, a positive message, or a note of support.
When the call for an interview does come, be ready! Until that day comes, practice at least one interview question every day, update and have copies of your resume, get your portfolio in order, and dry clean your best suit. The last thing you want to do is scramble for an interview when your nerves are already kicking in for an impending interview.
What do you think? How can unemployment help focus a job search? What tips do you have to stay upbeat and persistent in this economy?
DeAnn Baxter, APR, works in corporate public relations. She holds bachelor’s degrees in public relations and speech communication from Penn State and a master’s in PR from Johns Hopkins University. Connect with DeAnn on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Other job search posts here:
Navigating the Job Market: The Interview
Tips for the Recent Grad Job Search
Networking, Follow-up Key to Job Hunt
Job Seeking PR Pros – The First Move is Yours
September 1, 2011
Guest post by DeAnn Baxter, APR
If you’re a job seeker, you know how exhilarating it is to receive a call or e-mail requesting an interview. While every scheduled appointment is a huge accomplishment in this economy, it’s still important to ensure your needs are met when it comes to a new job.
Interviews are a two-way street. Not only is this company making sure that you’re a good fit for its open position, but also, you’re given an opportunity to ensure that the role, the team, and the culture of the organization all fit what you’re seeking in your next position. Taking advantage of the time you’re given at the end of an interview to pose your questions can help navigate your decision process. Use these queries as a starting point to help you decide if the job is right for you:
- What’s the make-up of the team? If the team is large, there’s an opportunity to learn from a variety of people. If the team is small, you might be able to take on more responsibilities. Know how you work. Are you more independent or do you thrive in a group setting? Maybe a mix of both is better for your personality. Find out more about your potential co-workers to determine if the environment is a match.
- What’s the hiring manager’s supervision style? If s/he says they are “hands on,” dig deeper. Does this mean they micromanage or does it mean you’ll work closely with them in all situations, helping you to learn and be mentored? If they prefer to let you hit the ground running, how will your work be monitored, approved, and executed, and at what intervals?
- What kind of personality would thrive in this position/at this company? Take note of the list of traits, and seriously consider if you would make a good fit. If the interviewer answers that the successful candidate would have a good sense of humor or wear many hats, understand that you’ll need to be on your toes. If they mention that a flexible schedule is necessary, clarify if nights, weekends, holidays, and travel are involved and how often. Be honest with yourself – are you willing to make sacrifices or is this just another aspect that adds up to your dream job?
- Where is the company headed? This is a great way to gauge the innovation of the company. Listen to the company representative’s viewpoint regarding the future of the business from different aspects like social media usage, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.
What questions are you raising to recruiters and hiring managers to determine whether a job is the right fit for you? What are some of the “must haves” in your next job? How are you evaluating opportunities?
DeAnn Baxter, APR, is a freelance consultant with experience in agency and corporate communications. She holds bachelor’s degrees in public relations and speech communication from Penn State and a master’s in PR from Johns Hopkins University. In 2006, the Public Relations Society of America honored her as the New Professional of the Year. Connect with DeAnn on LinkedIn or Twitter.
August 25, 2011
Guest Post by Monica Earle
Monica Earle is a recent graduate of the University of North Florida where she majored in Communication, following the public relations track. She is the immediate past president of UNF’s PRSSA chapter and an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity. She is hoping to find a job that can combine her passions for public relations, social media, travel and fashion.
She did what most of us would do in college. She joined PRSSA, worked with student government and in leadership for her fraternity. All these things were fun but they also helped prepare her for her first job. A few months out of school and she’s still looking for that first dream job. I asked her to reflect on what she might suggest others do differently than she did.
What do you wish you had done differently in college?
I wish I had taken more graphic design and multimedia courses. These skills really set you apart from the students who only learn the basics of writing and editing. The more things you can do for an employer, the more valuable you become.
If you could have one do-over in college what would it be?
I would go back in time and make myself attend more classes my freshman year. The classes were easy enough to get A’s but due to my laziness at the time I received B’s.
I also wish I had taken better advantage of my school’s Career Services office.
Most schools offer resume and interview workshops. In my very first real job interview, I think I sold myself short by not being as confident as I truly am.
I was intimidated by working in my dream environment and forgot I was there to sell myself as a future employee. If I had gone through interview workshops on campus, I might have had a better interview.
What is your dream job?
Well, I learned through my internships that a more corporate culture is not the right fit for me. Ideally, I would have a job working in a public relations and/or event planning position in the hospitality, tourism or fashion industry, either for in-house or at an agency.
How do you set yourself apart from the other UNF/Florida public relations graduates?
Staying current on best practices, current trends and hot topics in the field is important so I spend about 30 minutes every morning reading through affluent blogs and news. I’m also volunteering with my local PRSA chapter and staying busy through freelance writing work. My website, online portfolio and blog are constantly updated and revised. Having a fresh, crisp page that appears when employers “Google” my name is vital to my job search. I also keep active LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts to maintain my online presence.
Can you talk about your daily routine of looking for a job?
Basically, I check local job boards through the various public relations and communications societies every morning. In the evening, after I get home from my part-time job I look through LinkedIn and national PRSA job listings.
How do you stay upbeat?
Truthfully, job hunting can be very demoralizing. I consider myself lucky if I get any response from a company; even if that response is that I’m not the “right fit.” Fortunately, I have very wonderful friends who encourage me, and incredible mentors who have been sending me leads on potential employment opportunities.
Have you changed how you network/look for a job since graduation?
After sending my resume to about 50+ online postings and getting no responses, I realized that people typically hire people they know or are referred to. In order to get in front of potential employers, I’ve broadened my network by attending almost every networking event I can afford. While I’m already involved with the local PRSA chapter, I plan on attending some upcoming American Marketing Association , International Association of Business Communicators, and Social Media Club events.
Are you looking for an energetic, ready-to-jump-in employee? Contact Monica and help her out. New graduates — what would you add to the list? Employers — anything she’s missing?
December 7, 2010
During this busy holiday season, it’s great to be part of the Help a PR Pro Out chat and online initiative this Wednesday at 9 PM Eastern Time. All communications professionals looking for jobs should tune in to Twitter for an hour of online networking and connecting (hashtag #happo).
Before, during and after the HAPPO chats, it’s critical to always be building and maintaining key relationships. Are you doing all you can to build and maintain relationships with communication and business people in your chosen market or field of expertise? Professional organizations such as PRSA, IABC and AMA take a break from formal presentations but might have a holiday function. This is a good chance to meet professionals on a less formal basis and even for students to build their networks. Check websites for local events.
If you’re home for the holidays schedule some informational interviews with local professionals. Most are more than willing to take time for a student or professional who wants to grab a cup of coffee. Think about your questions before you come…and don’t forget the thank you!
And, speaking of thank you…those two simple words mean so much and help you stand out. If you interview for a job you particularly want, think about how yours will stand out. Two from my food PR days I still remember:
- Prospect interviewing to work on Beef Industry Council account delivered some homemade beef carpaccio
- Another added to my collection of pencils (yeah, I know) by making a pencil top plate of the food clients
Since it’s the holidays, think about how you can give back this season to show your experience and commitment to your community. Offer your communication skills to help out the existing team. There are countless food banks, shelters and organizations busy gathering donations and running programs to help those less fortunate.
A vacation during the holidays can also provide a great opportunity to prepare for a post-holiday push.
- Brush up on your interviewing skills with a family member.
- Review your resume
- Enhance your portfolio – online or printed
- Research and review information about companies where you want to work
- Get ahead on some blog posts (do as I say, not as I do)
Use the downtime to your advantage. Be a little introspective and review your goals. How will you be preparing for the 2011 job search? What has worked for you?
Previous posts about job searches:
April 30, 2010
I think that to be in this profession you need to have curiosity, creativity, confidence and passion. I know that I have all of that. I have the curiosity to keep learning about PR everyday, the creativity to come up with new ideas and designs, the confidence in myself and my abilities to get the job done and the passion for PR and for graphic design. I am soon going to be a graduate of Slippery Rock University with a bachelor of science in Public Relations and a minor in graphic design in one week!
I have had two successful internships with in the past year and learned a lot, almost as much as I have learned in my classes. I have focused most of my time on graphic design and social media lately but I love to write and plan campaigns.
I recently planned two successful campaigns through my campaigns class and through PRSSA. Also through PRSSA I was a panelist at the Eastern Communication Association Convention in Baltimore for a session about PRSSA and the SRU chapter. I also was a presenter at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference and spoke about free online photo editing programs.
Hopefully you can see I love to learn more by having as many different types of experiences as I can and I am open to trying new things. So this is why I am looking for a great opportunity to come by that will allow me to use my curiosity, creativity, confidence and passion for PR and graphic design.
Find me on: