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:
February 11, 2010
This week, PR pros across the country are gearing up to help our friends. Helping 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.
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.
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
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.