Now what? On the front lines of the job war
As everyone knows, it is more difficult than ever to find a job. Even the most qualified candidates are being turned down due to the economic pressures facing most companies today.
I was very blessed to find a job I love, but I receive emails, texts, tweets and Facebook messages daily from friends seeking advice on finding a job. I’m no expert, but I have compiled a few helpful hints that I have seen work time and time again.
Firstly, build your personal brand. I hear stories each day about more employers turning to social media when hunting down their next employee. In my opinion, this is even more so in the public relations field. Most public relations professionals have at least the basic knowledge of social media sites and are ready to employ them to narrow the candidate pool. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date with your most recent resume items, but don’t stop there. Use LinkedIn’s tools to research companies that are hiring and even apply through LinkedIn.
I also think Twitter and Facebook can be great tools in the job search. Mary Elizabeth Kidd, with whom I worked while interning, followed Green Olive Media on Twitter. Once the firm tweeted it was looking to hire, she immediately applied and now has her dream job. Follow companies to which you are interested in applying and try to reach out to people already employed there, if possible.
If you’re using Twitter to tweet offensive language and pictures of keg stands, maybe keep your Twitter account private.
When building your personal brand, your resume plays an important role. While it is important to show you unique selling proposition, it’s more important to be honest. (We all saw what just happened to former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson.) Use active verbs and be as descriptive as possible.
After your personal brand is ready – network. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Right? Utilize your professors, school alumni, fraternity and sorority alumni, your parents friends, your mailperson … anyone and everyone you can. I was a little hesitant to reach out to complete strangers, but found that most people are very ready and willing to help in any way they can. Most of the emails I get are from classmates and younger members of Pi Beta Phi, and I try my hardest to help them all!
If you don’t know anyone or you’ve exhausted your resources, don’t worry. There are many other networking opportunities all over. I attended PRSA and HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) events while still in school and made many valuable contacts. I didn’t know what to expect when I made the drive from Auburn to Atlanta to attend networking events, but I knew it would be worth it. I remember walking into Front Page News in Midtown for a HAPPO event my senior year and almost shaking because I was so nervous. In the first 10 minutes I was relaxed and speaking with the most interesting PR pros here in Atlanta – and they were chock full of advice.
There may not be events available during your search, but you can still employ these great resources. HAPPO has a tab designated to openings, and PRSA has an eNewsletter, site and Twitter account that post jobs hourly. You may not find your dream job in the first hour, but if you check these and similar sites often, you just might find the right opportunity.
When my internship was coming to a close, I did everything I could to find a job. I eventually found Schroder PR by conducting a Google search for public relations firms in Atlanta. Schroder PR was one of the first to show, so I did a little research. I saw that there were no immediate openings, but I still emailed Chris Schroder and he was kind enough to grant me an informative meeting. The rest, as “they” say is history. This happens all the time.
Maybe the company you think you’ll love isn’t hiring, but you should still meet with them. PR practitioners tend to know people employed at other firms, and they could make a connection for you. If anything, they can give advice on your next steps.
My last bit of advice is don’t get discouraged. I know it’s tough out there, but everything happens for a reason. Be the best candidate you can be, and you’ll land that perfect job in no time! If there’s anything I can do to help – please email me, or comment below!