New Year, New Job: Tips for Acing Your Job Search

new year, new job

As the year is winding down and a new one is just over the horizon, this is the time of year many of us spend in reflection. As you’re taking an objective look at what you’ve accomplished in your career over the last 12 months and where you’d like to take it in the next 12 or more months, you might come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on to something new. If you’re ready to search for your next adventure, keep reading for tips to make it a successful search.

  1. Have an idea of what you’re looking for in a job

Early in your career it’s easy to resort to the “see what sticks” approach when you’re looking for a job, particularly if you’re feeling desperate to get out of the job you have. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get to that point of desperation before looking for a way out.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my argument for why applying to anything and everything is a bad idea: This early in your career, you should be focused on searching for jobs that do two things for you – strengthen your existing skills and help you learn and develop skills that you don’t have yet. Think about what you like about your current job and your strengths and keep those front of mind as you’re sorting through job descriptions and applying. If you’re spending time searching through generic “public relations” or “communications” results, opening, reading and applying to most, if not all, you’re wasting a lot of time. Focus your search on things you’re actually interested in and a potential good fit for, you’ll have more success in landing interviews and offers. Every new job you take shouldn’t feel like starting over or reinventing the wheel, but rather building on the career you’ve already begun.

  1. Scour your network

You may not feel like you have enough of a network to dip into when early on in your career. That’s common, but wrong. Think of all the things you are or have been a part of – your university, PRSSA, your sorority or fraternity, other on campus organizations, your hometown, etc. – and start there. Look at alumni of your university, Greek organization and other organizations, and members of your local PRSA chapter for professionals in your field, doing a job you’re interested in or working at an organization and reach out. You’ll find that many professionals – even if you’ve never met them – are more than willing to help young pros get their feet in the door, learn and share their experiences and wisdom. Build your network by making these connections.

  1. Build up your connections before you need them

Speaking of connections… So you’ve found some interesting people in your network and you’re writing that first email to them. “Hi, I’m looking for a job. Can you help?” is not the first email you should send to anyone. Instead, start building your network as soon as you can by cultivating relationships with others in the field. Schedule coffee or informational interviews with professionals to learn more about their organizations, their careers and to ask for advice on landing a job in your city. If you’re meeting for coffee, always, always, always pay for their coffee. It’s the least you can do.

After your meeting, send a quick thank you note or email thanking them for their time and insight. You can also ask them for a follow-up or any lingering questions you didn’t get to ask. A thank you is non-negotiable and should be done promptly for every person who takes the time to interview you or meet with you to help you along in your career. Any time someone spends time helping you develop professionally, make sure to thank them with a quick, personal email or handwritten note, including a particular mention of something specific from the conversation.

  1. Ask for help

You’ve built up relationships with professionals in your network. Now you can ask them for help in your job search, with a couple of caveats. You cannot ask them to get you a job. You can ask them to introduce you to someone in their network. You can ask them for tips on interviewing. You can ask them for some insight into a job you’re applying for at their organization. You can ask them to share jobs with you that they see shared in their networks or that may come across their desks. Whatever favor you’re asking for, you must be direct and specific. Except for asking them to get you a job.

  1. Do your research

As mentioned in #1, knowing what you’re looking for is the key to a successful job search and good, solid research is at the heart of that.  Researching possible jobs will help you to determine what you’re interested in and would be the best fit for your skills. Researching people in the jobs you’re interested in, whether in the immediate future or further down your career path, will help you to nail down the skills you need to build and the achievements you should work towards. Researching the organizations you’re interested in – by scouring their website, scheduling informational interviews and making connections within the organization – will give you insight into the culture and what makes a successful candidate for possible openings, as well as helping you ace the interview when it comes time.

  1. Keep your web presence in tip-top shape

I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again, but it’s important to make sure your virtual self is an accurate representation of you. You should make a habit of auditing your social media and taking care to make sure you have a place on the web to showcase your work. Think of it as a Spring Cleaning for your virtual presence and do it with each season. When you’re job searching, it’s especially important to make sure everything that represents you is in perfect shape because that’s the first impression most potential employers will have of you, along with your resume.

Finding and landing a new job can be a daunting task, whether you’re a new pro or experienced. Putting your best foot forward and making sure you’re as prepared as possible will help ease the stress and make sure your first job sets your career off to a stellar start.

Image uploaded from iOSIn her third year on PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s executive committee, Robyn serves as 2018 chair-elect. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Washington, D.C., by way of Pittsburgh and South Carolina. Robyn currently works for Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), a trade association representing North America’s airports, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a master’s degree in media arts and technology, with a focus on creative media practices, both from Duquesne University. She likes to spend her spare time cooking, reading, exploring, crocheting and spending time with her tail-less cat, Izzy. Learn more about her on her website or find her on Twitter & talk to her!

Three Tips for Landing Your First Job Using Facebook

Three tipsFor those of you just entering the work force after graduating from college – first and foremost – congrats on graduating! It’s an exciting time to begin a new chapter and take new leaps of faith. It can also be daunting at times, with the vast number of options available to you as you begin your job search.

For those who take advantage of internships, you can utilize what you learn to help you narrow down what you might be interested in – agency vs. internal, corporate vs. non-profit, etc. And for a lucky few, these internships could lead to a full-time position post-graduation.

For others, we’re left with the boundless listings on job search sites such as Monster, Indeed or Media Bistro, among others. A tool that is often times forgotten or untapped, however, is Facebook. While it might seem silly, it actually works. I found my current job from a post on Facebook. To help guide you in using this platform in your job search, here are three tips.

Maintain your public profile

While many will recommend you immediately change your privacy settings the day you graduate, it can work to your advantage to leave your profiles public. An employer can get a sense of who you are, your interests, and how you would fit in with the company. Additionally, you can amp up your presence by promoting your blog (if you have one) or further demonstrate how you stay on top of current trends with your status updates. Be sure to be authentic and genuine about this.

But that also means you must be aware of what photos are tagged of you, what your friends post on your wall, etc. Bear that in mind if you do decide to keep your profile public.

Identify what you “Like.”

By going through and finding companies on Facebook, and liking their business pages, you can stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the office, the culture, and what clients they handle (if it’s an agency).

Most companies – especially PR agencies – will share when they are looking to fill a new position. If you already decided to follow them, you’ll be able to save the time you would spend deciding whether or not you would be a good fit for the company if you found the job listing elsewhere online.

Engage.

While you shouldn’t like every post that the company shares (this comes off as spam-my and frankly, annoying), by engaging with the company through likes and quality comments in moderation, they are more likely to recognize your name when your résumé hits their inbox.

At the end of the day, social media is a large part of a PR professional’s job description. What better way to get your foot in the door with your dream employer than starting a relationship on Facebook?

Have a tip on how to land your first job using Facebook? Share with us below!

Shandi HuberShandi Huber is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. An enthusiast for all social media platforms, you can often find her pinning her dream closet on Pinterest or posting photos of her new puppy on Instagram. Connect with Shandi on LinkedIn and Twitter (@shandihuber).

How to control your future career {PRSA Colorado event recap}

Editor’s note: The following recaps Laura Cardon’s experience at PRSA Colorado’s recent workshop. Find your upcoming local PRSA events here.

After getting carded immediately upon entering the Mile High Moguls job search workshop, I suddenly realized I might be the only person in attendance that had graduated from college.

This turned out to be true, but I considered the night a success despite feeling a bit out of place. Andrew Hudson’s job interview workshop was incredibly helpful, AND I discovered that I still look young enough to get carded!

How to control your future careerMany of Andrew’s points drew close parallels to what we are already well-versed in as PR professionals:

  • Tell a story,
  • Prepare thoroughly,
  • Be honest, and
  • Create a personal brand that people want to be loyal to.

Sounds familiar right?

It’s easy to forget that you have this skill set when you’re searching for a job. Multiple rejections, or even simply no response at all, start to wear on even the most upbeat person.

But don’t get stuck in the quicksand – you have more control over your future than you may think.

Andrew was quick to point out that you actually enjoy total control over several aspects of your job search, and that doesn’t just mean interview prep.

You have control over your personal brand, woven together by:

  • Your personal social media presence,
  • A well-prepared elevator pitch and cold call script, and
  • A polished resume.

You control all of these things, and if you do your homework and enlist the help of others for advice, your chances of getting an interview increase exponentially.

Once you’ve made it into that interview, Andrew emphasized that you want to be a sigh of relief for your interviewers, that “ahh” feeling when they realized they have found exactly who they need.

You are the solution to their problem.

How do you present yourself as that sigh of relief?

Make it clear why you are the best candidate, backed up with specific examples of relevant work and how you will add value to the company or organization.

For example, don’t say you’re hard-working. Everyone is hard-working.

Show your interviewers how you are hard-working based on a story you can tell about a time you’ve gone above and beyond.

In the end, the most successful job seekers truly make it their full time job. (Click to tweet!)

If you’re not currently employed, it’s easy to get a bit lazy, but you’re much more likely to be successful if you treat your job hunt like you are going to work each morning.

Andrew suggested making a routine – spending x amount of time on cold calls, actively searching for jobs, interview prep, etc.

Don’t forget that looking for a job is a skill that can be developed. And under no circumstances forget to send a written thank you note to your interviewer!

Andrew Hudson’s Job List is an excellent resource for job seekers in the Denver metro area (it’s actually where I found my job). Just to be clear, none of the above advice is my own – it is all based on Andrew’s workshop and his fantastic advice. Linhart PR was kind enough to host us for the Mile High Moguls event, which benefitted PRSSA at Colorado State University. For more information about PRSA Colorado, visit www.prsacolorado.org.

Other resources from Andrew:

Laura CardonLaura Cardon is a public relations professional living in Denver, CO. Originally from Maryland, Laura enjoys riding horses, hiking, and volunteering at the Denver Animal Shelter. In her spare time, Laura also shares her passion for the great outdoors with fellow beginner outdoors enthusiasts on her blog, Outdoors Beginner. Find her on Twitter @LauraCardon23.

Staying Competitive During the Job Hunt

Did You KnowThe process of applying for jobs can be overwhelming whether you’re a recent college graduate or a professional transitioning to a new role in an entirely different industry. As a college senior, it was very easy to feel defeated after applying to a number of jobs and not receiving positive feedback from the other end.

Juggling work as a full-time student, intern and hunting for a post-grad job was stressful. However, I eventually saw the light at the end of the tunnel when I received my job offer, and realized that my motivation stemmed from a deep understanding of my goals and maintaining my drive. Although applying for jobs can be a dreaded task, there are several strategies you can keep yourself competitive and motivated during the search:

1. Continue Gaining Experience. If you’re not employed while seeking a new position, it can be difficult for employers and recruiters to gain a serious interest in you. As frustrating as it sounds, you oftentimes need experience to gain experience. In order to practice the skills required for your dream job and continuing to build your resume, think about volunteering or interning while applying to jobs.

Volunteering for a non-profit whose cause you are genuinely passionate about is a great starting point to apply your skills. Interning for a startup or small consulting group in addition to guest blogging on relevant topics can also provide relevant experience.

2. Learn New Skills. For some candidates, transitioning to a completely different industry presents a challenge of proving to a recruiter or hiring manager that you have the right skill set to meet their needs. To overcome this, take advantage of workshops, seminars and boot camps that provide immersive crash courses in your field of interest. Check out free resources such as blogs, LinkedIn publications and online journals as well.

For more technical skill building, it’s helpful to watch videos either on YouTube or other subscription-based services. By showing that you’re committed to immersing yourself in a new industry, hiring managers will have a better chance of seeing you as a competitive candidate.

3. Stay Inspired. Like millions of people out there in the world, I have a list of ten dream companies that I hope to work for in my lifetime. From this list, I search for the roles I’m interested in at each company, and then do a bit of research on LinkedIn regarding the people who are in that particular department and the experience and skills needed for the position.

This effort truly motivates me to continue working towards my ultimate “dream job”. This could also potentially develop great leads and introductions via LinkedIn with people you would like to have informational interviews with to discuss your interests.

4. Network and Make New Contacts. Using referrals and connections is a great way to get your foot in the door of a company and get a chance at landing an interview. If you don’t have a wide network of contacts or are trying to gain contacts in a new industry, you can utilize LinkedIn, personal relationships and networking events to start building your connections.

On LinkedIn, you’re able to showcase your achievements and experience and reach out to the recruiters and directors of the department at the company you’re interested in. Here, you have the chance to introduce yourself and also ask for advice on how someone got to where they are now. Don’t forget to take it offline, though. Networking events, informational interviews and career fairs are great resources to make a personal connection with recruiters.

5. Set Measurable Goals. Project management can definitely apply to the process of applying for jobs. Organization, prioritization and time management are key to staying sane in this process. These elements all aid in the tracking of applications and interviews you have lined up.

With other tasks outside of only applying for jobs, it is important to set measurable goals. For example, it can be a very realistic goal to apply to three to five jobs a week depending on your other priorities, while dedicating the rest of your free time to attending networking events and learning new skills. Setting these reachable goals also prevent you from getting burnt out. Rather than doing too much to the point that you get discouraged, it’s beneficial to pace yourself especially in a stressful time like finding a new job.

What else have you done when applying for a new job? 

Jenelle YeeJenelle Yee graduated from the University of Nevada with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Upon completing her degree, she relocated to Austin, Texas for a role in internal audit at a technology company. She has written pieces for Intern Queen Inc. and Lauren Berger Inc., providing career and internship advice to young professionals.

August Twitter Chat Highlights: Preparing for Your Next Career Move

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the August #NPPRSA Twitter chat focused on how PR professionals can prepare for the next shift in their career. We discussed how to lay the ground work for career growth, considering both internal promotions and jobs at new companies.

PRSA Twitter ChatSpecifically, we’d like to thank our special guest for the evening, Ron Culp, Instructor and Professional Director of the Graduate Public Relations & Advertising Program at DePaul University. Ron also manages the industry leading blog Culpwrit for new professionals establishing a career in PR.

Join us again on September 4 for our next #NPPRSA chat.

Stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Google+.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the August chat? How can you prepare for your next career move? What can you do to broaden your experiences in your current position to be considered for a promotion? What should a PR pro do if they don’t see a future for career growth within their company? 

 

 

Amy BishopAmy Bishop works in digital PR and marketing for DigitalRelevance, a content promotion agency. She is also Social Media Co-Chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section. Read her insights on customer experience and social business on her Marketing Strategy blog. Connect with Amy through TwitterPinterest or Google+.