PRSA New Professionals Brown Bag: Get Your Dream Career

In our November New Professionals Section tweetchat, we discovered that many of our new professionals are eagerly searching for up-to-date relevant information on getting a job. Should you include social networks and a QR code on your resume? How can you bump up your interview strategy? We’re fortunate to have our very own part of PRSA dedicated to answering all of our questions – the PRSA Jobcenter.

In our upcoming Brown Bag, Richard Spector of PRSA Jobcenter, will share with us all of the basics, but also all of the new and creative ways to enhance your resume with QR codes and social media. Then, once you catch an employer’s attention with your resume, he’ll discuss how to “wow” them with your interview skills. In addition to interviews and resumes, he will review the job seeking tools PRSA has to offer.

Regardless of what stage of your career you’re in, this is always valuable information to have!

This New Pros Brown Bag will be held on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 12 to 1 p.m. EST. Remember, it’s free for New Pros members! Register here.

Richard Spector, manager of client services and sales support at PRSA, has been working with PRSA Jobcenter for five years. Spector guides public relations professionals of all levels in their job search, resume writing, networking and interview follow-up skills.

PRSA New Professionals Week: New Pros Tweetchat Recap via Storify

Today, the New Professionals Section hosted a tweetchat to celebrate the second annual New Professionals Week. We discussed resumes, portfolios, LinkedIn and more. In case you missed it, see below for a recap via Storify! Thanks to our programming chairs, Elizabeth Rhoads Greenaway and Brendan Hughes, for hosting.

Three Tips for Breaking into Your PR Career by Richard Spector

As the PRSA Jobcenter manager, I frequently present to groups of graduating seniors on tips for entering the public relations workforce. Most recently, I had the opportunity to speak at West Virginia University’s INTEGRATE Conference, and I found myself searching for the right career advice to give them. What can I say to a graduating class that’s going to be facing a tough economy? I found three tips that could give them an edge in this competitive job market:

Stay optimistic and determined. It’s never easy hearing the word “no”, especially after interviewing for a job you thought fit you perfectly. What’s more bewildering is not even getting an interview. Sometimes you’ll know the reason, but other times you won’t. Take that rejection and let it make you that much more determined to get the job. The passion you will have as a new professional is your strongest ally. Employers will see and recognize it. If this was your dream job, stay in touch with the employer even if they didn’t hire you. Career experts say that 25 percent of employers that initially turn down a candidate will eventually end up hiring them.

If you keep your skill sets strong and continue to form relationships, you’ll always have opportunities. If you want to get connected with a particular company, try volunteering, which may not put money in the bank, but gets you in their door.

Do what you love while you are job hunting. You can’t look for a job 24/7 — although you should be looking most of the time. However, everyone needs a break from the exhaustion of rejection. Rest and recharge with activities you enjoy doing. Take a break from tweaking your resume. You’ll view it with a fresh eye and spot things you never would have seen before.

Most of all, remember that there are some things you can control and other things you can’t. The economy will always go in cycles. If times are tough now, have faith that it will get better.

Prepare for your interview to the point of exhaustion. In the past, doing some research on a company’s website and being somewhat acquainted with the company was enough. Now, you have to be better and more prepared than the next person. Consider these resources when researching a company and how your own skills fit in:

  • Annual report —What is the company’s mission and tagline? How does this fit in with your career goals and qualifications?
  • Strategic plan — How can you help the employer achieve the goals in their strategic plan? What skills and tactics could you bring to the table? Are there new goals you can identify and help them reach?
  • Social media plan — How can you integrate all the different social media venues to help the company grow and succeed? A friend of mine was competing with several others for the same job. How did he stand above the rest? He put together a presentation of the different types of social media he would use to give the company a great social, digital and media presence.
  • Funding companies— How can you use social media such as LinkedIn, Google+ and others to develop and cultivate new leads for the company?
  • Company awards — What standards of excellence do you aspire to reach? Has the company won awards for their website or writing? Are there new skills you need to obtain to help them maintain these standards?
  • Company challenges — Where does the company fall short and how can you help them? Is their branding weak? Does their communications plan need updating?
  • Current employees on Facebook, LinkedIn — Who are the names and faces of the company employees? What do you know about the people that will be interviewing you? Doing your research on current employees helps you identify the corporate culture. You may even learn whether this job truly is a dream job or whether there’s not as much as a fit as you thought. Doing this groundwork will also create some wonderful networking opportunities down the road.

Change with the field. Sooner or later you’re going to have to update your skills. Who thought that Pinterest and Klout would be as important in the social media world as they have become? If you are a public relations expert, you may be asked to create a marketing plan. If you’re a strategic communications consultant, you may be asked to create new webpages for the company’s website that will increase traffic, coincide with their branding and be keyword optimized and content relevant. Peter Weddle, employment and workplace author and columnist, calls this “career fitness“. You always need to keep your skills in good shape. The PRSA Jobcenter has abundant resources for building and exercising your career.

If I could give new professionals the best lesson, it’s to always keep that youthful exuberance. Each time I present at a university, I’m always impressed by the graduating students’ enthusiasm. Enter a field because it’s something you love. Don’t go into a field because you think you’ll make money. Having a passion for your career ranks as high as having a passion for living. Hold onto that.

Richard Spector is the manager of client services at Public Relations Society of America.

New Professionals Section Tweetchat—Promoting YOU: PR Tips for Networking, Landing a Job and Moving Up

Working in the public relations field, promoting our clients or organizations is the root of what we do. We leverage Twitter, blogs, networking and traditional media to garner the highest praise for our client. When it comes to promoting ourselves for a better position, a higher salary or maybe even our first job, new PR professionals may come up short since we’re used to working behind the scenes.

The PRSA New Professionals Section wants to answer those burning questions you have about how to network effectively, how to stand out in a saturated job candidate pool and how to continue progressing in your PR career. This Tuesday, October 25, the New Professionals Section will be hosting its first Tweetchat with the authors of our July Summer Book Club book, “Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Get Hired and Get Rewarded at Work”. Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper will be live Tweeting at 7:15 p.m. EST with the PRSA New Professionals Section.

How to Join the Conversation

We will be posing questions from the PRSA New Professionals Section handle, with Kleiman and Weinsaft Cooper providing insight from their handle. You can follow both @PRSANewPros and @BestPublicist on Twitter, or simply monitor the #npchat hashtag to see what the whole Twitterverse is saying.

Didn’t get a chance to read the book? No worries. Read Blog Co-Chair Diahnn Henderson’s discussion of the book to get a preview of the advice you’ll gain during the chat.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from two experts in PR, publicity and personal branding and make yourself indispensable to your current or future employer! Follow #npchat with the New Pros on Tuesday night!

Our featured participants:

Jessica Kleiman is currently VP-public relations for Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines. A graduate of University of Michigan with a BA in Communication, she started her career at a magazine publicity firm and then served as director of PR at The Knot, a wedding media company. In 2011, Kleiman was nominated as “Publicist of the Year” by PR News.  She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and daughter and enjoys posting words she finds funny on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, Funny Word of the Day.

Meryl Weinsaft Cooper is a co-founder and principal of Allen/Cooper Enterprises, a marketing, exhibitions and events company with a focus on art and lifestyle brands.  Previously, as managing director  of the DeVries Public Relations‘ Home & Lifestyle division and as SVP-Partner at LaForce+Stevens, she led programs for a variety of hospitality and consumer brands including Veuve Clicquot, Belvedere Vodka, Pepperidge Farm, Samuel Adams Beer, New Amsterdam Gin and Ecco Domani Wines.  A graduate of Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications, her PR experience includes stints in art, music and entertainment, including time at the Screen Actors Guild’s New York office.  She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and dog, and spends her spare time writing and producing films as well as seeking out the best culinary, travel and art experiences, which she documents in her blog, Searching for Jake Ryan.

Both authors are contributing bloggers on’s Work in Progress section.

PRSA Jobcenter Adds Features Designed for New Professionals by Richard Spector

Recently I had the pleasure of managing PRSA’s Jobcenter redesign – with the help and guidance of some wonderful colleagues. We rebuilt the navigation and compiled information from all PRSA and PRSSA resources including advice based on PR Tactics articles, Forum blogs, comPRehension entries, HR consultants and resume guidance from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What is the result? We now have an information-rich career center to set job seekers on a successful path for all career levels. If you are new to public relations, the entry-level and tools and tactics pages can provide a needed edge in this ever-changing economy. We based the redesign on answering a series of questions for new professionals.

How can I write the best resume? A resume starts with making a personal pitch through your cover letter. This letter is your chance to make a great first impression. The first two sentences of your resume should summarize your background, to tell the HR person whether to read on. Once you have reviewed more resume and career articles, you can sign up for a customized 21-page resume guide or a resume critique. You will be able to access these portions once you post a resume to PRSA Jobcenter.

How do I prepare for a job interview? As the saying goes, you only have three seconds to make a good impression, and we can help. The first bit of advice is of course to keep calm even when asked tough questions. PRSSA has a great synopsis of the types of interview questions you may be asked. Next comes the question of following up after the first interview. The growing importance of social media has made the “give to get” rule a necessity. Stand out from the crowd by sending the company you interviewed for a relevant article or helpful observations on improving their website. When you get to the second interview, prepare a brief customized marketing or social media plan. Throughout the process, also take note of your personal brand. This will help you present yourself in the best way possible.

What are the best resources to search for a job? Nowadays, the answer really is “everything.” An HR consultant mentioned a conversation he had recently with a job applicant. The applicant waited a year before coming to him. Why? They were searching for jobs only via social media. Using only one resource decreases your chances of finding a job. You can stay competitive by searching for jobs on job boards, LinkedIn and Craig’s List. The PRSA Jobcenter has some time-saving elements when searching for a job, such as signing up for job alerts or a job feed.

How do I land that internship? PRSSA can help you get started with internship realities for graduating seniors. They also offer perspectives on working for an agency vs. a corporation. Once you have landed that much-coveted internship, you will want to make the most out of your internship experience. The ultimate goal is to be hired for a permanent position, and advice from both PRSA and PRSSA can help.

How can I network most effectively? The best outcome from networking effectively is to have an employer at the company you wish to work for hand-deliver your resume to the HR director. But how do you make this happen? PRSA Jobcenter has a page to help you network like a pro. Set up a plan to network with intention, make networking an art and follow the essential steps for networking success. Best-selling author Andrea Nierenberg offers tips on Ways to Say “Thank You” along with the “ABCs of Networking“.

Finally yet importantly, always stay positive, and remember PRSA Jobcenter will have strategic guidance for you every step of the way. Whether you are looking to ask our panel of mentors a question, wish to attend graduate school or find a helpful webinar, we will follow your career from entry-, mid- to senior-level.

Richard Spector is the manager of client services at Public Relations Society of America.