Playing the PR Field: Keeping Your Career Options Open

Many of us approach looking for new opportunities as a necessity of job searching. We find a job, start off enthusiastically, become disappointed when it’s not everything we thought it would be, continue doing the job until we can’t anymore, and then desperately search for a new job. We repeat this vicious, frustrating cycle either because we only look for a new opportunity when we’re desperate for one, we don’t take the time to think about what we need or want in a career, or we don’t feel that turning down a job is an option.

new pros should keep an open mind and an eye peeled for any new opportunitiesThis is absolutely the wrong way to approach finding a fulfilling career. Instead of pursuing opportunities only when we think we desperately need them, new pros should keep an open mind and eyes peeled for any new opportunities, no matter how satisfying their current position may be.

Actively looking around for what else is out there can help new pros decide what they want and don’t want in a career. Maybe there’s a great opportunity for a position with a well-known company that sounds like a dream available. If you ignore it just because you’re pretty happy with the job you have, you could be left wondering for the rest of your career if it was the one that got away. If you seek out an informational interview, you could find that it’s an opportunity you can’t pass up, that it’s not right for you—but is a great company—or that it’s just not a good fit at all. Early on in your career, learning more about a company or type of position is a great way to figure out what exactly you’re interested in and what you might like to explore more in-depth.

Keeping your options open also keeps you in control of your career. If you’re keeping an eye out for what else you could be doing, you can be the one to decide how long you’ll stay at a particular job—as long as your ‘looking’ is not negatively affecting performance in your current position. If you can juggle the job search while keeping up daily responsibilities, you can then decide if you want to keep learning and growing where you are or if you want to take a chance on another opportunity to grow your career. Being in the driver’s seat of your career is always a good place to be!

New opportunities often mean meeting new people, too. As you’re looking around at what else is available, you’re bound to make new connections with people you may not have met otherwise. Use informational meetings and events through professional organizations as a way to not only learn about new opportunities but to also build your network and strengthen your relationships. Actively reaching out to your network, new and old, will keep you the the front of  their minds for any opportunities that might come end up in their emails.

While you’re at the top of new connections’ minds, you should also be keeping your skills fresh. Look at what skills open positions are looking for and make sure that you’re keeping up with the latest trends and skills. Making sure that you’ve brushed up on the skills employers are looking for can go a long way in helping you land the perfect position.

What else can you do to stay open to opportunities and land your dream job?

Write a call-to-action into your LinkedIn summary.

It can be as simple as a quick line saying that you welcome emails regarding new opportunities. Keep it short and sweet and let people know the best way to contact you.

Make a list of your dream employers & contact them.

Find connections at these companies and ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company, its culture and any relevant opportunities. Even if there’s not an opening at that time, meeting with and keeping in touch with a contact or two inside will keep you at the top of their list when positions do open.

Set up informational interviews & meetings when possible.

If there are companies you know you’d like to work for, people you admire or colleagues whose advice you value, reach out to them. Set up informational interviews with the first two to learn more about what they do and what opportunities might be available. For those whose advice you trust, an informal meeting over coffee, drinks or brunch is a great chance to catch up and talk in a relaxed setting.

Let people know when & what you’re looking for.

Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, letting people know that you are open to new opportunities gives you new sets of eyes and ears to be on the lookout. Share your resume with those you trust and ask that they share information of new openings with you. If you are looking for a new job, let as many people as you can know, while not jeopardizing your current position. Spread the word privately to close connections, rather than publicly where your current employer may see. 

Keep checking job postings.

Sometimes it can be fun to see what else is out there and what better way than checking job posting sites. If you want to make it even easier, sign up for weekly or monthly emails from PRSA Jobcenter, Indeed or any other job boards with specific keywords relating to what you’re looking for and where.

RoRobyn Rudish-Laning (1)byn Rudish-Laning is a member of PRSA SC and communications coordinator for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. Robyn is also a member of the New Professionals executive committee. She is a graduate of Duquesne University and is currently located in Columbia, SC. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter or read her PR-focused blog.


How to Know When to Leave (or Stay) at a Job

Should I leave or should I stay? When do you really know it’s the right time to move on from a job for something new? A difficult question to answer, but one that many people face in today’s working world. Gone are the days that you are expected to, or want to stay in the same job, in the same workplace, for the rest of your life, but when do you know it’s time to move on and start looking for a new job? Here’s what you should consider.

Is there room for improvement?

The first thing to look at is if there is room for improvement in your current role. Figure out what it is that you like and dislike about your role, and how you could potentially address the dislikes. Often time’s employees are so hesitant to speak up to their managers about their dislikes on the job, when in reality, their managers may be able to help you see a way to make it more enjoyable.

What are your long-term goals?

Next, think through what your long-term goals are. Think about where you would like to be in the next 5-10 years, and what you are going to need to do or learn in order to get you to that point. A good employer will want you to grow with them as oppose to leave for a different opportunity, so by expressing the things you’d like to work on, you could end up with new opportunities that will help you reach your long-term goals. If you don’t see your employer assisting you in reaching these goals, it may be a sign that you should look for one that will.

Can you grow in your current workplace?

Take a look at if there is room to grow within your own organization. Is there a position you can see yourself moving up into if the opportunity presented itself? Is there a chance that you could be promoted within your organization to something you’d enjoy better? In larger organizations this is often a plus, but in smaller organizations, where a higher and better position may not exist, that may be a sign you’ll have to move out of the company in order to move up and forward in your career.

Are you happy?

Last but definitely not least, ask yourself if you are happy in your current workplace. Sometimes it can just be the role you are currently in that’s making you unhappy but the actual workplace is a place you genuinely enjoy working at. Other times you may just be completely over the place that you work, and know that even if you had a different role, you still wouldn’t be satisfied. If there isn’t a chance that you think you could work with your current workplace to improve your role, or move to a position you’d like better—then that’s a sign that it’s time to move on.

Moving on from a workplace that you’ve grown in and are comfortable at can be a tough decision, but in terms of your happiness and your employment, it’s okay to be selfish. If you have grown out of your current career, and don’t see a chance for you to develop professionally anymore, your employers will understand your want to move on to something that is better for you.

Lauren Marinigh is a PR and marketing professional based out of Toronto. You can learn more about Lauren at or on Twitter at @marinighPR.

How to Manage Your Next Job Interview Process

Untitled design (3)Many people assume that job interviews would be “no big deal” to a PR professional. After all, don’t we get paid to interview and be interviewed for stories? Here’s the catch–most interviews aren’t job interviews. Job interviews are intimidating. They are a necessary evil that many people fear, yet we all encounter.

If you’re getting nervous just thinking about job interviews, don’t worry. There’s several tips that can help you manage the interview process and put some that PR training to work!

Before the Interview

The interview process begins long before you put on your best outfit. It begins with the job application. How you present yourself in your resume and cover letter impacts whether or not you’re even offered an interview.

To be successful you must customize your cover letter and resume for every job application.  Job coaches suggest creating a “master” resume that includes everything in your repertoire so when you apply for a job you can select only the information that best reflects your qualifications. From this list you can also choose a few examples to highlight in your cover letter.  

This is where your PR training comes into play. You have spent several years learning how to write persuasively. Take that training and infuse it into your cover letter. Target your writing and convince them that you are the right person for the job.

During the Interview

Believe it or not job interviews aren’t about you, your abilities, or your education. They are about how you can fill a need in their company. More importantly, job interviews are about connecting with people. Hiring is expensive.  That’s why companies are concerned with hiring the right person and not just anyone that can do the job.

Yes, you need to be prepared with your resume, portfolio, and lots of great questions that show your interest, but none of that matters if you can’t connect with the people who are interviewing you. Be genuine and leave a lasting impression with everyone you meet—from the secretary to the CEO. You never know who may influence the hiring decision.

Don’t be surprised if companies have researched you on the internet. They recognize that cover letters and resumes are “sterile” representations of your personality. They want to know what you be like on Monday morning after your car broke down and you walked to work in the rain. No, seriously, they want to know who you really are and if you are a good fit for their culture and their current team.

After the Interview

After your interview follow up with a thank you note and include any additional information from your interview. While emails are appropriate, you may find that a handwritten note will leave more of an impression. Electronic communication is easier, but don’t let that stop you from picking up the phone or writing a note.

Be mindful and patient as you wait for their decision. Remember, it’s all about people, so use any follow up conversation to build on the relationships that you began in your interview. At the end of the day, whether you get the job or not, it all comes down to people. They are life’s common denominator no matter what situation you are in or profession you may pursue

As PR professionals we are trained to relate with people. Take that training into your next job interview. You may be surprised to see what happens!

RuthannCampbell (1)Ruthann Campbell graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. She is currently the Communications Specialist for a non-profit organization located in Rochester, NY. You can connect with her directly to network or share ideas on LinkedIn or Twitter.