Tuesday evening, January 25th, I had the pleasure of speaking to a room filled with PR recruiters and those seeking a job in the public relations industry at the HR Roundtable, presented by PRSA-NY New Professionals Committee and NYU’s PR League. The HR Roundtable offered attendees the opportunity to meet with recruiters from New York City’s top agencies. Special guests included:
Jami Secchi, Edelman
Katie DiChristopher, Marina Maher Communications
Lucy Cherkasets, Clarity Media Group
Marie Raperto, Cantor Integrated Marketing Staffing, Inc
Mindy Gikas, Ruder Finn, Inc
Sara Whitman, Peppercom
Jennifer Greenberg, Quantum Management Services.
Each offered their advice and insights in small group sessions.
“As the old saying goes, it’s not always what you know, but who you know,” explains Jason Brownely, co-chair, PRSA-NY New Professionals Committee and assistant account executive, M Booth & Associates Inc. “It is for this reason the PRSA-NY New Professionals Committees number one goal is to connect public relations professionals entering the job market at every level with opportunities to meet their peers and gain advice from experts in the industry.”
Other important insights overheard at the roundtables:
How do I get my foot in the door?
“With the volume of requests I receive, I can’t do informational interviews with everyone so it helps to make a connection, whether through LinkedIn or through someone you know who works in the company you want to work for, says Secchi.
Should someone accept a lower position or even entry-level position if they are moving to a new country, but have experience working in two or three other countries (including the U.S.)? “I thought that was very intriguing, and obviously many people are having to “come in” at lower or entry levels so they can break into agency life or just get a job,” said Whitman. “In this case, I told the person to focus more on identifying how her skills will translate and add value in her new home versus looking for entry-level positions. One of the strongest things a communications pro (and PR pro in particular) is to spend time positioning his/her self first, which will make matching skills and experience with an open position – or even just with a company – much easier.”
How often should candidates touch base or follow up with a recruiter? Once a month, recommends Secchi. “You want to be consistent but you don’t want to be a nudge,” she explains. “Because of the volume of resumes and emails companies receive, we can’t always get back to everyone daily so a monthly check in is totally appropriate. I also wanted people to know that they shouldn’t be discouraged or take it personally if they don’t get an interview.”
Secchi also reminded those she met that, “It could be timing, it could be the particular specs of a position, it could be that the position was filled internally so you just never know.”
Brownely notes that the New Professionals Committee will be hosting a number of events similar to this one, throughout the year. He encourages anyone looking to succeed in the public relations industry to become a member of PRSA-NY and to join the New Professionals section.