Posts Tagged ‘job hunt’

PRSSA National Conference: Speed Networking & PR Student Questions

Friday, October 21st, 2011

PRSSA_NC_250_160The speed networking session at PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) National Conference was chock-full of driven, ambitious PR students who will soon be looking to become the next generation of communications professionals. I thought I’d share my experience, and solicit feedback, with the @BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

How to Craft a Proper Résumé
The predominant question of the day was about the length of their résumés. I responded that if a student is active in PRSSA, works for a student-run firm, and is actively interning, then the résumé could justifiably go beyond one page. However, from what I gather, most large PR agencies, as well as communications professors, advise all students to restrict their résumés to one page without exception – going so far as saying students/candidates will not make the grade and/or the résumé would not get reviewed! 

Subsequently, I advised that they stick to the one-pager, but to note there are samples available, and to be sure to have a portfolio of their work ready to take on an interview. However, I still believe that outside of class and the top tier agencies it is okay to go to a second page if the experience warrants doing so.

Timing Your Job Search
Another question I heard frequently was how soon to begin the job search, to which I snarkily responded, “You haven’t begun yet?” 

Seriously, I advised that they should already be thinking about where they want to go (geographically), whether they want to work for an agency, a corporation or a non-profit, and to begin researching and networking accordingly. For example, in St. Louis (where I’m a PRSA member), there is PRSA, IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and CSPRC (Community Service Public Relations Council).

Depending on where the student has decided their path will be, they should be networking with the appropriate organization by attending mixers and/or luncheons and getting involved. Or, if they’re not staying in the same geographic market, find those people on Twitter and begin connecting and building relationships.  And, if they are already seniors—especially those that graduate in December—if they haven’t already started this process, then they are behind the eight ball!

There were lots more questions, but these seemed to be the most prevalent. What advice would you give for new and existing PR professionals on the job hunt? Or what questions do you have if you’re looking to start or continue your career in communications?

December Job Blues? ‘Tis the season for career networking

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Unfortunately, some companies still don’t understand in a slow economy they should increase their pubIic relations efforts, not reduce them. Sadly, this is confirmed by the notices I’ve received in recent weeks from PR colleagues who have been “liberated” from their current positions. A few liberations didn’t surprise me due to industry conditions, but others caught me totally off-guard. Below I’ve compiled some thoughts and resources. I encourage you to add resources you’ve found helpful to aid our peers in their time of need.

Update your résumé

Customize your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for based on the posted job description. There are many free sites and resources available online including 

Résumés that Get You the Job, an audio program that provides tried-and- true tips for creating a great resumé.


Take advantage of holiday social events. There’s no harm in letting people know you are looking for a new position and when appropriate, to ask to leverage their personal and professional contacts within the companies you target for employment. Attend and volunteer for events hosted by IABC and PRSA. Before you venture out to power-network your way back to employment or to a better job, check out some excellent networking tips in Karen Susman’s weekly newsletter.

Leverage your social network

Keep your online profiles up to date. There’s nothing worse than reaching out to contacts only when you need a job, so please don’t be that person. Go through your contacts, recommend their work, and ask former colleagues and managers to provide a recommendation of your work as well. Prospective employers will most likely conduct some preliminary research on professional and social networking sites based on your application and you should make certain your profile accurately reflects the hirable you.

Freshen up your skills

If you are not already active in social media, take advantage of this time and join conversations where you can contribute and build your profile. If you don’t know where to start, keep your eyes out for the BurrellesLuce free social media overview presentation, scheduled for later this month.  (You may also download two BurrellesLuce white papers, Conversation Builds Community and Social Media Provides Opportunity, here.)  If you are already an active participant, then build your profile as a thought leader in your area of expertise. All professional communicators and PR practitioners must be well versed in social media.

Take advantage of the holiday season

While looking for a job during the holiday season is certainly challenging, there is also an advantage in that your competition slows their efforts during this time. Many companies want to fill key spots before the New Year in an effort to kick off 2009 with a full staff.

Send thank-you notes

Send thank-you notes to everyone who encourages you, opens doors, and provides advice, counsel and insight whether you use it or not. A thank-you note goes a long way and allows you to stand out as someone people will want to help in the future.

Please share other resources and your thoughts here so our peers can minimize their down time and quickly get back on track to inform, influence and persuade.