4 Time-Tested Tips for Job-Hunting Success

May 1, 2018

It was 18 years ago when I embarked on my first post-college job hunt. Despite the years, I can still vividly remember much about that time — the seemingly endless possibilities were exciting, yet daunting, when it came to honing my search.

What could I do that would ultimately result in a job offer? A lot has changed since then, but I’d be willing to argue that more remains the same. Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone looking to make a career shift, consider these tips for landing your next great opportunity:

Relationships start now.

As clichéd as it sounds, public relations is a relationship business. Your success in this profession will live or die based on your ability to build and sustain relationships with clients, colleagues and industry influencers. What should you do?

  1. Realize your network and start using it. We all have networks: family, neighbors, professors, clients, colleagues. Who do you know? Where do they work? What inroads can they offer? Don’t discount someone just because you’ve known her since middle school — you might be surprised what influence she has today.
  2. Seek out informational interviews. When you are granted a conversation, be genuinely interested in the company, ask smart questions and don’t be pushy. This is your opportunity to start a new relationship, not land a job.
  3. Connect with industry professionals. These might be adjunct professors, PRSA members or executives participating in career fairs, portfolio reviews or class presentations. Stand out from the crowd by demonstrating your interest in learning from them and any opportunities they suggest. 

Internship is not a dirty word.

I realize that after four years of university, hundreds of hours studying and thousands of dollars in student loan debt, it’s time to get down to business and land a paying job. But be prepared, that job may come in the form of an internship — and that’s more than OK.

The reality is that many PR agencies offer full-time, paid internships as their entry-level role. The duration, responsibilities and qualifications for internships will vary, but the good ones will be paid and offered for a minimum of three months, with an opportunity to be hired permanently should all parties believe it to be a good fit. 

Résumés raise red flags.

Résumés come in all shapes and sizes, but there is one thing that screams warning: too many jobs, not enough time. When someone applies who has new jobs every few months, it makes me question several factors: Can they not commit? Are we just another notch on their belt? Is there a larger issue causing employers to quickly let them go?

A significant investment of time, money and energy goes into hiring an employee, so employers are looking for someone who can commit for the long haul.

Media still matters.

There isn’t any question that the media landscape has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Social media and other digital news platforms are on the rise, while newspapers are shuttering operations and mastheads are being scratched. Yet I can’t stress enough that in the world of public relations, media still rules

Candidates who understand what it takes to build a strong media list, craft a targeted pitch and conduct outreach will have an advantage over someone with pure interest or experience doing social media execution. 

Ann Smith

Ann Smith is president and founder of A.wordsmith, a boutique PR firm specializing in thought leadership communications in Portland, Ore. She is a member of Counselors Academy


Jeiny Ruiz says:

Thanks for your insightful yet short and easy to digest article. P.D. Funny that May 1st is my B-Day ;-)

Jan. 21, 2019

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