MEET ME AT THE TOP : Karyn Watkins

I’m doing something new today. I come across amazing, talented people all the time.  I profile some of them for Test Drive My Job, Senior Counsel or How to Pitch. But occasionally I meet very impressive people who are looking for work.  Brilliant, talented and eager to work in PR and communications, I wish I could put them all in a building and start my own mega-firm! And someday, I just might. :)

Just because you don’t have a job does not mean I won’t profile you. If you’ve impressed me with your job-seeking skills and hustle, you might just find yourself on Mopwater PR + Notes.  Like Karyn Watkins.  I “met” her on Twitter.  She was tweeting about her search for PR work in DC, so I contacted her and we met for coffee.  Currently living in her hometown of Chicago, Karyn writes The Fabulous Giver–an amazing blog on philanthropy. She also writes a philanthropy column for the Examiner.  Very tech and new media savvy. Sharp young lady. Check her out–she won’t be “retired” for long!

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Name: Karyn Watkins, 25

Current City: Chicago, Illinois

Looking For: A Healthcare or Non-Profit PR Job in DC or Chicago

Our Notes: Great writer, awesome personality

On the Web: The Fabulous Giver

Mopwater: Can you give me  a quick description of your decision to leave advertising and move into PR?
Karyn: Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various facets of marketing communications from sales to advertising. I’ve learned so much from each experience! However, it’s becoming very clear that the Internet is changing the way that people interact with each other and with companies. I knew that I wanted to be a greater participant in the conversations happening between people, businesses, and donors about various brands, initiatives, and organizations. So, it seemed only natural that I switch it up and move into public relations.

Mopwater: How is the search going? How long has it been? What is your ultimate  goal?
Karyn: I’ve been “retired” for almost five months, but honestly, I didn’t start my job search until January of this year as I wanted to focus on writing and volunteering. So far though, I think that the search is going well. I’m not saying that the opportunities are endless, but in all fairness, I can’t totally blame it on the economy. I have a specific idea of the tasks and creativity needed to do my next job, and while I’m willing to compromise a little, I can’t compromise it all strictly because the Dow Jones tells me that I should! After all, I courageously and voluntarily left my previous employer to pursue my ideal career path and I just can’t throw that away.

My ultimate goal is to land in a public relations or communications position within the healthcare or nonprofit sector. I am either looking to stay in Chicago or relocate to the Washington D.C. Area. There are pros and cons to each decision, but I’ll just have to weigh the opportunities once they become available to me!

Mopwater: What made you decide to start your blog?
Karyn: Volunteering and giving back is something for which I have a strong passion. I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for great chances to combine something I love (i.e. shopping, dining out, etc) with charitable living. I would send my friends and co-workers emails with information about fun charitable events/initiatives, and finally just decided to start the blog!

Mopwater: At what point did the Examiner reach out to you?
Karyn: A couple of months into the blog, I was contacted by the local Content Manager about the opportunity to write for the Examiner. She was looking for a fresh perspective into the Chicago charity scene and came across my blog in a Google search!

Mopwater: Has your blog opened up any career opportunities?
Karyn: I wouldn’t necessarily say that my blog has “directly” extended any career opportunities, but it’s provided me with the chance to connect with business leaders and people within the nonprofit and PR industries from all over the country. I’ve also had the opportunity to write for other outlets, all of which offers great experience for my resume!

Mopwater: Philanthropy and blogging are obviously your passions. Do you feel blogging helps you keep your writing skills sharp?
Karyn: Oh, absolutely! The best part about all of this writing (other than the sheer enjoyment) is that it provides me with writing samples for potential employers. I’m continually pushing myself to be more creative and strategic with my ideas. It’s important for me because superior writing skills are rewarded in the PR industry, and I want to demonstrate to my peers and potential employers that I have what it takes. I hope they can feel my passion through my words and understand that I can bring that same level of enthusiasm to their brands.

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