I’m dedicating today’s post to the job seekers among us. It’s difficult for me to ignore the fact that so many people are out of work right now, so instead of offering you best practices for the job you might not have, today I’m all about helping you get the PR job you’ve been dreaming of.
I know you’re conducting an active search by scouring job boards, newspaper classifieds and even talking to recruiters. But here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting noticed by people who are looking for someone like you.
1. Head to the Top. Talk to people who know people—preferably people who know lots of people. Befriend the heads of your local (and national) professional organizations. Request a sit-down with leaders in your field. I know what some of you are thinking. “Why would the leaders want to talk to me?” You’d be surprised at what people are willing to do when you ask them. Find someone who knows your target and request an introduction. If you don’t know someone who knows the person you’re trying to reach, use Google or LinkedIn to connect the dots. Make a phone call or send an e-mail introducing yourself. Detail your experience and your goals. Ask for what you want. They may not have a job to hand you, but chances are, they’ll know someone who will. And be patient. Once you begin talking to the right people, and they begin mentioning your situation to their people, something will eventually open up.
2. Go On Informational Interviews. I love informational interviews and make a practice of doing these a few times a year, even when I have a job. For PR people, especially, it’s a great idea to get in front of people who practice different types of PR if you’re thinking of changing your focus. Informational interviews are great because there’s absolutely no pressure on you or the interviewee. Your host doesn’t feel pressured to “give you something” and you’re not competing for an open spot at their company. However if something should open up for you, that’s great,too.
When I was finishing up at Howard University, I spoke to an English professor about my writing goals. She mentioned that her sister was an editor at the Washington Post and I should set up an informational interview. Well, the sister turned out to be Marie Arana, the Washington Post Book World Editor-in-Chief at the time (in short, a really big deal). Marie connected me to several other Post editors who agreed to do informational interviews with me as well. They gave me invaluable advice about journalism and writing that I have repeatedly used and actually passed on to several people who have come to me for advice. But all this came about through a simple request: Sit down with me and tell me about what you do. No strings. No pressure. Read the full story