If you want to get a job in PR or any other industry, you can’t follow conventional wisdom. Resumes and cover letters mean nothing. And a 5 second Google search has now taken the place of first round interviews.
To get a job in today’s cutthroat environment, you have to go hard…period.
Stop sending out your resume.
Resumes are almost obsolete. Every one is qualified on paper. If you’re blindly sending out resumes to every job ad you see, you’re hustling backwards. Posted positions have already been filled, but must still be posted for legal reasons. I know this because a position at a PR firm was created for me and the job description had to be posted for a minimum of 5 days allowing other people to vie for the title.
This underscores the need for you to be out in the field building relationships with people at the companies you want to work with.
Pick the company. Don’t let the company pick you.
Why are you sitting around waiting for random Company X to start hiring? You’re in your 20’s, which means you’ll be working for 40+ years. I don’t know about you, but 40 years is a long time to be unhappy. After you finish reading this post you need to make a list of the top 25 places you’d like to work. Focus all of your relationship building and outreach efforts on these companies. Don’t waste time applying anywhere else if you really aren’t sure you want to work there.
Once you have your list, start doing your research. Who are the top execs in your area that work at the company? Do you have any connection to these people? Is there any way you can attend their next event? Can you get an introduction from a trusted friend or professor?
These are just some of the questions that you need to ask yourself. Stalk these companies. Learn their history. Learn their culture. Make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Know your industry.
Once you’ve decided on a career, do your research! If you care enough to spend the better part of 40 years in that field you should at least know who’s who. PR is a relatively small field.
At the very least, you should be able to:
- Name the top PR trades/blogs/digital publications.
- Name 5 of the top 10 global PR firms.
- Name one firm in your area/region.
- Discuss a campaign that was run by an in-house team.
- Name a campaign from the last 5 years, that you thought was successful.
- Discuss at least 1 headline story from the major dailies.
- Rattle off a list of top blogs in your niche.
…and this list could go on and on. Do the research. Information is literally at your fingertips. Don’t be deliberately uninformed.
If you have a unique POV, share it!
Blog.Tweet. Speak up at industry events and conferences. Comment on articles. Write articles. Call people out.
You will never be able to differentiate yourself, if you agree with everything that’s out there. If you have a unique point of view, share it! Don’t just be a cog in the system. Companies need and want to hear your ideas!
What other things should new grads know as they hunt for jobs? If you’re a new grad, what challenges are you seeing in the job market? Let’s talk.
Leave questions in the comments or send me a tweet.
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Photo: Google Images