The public relations industry is constantly changing. It seems like every day there are new tools to master. How can you make sure you’re up to speed when it comes to your next job interview?
Industry learning opportunities are endless. One way to stay current about happenings in the public relations field is by reading blogs, both about public relations as well as the industry you want to work in.
How do you find the right blogs to read? Start with this list of the top 100 PR blogs and then choose the ones you like the best. Check out the links and blogrolls for each blog to find find other related sites and blogs to read.
Searching for releases in your industry or areas of interest will give you topic ideas and domain knowledge to potentially share in an interview. By reading press releases, you can get ideas you can incorporate in the releases you write for your clients, too. While we’re on the subject, you should be reading all the recent releases from any agency or company you interview with before the interview.
Follow both industry journalists and other PR folks on Twitter. Once you find someone to follow, check their Twitter Lists to see if they’ve categorized other industry people you should follow as well. Sites like Listorious and WeFollow allow you to search a category to follow new people. It’s a great place to start in following thought leaders.
What Hiring Managers Want You to Know
When you’re in your next job interview, what will the hiring manager want you to know?
They expect you to be up to speed on changes in both public relations and the industry you want to work in. That means if Obama passed an economic stimulus package that affects physicians moving to electronic medical records and you’re applying for a job at a healthcare company, you better know all about it!
They expect you to know about the them. If they have a tagline, memorize it. If they have posted their mission statement, read it thoroughly. If you have the job description, you should understand it and have your questions prepared. Read through all their press releases – you should know about the company’s latest news and management hires. If asked, you should be able to name their top five clients. You should also have a general knowledge of the hiring manager’s background by checking out LinkedIn or doing a bit of internet research prior to the interview.
Hiring managers also like you to have diverse interests that will help in coming up with creative ideas and story angles. And every hiring manager in the public relations industry will expect better than average writing skills. Before the interview, prepare a few samples of your work and make sure they are relevant for the position.
Stephanie Lloyd, career blogger at Radiant Veracity and owner of Calibre Search Group, is writing a series for her blog on how recruiters are using Twitter in the recruiting efforts. Today was my turn for an interview. Here's an excerpt, but definitely check out Stephanie's blog for the entire interview and for her career advice "served with a healthy dose of candor and a smile."
Interview with Lindsay Olson: How do you use Twitter in your recruiting efforts?
With all of the publicity Twitter is getting these days it′s no wonder I′m getting so many questions from job seekers asking how they can use it effectively in their job search as well as how recruiters use it to find candidates.
I decided to interview several recruiters who are avid users of Twitter and ask them what advice they have for job seekers. This week I talked to Lindsay Olson .
How do you use Twitter in your recruiting efforts?
I started using Twitter two years ago. I use it to keep in contact with candidates and companies with whom I already have a relationship as well as forge many new relationships. I mainly follow professionals in my industry specialty — public relations and marketing.
I share information about our searches, but my goal is to use it for more than just posting information about my company and searches. I post relevant industry links and information about the industry as well as career advice from my blogs and blogs of others that I think my audience may find insightful.
By sharing useful information and engaging with my followers daily, I′ve built relationships it would have taken years to build, if ever, any other way.
For the rest of the article, see Stephanie's full post.
Yesterday, I posted a story from a reader who told me about a recent experience with a company asking for a marketing plan and presentation prior to making a decision between four candidates for a part-time 90-day contract position.
Based on the comments, it seems pretty obvious most people think this kind of behavior is not acceptable. I agree.
The company is out of line to ask for a one hour presentation outlining the marketing plan created for them - for free and with no guarantee of a hire after the presentation. Coupled with the fact, they weren't decent enough to give the candidate a moment to use the restroom during a six hour interview gives me the impression they don't know how to treat talent. The details DO matter.
They sound like amateurs. It's behavior like this that leads me to believe somebody within the company came up with this grand idea to save the company a ton of money by bringing in as many people as possible to give them their creative ideas while someone in the room relentlessly scribbles all the notes they can take in the hour, perhaps with a recorder in pocket, and then without hesitation, they ask the candidate to leave the presentation behind.
Apparently, that someone who gave the company this ridiculous idea is the company's very own recruiter which is another rant all together.
PR and Marketing job seekers: A writing test, a portfolio sample, a request for references, a walk-through of previous plans, even a mock plan are normal requests (for a full-time position). Depending on the company, you may be asked to take a personality test and submit information for a formal background check. But a request to develop original, ready-to-use content for the company is not acceptable.
Don't let yourself be taken advantage of, even in this market. There are plenty of slimeballs out there that want something for nothing. Keep those ideas to yourself and spend your time looking for something more solid and with a company who will respect you and your ideas.
How a company behaves in the interview process is a clear sign of what it is probably like to work there just as your past performance is a predictor of how you might perform in another organization. Evaluate wisely and don't be afraid to push back.
As most of you probably know by now, I'm a huge advocate of using social media tools to expand your job search. On Sunday, I was scanning my Twitter feed and noticed one specific message from Jacqueline Duignan (@JDuignan) that caught my attention. She acknowledged and thanked another Twitter user for sending out a tweet that ultimately landed her a job.
Twitter + Job posting = Success?!?! Well of course that caught my attention! I immediately reached to ask her if she would mind sharing her story here. I hope you find some inspiration in her success!
I read on your feed you just landed a job through one of your contacts on Twitter. How did you find this job on Twitter? Where did you land and can you tell us a bit about what your new position entails?
I recently graduated form the University of Central Florida last May and started a position as an Account Coordinator for a full-service marketing agency in Orlando. Prior to that position, I held several internships at some of Central Florida's most influential companies, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industry, both in agency and corporate settings.
As most can relate, the economy is in a fragile state and many have lost jobs. Unfortunately, I was included in that statistic. I was laid off on February 2nd. As soon as I packed up my personal belongings and loaded up my car, I immediately got on the phone with everyone I knew from previous internships, networking contacts and those I knew through Ad 2 Orlando, the young professionals segment of the American Advertising Federation.
The moment I realized Twitter was a valuable resource for this new "generation" of job hunting was when I received a direct message from a contact I had though an internship. It said "Got your v.mail & am looking around for you. Send me an updated resume." That's when I started to think, hey, this Twitter thing could really be an asset to my job search.
I immediately started searching and following recruiters (including you!) and Pro's in PR. One of the people I followed was @PRsarahevans. One day she posted an all-call tweet for any PR job openings. I swear I checked Twitter on my iPhone about 1,000,000 times that day and sure enough, there it was:
"PRsarahevans: Looking 4 a PR job? AE position open in award winning PR agency in Miami (1-2 yrs exp, agency background a +) #EntryPR CONTACT @alecjr."
I immediately followed @alecjr sent him a DM (direct message) asking for his email address so I could send him my resume. I was in contact with him throughout the next week, scheduled an interview and... got the job! One minor problem was that I lived in Orlando, but no big deal, my Dad lives in the Florida Keys. So packed up my things and moved within two weeks back home. Lucky for me, I am a young twenty-something with the ability to up and move within a moment's notice - a major perk in this economy.
I just started as an Account Executive for AJR & Partners, a small marketing firm in Coral Gables, Florida, this past Monday. Everything is going really well thus far. I'm so thankful to have been able to be laid off and land a job in less than a month. I didn't even get to collect unemployment!
How long have you been using Twitter and how to you typically use it?
I started using Twitter a couple of months ago. I sit on the board for Ad 2 Orlando (the young professionals segment of the American Advertising Federation) and there was some chatter about Twitter amongst them and how "cool" it was. So, I decided to check it out. I was a little unsure about it at first, I didn't really understand the point or its purpose. But as time went on and I started following people of personal and professional interest, I began to see the value. Now I use it for local/national news, event calendars, personal contact with my friends and network, and to learn more about social media and grow professionally. I just started dropping by for #journchats - a very valuable resource!
What other social media tools did you use in your job search? Besides Twitter, which ones did you find most helpful in your job search?
Twitter was really the only social media tool I actively used in my job hunt. However, I did use Facebook to reach out to friends (some I am frequently in touch with, others a little more distant) that live all across the country - asking about the job markets in their cities, if they have heard of any openings, job board recommendations etc. My next step was to start searching around on LinkedIn and reengaging older contacts through some of my internships I had a few years ago. Everything (thankfully) moved so quickly with the position I have now that I didn't really have time to explore that route. I, of course, also poured over every job board known to man - Careerbuilder
, Monster, Indeed, Jobing, Craigslist, and the list goes on and on...
What advice do you have for others who are currently job hunting?
The biggest advice I can offer for people looking for jobs right now is to be expansive and aggressive in your search. I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know, but there are a lot of people looking for jobs right now. Each day the pool gets bigger and deeper. Now more than ever you have to stand out. Twitter has been a great tool in several ways. You can expose yourself to tons of recruiters through following and engaging them. Twitter is about interacting interaction too; Lurking on Twitter isn't going to get you anywhere - you've got to engage in conversation. Also, the whole idea that you are searching for your next career move though Twitter shows that you are ahead in social media trends and understand its power and value (clearly, so do the recruiters and companies posting the jobs).
This next statement most likely applies to recent graduates and those early in their careers. If you can afford it, intern, even it isn't paid (most aren't anyways). This shows dedication, not to mention you are gaining experience and getting valuable additions for your resume while your searching for a job as well as expanding your network and contacts. Eventually, this economy will turn around and if you are sticking it out with a company, when they start to grow and expand again, you're already versed with their operations, structure and culture. They would certainly prefer to hire someone who already "knows the ropes." Of course, you could always do it part-time and have another job on the side to bring some money in. You do need to have a cash flow. When I was in college I had five internships - I truly believe I would not be employed right now as a recent college grad if it wasn't for my diverse intern experience I had under my belt right after graduation. Although I was "entry level" I was leaps and bounds ahead of my competition.
Get involved with organizations relative to your background and the industry you were working in. As I previously mentioned, I sit on the board for Ad 2 Orlando. Through my time as a board member, I have expanded my network extensively. As tough as the economy gets, it always helps having people in your corner looking out for you.
You can follow Jacqueline on Twitter at @JDuignan.