Friday, January 21, 2011

PR job hunting tactics - #HAPPO days ahead

The following is a guest post by Colleen Fischer, who agreed to share her thoughts, experiences and tactics on the PR job hunt scene:
As a PR professional job searching in a new city, I am faced with one of the greatest challenges of my life, yet I treasure the unique opportunity I have been given to truly start fresh. My husband’s career has taken us away from a large professional and social network, an everyday routine, and a calendar full of commitments. I suddenly have found myself with an abundance of time, motivation, and excitement about the unknown. While I deeply miss past colleagues, long-standing media relationships, and the central Ohio community, I see more potential for my career in Fort Worth every single day. This potential is not only found through job listings and interviews, but more importantly, through the relationships I am constantly building. I have a new appreciation for the human component in job searching and the importance of connecting with people in my everyday life.

Communication is the foundation to public relations, which is fortunate for PR job seekers such as myself. HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) chats on twitter, linkedin groups, and networking events are a few resources that are not as easily accessible in other industries. The nature of people in the PR field is typically warm, helpful, inviting and social. This is something I constantly have to remind myself, as I ask others for their time and recommendations.

Having spent my high school, college and eight years of my career in one city, the concept of asking favors of strangers is foreign to me. In addition to a welcoming industry, the community of Fort Worth has been overwhelmingly hospitable. The mix of friendly Fort Worth life-ers and fellow transplants is a recipe for a great city to be new in.

In addition to the daily grind of googling and job board searching, below are some of my job hunt tactics:
Blogging- My blog depicts me personally. It definitely has a professional edge, but the purpose it serves is to display my creativity and sense of humor. I want to be hired for these qualities in addition to my professional expertise.

Social Media - Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are my daily necessities for continuously learning, conversing, and building my community. I am my authentic, witty self on these platforms, with the intention of standing out among the rest. - I was blown away by the amount of PR opportunity in the DFW area when I first discovered this job bank. I have continued to check the listings every day, applying for positions, learning from duties, requirements, and job descriptions, and gaining a deeper grasp of the local PR industry.

Fort Worth PRSA - They key to capitalizing on this group is active involvement. In my new role of Hospitality Chair, I have already connected with chapter leaders and expect to build many more relationships throughout 2011.

Toastmasters - Valuable public speaking and leadership development through practice, this group simply gets me out of the house as well as out of my comfort zone.

Social Media Club - I have found this to be the most laid back, easygoing networking group. The tweet-ups are truly fun and there is a real sense of community as relationships are easily maintained on twitter.

These elements, combined with a great deal of patience, are the keys to my job hunt strategy. I have promised myself not to settle for A job, as I want THE long-term position that is right for me. Putting myself out there as me is the best way to make that match. In addition to working toward my career goals, these everyday efforts are simultaneously helping me to make friends and stay sane.
Updated 1/23/11 - I'm happy to report that Colleen's efforts have paid off as she's recently accepted a position as PR Manager with M/C/C Ad Agency & PR Firm in Dallas.
Check out other musings over on Colleen's blog as she continues her search.

Also, look for more information in the coming weeks from HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) as we celebrate the anniversary of this growing network.