Landing a job in public relations isn’t an easy feat (heck- landing a job at all these days is hard, ya’ll). From social media presence to networking, there are some huge aspects that can help (or hurt) you in the job search these days- some which you probably haven’t even thought about. From predictable aspects like resumes and cover letters, to factors you don’t even think about like old Facebook posts, answers to questions like, “Describe how you handle frustration,” and handling interview after interview while playing the oh-so-fun waiting game, the full time job of finding a job can certainly test your patience.
However, somewhere within the mess and hullabaloo we call job searching, you can learn a thing or two. During a job interview the other day, one of my interviewers said something that not only stuck with me, but inspired me (and gave me a breath of fresh air) throughout the tedious, sometimes frustrating experience we call job searching.
“Hire for the will, train for the skill.”
As a public relations and marketing hopeful, I like to think my skill set is there. I’ve done my fair share of valuable internships, learned all I could about the communications world during college (which is still weird to refer to in the past tense…I’m getting there…), and put my all into beginning what I hope to be a successful, rewarding job search. Yes, the skill set is there, but in the game of life, there will always be someone with more, better, or different skills. Your resume advertises your skill; you need to advertise (and sell), that unique will.
The first way to show that will? Networking. Your resume is one of the most vital parts of the job search, yes, but you can’t always describe and exemplify passion, motivation, and dedication on paper. I mean connecting, networking and staying in touch. Networking, as I’ve learned, is fundamental. Amidst the initial phone interviews, in-person meetings, and somewhat intimidating question and answer sessions, get ready to enter a lot of serious relationships.
Now, I don’t mean calling up those exes for some midnight rendezvous (no judgment, what you do on your own time…). In the workforce, connections and relationships are everything. It’s not enough to simply say hi and bring to your intern supervisor a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte every so often, and then never speak to him or her after your internship is over. Make the effort to keep in touch. Write a thank you note to the HR representative you talked to for half an hour about the position. Update your past internship supervisor on what you’re doing nowadays. Email the head of the company you spoke with via phone and thank him or her for their time.
Now, avoid stalker status, because I’m not liable for any restraining orders. But, send an email to those past bosses every few weeks, update him or her on your job search and career track, and genuinely ask how they’re doing. Who knows? That stuffy boss you simply tolerated that one semester in college may be best friends with the owner of your dream company, and that HR rep you talked to for a mere half an hour may be an essential piece in getting you that sought-after offer. The worst than can happen? You end up with some adorable, personalized Thank You notes.
In the communications field, you are literally entering a field about communicating and maintaining relationships. Prove you not only can do this, but also want to do this, in the interview.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far? Rome wasn’t built in a day…and unless you’re the Elle Woods of your graduating Harvard law school class, odds are your career won’t be found (or built) in a day, either (it has taken me nearly four months of impatience, frustration, and maybe a bit (or a lot) of crying, and I’m still trucking). Remember that old saying, ‘Patience is a virtue?’ Yeah, your parents weren’t just spitting that for their health. You will most likely apply for a lot of jobs, get a lot of non-responses, do a lot of interviewing, and wait a lot of time. But- when all is said and done and you do land that dream PR job- you’ll have a lot of satisfaction and a lot of fun (or so I’ve been told).
Am I frustrated, worried, and a bit tired? Definitely. Have I lost any of that passion and drive to land that job and finally prove myself and show what I can do? Not at all. Your skill set, at least for the time being, is set. It’s a valuable commodity, but if a company knows what they are doing, they’ll hire you for everything you represent off that black and white word document. So go ahead and brag about the internship you’re most proud of, your proficiency in almost every new design program, and your personal blog that receives thousands of hits per day, but don’t forget to let them know that you plan to, want to, and will rock their world.
Oh, and employers? Give me a call… 😉