Four Tips for Using Your PR Skills To Find a Job

Today the 92nd St Y outpost in Tribeca is hosting mediabistro’s Career Circus, a daylong series of discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities for jobseekers. (You can follow it on Twitter with the #careercircus hashtag.)

We poked our head in this morning and walked away with four tips for finding a job that tap into a publicist’s promotional strengths.

-Brand yourself online. At this point, having a solid social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is a requirement for finding a job. We talked about that here, and it popped up again this morning.

Many people are using LinkedIn is a great job-search tool. According to Susan Strayer, senior director for employer brand and talent acquisition at Marriott International, the LinkedIn headline, like that of a story or press release, is a way to reel in recruiters with a”short line” about yourself where you can “sell what matters.”

“You can’t be everything to everyone. You have to have some sort of focus,” she said.

Taking it a step further, Andrew Goldman, HBO’s VP of programming, planning, and scheduling, recommended those in the audience looking for jobs in media have a blog. “Position yourself. Get yourself out there,” he said during his presentation “Seeking Employment Opportunities in the Media.” With the heavy writing emphasis on writing in PR and the large number of firms and PR pros with their own blogs, the same could be said of this industry.

-Know your audience. Whether it’s a recruiter doing an online search to fill a position or the people you’re interviewing with, present yourself in a way that will make you an appealing fit for the job. That means doing your research about the company and the people who work there. “Think about the marketing bent,” said Strayer.

“Know as much as you can,” she added.

-Reach your audience. Goldman emphasized the need to network by being active in industry groups. For PR, those include the PRSA, which has chapters nationwide, the Arthur Page Society, the Association for Women in Communications (sorry fellas), and others.

Also, go old school and pick up the phone to let contacts know you’re looking and available to talk face-to-face or otherwise. “Remind people that you’re relevant,” he said.

– Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. People can smell fake-itude from a mile away. It’s fine to make a personal connection (“You like running? So do I!”) and show your passion for a company or your work. But it all has to be in line with your “personal brand,” which is established through the online channels and networking established above.

Finally, we thought Goldman made an interesting point about titles, which can be particularly sticky in PR. He talked about a position he took at Showtime that advertised itself as executive level, but turned out to be a level or two below that when compared to his previous positions; a case of “title inflation” he called it.

“Never chase a title,” he advised.