Social Media Plays a Lead Role in the PR Job Search Process

Social media can be just as important to a job search as face-to-face meetings.

Social media has not only become a key part of PR campaigns, it’s an important part of finding a job in the PR industry.

Renee Harris, the academic director for marketing, PR, and other programs at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, says, “Most of our students are those that are looking to move into a career or looking for a job. They may have been displaced or let go and they’re looking to acquire the skills that will make them competitive in the job market.”

These students have a wide range of skills they’re looking to build, but there has been a noticeable increase in interest in social media and digital coursework, particularly in the past two to three years, Harris told us.

Last Thursday, New York Women in Communications hosted a “Night of Coaches,” where career advisers and others in the industry shared information about networking and career advancement. Social media is not only useful during the job search, but in many ways, required.

Kendra Bracken Ferguson, co-founder and MD of Digital Brand Architects led a discussion called “The Power of Social Media: 10 Smart Ways to Use Social Media,” focused on how LinkedIn, Facebook , and Twitter can serve recruiting purposes.

Ferguson said all information on resumes and social media sites must be up-to-date and accurate, using keywords that will move a candidate’s CV to the top of the pile.

More than that, candidates should be using social networks to do research and make contacts.

“You don’t necessarily have to attend 10 events in a week,” Ferguson told PRNewser. “Use Twitter to talk with recruiters and leverage meet ups. Use Facebook to see what’s going on with companies that you want to work with.”

Although information spreads quickly on Twitter, using the site as an aid to your job search will take time.

“Use your connections to introduce you rather than blindly reaching out to everyone,” Ferguson said. “You have to take the time to see how to interact with people online. If you message someone twice and they don’t get back, give it time. Be respectful. And be mindful of how that person is using their social channel.”

Ferguson suggests moving between traditional job search methods, like sending your resume via email, and social media outreach fluidly, creating Twitter lists that will sift through and organize important Twitter handles. A post on MediaJobsDaily even suggests that social networks is the new introduction, making the cover letter largely obsolete.

NYU’s Harris notes that writing skills are still a must-have to make it in PR. Knowing how to write to sell a client is critical. The same could be said for selling yourself as a job candidate.

“You need to have an understanding of which message to communicate, through which medium, and how to do that effectively,” Harris said.