Sunday, January 16, 2011
Your Career and You: "Three-Two-One...Job Hunt!"
For several of my PR superstars at Curry College, we're now in the countdown phase of their education.
Courses required for the Public Relations concentration are out of the way as well as most other courses. We've managed their studies so that they can devote as much time as possible this semester to a final internship and the serious beginnings of their job search.
A few are farther along than others...back-to-back internships at a leading PR firm in the hopes of that developing into a full-time job offer...more frequent attendance at PR-related events in the area as part of their nascent networking initiatives...frantic and frequent meetings with me (and others) to fine-tune resumes and cover letters.
So here's a little "countdown" advice as you either get started (a smidge late, if you are) or are revving up the activity.
Number Three...Resume and Cover Letter. It's now or never...you want people to actually look at your stuff, don't you? Well, you gotta' get their attention first! And you do that by presenting a professionally crafted and professional looking set of introductory materials.
Get others' opinions. Show the pieces to your parents, to a professor whose opinion you value, to your Career Services professionals. Get more than one person's opinion.
If two or more people agree that everything looks good...and there are no grammatical or other errors...you're close to ready.
If you get different feedback from everyone you talk to, there's probably something wrong with the way you're presenting yourself. You need to (a) figure out what it is and (b) fix it.
Number Two...Networking. As I said in a recent blog for SMartPR, nearly three-quarters of all job openings are never posted. They're filled through referrals..."someone who knows someone."
And before you go stomping off muttering "That is SO not fair!", get over it. In your eyes, it's unfair; in the eyes of the person filling the position, it's a time-saver and assurance of finding the right "fit" for the job.
Referrals come with built-in initial reference checks...when I refer someone for a particular position, I do so because I know that person and have confidence in his or her ability to succeed. I'm putting my professional reputation on the line with the referral, so I'm not going to play games in the process. And that takes a little of the burden off the hiring manager.
Number One...Informational Interviews. The more you know...the more you know.
Although I had worked for a gazillion years in industries ranging from federal government to high tech to service sector, I really had no clue what it was going to be like working in Hawaii. So I scheduled and went on more than 100 informational interviews immediately after moving to Honolulu.
Picked up some valuable tips on "Hawaiian-style" worklife, social life, professional relations, and everything else that goes into creating a society.
Conversely, when I moved back to Boston and jumped into the jobsearch stream using those skills that I had perfected in Hawaii...hit a wall and had to start all over. I had to re-learn how to act in the Boston business world...very different!! And it took a while to find the right opportunity.
It's been said time and time again..."Looking for a job is a job in itself."
But if you are serious about wanting to find a great entry-level (or other) position where you can make the most of your education, your interests, your skills, and your desire to succeed, you have no choice. The Tooth Fairy isn't going to leave a job under your pillow. You're going to have to find it yourself.
So start your countdown now...pull out your resume and your cover letter and get to work! Then move on and out!
"The beginning is the most important part of the work."
Plato, "The Republic," bk. I, 377-B