How to Get a Job in PR: Part 3
Step 3: Make a Phone Call
If you are like me, you dread phone calls, especially with people you don’t know. However, making calls is an essential part of PR and of a job search. When you make an unsolicited phone call to a company or a person in order to pitch them something, that is a cold-call. A cold-call is a job search technique through which many people find success.
Before you make a cold call, you need to know who to contact. The contact depends on your current rank. If you are currently at an entry level job, a cold call to the CEO may be a little ambitious. However, if you are already in a higher position, calling someone beneath the job you are pursuing may not help you either. Once you know what kind of individual to call, figure out who they are. Do not call and ask for that person by title. A great resource for finding a person in a particular position is LinkedIn.
The next step is creating dialogue. When you begin speaking, even in a cover letter or an interview, talk about what you can do for them. Be confident in the skills you have to offer them. After that intro, begin speaking to your proof and sell yourself. Pick out some quantifiable bullets points from your resume to talk about over the phone. This is the part where you reemphasize that this will be mutually beneficial for you and the company.
This is not an interview and they will not be expecting your call, so keep it short and sweet. You may even ask for an opportunity to talk longer at a later date. Before hanging up, recap your skills and highlight your accomplishments quickly to keep this information fresh in their mind.
After the call you may want to update your resume to tailor it to the skills and accomplishments you talked about the most or to what skills the interviewer seemed the most interested in.
How to Get a Job in PR: Part 2
Step 2: Send a Personal Letter
Personal letters are similar to cover letters, but they are not interchangeable. A personal letter, sometimes called an inquiry, allows you to handpick the companies you would want to work for and tell them you are looking for a job. Keep in mind, you don’t need a job posting to send a personal letter.
Things you should include in your personal letter are:
- A contact and company
It is critical to keep in mind that “Dear Sir or Madame” or “To Whom It May Concern” is not a contact for a company. Employers or hiring personnel are looking for your personal letter to address a person within that company. Finding a contact for a personal letter is easier than ever before because of the resources we have at our fingertips. Use resources like the company’s website or LinkedIn to find the hiring manager or human resources person to whom you will address your letter. If necessary, call the company and ask for the correct person to address in your letter.
It should look something like this:
1750 New York Avenue NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. Treibitz,
In the case of a smaller company, such as Tricom, there may not be a human resources director or hiring manager.
- Information about the company
Do your homework! Employers expect you to know about their company if you are claiming you want to work there. Look up their mission statement, their goals, their products/services and their employees. What do they do? Where are they going? How do your goals and skills align with the company?
- Introduction of accomplishments and interest
No one is going to brag for you. If you want your accomplishments and skills to be known, you have to talk about them. Talk about how you are qualified and can apply your skills to the job you want. However, avoid becoming too brash by putting down other candidates or companies.
- A polite request for a follow-up meeting or phone call
- Thank the reader for taking the time to look at your letter
- Your signature
If you are sending the letter via mail, sign your name with a pen above your name typed below the body of the copy. If you are sending the letter via email, then use a legible calligraphy font to type in the manuscript above your name.
- Your resume as an attachment
Lastly, use a professional envelope and stamp if you are mailing your letter.
Working in public relations is hard work. It isn’t always a nine to five job. You could work 24/7 and never catch up on your work. That being said, finding a job in Public Relations can be just as difficult as the work itself. For public relations specialists there are about 218,910 non self-employed jobs with an outlook of an additional 15,000 within the next 8 years.
When looking for a job, especially in public relations, you need to consider job searching techniques to get ahead. Increasing your knowledge in career and professional development will help anyone with their job search. The following steps will aid you in your journey for a public relations position.
Step 1: Find a referral
Referrals consist of 6.9 percent of applicants, but make up 46 percent of all workers hired. The employee retention rate for referrals after two years is 45 percent; it’s 20 percent for job boards after two years.
Many job seekers are put off by referrals because they are intimidated by asking or they don’t know who to ask. Searching for a referral can be done on LinkedIn, Career Sonar or StartWire. Look at current employee’s connections for common connections. Then ask your common connection for a referral to that employee. You may also consider asking any employee, client, vendor or others who work with the organization for a referral.
Knowing how to ask for a referral is important. A good referral includes someone who can address your work ethic and the quality of your work or personality. Some questions you could ask a potential referral are:
“Do you feel you could reflect on my work sufficiently to refer me to a job at your organization?”
“Would you consider giving me a referral to your organization?”
After you secure a referral, remember to mention that referral in your cover letter or letter of interest. Additionally, provide your referral with an up-to-date resume to look over before speaking with the hiring manager. Upon completion of the referral or interview, send the person who gave your referral a thank you letter to let them know you appreciated their help.
Check out PRticles next week for more tips!
In public relations you are always focused on communicating a message, either directly or indirectly. Whether it’s a direct or indirect message, you present it in an appropriate, efficient and effective manner to your target audience.
Job duties and other functions of a PR professional are dependent upon the job type. PR professionals can focus in several different areas according to the type of organization or the level of the employee.
Public Relations between levels of an organization will often exist between a director and a specialist. A director of public relations or communications will manage all of an organization’s messages along with staff. The communications or PR director will likely be the middleman between executives and communication specialists. If needed, they will aid communicators in framing the organizations message.
Jobs are usually not the same among levels of an organization, but also within those levels. All communications and PR-related jobs have the same base work or basic purpose in an organization, but they will differ depending on what is needed or what department they are in. Various jobs can include community relations, health communications, crisis management, media relations and lobbying.
Community relations involves having a presence in the community. These jobs bring information and faces of the organizations into the community. They commonly aim at providing awareness through events. The events promote the image in a positive light, but the key message may have a charitable focus, such as raising money for a cancer cure.
Public relations professionals who may need to directly deal with the effects of cancer are health communicators. Health communicators are usually presenting messages internally and externally. Their audiences can include physicians, nurses, managers, administrators, patients, families and potential patients.
A function of health communicators may sometimes include crisis communication. In crisis communication, professionals will aim to release a message about bad news in the least damaging way possible while releasing the message as fast as they can. They deal with threats, either to the organization or to its stakeholders. They have to know what decision to make or what message to release. They must make it quickly enough to minimize any damage.
A crisis communicator may hire or may be a media relations specialist. A media relations specialist deals with media on behalf of a company. They moderate the conversation between the company who employs them and any relevant TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, online content managers and magazine editors. This job may consist of constant emails, phone calls or in-person meetings with the media.
Lobbying consists of skills similar to all of the above PR professionals, but usually never makes the PR job list. PR professionals have all the same skills as lobbyists and can easily be very successful. Lobbying consists of being the middleman of communication between an organization, the media and legislators. The goal of a lobbyist is to influence a legislator’s vote on a pending legislation. In order to be effective, researching content and being persuasive are necessary attributes.
Public Relations degrees can qualify you for a gamut of jobs. Don’t let the lack of “PR” in a job title deter you from applying if you think you might be qualified. There are many different specialties, so find the one that is right for you.