Drew Kerr 212-849-8250

SEARCHING FOR A JOB IN COMMUNICATIONS
“You cannot win if you do not play.” • Do all the homework. Find copies of PRWeek (www.prweek.com), so you can learn what is going on in the industry on a consistent basis. Advertising Age magazine (www.adage.com) is another excellent news source for communications news. Check out books like Michael Sitrick’s “Spin!” which really gives you a flavor for what goes on behind the scenes in publicity crises. Seek out meetings of the local professional clubs and societies. Visit the web sites of communications companies and see how they position themselves, what their capabilities are, and who their clients are. Internships: Go out of your way to get any communications field internship and see what it’s like from the inside. If you’re still in college, do everything you can to get an internship before you graduate. Use your holiday breaks to secure an internship for the future. Even if you’ve graduated and you’re finding it tough to get a job, take an internship. It’s still a valuable foot in the door, you’ll learn on the job, and it looks good on your resume. Who knows? You may be asked to come aboard permanently. Networking: While Facebook is more socializing, invest the time in LinkedIn too, which is all about jobs. Get connected to as many people as possible because you never know who can help you. Ask people to introduce you to connections you see they have who you think may be worth speaking with. Position yourself as a “do-er.” Subscribe to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) -- http://www.helpareporter.com/ -- they post PR job specific ads at least a few times a month. Join social media networks like www.propenmic.org and actively participate. Introduce yourself to your friends’ parents or alumni, and ask them about what they do and how they do it. Ask them to introduce you to other people in the field you’re targeting. Show that you really read the ad. Companies get thousands of resumes and cover letters every year. 98% of them are terrible and immediately discarded because of boring writing, lack of care, not reading the ad, irrelevant experience or a combination of those traits. So personalize your letter, connect your cover letter with what they say in the ad. Write a killer cover letter. If you start your letter with anything resembling, “I am writing to you regarding the position you have posted…” or “I am a senior and will be graduating from UB in May,” you’re out. B-O-R-I-N-G. Everybody starts their letter like that and it says nothing.

The person who opens your letter has 3 -5 seconds to decide whether they will keep reading your letter or throw it in the trash. So you had better grab them from the very first words. Think of the biggest communications-related accomplishment you’ve done so far in your career. Start with that. If you interned somewhere and helped with a campaign, start your letter off with: “I helped Joe Blow’s PR firm launch the new brand of Fuzzbucket toothpaste by calling reporters, organizing a press conference, and writing the media alert for the event.” Elaborate a little. Tell them very quickly about other accomplishments followed by what you can do for them, how you can help their business.

If you’re responding to a blind ad, make sure to address a couple of the ad’s points. If the ad says: “Must be a sports lover,” make sure to say not only how much you love sports, but give a couple of examples of what you’ve done in sports. If you are targeting a company or firm for a job, tell them within the first two paragraphs that you know something about them. Mention a couple of clients (if they are a firm), or what announcements they’ve made lately (if it’s in-house). Show that you have done your homework. • Put your accomplishments on your resume. Even if you’re repeating what you said in the cover letter, this is your chance to embellish. Use bullet points and expand on saying “wrote press releases” or “answered phones” by explaining some specific things you did (i.e. “wrote media alerts for store opening,” “pitched radio and TV about new product, resulting in five interviews with company president”).

I’ve seen this mistake made several times: taking a job that pays only few thousand dollars more than another job, even though it’s not what you’re really interested in or not ideal, only to hate the job later and regret doing it for the money. OTHER TIPS: • Check every single e-mail and document you send a potential employer for spelling and grammar mistakes with a fine tooth comb. • Do not send potential employers e-mails with the subject lines of “Hello” or “Hi.” Besides being the most common subject lines of spam, it’s not professional. Put the addressee’s name in the subject line and a few words reflecting the topic (“I was referred by John Smith”). • Put your name in the file name of your document (i.e. “John Smith resume”) to differentiate yourselves from the hundreds of people who send resumes called “Resume.doc” or “New resume.doc.” • Always show up for your job interviews. If you’ve taken another job, you change your mind or can’t make it, call or e-mail at least a half-day ahead of time to tell them you won’t make it and why. Don’t blow off an interview – not only is it unprofessional, but it’s a small world and people won’t forget what you did. • Be contrarian -- send an ink-on-paper letter and resume instead of e-mail, which can be easily deleted. • Don’t send letters with unusual fonts or colored paper. • Be creative if it means something to the person you’re sending it to. But don’t overdo it. • Show up 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time – no earlier. • Always come to an interview with a clean copy of your resume and any nice portfolio of your communications-related work. • As always, do the homework about the company interviewing you. Research online what they’ve been doing and who they’ve been working with. Make sure to “let your interviewer know” you know about them in person too, not just the cover letter. • Have one good question for the “do you have any questions” part of your interview so they know you care. • Potential employers value an enthusiastic attitude – just don’t go overboard. • Visit www.wetfeet.com for excellent job hunting strategies. • Go to http://tinyurl.com/8shlzc to learn how to make a social media resume. ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS JOB BOARDS (besides Monster) http://www.mediabistro.com/joblistings/ http://www.prsa.org/jobcenter/ http://www.prweekus.com/Jobs/section/257