In my experience, not ONE of the jobs I scored in my public relations career was a public listing or posting. This may be the case for you, as well. Here’s how you can find and even create your dream job beyond the want ads.
Ask yourself where you really want to work and identify the person you would love to work for. Check out their blog, read their client releases, follow them on Twitter, Google them, research them on LinkedIn. I’m not telling you to be a stalker, just do your research. Armed with this information you can then write a short cover email (or Twitter comment) about something they’ve said, written or done. Indicate you would love to learn more about their work. Once you’ve started a dialogue, seize the opening by dropping a note about an idea or question you have. Finally, email your resume and your well-written cover letter explaining how you would be an asset to their organization.
Pay attention to the public relations, advertising and marketing trade publications. When you see a big client win for an agency, write a note of congratulations. Most likely the company or public relations firm will need to staff up to service this new client. Send in your compelling cover letter and resume showcasing how you will be the perfect addition to help serve this new client.
Every week, newspapers include new executive appointment announcements. Even now (and I’m not looking for a job), I drop a note of congratulations to new corporate communication and public relations executives I read about in the paper. Many have become guest speakers in my class and host sites for my students’ internships. This can work for you, too. This also works if you read a newspaper article and see a quote from a company spokesperson. With the Internet or professional sites liked LinkedIn, these executives are easy to find.
Take the time to develop a relationship with professionals. Don’t just ask for a job. Instead work to show who you are — that you are insightful, intelligent and good at tracking and spotting trends.
If you do reach out via LinkedIn, be sure to include a personal message like, “I read about your new client” or “I loved your quote in The New York Times.” Also include a short sentence about who you are and why they should care about your message.
With some creativity and initiative, you truly can find a job. Most of the best jobs do come from word of mouth and networking. Happy hunting!
What advice do you have for students seeking their dream job? How can they establish connections that will make a lasting impact?
Lorra Brown is an assistant professor of public relations/corporate and strategic communication at William Paterson University. She is also a former executive with Ogilvy Public Relations and Weber Shandwick. Brown blogs career advice and lists job openings on her website.