Monday, January 26, 2009

Getting that First PR Job - Tips

Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where it's always golf season.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of blog posts and Twitter banter about how to land that first PR job. It's tougher than ever nowadays, thanks to the economy. But I think there are still plenty of opportunities out there, and that entry-level folks that position themselves the right way can land well and succeed.

Here are a few tips:

--Network. Meet as many people as you can, and when you meet a pro, get their business card. And then buy them coffee. You get jobs these days by knowing the right person in the right place at the right time, and I don't know anyone that wouldn't sit down with a curious student and answer their questions. The sick thing is that when I've gone to speak at local universities, I bring a tall stack of business cards...and only a handful of students grab one. Immediately those few stand out, and then the ones that actually call me or follow up somehow are the ones I remember.

--Work Hard. This goes without saying, of course. But the early years of your career are the ones in which you will probably work the hardest. You probably don't have a spouse/family yet. So dig in, propose strong value-add ideas, meet as many people as you can and learn something new every day.

--Bring something else to the table other than PR skills. Don't get me wrong - you won't get a job without being able to write, argue, speak, think, etc. But I think some of the best and most valued PR pros are not the ones with a straight PR education and background; they have degrees or work/extra-curricular experience in business, or political science, or journalism, or just about anything else. One of the best ways you can do that is to identify what you know and are passionate about and then look for a job where you can add that unique value to your organization immediately. Chances are you'll be that much happier as well if you're doing the kind of work you're really passionate about.

I could go on a long time, but these are the real keys to me. Reader thoughts/comments/tips are absolutely welcome...drop off a comment. And students, consider this an open invitation to contact me. Email, Twitter at @JasonSprenger, etc. I'd be more than happy to help.

I'm out like Herm Edwards.

1 comment:

Ryan Mathre said...

Great post, particularly your point about bringing something to the table other than PR skills. My prior business experience as a software trainer actually allowed me to land my first PR job.

If you can bring along another skill set such as web design, account management, etc you are just that more valuable and set yourself apart from the competition.