PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Master the Career Fair Part Two

Last week, I wrote a post on how to master the career fair. Doing all that stuff is a good idea, but there’s more to it than just what happens after the career fair, especially in today’s economy.

One thing students tend to forget about the public relations industry is that agencies and corporations rarely hire a set number of people each May when students graduate. Remember that agencies fill positions based on how their business is doing. If you read in PRWeek that Burson-Marsteller recently lost a big account, it’s probably not a good idea to contact the recruiter and ask for a job. However, if you see that Ketchum won a new account, don’t you think it would be a good ideas to send your resume and cover letter talking about your experience with that industry? I don’t think it would hurt.

All in all, remember to be patient and persistent. The job market is competitive right now, so just keep your eyes on the prize and don’t give up.

Here are some tips for following up after a career fair:

Don’t:

  • Don’t send a follow up e-mail; send a handwritten, old-fashioned thank you note. Keep it to a maximum of four lines.
  • Don’t think recruiters will contact you about job openings. You have to look on their Web site and watch the news to see how business is going.
  • Don’t call daily or weekly. You don’t want to pester the recruiter.

Do:

  • Follow up if the recruiter wants to you send samples or an e-mailed version of your resume.
  • If your talk went well at the career fair, go ahead and see if you can schedule an informational interview. If the recruiter likes you but they don’t have an opening, it’s possible they might forward your resume on.
  • Apply for a job with the company online, and be sure to mention who you spoke with at the career fair.
  • Consider an internship post-graduation – it is the path to a full-time position.

The video below is another from MSU PRSSA’s YouTube Channel. It features Kelly Rossman-McKinney of Rossman PR talking about the skills necessary to be successful in PR and how to get a job in these challenging economic times.

Any other tips for following up after a career fair? Have you been able to find a job or internship because of a career fair?

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, , , , , , , , ,

Master the Career Fair

It’s career fair season. MSU PRSSA is hosting our second annual PR Links event – a career fair and reception for members and professionals to connect with each other. Not only is this a great way to find jobs and internships, but this is awesome practice for future public relations professionals. Keep in mind that you are your own brand – just your audience changes. In the case of this career fair, recruiters are your target audience so it’s important to plan accordingly.

Our Chapter recently hosted Brian Barthelmes, APR from Airfoil PR to talk about the elevator pitch and how to navigate a career fair. Here’s a video with Brian’s tips and advice:

I think the elevator pitch is so key for students to have, prepare and use, not only for career fairs. Say you ended up on an elevator with Harold Burson. What would you say? Would you even introduce yourself? This is where the elevator pitch comes in. A simple way to describe this is a quick pitch on who you are, what you do and why you are qualified. How many times have you been asked to talk a little about yourself or describe yourself? This is the solution, my friends!

Use this as a guideline when creating an elevator pitch. I also like this article from BusinessWeek about the importance of the elevator pitch.

  • Who are you? Skip over the “I’m a student at MSU studying PR.” Get right to the nitty gritty and talk about your traits and defining characteristics: “I’m a creative, out of the box thinking with a passion for the field.”
  • What do you want to do? From my experience with interviewing, I hear this line way too often: “I want this position so I can learn more about advertising.” How does that help the company? Replace it with, “I would like to contribute to the growth and development of the firm while picking up skills along the way.”
  • Why are you qualified to work for the company? You can answer this question in a couple of different ways, but ultimately, you want to find out what they are looking for in an employee. You can tailor the rest of the conversation to what they are looking for.
  • More talking points during the conversation: recent company accomplishments, the atmosphere of the office, what an average day is like, best part of the job, etc. Don’t talk about religion, politics, alcohol.. Just use good common sense.

Here are some more resources on the elevator pitch:

  • Perfecting your pitch – assume short buildings. Brevity is important because you don’t want to bore the recruiters. Keep in mind that they are talking to hundreds if not thousands of other people in your same shoes.
  • How to make an elevator pitch work for you. Practice makes perfect!

Are you ready to master your next career fair? Any other tips to add?

Filed under: Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, , , , , , ,

Add to Technorati Favorites

Delicious

View Nick Lucido's profile on LinkedIn

Twitter

Friendfeed

View my FriendFeed

Flickr Photos