Whether you are in the middle of a job search or just starting one, the process has some common elements that need to be incorporated into the overall plan, regardless of what is happening in the world.
Make sure to continue networking and building relationships using LinkedIn, industry functions (like PRSA webinars), family, friends, and faculty. Asking for introductions and for advice is a great approach to take. Most jobs are not posted and are obtained from networking. Try to schedule as many video calls as possible so people will remember who you are!
Update regularly (at a minimum- twice a month) and use keywords to change your profile to fit a specific position(s). If you have any projects, campaigns, and/or writing samples, make sure to add them as well. Invest in the Premium version of LinkedIn- it gives you greater access to people and is worth every penny!
ATS Friendly Resume
What is this you ask? Well, HR departments are now using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to scan and filter resumes and candidates. The resume itself needs to be laid out in such a way that the software is able to read it – basically keep it simple. A great resource for sample ATS resumes and cover letters is Jobscan.
Target list of companies
Develop a target list of companies so when you are networking and speaking to people, you can ask if they would be willing to take a look. In this particular climate, be flexible and open to communication-related jobs that you may not have considered before. For example, if you love a certain company and the available positions do not line up directly with what you want, still consider applying. It is a way into the organization, and with hard work and dedication, it is a matter of time before you are being noticed by management and considered for other opportunities. (As an experienced professional, I am doing the same thing right now. It is not about the title, but what I can bring to the table_.
Maybe an agency was your original target but in this ever-changing market, some corporations may be a bit more stable financially – take it and gain as much experience as you can. Same thing with trade associations and nonprofits -they are almost always shorthanded and welcome professionals who are willing to wear many hats and share a wealth of knowledge. It is a great way to gain lots of experience and very quickly.
Most companies and recruiters are now asking for writing and portfolio samples. Make sure to draw from a variety of things and don’t forget to showcase the role you played!
Keep in mind that this is a marathon and not a sprint and that it will take time.
In my next blog, we will touch on:
- Developing a tagline to introduce yourself
- Developing success stories to draw upon for interviews
- Personal branding
- Freelance opportunities
- Having an accountability buddy
and other tips to help keep you organized and stay on track.