PR Jobs and using social media to get them

Last week I joined a panel debate at the University of York for its Careers Service in front of several hundred students to discuss jobs in the creative sector. It was a fascinating debate with people from across the country spanning several different specialisms. There were representatives from consumer insight , advertising, PR and social media marketing companies. There were people from Ogilvy, The Labour Party and Aviva and it made for an interesting discussion.

I went with my Prohibition hat on to explain what students can do for jobs in this sector and in this region. I think we all now acknowledge that this is one of the most protracted nasty recessions we have had in more than 50 years. However, let’s not use that as an excuse on why we can’t be getting jobs or starting companies ourselves. I see so many people saying its difficult out there and they are right but in my mind negativity brings nothing and you can talk yourself out of ever doing anything proactive or clever. Let’s stay positive.

The students asked some really interesting and challenging questions on the night, I answered how people can use social media channels to get jobs. Firstly, I pointed out that we do receive a lot of enquiries for either work experience or full-time positions and some of them just aren’t up to scratch at all. For instance I received an approach the other day that had no subject in the email, and simply stated “Please see attached” to which they were referring to their covering letter which was (yes you guessed it) completely generic.

I have even had emails which have copied all of the other agencies in – in one go. So all of the recipients can see the other 30-40 email addresses and a badly written email that says “Dear Sirs”.

My advice to the students last week was, be different and stand out. Try and think of things a little differently. I referred to the interactive CV video that Graeme Anthony had produced a while back see below. I think this was a simple, low cost but clever way to stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for a job in a creative space why not get creative? It’s the best way to showcase your talent.

I used the story of when I worked at a previous agency and a little old PR chap called Jed Hallam contacted me with a link to a Facebook group which stated “Ten reasons why you should hire Jed Hallam at XXXX”. I thought this was an interesting approach but then noticed he had managed to get a lot of people I respected in PR and social media to join his bespoke group. However the deal clincher for me was the final point which was “I actually considered getting a barbershop quartet to sing these ten reasons to you”. This made me laugh out loud, so I dropped him and email and asked him to come in for an interview and we ended up working together and becoming good friends.

So the moral of this story is, go the extra mile. Sure follow people, engage with them but do something a bit different and daring. If you are struggling for different ideas here are some interesting examples of social media resumes which are simple and pretty cheap to do.

If you are still stuck for a few ideas on what to try check out this article from my good friend Ben on 5 Tips to Pitch Yourself to a Potential Employer Using Social Media.

Good luck.

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2 comments on “PR Jobs and using social media to get them
  1. Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it.

    It’s funny that you wrote it at this time as I’ve recently been offered a placement through the use of social media. It really is worth getting your name out there before 2nd year (if you’re at university) to gain at least a small relationship or some form of recognition from future employers.

    Before the placement application process I read religiously on advice in the interviews, what to say in your cover letter and how to plan for assessment days. However, one thing that I thought was a bit odd was using social media, i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn.

    It was actually my LinkedIn account that got me the interview for the placement where I’m working now – I added the MD of a PR agency and within a few days he emailed me saying he remembered an email I sent him a few months ago, and asked if I would like to meet him for an interview.

    Obviously, not all job procedures go that way (in fact the majority don’t), but it’s definately a stepping ladder for ease of communication and networking before a vital time. Always look on Twitter also, as companies are always posting various internship/ work experience opportunities on their pages. If you do an advanced search on: “PR internship, 500miles around England” that should be fine. I was offered a very exciting work experience opportunity with a TV Production company after I’d tweeted them about it.

    Another piece of advice I would give is to send any work experience items you have got (i.e. press releases, event photos, website content, blog posts) with your application or first interview – this can give you a great advantage above the rest of the competition in the initial stages to prove that you have got relevant experience.

  2. Great post, Chris – and thanks for the shout-out!

    These are fantastic examples of people using social media to help land a job.

    I’m convinced universities need to do more to help their students protect, manage and enhance their online reputation…after all the the modern day interview doesn’t begin with a handshake, but a Google search.

    Syracuse University in the US is already helping its students do this: http://socialwebthing.com/2010/05/university-wises-up-to-personal-seo/

    Thanks,

    Ben

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