By Fred Whiting, APR
When I found myself in the job market last April, I turned to the strategies I had learned when I was in a similar position several times over the past ten years. First, I signed up for every online job resource I could find (there's an excellent list at http://www.prsa-ncc.org/online_job_resources/). As a result, I learned of more than 200 announced openings within ten months!
But this time, my experience was somewhat different. The most common response I received when I got the dreaded "kiss-off" e-mail was along the lines of "We had more than a hundred responses to our job announcement, and we've picked another candidate." The obvious reason is increased competition. There are many PR professionals out of work these days, especially the more "seasoned" ones.
When I was asked in for an interview, most of the questions focused on strategic skills and demonstrated accomplishments. “Have you ever addressed a public policy issue? What was the result?” “How would you ‘sell’ your proposals to senior management in order to get approval?” “What is your philosophy of management?” Clearly the concern was not about tactics.
So my experience suggests that whether you are a relatively new or a very experienced PR practitioner, there is hope for you, even in this job market. There are lots of jobs available, and plenty of opportunities for greatness.
(Fred Whiting has been teaching a course in public communication writing for graduate students at American University and will be teaching a course in public relations writing to undergraduates at Hood College in Frederick, MD.)