Advice for getting a job in media relations and other such things

Lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in how new or soon-to-be college grads are attempting to get jobs. They email me or message me on LinkedIn, asking for advice on how to get a job at an agency such as ours in Southern Nevada. Being one for plain speaking, myself, I simply respond to such emails with the requested advice, rather than addressing the question they’re really trying to ask but didn’t actually ask, “Can I have a job at your company?” I never hear from them again – not even a “thank you.”

I find this approach to job-hunting strange and, frankly, a waste of the jobseeker’s time.

So for those who actually want advice on getting a job in media relations, here it is:

  1. Ask for what you want. You will rarely get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
  2. Pitch yourself. Sell yourself. What will our company gain if we hire you? If you can’t pitch yourself to me, I do not have confidence that you’ll be able to successfully pitch our clients to the media.
  3. Agencies don’t always post job listings when they’re hiring. If you’re looking for a job, identify who heads the department in which you’re interested, and pitch yourself to him/her.
  4. Cover letters aren’t dead. If you’re applying for a job via email, your email is now your “cover letter.” Do not simply write “See attached” and then attach your form cover letter and your resume.
  5. Edit, re-edit and then have someone else edit your stuff. If you’re applying for a writing-heavy position, your written communication has to be top notch. (Truly.)
  6. Have a realistic understanding of the value you would bring to a company. In a complex business such as ours, there is a lot to learn – even if you majored in marketing or public relations or journalism in college. Even if you come from a related field. If you’re new to this industry, you’re going to have a large learning curve. You’re probably going to work slowly. Someone is probably going to have to heavily edit a lot of your work. Between one thing and another, a company may actually lose money initially by hiring you. Therefore, you are not likely to be offered your dream salary right out of the gate; but if you can be humble and absorb information and grow, you can easily become a valuable asset and command a higher salary at a later date.
  7. Have a few fabulous and nice-looking writing samples at the ready.
  8. Value your potential employer’s time. Rarely is media relations the platform for verbosity.

Melissa Biernacinski serves as Director of Media Relations for Imagine Communications. To contact Melissa (regarding a potential job or otherwise), email her at mbiernacinski@weareimagine.com.

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