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:
- Ask for what you want. You will rarely get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Have a few fabulous and nice-looking writing samples at the ready.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.