Over the past year, I have spent many nights and weekends online, and contrary to popular belief, I was not playing World of Warcraft. I knew well in advance that my internship would be coming to a close in mid-May, and I would once again be part of the hordes of unemployed. Fortunately, social media and online search tools have made the job hunt just a little bit easier, particularly for those of us in public relations and communications. While I don’t have a position quite yet, prospects are bright. Here are a few of the sites that have helped me in my search.
Perhaps the most obvious and easy to use listings of open positions, Craigslist is filled with jobs waiting for applications. But Craigslist’s ease of use is also its downfall: with no filter and a self-censoring “Flag!” system, you are as likely to find one-shot gigs listed as entry-level positions as you are associate positions requiring five-plus years of experience. Fortunately, the search function makes searching for jobs a little less messy. Instead of perusing the full listings (or even just the Marketing/PR section), try searching for terms related to your industry. I use “entry-level PR,” “public relations,” “public affairs” and “non-profit communications,” to name a few. Search the jobs category as a whole, too—sometimes great positions are posted to categories you wouldn’t normally expect.
My new favorite Web site, Idealist lets you search thousands of listings in the non-profit sector for the positions right for you. You can pare down the jobs by type, from volunteer opportunities to internships and full-time positions. Overall, the site is very clean and easy to navigate, and I like that you can search for areas that interest you most. However, don’t discount running a broader search, too—I found some nice openings in organizations from across the board.
I thought my dad was joking when he sent me a link to USAJobs.gov. He said, “No, wait, take a look. Barack is looking for PR people.” Admittedly, I was surprised to see that my dad was right—and, apparently, on a first name basis with President Obama—there are jobs for PR professionals with the US government. The site is not too difficult to navigate, and you can narrow down results by your region and industry. The site also has special options for current students, veterans and seniors as well as information about hiring trends. You may not find a listing for press secretary, but there are tons of surprisingly interesting openings available.
I am not shy about admitting that I landed an amazing internship with Edelman because of Twitter. Twitter is a great place to get a heads up on who is looking for new talent. Some great Tweeps to follow include @HeatherHuhman, @SocialMediaJob, @ComeRecommended and individual HR departments, such as @EdelmanHR for the Edelman London office. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on the conversation around #entryPR and similar tags. Oftentimes, in between links to job openings, users will post advice and links to articles about landing an entry level job.
Organization Web sites
If none of the positions listed on the aforementioned Web sites catch your attention, why not go right to the source? Many PR and Ad firms list positions in the career sections of their Web sites, and it is a good idea to check the sites regularly for new positions. Visit O’Dwyer’s to access their database of PR firms, and take a look at each organization’s Web site. Some companies, such as Porter Novelli, even offer an RSS feed to help you keep track of the latest openings.
Do you have any advice to add about your experience searching for a job? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.