Monday, February 10, 2014

Working with recruiters to find public relations jobs


Many job seekers are continually frustrated by applicant tracking systems. You know -- the software that just about every company seems to use where you enter in your background, hit submit, and it feels like your information is just going into a black hole?

Apparently recruiters aren't enamored of the software, either.

public relations jobs
Gillian Gabriel, Elizabeth Laukka and Kathryn Duncan (l-r) share job-seeking tips.
"Employers need to woo people into the organization," said Kathryn Duncan of CLICK Talent at a recent Minnesota Public Relations Society of America event. "They should be smarter about how to attract job seekers. Applicant tracking systems suck."

The event featured a panel of top Minneapolis/St. Paul  recruiters. Besides Duncan, panelists included Gillian Gabriel and Elizabeth Laukka. Rebecca Martin of Beehive PR moderated the panel.

The market for communications professionals is looking up. Duncan estimated that the unemployment rate for marketing communications workers is less than 2 percent.

Panelists agreed that companies in communications are in a bit of a talent war, particularly for candidates with five to six or 12 to 13 years of experience.

Job seekers still need to prove that they have what it takes to succeed in a position, though. Gabriel pointed out that it's important to show how one has used public relations to achieve business objectives in previous positions.

Even though an applicant has all of the required skills, sometimes it just isn't the right match. "The fit is 90 percent of why a company hires someone," said Laukka.

"If it really is a great click between employer and candidate, the hiring process can move very fast," said Gabriel.

Laukka said that the time frame from application to offer for agencies typically runs about two
public relations career
Attendees listen intently for how to stand out from the crowd.

Panelists offered suggestions to stand out from other candidates, such as getting a cup of coffee with the recruiting manager, sending a resume in the mail, and executing an exceedingly polite e-mail campaign to the hiring manager (probably three to five e-mails).

In the end, panelists encouraged job seekers to have fun with the process. After all, said Gabriel, "Where else do you get to talk about yourself for 45 minutes?"

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!
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