While on my flight back to the States, I sat by a friendly lady who happened to be a PR Consultant. She worked for 15 years in the public relations industry, beginning with a salary of $19,000 and ending at $70,000 before she left work due to her want to start a family. Surprisingly, that led into a wonderful discussion as we discussed life, job hunting, and how to find the PR job for which you are looking. I wanted to share it with you since I found it helpful. I have also added some things I have learned while job searching. Even if you are not interested in PR, the advice here is applicable to other career searches.

1.)    Before you begin your job search, know what kind of career you want. Where do you see yourself? What lifestyle you wish to live?  For example, if you want to work in public relations, do you want to work in-house at an agency or out-house for a specific company? What kind of public relations do you want to do: fashion, government, business to business, consumer, etc.?  What is your favorite aspect about public relations—press releases, event planning, media research, etc.?  You should have some answers to these questions because it will help you narrow down your job search. Each company will have its own definition of public relations, and particularly when you work in-house for an organization, their meaning of  public relations could be slightly to largely different from your perspective, so understand what you are looking for before you begin your job search. Not saying that you need to know EVERYTHING, but you should have a general gist of the type of public relations you want to do and the type of environment in which you thrive.

2.)    When searching for a job, look at the company than just the position. Many times, it pays to take a lesser position in a company that you want to work for. This is because the hardest part may be getting your feet in the door. It may be easier to begin as a secretary in the office, even though you really want to do public relations. This is because you will already be privy to information about how the organization works and you already have an advantage if a position does become available. With hard work and dedication and patience, it is relatively easy to work your way up in an organization.

3.)    When being offered a job, look at the package holistically. They may not offer you your dream salary, but what other monetary benefits are you getting: Relocation assistance? Medical coverage? Stock options? Pensions? For example, medical coverage is costly, so if your company is offering you that, then that could be worth about ¼ of your actual salary, depending on your plan and how good the coverage is.

4.)    Match 401K immediately when entering a job. (Put the max in) This helps to secure your financial future especially when we do not know if our generation will receive social security benefits. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out.”  For those who do not know what a 401k plan is, I suggest you read this article by the Wall Street Journal. http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/retirement/what-is-a-401k/

5.)    Network, Network, Network. Many people find jobs through networking as it sometimes is easier to get a position in a company, when a reputable person in the company can vouch for you. Need I say more? Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal to help you with networking. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/01/13/career-journal-how-to-make-networking-work-for-you/?KEYWORDS=public+relations

6.)    Send “thank you” emails after your interview and take their business card. Even if you do not get the job, you never know when having their contact information will come in handy.

Did this help you? Do you have any suggestions you would like to share? Feel free to tweet this or like this on twitter.

With love,