Finding the right job can be frustrating –- you know that you have what it takes to do well at a brand new gig, but your dream company may take some convincing.
Repeatedly firing off your resume into the digital abyss isn’t going to help employers get wind of your skills. If you’re looking to add some extra juice to your job search, you might want to consider taking a new approach — like launching your very own personal public relations campaign.
Believe it or not, effective PR isn’t about flashy stunts or press releases littered with extravagant claims; it’s simply about communicating your value to the right people. Mary Perfect might have a resume that rivals yours, but the below tips can help give you the extra edge.
Here’s how you can leverage PR best practices to get noticed by your future boss:
1. Conduct an Audit
PR strategy: When PR agencies kick off a new client relationship, the first step is to cross-examine the strategies and processes behind any of the client’s earlier publicity efforts. Shining a bright light on what’s been working well — and not so well –- is the first step to building a successful campaign.
Job seeker strategy: Audit your job search. Ask yourself hard questions that will force you to evaluate how you’ve been doing so far, and what you can do to up your game. For example:
- On average, how many jobs do you apply for in a week?
- How many of these companies respond or send interview invites?
- Which actions (sending emails, attending industry events) generate the most leads?
Another approach to this is to conduct thorough research on the companies you’ll be applying to. Concentrate not only on relevant company details and memorizing mantras or policies, but also consider the fresh perspective that you can offer them, and prepare a number of talking-points on how you would improve or build upon current programs or initiatives if hired.
2. Nail Down Messaging
PR strategy: Before agencies begin scheduling news coverage for clients, they develop a messaging strategy to determine what the heck makes the client newsworthy in the first place. A cohesive message communicates the client’s utility and most important attributes to target audiences such as the press, investors or future customers.
Job seeker strategy: What’s newsworthy about you? Whether you’re communicating in a cover letter, on your LinkedIn page or over coffee, your news must be authentic, and it must speak to your utility and unique characteristics. Ask yourself: What specific problems do I know how to solve? What differentiates me from the competition?
3. “Bridge” if You Have To
PR strategy: If you’ve ever watched more than 30 seconds of an interview with a politician, you’ve witnessed “bridging” in action. To execute this technique effectively, you begin by acknowledging the original question, and then proceeding to talk about what you actually want to discuss instead.
Job seeker strategy: Life isn’t linear, and careers rarely unfold in perfect increments. You can use bridging to tactfully and intelligently finesse your way through less-than-ideal scenarios or gaps in your resume. Were you out of work for awhile? Left a job early because of a heinous boss? Bridging will help you reframe these touchy topics.
Here’s an example: You left your previous position after just eight months because your manager used to email you violent limericks and text your personal cell phone constantly. Instead of falling into the trap of saying something negative about a previous employer, use the question about your departure as an opportunity to talk about your strongest skills and how they weren’t being utilized to the fullest extent.
4. Use Case Studies
PR strategy: Agencies create case studies to show off their capabilities to prospective clients. In a document or spiffy infographic format, they use quantifiable data to tell a “before and after” story that walks prospective clients through their “wins” in the past.
Job seeker strategy: Whether it’s a resume bullet or an interview anecdote, there’s credence to the adage “show, don’t tell.” If you say, “I am the best sales director to ever roam the hallowed halls of America’s biggest corporations,” you may get points for flair, but you’ve missed an opportunity to say something of value that substantiates your claim.
Instead, present employers with straight-up evidence of your value by providing quantitative examples such as, “I implemented a policy that resulted in a 37% revenue increase over the course of 10 months.”
5. Send Yourself to Media Training Boot Camp
PR strategy: Sometimes media training is as simple as reviewing talking-points to make sure clients don’t wander off-topic when chatting with a reporter. Other times — for example, if a client is going to be full-time on a grueling press junket — agencies train clients as intensely as Serena Williams preps for a tennis match.
Job seeker strategy: You may have an great message, but it won’t serve you if you fail to communicate it to employers. The key here is practice. Enlist a friend to drill you in a mock-interview and make a list afterward of the concrete takeaways that emerged throughout the course of their questioning. (If you’re really brave, videotape yourself to check your delivery.)
Did your best attributes come up? Did you find a way to work in the time you spent volunteering in Uzbekistan? If not, start over again to work on clear conversational segues and talking-points that will help you inject your professional awesomeness smoothly into the conversation.
Mashable Job Board Listings
The Mashable Job Board connects job seekers across the U.S. with unique career opportunities in the digital space. While we publish a wide range of job listings, we have selected a few job opportunities from the past two weeks to help get you started. Happy hunting!
- Front-End Developer at Paperless Post in New York, N.Y.
- Account Manager at Onion Inc. in Chicago, Ill.
- Associate Director, Digital Strategy at iCrossing, Inc. in New York, N.Y.