As the economic downturn continues, a number of skilled public relations professionals across the nation have been laid off. In the Portland metro area, three of our six local APR practitioners have lost their jobs, me included.
Here’s the good news: as experts in marketing, strategic communication and social media, we have an edge in this competitive job market. Social media is the biggest game changer since my last job hunt eight years ago. Here’s how to use it to your best advantage:
Linked In: For years, I’ve been asking myself whether Linked In is worth my time. Then I lost my job, and suddenly it became an essential tool. Prospective employers will check you out on Linked In before an interview, and you can find out more about them. Here, you can
- Make contacts aware you are looking for work. If you update your site, it’s assumed.
- Post resume content on your profile.
- Request recommendations from past supervisors and professional colleagues.
- Get endorsements from colleagues on specific skills.
- Network by linking to friends and friends-of-friends.
- Find local job postings in your field.
Wix: As a job seeker, I had to shift my focus from marketing my district to marketing myself. That’s when I discovered Wix, which offers oodles of snazzy template options to create and customize a free online portfolio. This would also be a useful tool if you decide to start a consulting business. My first step was to have a professional portrait taken. I then used this site to
- Post my resume and reference letters.
- Highlight major project successes.
- Post testimonials.
- Link to online examples of my work: the district website, Facebook page and YouTube channel; my professional blog; and Linked In.
Be sure to list the URL for your portfolio site on your resume. On job applications that do not allow resumes, take advantage of the opportunity to list this instead.
Facebook: Job searches are as much about who you know as what you know. That’s where Facebook comes in handy. Private messaging can help you
- Discreetly find out who in your field is retiring.
- Gather inside information about prospective employers.
- Line up reference letters and Linked In recommendations.
- Find out about job leads.
- Get advice from mentors as you update your resume and prep for interviews.
- Build alliances with former co-workers who now work for a prospective employer.
All job-hunting aside, by far the biggest benefit of using Facebook when facing a layoff is the support you get from friends, colleagues and family through each step of your journey. Hard times are when you discover who your real friends are.
Best of luck with your job search! And remember — as a school PR professional, you have the most versatile skill sets on the market. Use those skills to show them what you’ve got!