Dear Flack – Stay Seasoned during a PR Dry Spell

Alone on Sand Dune Crest[We received this question on a recent blog post about short job stints]

Dear Flack,

How does one stay active in the PR/marketing world and keep up their skills when they’re unemployed?

This may be a bit off topic, but I was late to the other unemployment posting, so I thought I’d ask here since it’s somewhat relevant.

I’m currently unemployed, and I really want to keep my PR and writing skills active while I continue to search for work. I would appreciate any tips that others have tried during periods of unemployment to keep their skills current and continue doing what they love (and it would also be great to be able to share what I did to keep on top of things while unemployed with potential employers).

Thanks in advance for any tips!

KA

Dear KA,

Staying active in the PR/Marketing world while unemployed may seem like a daunting task. What actions can you take to remain relevant that might also be of interest to potential employers?

Instead of just sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, and watching reruns of Seinfeld, here are a few tips to help you bide time while looking for a job in public relations/marketing:

  • Volunteer – There are a number of non-profit/charitable organizations that would welcome the assistance from a PR pro. Not only would you be flacking for a good cause, but you also have the opportunity to add to your overall portfolio and build media relationships. The majority of the time, organizations are looking for help with press releases, pitching for events – all things that will look stellar on a resume. So just do some research and see what local charities around your area may be in search of some much needed PR help.
  • Conferences – Public relations/social media conferences provide a great arena to meet other PR pros. However, sometimes these conferences come with hefty price tags. Surprisingly enough, on occasion organizers are looking for people to volunteer their time to help out at the registration desk or other related tasks. In return, you’ll have a great networking opportunity and free admission!
  • Get with the Social Networking Program – As cliché as this sounds, the PR world is your oyster. With Twitter and LinkedIn, there are a number of ways you can interact directly with public relation firm presidents, HR folks and more. In fact, members of our very own PRBC family have scored interviews and job offers simply by forming relationship through social networking. In fact, the other day I was contacted by a former intern via LinkedIn to see if I knew of any job opportunities. It just so happened that I did, and so I sent her the information.
  • Informational Interviews – Okay, stop your scoffing. Scoring an informational interview is better than never getting a foot through the front door – right? Reach out to PR agencies and request an informational interview. You never know what will be available down the line, or they might actually have open positions that they aren’t advertising yet. I went on an informational interview once, and guess what? It turned into a job offer.
  • Find a Recruiter – Another thing you might want to look into (if you haven’t yet) is finding a recruiter. A recruiter doesn’t only assist you in finding a job, but also provide feedback about your resume, cover letter, and even give you some interview tips. Be careful not to make the mistake of leaving the recruiter solely responsible for finding you a job – you should also be actively looking/applying as well.
  • Blog – Hey, what’s better writing practice than actually writing?  If you don’t have a blog, start one; or ask one of your favorite PR/Marketing blogs if you can contribute. It’s a great way to get your voice heard and name out there, and it also gives you a chance to keep up with those scribing skills.
  • Don’t be a Defeatist – Look, the job search process can be a grueling, and sometimes you might not realize that it can show through in your attitude. Keep positive and don’t let them sense your frustration. Believe me, potential employers will be able to tell right away if you are feeling defeated – so keep it in check!

So, readers what other tips do you have for keeping the PR Pro busy while unemployed?


Do you have a question for Dear Flack? If there’s something you’ve always wondered about, or wanted to ask about the public relations and social media world, e-mail dearflack@gmail.com . We take privacy very seriously and all names, companies and locations will remain confidential.

Dear Flack is written by Marie V-B, a seasoned public relations professional. Advice is based on both personal experience and input from members of PR Breakfast Club and outside expert sources.

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  • @JasmineBrooks1

    OMG! I could answer this one! I mean, I'm graduating in May so I'm job searching BUT I still pick up random jobs!

    Recently finished a big SPSS project for the campus yearbook. Also, recently met a public information officer and he's letting me write stories for the community. Portfolio builders!

    Just look up random gigs! Plan events! Design logos for friends! Anything!

    🙂

  • beccameyers

    Just keeping yourself emerged in the world via social media (I've actually connected and networked with more pr people in the dry spell then when I was working), reading blogs and making comments, and even just making press releases for friends with things going on to keep the creative writing skills flowing. Also, it would be a shame to lose media contacts cuz you were off the radar a couple of months, keep in touch and offer assistance for story sources or whatever you can think of.

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