Out of Work? Put your PR Skills to Use!

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None of us ever want to be unemployed. Unfortunately, the reality is that it happens. I’m one of those who had reality slap me in the face when I was let go from my job last month. Disappointing? Sure. But, it was also a perfect time to refine who I am and what I really want to do.

What did I do?

I spent the first few days developing a plan of action and started to strategize my next steps. Think you can’t do a SWOT analysis on yourself? WRONG! Take any public relations-centered term and you can put it to use in your job search. Here’s what I did in the first weeks of being unemployed.

Research-I did Google searches and talked to trusted colleagues who are now out on their own to see what was out there and how I could market myself.

Strategy- If I wasn’t going to be working in the office setting full-time, I needed to know what I wanted to do and how it would work for me. Much like you do strategy sessions with clients, I took a critical look at where I wanted to go.

Key Messages- If someone were to ask you to define who you are in three concise sentences, could you do it? Being unemployed is a perfect time to define yourself.

SWOT analysis- Yes, I wasn’t just throwing the term out there earlier. I actually looked at my strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats. It helped to clear up where I was going and what roadblocks I could encounter.

Pitching- Think about it. When you have to pitch a client to a producer or reporter, it needs to be compelling and newsworthy, right? The same can be said when pitching yourself for a new job or solo work.

Most importantly, don’t give up. You will hit some bumps, but with these five tips in your corner, you should feel more confident of your success.

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  • Anonymous

    Great, great list, Jason! It’s awesome how you saw this horrible situation as an opportunity to take the next steps in your career.  Awesome.

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Thanks Mike! Why not look at the glass half full, right? It’s the awesome thing to do. :)

  • Josh Gregory

    Right on, Jason! When I moved back to our area and couldn’t get anything going, I resorted to taking a job (not in PR) that I quit in less than a month.  (Matter of fact, it’s about five years to the day that I took that job.)

    Prior to my taking that awful job, I recall doing nothing but scouring websites, forums and newspapers trying to find jobs.  I never sat down and made an assessment of how I was going about things and how to market myself.

    When I finally did things similar to what you have described?  I got two job offers in PR within two weeks. Amazing what happens when one prepares before one attacks.

    Skype me this afternoon, ya bum. :-)

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Hey Josh,

      Funny thing is I think we all want to rush, in some way, into getting that new or next gig. The planning part doesn’t always factor into it. 

      Skype? What’s that? ;-)

  • http://kellyashley.tumblr.com Kelly Byrd

    Thanks for writing this, Jason, and for reminding those in this unfortunate situation not to give up! I too was let go unexpectedly, in August due to company budgeting, and have been making an effort to apply the strategies we use in our work to myself.

    Great post!

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Thank you Kelly! Let me know how you are doing. And keep positive!

  • http://vasqpr.com Joe Vasquez

    Thanks for sharing this. I know the feeling bro. I got downsized in 09 after seven years at a Manhattan firm that’s why I ended up in Austin and started my own shop. It’s been a challenging road but I think it’s the best thing for me and my family for now. 

    You raised excellent points. I forget sometimes that I need to pitch
    myself for new business just as hard as I pitch my clients to media. Keep that positive attitude!

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Joe,

      Sounds like the same situation I was in. You raise a good point… “challenging road.” I’ve found the same thing, but a positive attitude helps.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/karenswim Karen D. Swim

    Jason, this post proves you are a rock star! I applaud you for honestly sharing from your own experience and providing solid tips for others who may be struggling to find a new job. From experience, I know that the greatest weapon in a successful transition is attitude. You have that nailed and I can’t wait to see what is next for you.

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Karen,

      Thanks. Never thought I was a rock star. :)

      Honesty is the best policy and if it helps other pros in the same position, I’m glad. 

      I’m eager to keep moving forward.

      Best,
      Jason

  • http://twitter.com/jacque_PR Jacque Smith

    Also great advice for us young PR pros with several internship experiences, who are still struggling to establish permanent roots in an organization. This was a great reminder that in order to move forward, we can’t give up!

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Hi Jacque!

      Please don’t give up. Believe in what you know and apply it to your search while you are in school. 

      Let me know if I can help.

      Best,
      Jason

      • http://twitter.com/jacque_PR Jacque Smith

        Thanks, Jason! I’d appreciate any additional advice you can give me!

        I graduated in Dec ’09 and, because entry-level PR jobs are especially competitive due to the economic crisis, I’ve tried to take advantage of every possible opportunity. Since then I’ve interned or freelanced for several organizations in corporate, agency and non-profit industries. While it has been a struggle financially, I still feel very fortunate that I continue to grow my skill set in all three areas of PR. I’m not going to give up though – your post definitely reminded me not to! :) 

  • Twin 1 08 Msu

    I like the theory that is coming out of this message.  I will graduate college in May with a degree in Public Relations and these tips will hopefully work wonders for me.  I have one concern though, I feel like it would extremely difficult to do a SWOT analysis on yourself.  In an analysis of yourself it would be hard to point out your own weaknesses.  You might ask a friend or colleague to help you with this portion.  In my case, as a student, asking professors may  be a good start.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this post Jason! While I have a job to pay for my college I still find myself feeling somewhat unemployed. I am studying PR and broadcast journalism in what may be my last year of school. Before I ever took any course in college my father always told me life was about networking. I only really believed him when all of my professors were saying the same exact thing. I feel like networking is really hard to do without going through the steps you talked about in this post. I think while I am still “unemployed” in my desired field of work I will go through and look at these things to better network myself. Great post!

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this post Jason! While I have a job to pay for my college I still find myself feeling somewhat unemployed. I am studying PR and broadcast journalism in what may be my last year of school. Before I ever took any course in college my father always told me life was about networking. I only really believed him when all of my professors were saying the same exact thing. I feel like networking is really hard to do without going through the steps you talked about in this post. I think while I am still “unemployed” in my desired field of work I will go through and look at these things to better network myself. Great post!

  • Bikijohn

    You’ve handled your situation in a great, productive way.  It reminds of what a friend said to me yesterday about the Nelson Mandela story and how what essentially set him apart from the rest of his prison mates was how he capitalized on a negative situation, by having a positive attitude which led to a positive outcome.  I feel this is what you are doing- bravo!
    http://myfashionslashlife.wordpress.com  

  • Jordan728

    Thanks for sharing your story Jason. This article is especially helpful for new graduates about to enter the workforce.  It’s important to reassess where you stand in these economic times, and it certainly never hurts to improve your skill set, while in between careers.

  • Brynne

    I appreciate this post! I am about to graduate with a degree in PR in the spring, and I find that these tips apply to recent grads without a job as well. Having public relations as a degree is definitely helpful in landing a job, because we know how to market ourselves. I am finding myself capable of helping fellow students who are graduating as well with their job search, because of my background in PR.