Posts Tagged IABC/Toronto

Plays well with others

At an IABC/Toronto event, someone told me:

“In this industry it’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know and what they know about you.”

As a “newbie” PR practitioner competing against several others, it’s hard to set yourself apart from the crowd. Everyone is in the same boat you’re in – the will work for money and great experience boat. Racing against others who can offer potential employers the same thing you can make for a difficult run. So, to try and set myself apart from the others I turned to well-known practitioner who was a colleague of mine – who I will now refer to as Ms.X. She knows exactly what potential employers are looking for becasue she has seen a gazillion resume and has also interviewed several people for both junior and senior positions in the industry. She shared some valuable advice and information with me that I feel will really help a “newbie” PR practitioner, like myself, get ahead of the game.

1. Renovate your resume
Your resume is what will get you in the door. The only thing potential employers have to judge you on is this document, so you had better make sure your resume is good enough to be placed in the “call for interview” pile. My colleague gave me the following tips on how to blow away the competition:

  • Check it one, check it twice, check it THREE times
    Ms. X says that one mistake, whether it’s grammatical or a spelling error – will send you home packing, so read it over and over again and then have a fresh pair of eyes proof read it before hitting SEND. We’re in the communications industry! So you had better believe potential employers are looking for people who know and understand the importance good grammar and spelling.
  • Leave no room for questions
    Provide brief descriptions about the comapnies you worked for in the past, make sure your dates add up and be clear about your duties at each place of employment. Don’t assume your employer will figure it out or will know – they don’t have time to look up information you neglected to provide.
  • Tailor Made
    Tailor your resume to fit each employer you send it to. You know what they are looking for so highlight how you can help them by emphasizing certain work experience and training that meets their needs. Even though a resume outlines your qualifications, remember, it’s not all aobut you – it’s about the employer and how you can give them what they are looking for.

2. Play well with others

“In this industry it’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know and what they know about you.”

Keeping that in mind, you need to get out there and start building your network. Ms.X says that by networking with people in the industry you are opening doors for yourself without even knowing it. She says a hidden job market exists in the industry that those who employers know or know about are the ones who benefit from it. Volunteer at IABC or CPRS events – it’s great way to meet people in the industry and to get your name out there.

IABC/Toronto is holding it’s Volunteer Recruitment Night this month – click here for more information.

At the end of the day, we are all capable of bringing something fresh and exciting to the table, but we may not know how to highlight the reasons why we are different from the last person the potential employer interviewed that day.


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Making (dollars) and cents of it all

As the end of my internship at the Ontario Science Centre approaches the search for a full-time job in the industry is also close at my heels.

I attended IABC/Toronto’s student event, Learn the Things They Don’t Teach you at School, last week and got a lot out of it.

I can’t believe there are people who show up for an interview with a hangover AND tell their potential employer that!

Apparently, the MOST uncommon thing in the world is common sense.

I digress.

The event walked junior PR practitioners, like myself, through the various steps we must take in order to succeed in the industry. There were sessions on how to create a winning resume, how to network, how to ace the interview and how to keep the job.

When looking for a job I consider several things:

  • location (how far will I have to travel to get there?)
  • parking (will I have to pay for parking, and if so, how much will it cost?)
  • corporate culture (will I fit in with the crowd?)
  • work hours (am I expected to work on the weekends? Holidays?)

…I could go on, but one thing I have trouble figuring out(and perhaps my fellow junior practitioners feel the same way) is how to handle stating much will I want to get paid (if that is up for discussion)?

My professors have told me that I should expect to make (at the very least) $35,000 a year.
BUT…what if the organization offers you $5,000 less and you really want to become a part of their team?

Is it appropriate to say
“Would we be able to negotiate?”

And then how do you say you want $5,000 more and justify that you deserve it?!?
The last thing I want to do come across as a greedy, money-hungry person.

So, how should junior PR practitioners make “cents” of these kinds of situations?

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