The Art of the PR Job Hunt

Last week I was invited to City College of New York to talk about “career paths in social media.” I ended up dwelling on career paths in public relations, under which social media most often resides. My co-presenter was the very capable Nadina Guglielmetti (say that three times fast!), who leads Wag-Ed’s digital consulting practice in New York.

Given the softness in the PR job market, and the equally incongrous eagerness of the 40 or so students gathered that day, I tried to manage expectations by keeping it real and actionable. Here were several of the pointers:

  • Listen to the conversation. Seek out those authoritative voices in the PR/media/marketing space and follow their blog posts (and blogrolls), Twitter tweets, and RSS feeds. Who knows. It may just lead to @heatherhuhman with her entry-level PR job and internship postings.
  • Get physical. Go out and mingle with those in the field at the countless free meet-ups and tweet-ups that occur nightly in New York City. is a good place to start.
  • Tool with the tools. If there is a silver lining on the PR job front, it’s for those with a modicum of digital and social media know-how. Start a blog; set up Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts; learn how to shoot, edit and upload a video on YouTube; check out Posterous, FourSquare and FriendFeed. Then add this new-found acumen to your resume.
  • Find your passion. No, PR is not a passion. Music, theatre, sports, business, the environment…these are passions. But know that PR is applicable to all of these areas (and so many more). Build your resume based on your interests/credentials, i.e., that which you’re passionate about, then apply for those jobs…via the PR department.

Talking about passions. Did you see the story in today’s New York Times about former PR agency chief David Kratz? After departing EuroRSCG, he took to painting. This week he was named president of the New York Academy of Art. Good for you, David. I bet the Academy is pleased with the editorial bi-product of your ascendancy there.

Thanks to David Thompson, Associate Director of Career Counseling and Professional Development, CCNY, for having me to campus. Also, great to see my old H&K colleague Lynne Scott Jackson, or Professor Jackson as she’s known on 138th Street.