When The Rules Don’t Apply: How To Really Rise Above The Rest In A Competitive Job Market
In his new column, TURNER Vice President Campbell Levy shares advice and inspiration via our Denver outpost.
If you’re on the hunt for a new job you’ve probably noticed it: after 12 months of excruciating slowdown, companies are hiring again (that includes TURNER — check out our current openings). That’s both good and bad news. The good news is there are real opportunities out there. The bad news? The job market is more competitive than ever. Your resume counts, of course. But there are a lot of good resumes rapidly filling up the inbox of HR departments nationwide. Below, I’ve put together a few tips and pointers that will help you break away from the pack in the PR / communications world.
Be Quick on Your Feet
First things first: top communications pros are rarely fazed by the unexpected. In fact, you can expect the unexpected (reference: the entirety of 2020). So be ready for anything and embrace the difficult fact that many veteran PR pros deny: control is a fallacy. While we cannot control the world around us — we can take it all in stride and adjust accordingly.
Being well-rounded is a skill. In our jobs, it’s a requirement to have an interest in virtually everything. An ideal candidate loves researching topics, turning them inside out and becoming an expert. The ability to learn (and do it quickly) is essential. In our business, you never know when your acumen for epic, insanely hard outdoor activity like hiking or skiing will have to be equaled by a knowledge of obscure cabernet or beer vintages. A day at TURNER (and most other communications firms) might include everything from edible plants to hip hop dance moves to organizing a press trip to view a Lazarus species. (Go ahead, you can look that last one up …)
Be A Master At Switching Gears
As the above tip suggests, it can be hard to focus with so many different concepts and ideas floating around during the course of a single day. But switching gears at the drop of a hat is a necessary talent. You may be deep in the midst of a lengthy research project when you’re called upon to join an emergency brainstorming session. You might be concentrating on a hotel opening when you’re asked to come up with killer ideas for a wellness product launch. These abrupt shifts might be jarring, but it’s key that you’re able to go with the flow, wherever it takes you.
Always Be Reading. And Writing.
Having the entire AP style guide memorized is useful. But it’s not enough. In PR, we often deal with some of the best writers in the business. How can you grab (and hold) an audience’s attention? By honing your own writing skills. It goes well beyond technical prowess; it’s about developing an engaging voice. The best way to blow a potential media hit is to bore a writer or editor to death (and it all starts with the subject line). The best way to get better? It’s easy. Read (and listen). A lot. Read magazines, books and websites of all types. Listen to podcasts, too; it may be an audio medium, but many are made by great wordsmiths. Analyze how a writer is making his or her point in the most effective and entertaining manner. Oh, and another underrated writing skill for PR professionals? Being able to craft the perfect email subject line — those two or three words that are absolutely irresistible.
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