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Finding a Job 101

Posted At: September 29, 2008 1:03 PM
by Miranda Harbin

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, and you’ve almost found your way out. No more tests, quizzes or homework.  The stress is almost over and you will finally be able to relax–graduation is near.

Then, you realize it’s time to find a job.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for public relations specialists will grow 18 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than average for all occupations.  However, the bad news is the number of qualified applicants will continue to exceed the amount of jobs that are available.

Deciding on a career in public relations was easy; now you must decide where you will work. Three specific sectors of public relations to choose from are nonprofit, corporate and firms.


According to, an online career resource guide, community-related organizations such as the YMCA, health organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, government institutions such as the U.S. Postal Service, and colleges and universities are all examples of nonprofits. The key difference between nonprofit public relations and agency or corporate public relations is that nonprofit public relations are part of the public sector. Government jobs may require that you fill out special forms or take special tests.


Corporate public relations jobs can be a little more difficult to locate. If you know what company you would like to work for, you can visit its Web site and view the available jobs. Oftentimes the director of public relations or marketing communications’ contact information will be available on the Web site. This enables you to write a cover letter directly to the person over the department and submit your resumé via e-mail. Other resources available for finding corporate jobs can be found by looking on chamber of commerce Web sites and visiting local PRSA meetings.


Most cities have at least one public relations firm. Firms can specialize in many different types of public relations. Firms can be found by looking in firm directories.  O’Dwyer’s Directory of Public Relations Firms is an annual directory that publishes information on public relations firms. O’Dwyer’s contains information like rankings of firms by regions, number of employees and amount of money they grossed in the previous year. The directory also supplies contact information for each firm. The Advertising Redbook, another annual publication, contains a listing of public relations firms, as well as advertising firms and their specialties. Another good resource for public relations firm information is the Council of Public Relations Web site. The Web site allows the user to customize her search for the perfect firm by state or metropolitan area, size of the firm and service area expertise.

Job Search Tips

There are many resources for public relations jobs available on the Internet. The PRSSA Web site and local PRSA chapters have job centers in which the user can search for both internships and jobs. O’Dwyer’s and the Council of Public Relations Firms also have job centers. not only serves as a job Web site, but also contains articles pertaining to public relations and advertising professionals.

A few things to remember while searching for the perfect PR career:

• Start networking early!

Recent University of Alabama graduate Christine Palma found her agency job with Webber Shandwick through getting to know her co-workers during an internship in New York City with Golin Harris.

“I learned that you can submit your application online as many times as you want, but if you have a personal connection to the agency, they are much more likely to consider you,” she said.

Palma goes on to say, “I was never much of the ‘networking’ type, but just getting to know people you work with and doing a great job is the simplest way to expand your own network.”

• Make sure you resumé is perfect. Let at least three people look over your resumé for grammatical and design errors.

• Don’t address your cover letters “To Whom It May Concern.” How would you feel if you received a letter from a prospective employer addressed “To Whom It May Concern”?

• Remember first impressions are lasting impressions! *

• Always follow-up with your cover letters; never be afraid to make a phone call! *

• Send handwritten “Thank you” notes to everyone you meet during a job interview. *

Good luck on the job hunt!

*Compiled with the help of

For more information on finding a job, especially for the current economic environment, please visit:

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