Yesterday, it was our pleasure to have guest host, Dr. Dionne Clemons share her insight and expertise on “Getting a Job Through Non-Traditional Methods & Utilizing Your Networks” on #PRCafe. It is quoted around 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed. Rather than giving up on a “not so great” job market, it is important to make yourself a step above the rest and stay persistent at finding a position you want.
Dr. Clemons is currently teaching at Howard University and has previously taught for several universities throughout the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. She speaks on strategic communication management, strategic messaging, branding, and government public affairs. Dr. Clemons made several great points on what we can do as job seekers to brand and market ourselves to prospective employers and how methods of networking can result in a job.
The first step to finding a job is to know what you want. Be clear, have goals, and have a plan. It is vital to know exactly what you are looking for because a job search needs to be focused to see results. Let’s face it; finding a job is a job in itself. Be certain on what you are looking for.
Aside from your education, employers are looking for what experience you have that can make you an asset to their team. It is important to gain experience through internships, volunteer work and groups. Dr. Clemons shared that she had internships in television, radio, and print industries before finding herself in public relations. “Internships allow you to figure out what you don’t want to do as a career”, says Dr. Clemons. She also shared that your average competition will have three internships upon graduation. Get started right away.
Joining an industry association, volunteering, and going to work functions are all examples of what Dr. Clemons suggested jobseekers engage in to successfully network with others in their industry. Research companies and contact professionals within that company for information. Set up an informational interview to gain information, not a job. Be honest about the meeting and let that person know you would like to gain knowledge on the company. Be fearless and gracious; reach out to other professionals that are doing what you want to do and ask them to be your mentor. Engage with others!
It is important to have an online presence. Employers are looking, do not be fooled. Google yourself and see if you are pleased with links and photos appear, this all contributes to your personal brand. Dr. Clemons recommends creating a digital portfolio to display your work and what you can offer a company. Be confident in your work and showcase it.
If you are searching for a job in public relations check out PRSA, PRWeek, and AdAge, if you are looking for a position in the non-profit industry visit Chronicle of Philanthropy.
You can follow Dr. Clemons on Twitter at @Drdcclemons or like her fan page on
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/YourPRMentor.
We recommend you do both =)