Tips for a Successful Job Search

By Posted in - Entry-Level PR Job & Free Advice on February 8th, 2013

Come May, all three of our Clairemont interns will be turning their tassels and leaving the beautiful UNC campus behind to officially enter the job market. With North Carolina currently at a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, we challenged our intern, Erin, to find out exactly what recent college grads and other young professionals need to do to make sure they get hired in an oversaturated job market.

1Twenty years ago looking for a job meant checking the newspaper, asking around town and simply submitting an application or resume. Today, the search itself has become a full-time occupation. With endless access to job postings through search engines and social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, companies that at one time may have received 50 resumes for an open position now receive thousands.

So, just how do you beat out all those other applicants to land your dream job?

According to Richard Spector, Public Relations Society of America Jobcenter manager, you have to be just as strategic and persistent in your search as you would be if you were hired. In his recent webinar, “Your Guide to Career Success,” he outlined the top facts and “dos and don’ts” of a successful job search.


  • Do your research. Know the company inside and out from social media sites to media coverage.
  • Come prepared. Have a mock presentation with a strategic answer to that company’s needs.


  • On average, resumes are judged within six seconds, so keep it simple.
  • Your resume is your calling card. Use measurable examples to show things you accomplished.
  • Use technology such as a QR code to show you can be both digital and creative.

Cover Letter

  • Employers want to know what you have done, so start off with how you solved a problem.
  • Take note from the cover letter that went viral and stay away from personal attributes.
  • Be authentic! Keep to keywords and refrain from flowery language.

Online Profiles and Portfolio

  • Make sure your Linkedin profile is 100 percent complete. Recruiters can see the holes in your profile.
  • Google yourself. Are your online profiles easily accessible – and just as importantly, are they appropriate?
  • Utilize your social profiles to position yourself as an industry thought leader. Follow different agencies and industry professionals on Twitter and re-tweet and share interesting news with your followers.
  • In your portfolio, always remember quality over quantity. Only show the best examples of your work to potential employers.


  • Use social media, informational interviews, job shadowing, volunteering and freelancing to meet other industry professionals.
  • Build relationships by connecting over commonalities or giving recommendations.

BUT, what’s the most important thing to remember in every aspect of the job hunt? Be authentic and never give up! Twenty percent of job rejections will actually end in a job offer. As the old saying goes, when one door closes another door opens. Good luck and share your job search tips in the comments section below!



(4) awesome comment(s)...

  • Queenie Byars - Reply

    February 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Clairemont is such a great company for PR students seeking internships that often lead to full time positions. A number of my former students have excelled while learning from the best in the business at Clairemont. Special thanks to Margot and the Clairemont Communications team for sharing this insightful information, plus networking, recruiting and preparing young PR professionals!

    • Margot Horgan - Reply

      February 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Thank you so much Professor Byars! Please send any students looking for internships our way!

  • Margot Horgan - Reply

    February 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I agree that networking is key. A mutual colleague suggested that I meet Dana for an informational interview over lunch. This led to landing a spring internship at Clairemont and eventually to my first full-time job after college!

  • Dana Hughens - Reply

    February 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    These are excellent points! As someone who actually graduated 20 years ago this May, I can assure you that the job search wasn’t so simple then either. It is wonderful that today’s grads have so many different tools for connecting to prospective employers. At the same time, it can be a challenge to standout in a crowd.

    My advice? Consider some of the things I did in 1993 to land my first position. This post mentions volunteering. Think about that beyond the nonprofit world. I worked at an event planning agency for free for several weeks just to make some contacts in a new town. That led me to meet my first full-time boss.

    However, there was a step in between. First I spent a busy holiday season answering the phones for hourly pay for the organization that eventually gave me a PR and marketing job. In between answering phones (and the door and taking out the mail), I started evaluating the news releases, brochures and sponsor recruitment materials. When I shared my thoughts with the director on those things, he made me the marketing director.

    Also as this post mentions, I did a lot of informational interviews. At the end of each one, I’d politely request the name of three more people I should call to arrange more informational interviews. Some of the people I met during that process are still part of my professional network today.

    Happy networking!

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