Archive for December, 2011
We hope you all have a fun, safe and happy New Year!
Get ready for the great new posts coming your way in 2012.
-Kristin and Laura
Today’s post comes courtesy of Peppercom co-founder and managing partner Steve Cody and the most recent RepChatter podcast.
A recent Forbes.com article not only suggested that Millennial women were burning out at a faster rate than their male counterparts but, get this, female PR millennials were topping the ‘fried at 25′ list.
In an attempt to get to the heart (if not soul) of this frightening trend, I recently invited six Peppercom interns to air their views (note: we had an even balance of men and women in the discussion).
So, kick back (if your schedule permits you to do so), turn up the volume and listen to hear if Peppercom’s millennial women agree with the basic Forbes.com premise (note: all three were multi-tasking as they answered my questions, so some answers may be garbled. The guys, on the other hand, were yawning, stretching and fighting hard to keep their eyes open).
Yet, according to a survey from LinkedIn, job seekers continue to use advertising hype instead
of PR strategies in trying to differentiate themselves and find employment.
In fact, the five most overused words in LinkedIn profiles (and the resumes I’ve read) are:
- extensive experience
- communications skills
So, what’s wrong with using such superb descriptors? Everyone else does. As a result, you won’t stand out. Wave bye-bye.
I’m amazed more PR professionals and recent graduates aren’t using their PR skills to produce an objective LinkedIn profile or resume replete with third party endorsements instead of first person chest-thumping.
So, let’s say you’ve worked at Peppercom, have grown weary of Ed and are seeking greener pastures. If you’ve interned for us, your resume shouldn’t boast about being a ‘…effective, problem-solver with a proven track record.’ Instead, it should include a quote from our intern manager, Kristin Davie, along the lines of “I’ve managed many interns, but Ishmael would be at the top of my list.”
Or, let’s say you’re a Peppercom management supervisor who can simply no longer stomach Ted’s political correctness. Instead of jotting down, “I love people and work incredibly well with teams at all levels,” ask the evangelical one for an endorsement. We appreciate employees who come to us in advance, tell us it’s not working out for them and ask for time to find a new gig while we, in turn, are given the heads-up to begin searching for a replacement.
I don’t blame PR professionals or students for using an advertising approach to finding jobs in public relations. I point the finger, instead, at executive search consultants, human resource managers and academics for continuing to endorse an obviously broken model (i.e. the one-page resume that starts with objectives, provides a brief summary of work experience and ends with those dreaded words, ‘references furnished upon request’).
Public relations today is all about engaging in the conversation, and applying the 5Ws to develop your story. I’d use that exact, same approach if I were job-seeking today. I’d craft my profile or resume by answering the following:
- Who are you approaching? (Find out as much as you can about the individual or the organization in advance)
- Why you are qualified (told by the most credible source(s) possible, your former employer)
- What you bring to the plate (see above)
- Where you’ve made a significant contribution (see above)
- When you’re ready to begin work (yesterday)
It’s ironic that professionals who work in an industry that’s always differentiated itself by leveraging the power of third party endorsement almost never use it to market themselves.
As the graduate recruitment market continues to tighten, internships have become the Holy Grail. So much so that an event was held at Number 10 last month to discuss social mobility and internships with the main topic of discussion being whether a good internship is all about who you know, not what you know.
We all like to do favours for our friends and families, but should we now be saying that an internship given to a son / daughter / friend of the boss is unfair?
And when job applicants are looking for work, they are actively encouraged to flex their contacts book, so isn’t a ‘back door’ internship just doing the same thing?
Internships are now more fiercely sought after than ever and so businesses are likely to be sifting through as many intern applications as they are permanent applications.
But, for example, if a company only offers three internships a year and they are all given to friends of the business, then there is no opportunity for others who are less well-connected to get in and this could lead to the diversity pool being restricted.
So much work has been done to promote objectiveness and assessment-based entry into the workplace, so why wouldn’t companies who champion this in their approach to recruitment not apply the same measures to internships?
Perhaps it is because companies have not fully considered the significant foot in the door an internship can provide and so do not look at it with the same amount of rigour they would for a full-time post.
In today’s climate, it is clear that having an internship under your belt can be the difference between getting a job and not, and so businesses should carefully consider who these precious experiences should go to.
If a ‘best fit for the role’ approach is not taken for internships then the forward steps that most companies have taken to ensure recruitment is fair and objective will be compromised.