Graduating into a Recession

A friend told me today that his daughter graduates from Notre Dame this weekend, and he’s terrified about her job prospects.  I agreed when he confided that she’s only sent out 10 resumes so far because she feels her job chances are hopeless.  Like the lottery slogan, you can’t win if you don’t play. 

The May issue of PRSA’s Tactics is mostly devoted to job-help advice for new graduates, and it includes a surprisingly long Q&A with me about this blog.  Tactics’ page one article explains why grads such as my friend’s daughter are discouraged:  Employers expect to hire 22% fewer graduates from the class of 2009 than they did last year and on-campus recruiting has dropped 66%.  But organizations are still hiring.  So, grads and their anxious parents must understand that landing a job is becoming a full-time job itself.   

Unfortunately, Tactics is only available free to PRSA members so I’ll highlight some of the points from select articles, and I’ll invite authors of other articles to write guest posts. 

Author and journalist Chris Cobb assesses the PR job market by talking with recruiters who see light at the end of the tunnel.  He quotes Don Spetner of Korn Ferry International who admits the current employment scene is “awful.”  However, Spetner says:  “It is very quiet now, but in six to nine months the market will bounce back.”  He says firms are hiring in Washington, D.C. and this will have a ripple effect throughout the country.  New York PR recruiter Arnold Huberman says the current market is “grim,” but adds that “the normal path of a recession is that PR agencies recover first.” 

California-based recruiter Smooch Reynolds of Repovich-Reynolds Group provides wise counsel:  “This is not the time to look for the home run career move.  Look at this as an adventure.  Meet and greet everyone who will give you 20 minutes of their time.  This is your own marketing campaign.  It’s not just about looking for a job, but increasing your web of connections.”  Reynolds adds:  “People in today’s recession need to become employed or stay employed.  When the economy has improved, nobody is going to hold any career move a person makes today against them.  Today, it’s about survival.” 

Marla Woloshin, director of PR and marketing at Providene Tarzana Medical Centerin California, urges job seekers to write their own career development plan–using familiar tools to assess strengths and weaknesses and form an action plan.  She recommends connecting with peers for a job-search support group. 

Kyle Potvin, a principal at Splash Communications, provides six tips for landing an interview:

  • Follow directions.  Read and follow job description carefully.
  • Provide a cover letter.  A well-written cover letter provides a more personalized pitch than a resume alone.
  • Show passion.  Research the potential employer and create a sharp pitch that shows you actually gave thought to this position versus others. 
  • Blog and use Twitter.  Social media is the new calling card.
  • Jump off the page.  Do something that set your resume apart from others.  (Years ago, Kyle pasted a paper fortune cookie “fortune” onto her cover letter that was relevant to the job she was applying for.  She landed an interview and the job).
  • Tap relationships.  In any sales endeavor, a trusted referral can push you ahead of the competition.

2 comments on this post.
  1. William Murray:

    Hi Ron –

    Great piece – thanks for highlighting PRSA. We’re fortunate to have had you as a PRSA member, and enormously appreciate your support!

    Bill Murray
    President and COO

  2. Top 10 Culpwrit Posts of 2009:

    […] Graduating into a Recession […]

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