Time–Fourth Dimension of Job Search Process

  Susan Balcom Walton


I recently wrote an article in PR Tactics discussing some general “next step” stategies for students who have graduated in PR but have not been able to find a PR job.  In the article, I encouraged students to consider taking additional internships, getting volunteer experience, networking, acquiring more skills and publishing. 

I wrote the article knowing that many PR students are already doing all these things and are nevertheless struggling to find jobs.  If this is happening to you, the biggest question you probably have right now is, “Well, then, what else can I do?”

Understanding the Time Factor

The answer is not necessarily what we want to hear, but it’s true:  Be patient.  Ride it out, persevere, keep on doing all the good things you are doing to gain experience and stay relevant…and then wait.  In other words, you must understand and accept the time factor. 

If you think back to your high school or college physics classes, you may recall that space is recognized as having three dimensions—length, width and depth.

Eventually, a fourth dimension, time, was added to the list.  This dimension is a little less like the others.  It enters in a different way and is a little more nonintuitive.  In fact, Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time may not pass the same way under different conditions—it is relative.

With apologies to Einstein and physicists everywhere, let me apply this principle to PR job searches.  The job search process has three dimensions that I’ve already discussed:  1) gaining experience, 2) staying relevant and current in the profession, and 3) networking and gaining visibility.  However, as in Einstein’s model, the fourth dimension of time still kicks in and introduces a highly relative component—things vary depending on the external environment.

Right now, I am observing and hearing from other PR professionals that things are indeed varying in this external environment—and that PR job searches may take significantly longer than they did a few years ago.  One senior professional I spoke with the other day estimates that, in his market, the 8-12 month job search cycle once typical for PR graduates has now approximately doubled.

Use Your Time Wisely

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