Beginning the Job Search in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

A Never Ending Story...
Like thousands of millions of people, finding a job during the middle of a pandemic is stressful to say the least. I feel for many people who have lost their jobs, been furloughed, and who have to now adapt to working remotely. This process is never a light undertaking and in fact, as a college senior, I have been more overwhelmed trying to navigate career options. 

As internship applications and entry level job opportunities roll out come spring, I have been making the most of the hyper-virtual landscape we're living in to best optimize the job search. In all honesty, I have no idea exactly what I want to do, but I have a few ideas of where I want to start. As a major in public relations and advertising, most entry level jobs are on the Assistant Account Executive level in a lot of mid-size and large PR agencies. 

With Chicago being the epicenter of public relations agencies and communication firms, there are a lot to choose from. I'm lucky enough to have been able to facilitate close relations with employees through PRSSA, which has allowed me to develop a close-knit network and get to know some of the HR recruiters pretty well. At this point, I am weighing all options and with an open mind. I realize, though, that not many people have those resources, so here are a few things I've been doing to get my career options on track that I've found to alleviate the stress and pressure in finding job opportunities fully remote.

Sprucing Up my Resume
One of the easiest things you can do that will make you stand out to recruiters is updating your resume and work experience on a document that is cohesive and easy to read. There are a lot of companies that can provide resume reviews and even your college's career center can be a big help with them. I think color and a unique font that is readable and sophisticated is a great way to stand out as recruiters go through hundreds of them a day. 

I was thinking of doing a blog post solely on creating a great resume, so stay tuned! It's always important to start compiling your past work and education experiences so that you can develop a sense of what transferable skills you've learned and how you can elevate your experiences to cater to a position you might apply for in the future. 

Maintaining Relations Within my Network
One of the best ways you can stay connected is through LinkedIn. There's also Handshake and the new app, Clubhouse, where you can stay up to date on all things in your desired industry. You can connect with people who work at places you dream of working at, start a conversation with an intern to get a feel for the work they do, or share your portfolio with prospective recruiters, too! 

I always try to follow up with people I've met at professional development events, conferences, or who I worked with in previous roles to maintain those relations and perhaps increase my chances of finding an opportunity through those connections, as well. While it's great to build your professional connections, you treat these people as friends, mentors, and guides. You're able to display your authentic self and make your personal brand known. 

Creating Informal Coffee Chats

Something I did that extremely helped with keeping in touch was setting up virtual coffee chats with every entry level employee, strategic planner, AAE, and recruiter I have met (or have not met) to get a feel for what has changed within the industry, how the company is adapting to the new landscape, and what future opportunities or roles might become available in the future. Not only are you getting to share more about you and your experiences, recruiters and fellow employees can put a face to the resume when applying comes around. It will be one of the most important ways to let recruiters know you're dedicated because you actively reached out and pitched yourself to people you don't even know. 

If you do even just these three things, I am confident you will find opportunities come your way. If there's anything I've learned the most throughout my public relations career so far, it's that developing a network is so important and crucial to building a career in a field that requires you to be a go-getter. I am ready to take on any job at full force, wherever it may lead me. 

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