Okay, Back to Work at Finding the Next Great Public Relations Job

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A week has passed since I was compelled to take on the challenge of landing a new position where I can employ my strategic public relations knowledge, skills and abilities.  Yes, it will be a challenge, but the hard things in life come with some sacrifice and require hard work.

Already, I’ve reached out to dozens of colleagues and friends, and already I’ve received many referrals and messages of support. That’s tremendously gratifying, and I’m thrilled and honored to have such a tremendous network.  I even picked up a small freelance assignment, and I’m willing to blog for food.  (Just kidding! Have to keep a positive attitude, you know.)

During my last search — the one that launched The PRDude blog and catapulted me into the blogosphere — I learned a great deal about life, myself, public relations, digital communications, the value of networking and lots more.  How long will it take to land that next great public relations job?  Not sure, of course.

But this announcement earlier today from the U.S. Department of Labor certainly is encouraging:chi-ill-jobless-rate-falls-to-87-in-november-2-001

  • The nation added 236,000 jobs in February, many more than economists predicted.
  • The national unemployment rate declined to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008.

That’s a direction the job market needs to go, and even Wall Street continues to respond as the Dow charges ahead and will surely end today on another record day of trading.

What are your thoughts on the employment market?  Tell me in this very short poll:

I’ll share results next week.  Rest assured, I don’t plan on competing with the Gallup people.

If you are new to launching your own search for that next great job in public relations — or another field — I offer these pearls of wisdom:

  • Smile.  Find a reason to smile everyday. If you’re reading this, you’re probably better off than most of the world.
  • Help.  Ask for help, and offer it.  You’ll be surprised at how many people are will to assist you.
  • Meet. Get out of the home office and meet people. Attend networking events. Volunteer.  Join a group.
  • Integrity.  Never compromise your integrity for any reason.  Period.

Okay.  Breathe and exhale.  Take on the next challenge.  I plan to.

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A Q & A Conversation with Nick Kalm of Reputation Partners Public Relations

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Last month, The PRDude published a post that chronicled one of the highlights of his long (and hopefully influential and distinguished) career: Being featured in a question-and-answer blog published by a fellow blogger, public relations pro and best of all — fellow dude.

Here, I take the role as the guy — make that “dude” — posing the questions. My interview subject is Nick Kalm, founder and president of the Chicago-based Reputation Partners Public Relations, a boutique firm that, well, here’s what I harvested from their web site:  “At Reputation Partners, we are trusted corporate reputation consultants who earn our clients’ trust by providing effective counsel, delivering the highest quality work and generating meaningful results.”

The agency just celebrated its 10th anniversary, quite an accomplishment for any business in these ever-changing times. Here’s an edited version of my conversation with Mr. Kalm.pic-nick

1.  Public relations can be a stressful way to make a living and is not for everyone. What compelled you to pursue public relations as a career?

I kind of backed into it at first.  I was a political science major in college, and my career goal was to work in Washington for a Congressman or Senator. When I couldn’t find a job in Washington, I returned to the New York City area and found a job in public relations working in the pharmaceutical industry. There really are a lot of similarities between public relations and working for the government.  You have to reach a broad swath of the public and try to convince them to be in favor of something or against it.

2.  After a very successful career at the nation’s largest independent public relations firm (Edelman), you decided to launch your own firm. What three reasons (or more, or less) prompted that decision?

At Edelman, I had a great career working on behalf of some very large multi-national public and private firms.  I attended an event for entrepreneurs and was encouraged to start my own firm. I was 41 years old at the time, and said to myself, “If not now, when?”  I knew I could always go back to the agency or corporate world. But, so far it’s turned out great.

3.  Say I’m seeking PR counsel. Why would I select Reputation Partners over the firm down the street?

Clients go to big PR firms because they need strategic thinking and the depth and breath of experience those firms can offer.  You can get that from Reputation Partners, but at a much more cost-effective rate.  We provide the same level of services and are focused on delivering the same kind of results. We provide all of our clients with senior-level management attention.Reputation Partners

4.  The PRDude has been championing the practice of effective and ethical public relations. Do you believe our profession needs to do a better job of promoting good PR versus hucksterism?

It’s a great question. I think there are many different kinds of public relations practices.  Not to put what we do on a pedestal, but there are practitioners out there who aren’t as ethical or of the same level of quality.  There are a number of slippery characters in the business, and they’re dragging down the entire profession.  We’re not defense attorneys.  Companies don’t have a right to PR counsel.  There are some entities that should not be represented by public relations firms for ethical reasons. I see this happening at big and small firms alike: They tell the client what the want to hear and promise results they can’t deliver.

5.  Back in the day, there were lots of “PR legends,” men (and some women) who pioneered the practice. Who’s at the forefront of public relations today?

They really are few and far between.  Earlier you mentioned Edelman.  I think Richard Edelman is one of the few intellectuals running a major PR firm.  I can’t think of anyone else who comes close.  Ours is an industry that suffers from a big perception problem.  I think there are few programs on college campuses that focus on public relations. Some colleges, of course are doing a good job preparing students for careers in public relations.  We work in a very important profession that impacts people in their day-to-day lives in a very meaningful way.

Do you have questions for Mr. Kalm?  Or The PRDude?  Pose early and often.

“You’ll Remember Always…Graduation Day!” Okay, Now What PR Graduate?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

This month, tens of thousands of kids — no disrespect intended — will reach the summit of one of life’s greatest plateaus: They’ll have earned enough credits to graduate from college, and consequently have earned the right to use that education to make their mark in the world.   In the not-so-distant past, many college graduates could look across that plateau with optimism, envisioning prospects of landing a fine job with a commensurate salary that paid the rent and car note, and left sufficient funds for some good beer.

You know what’s coming next: Many graduates today face a bleak future, one with few job prospects in their chosen field, possibly a five-figure line of debt and few discretionary funds left  for even cheap beer.

But take heart graduates!  Yes, like the song goes, you’ll always remember graduation day — as the day the realities of life stared you right in the face, and the day you got to toss that cumbersome mortar board hat in the air and shed that shed that antiquated gown.  Now it’s time to be decisive and act.

So, what now?

If you’re fortunate enough to have landed a job in your field, or in some other field, perhaps you’ll want to stop reading now.

But if you’re pursuing public relations and are searching for that break, that opportunity to join the profession, keep reading.  Hey, The PRDude likes readers.  Everyone, keep reading.   The following thoughts are designed to provide some direction for anyone who hopes to land that first gig in the public relations industry or any honest line of work.  Hopefully, it’s a job pays a fair wage for your talents and skills, will help reduce the college loan statistic and, of course, leave a few dollars in your pocket for good beer.

Goal: Land a job in public relations or a communications discipline within one year.  Unreasonable?  Maybe, but set 12 months as a target.  Each quarter, analyze what you’ve accomplished to reach your goal. Make adjustments quarterly.

Strategy: Define yourself to others as a public relations professional.  Before you ask, “Well, how if I’m not working in the industry?,” here’s the answer: Get involved in some way. Volunteer. Take on freelance assignments. Start your own consultancy.

Objective: Build awareness for yourself, your skills and your desire to enter public relations.  Employ word-of-mouth. Start a blog.  Join a group that’s affiliated with public relations or the communications industry.  Seek out others — alumni are a good start — and build your network.

Tactic: Turn off your laptop and put your handheld in your pocket.  Get out of the house and meet people.  Save the online and social media stuff for after dinner.

Want more?  This piece from Forbes offers some excellent commentary and advice.  Still want more?  Reply to this post, and I’ll get back to you.  New rules are being written and fundamentals are getting tossed aside. The world needs new communicators to convey key messages about the direction we’re heading.  Become a public relations practitioner and be among those at the forefront.

Six Months Later: Reached My Goal, Bring On More

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PR Dude

Monday of this week, April 18, was significant in one particular way for me.

April 18 was the day income taxes were due to be filed.  (Mine were filed in early March.)  It also was the start of Holy Week. (I grew up Catholic but don’t practice much.)  And, Passover started Monday at sundown.  (See previous statement.)

Give up?  Monday marked my sixth month in my great new position leading marketing and communications for a Chicago real estate association.

The big questions — “Is the job what you expected?” and “Are you enjoying the work, environment and colleagues?” — are certainly valid.  And, for the record, the answers are “yes” and “yes.”

From another perspective, I envision my success in this phase of my career as the culmination of a goal I set way back in the fall of 2009.  That’s when my previous job was eliminated and I had to throw myself into a serious search for a position that met my skills and salary requirements, and allowed me to grow as a professional and continue to work as a communicator.

Loyal readers know that the PRDude blog was driven by my desire to chronicle my search while commenting on public relations issues and topics.  I hope I’ve shared some insight that will help others in the same position.

Posts from the past have addressed:

And, lots of other stuff.

Today, six months after I realize my goal, I remain grateful for having an opportunity to work in a profession that’s stimulating, evolving and full of new challenges.   In the next six months, more challenges — both at work and through my volunteer duties promoting the Accreditation in Public Relations — will cross my desk.

I welcome them wholeheartedly.

Why Hire Edward M. Bury, APR

On Friday, February 19, I will participate in the first Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO), an  online exercise to connect professionals seeking career opportunities with other professionals who are hiring or can provide leads, direction or insight.  This is a tremend0us endeavor, and I applaud Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon for initiating this forum.

My friend Gini Dietrich is one of the HAPPO “Champions” for Chicago, and she requested that we job seekers draft a blog post.  I’ve prepared my “elevator speech” before, and I attended an event and learned how to craft a “One Breath Strategy Statement.”   So, I remain confident that the following will persuade many to want to hire Edward M. Bury, APR.  Here are my Top 10 Reasons:

10. B2B senior public relations professional who most recently worked with top-level real estate professionals, providing sound counsel on communications strategies.

9. I’m diverse.  Career spans the agency, association and corporate arenas.

8. Introduced and managed successful marketing and public relations programs that embraced online, A/V, print and social media.

7. Managed a marketing team, developed many vendor relationships and coordinated dozens of special events and more than 50 trade shows.

6. Fearless (and successful) in pitching stories to media.

5. Tight with a dollar, especially if it’s not mine. I bring projects in on time, within budget.

4. Launched communications consultancy, Open Door Communications. Serving clients in real estate mortgage and destination management industries.

3. I’ve seen the future and harnessed it. It’s not Springsteen. It’s what keeps taking place on the monitor in front of me.

2. I’m a committed blogger, even though I’m not keen on the word.  www.prdude.wordpress.com.

1. I can write persuasive, intelligent copy, articles, presentations and content.  Faster and better than most.

Finally, I’ve demonstrated personal initiative by earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation and am Marketing Group co-Chair on the board that oversees and grants Accreditation.

Okay, that’s 11.  Math was not my best subject.  I’m industrious and show up for work on time, too.

Edward M. Bury, APR
edwardmbury@yahoo.com
http://twitter.com/edwardmbury

773-463-9811 or 773-396-9773

The Plan B I Hope Never Gets Implemented

Like any true practitioner of public relations, I am conducting my job search according to a plan built upon objectives, strategies and tactics that lead to a goal: A full-time position with a progressive organization where I can grow professionally and contribute to the company’s goals. And, I’d like to get paid for what I do, too.

As a result, I’ve set aside parts of my week networking online, meeting with colleagues/friends for coffee, volunteering, researching companies I’d like to work for, and — yes — applying for positions posted on the growing number of online job sites. (I had no idea there were so many other there, and wonder just how they all can make money.) I also take advice from anyone who will give it.

My business is public relations and my experience falls into the association management industry and real estate arena. Seemingly, the opportunities are boundless as there are a lot of associations/non-profits in Chicago and a lot of real estate companies.

But there may come a time when I’ll need to cross that line in the sand, when I’ll have to search in fields outside of public relations or marketing or writing. Where will this Plan B lead me? Here are some options I might have to consider:

1. Wal-Mart Greeter. Public relations really is all about communication, and what better venue than the front door of a mega-retail outlet. The company has a great brand and is expanding.

2. Fast food drive through rep. You’re the first line of communication to customers who can’t/don’t want to get our of their cars. It’s fast-paced and exciting. And, you get to wear a nifty headset.

3. Bartender. A good bartender is a problem-solver, pseudo psychiatrist and front-line representative of the establishment. They communicate constantly, often with deafening music/noise in the background.

Seriously, and with no disrespect to the people who perform the jobs above and others, I remain very confident “the right” job will come my way. I always will consider myself a public relations professional, even if I am compelled to move to another industry.

Must go now and continue on making Plan A a reality.