Before you look for your next job, make sure you look good online

Sometimes a perfect job finds you, when a head-hunter calls with news about an exciting vacancy that is made for you. But, if that ideal job doesn’t land in your lap, you have to work to find it. Even if you prefer to wait for that head-hunters call, they are more likely to find you if you have a strong online presence. Basically, as with everything these days in the PR world, to get ahead you have to get online.

Jessica Phillips, PR and communications recruitment consultant at Handle Recruitment, says: “With the internet and social media ever increasing in its dominance over how we communicate, there has been an enormous shift in how job-hunting and therefore headhunting takes place. Online visibility and social media presence is key, and is inevitably the best marketplace in which to showcase your experience, from a jobseeker’s perspective.”

Phillips outlines the best way to portray yourself in the virtual world: “The online persona you create must be up to date, relevant and of high quality. Having 4,000 followers on Twitter won’t help you get a job, if all you tweet about is where you ate dinner last night and the latest celeb gossip. Personality definitely needs to come through too, but show that you are immersed in the PR world on a professional level and have intelligent, insightful opinion and credible connections. Perez Hilton won’t be the one sending your CV to a client …”

As well as watching what you tweet, it is a good idea to make sure your LinkedIn profile does you justice. Charles Tattersall, chief executive of leading independent PR agency Citypress, says this site is always his first point of call when recruiting: "We take the view that if people don't have a LinkedIn profile then they probably aren't serious about a career in the industry because it's such an important platform for our agency and most of our clients.”

Discussing how to make sure your LinkedIn presence works for you, Tattersall says: “If you work in an agency, then naming clients and campaigns is helpful and can generate significant interest from potential employers. We also read the endorsements and comments contributed by people's connections, so it’s a good idea to ask your best contacts to write a few words of support. Some people might not realise that LinkedIn now offer premium accounts that allow us to research and contact users without being connected. We tend to use keywords and locations as search criteria so make sure you optimise your profile – your job title and the word 'PR' are usually what gets picked up. Once we've shortlisted people on Linked In, we then study their wider online profile and build a picture of their personality and background via Twitter and Facebook if they have an open profile.“

Tattersall also advises being proactive, and contacting a company before they contact you: “If you really want to work for a company my advice is don't hold back. Contact the senior decision maker direct by phone, email or social media.”

Case study

Amy Ronge, senior account manager at agency Atomic PR, describes how she landed her job and offers advice for those looking to move now:

“I’ve used recruiters and head-hunters before, and my previous job was one that a head-hunter found for me that sounded great, but in reality, wasn’t the right fit for me. I eventually left, and moved to my current role, at Atomic."

“I currently work as a senior account manager at Atomic PR, a job I really enjoy. I found this role through friends and contacts in the industry, rather than using a head-hunter. I think for certain specialist roles head-hunters do have a role to play – but you need to do your research and pick a head-hunter that’s right for you. Tricky to find, but you want a head-hunter that actually makes the effort to get to know you and exactly what you want, and isn’t just going to put you up for a role because you 'sort of' fit the brief.”

“Personally, I would recommend networking. Get to know your peers in the PR and journalism industries – we’re all a friendly bunch, and we’re all well connected. Head out to those drinks you’ve been invited to, and chat to people; attend that breakfast briefing and you never know, as well as making contacts, you may make some friends too.”

Written by Daney Parker

PR Moment Awards 2021 PR & TikTok The challenges and opportunities for brands on facebook