I was talking to a Director of Comms recently who has now left his role after a ten-year tenure. He has been out of the job market for some time and asked me, ‘how do I go about my job search?’ which prompted me to share my knowledge.
There are two things that you need to get right before you start contacting anyone, your CV and your LinkedIn profile. Future employers, HR professionals and recruiters will overlook you if these do not show your expertise, experiences and successes in a clear and succinct way. It may be wise to look at our recommendations on making your LinkedIn profile shine and our advice on secrets to make your CV stand out
Look to your network and get back in touch with former employers; PR agencies you have managed; well-connected friends; journalists you have a relationship with; ex-colleagues who are working at interesting companies; people who rate you; senior people you know who are well-networked themselves.
If you think about it, when a Director of Comms is looking to find people for their team, the first thing they do is think about their own network, ask their team to contact appropriate people in their network and perhaps ask their agency and maybe a journalist or two. This is the time to contact these people as you’re tapping into their network which extends your reach. Do not be shy, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen them for ten years, people are usually very happy to help so drop them a line. You can always meet up with them for a drink later if you can’t currently. Your network right now is your strongest asset as a HUGE amount of roles are filled this way.
As frequently as you think is acceptable – you can always follow up with any changes from your end, perhaps you have updated your CV, will now take on a contract as well as considering permanent roles or perhaps to remind them of what’s happening with your search. The key is, do follow up – people are busy and good intentions to help can quickly fall down the priority list. You are used to following up with journalists and stakeholders. This is no different, and you matter.
Right now, we have noticed that the advert response for communications roles on LinkedIn has quadrupled. Now this does not mean that you shouldn’t apply but would suggest that you only apply for the roles you are a ‘slam dunk’ for and tick EVERYTHING off the employer’s requirement list. More competition for roles means there are likely to be some people in the mix with everything the employer desires so don’t waste your time on anything leftfield right now.
Search consultants tend to be a fair barometer of what is happening in the market so get some recommendations for good people to talk to. If you want to read our latest market update, you can do so here. Although remember, when the job market is challenging, it is not a time to rely solely on search consultancies, your network and a proactive approach is vital to successfully securing a role.
Comms professionals may act as a spokesperson for a company or client but rarely promote themselves. Now, you may feel uncomfortable about this but it could be a great time to write blogs and post them on LinkedIn. One rather brilliant Director of Comms I know wrote about his opinion on companies’ comms strategies, tagging the companies in his articles. He ended up being invited in for interviews off the back of it. Your opinion counts, so perhaps its time to find your voice and start promoting your thoughts and ideas.
Finally, when you are not working, time can move like a snail and your job search can feel never-ending and slow. Finding a contract or permanent role can take months and months. Right now, there are lots of people looking for work and, thanks to the pandemic, not a lot of companies looking to hire. However, there are still companies hiring so keep going. It’s just a question of kissing enough frogs! I would suggest carving out some of your week for filling in applications, connecting and speaking with your network and following up. Be kind to yourself and keep some balance. You will find something at some point, it is just a question of time.
Wishing you all the very best of luck!
The Works Search a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org