Many of my public relations colleagues know I’ve been supporting a viral effort in the PR community called Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO). Quite simply, we’re gathering our forces on the Web Friday, April 30 between noon and 2 Eastern time (yes, that’s still breakfast time in Alaska and earlier in Hawaii) to help 2010 graduates find jobs.
There are “champions” in markets throughout the United States. I am one of several national champions. Our role is to help spread the word about HAPPO and also to post the profiles of job seekers on our blogs. If you’d like me to post your profile, send an e-mail. If you’re looking for candidates, check out those posted on my blog.
As I wrote after the first event it’s really important for graduates to recognize that a job won’t miraculously fall from the sky during this two-hour period. Instead, we hope you’ll make some contacts and start building the network needed to land that first job. We hope you’ll understand there’s a really strong community throughout the United States that will help you. However a lot of the effort will need to come from you. Some thoughts that go beyond Friday and might be specific to a smaller community like Anchorage:
Do you attend every meeting of those groups you can? Are you on a committee?
Have you taken the leaders in that organization to coffee and asked them for advice?
Did you learn a little about them before the meeting so you could ask questions?
Did you ask them who else you should talk with?
Did you ask them to critique your resume?
Did you send a thank you note (not an e-mail but a hand-written note) afterward?
Did you call the people they suggested?
While these may seem like basic steps, I am always surprised how many job candidates don’t follow these basic guidelines. Those who don’t follow these steps will have a much harder time landing a job in this, still tight, economy. In a small community like Anchorage, not following through can have an enormous impact because we all talk to each other regularly.
Tuesday evening, the Alaska PRSA group celebrated one of our members who joined the ranks of PRSA’s College of Fellows. We shared our joy with members of the Anchorage community and a pretty broad range of people got to see our small, PR community in action. They realized how close-knit we are and how supportive we are of each other. They also saw how welcoming we are to new faces and how those of us in the College of Fellows are teaching the younger professionals through our demonstrated success.
Together we can help each other become better professionals. We can help young professionals establish themselves in careers and we are more than willing to do so.