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If you have questions about your job search, turn to our career experts and get the edge you need. Members of PRSA’s College of Fellows are ready and willing to help you with two programs:

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There are currently 700 questions posted.

You are currently viewing questions 1 thru 5.

  posted: November 30,2016 04:51 PM -- submitted by: Shoni
Q1: Hello experts-
I am struggling with where to start on a potential career shift. I currently serve as the Director of Communications and Community Engagement for a Federal government agency. I have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in communications and in 2015, I was named "Government Communicator of the Year" by PR News. I love my job but feel it may be time to leave gov't. Any advice on making a transition and being competitive in the private sector? Thank you.
Regards,
Shoni


A1: Shoni—

You used PRSA’s website to access Ask the (so-called) Experts, so you are familiar with PRSA. I can’t tell whether you are a PRSA member. If you aren’t, your first step in locating a new employment opportunity is to join. PRSA is the best and biggest source for public relations networking and can be of great help to you.

Posting your resume to websites is like a shot in the dark. I highly recommend that you send your resume only to people whom you have met. PRSA is an excellent way to meet those people.

So, locate the PRSA chapter in the market where you want to work and become active in that chapter. Because you work for a federal agency, I assume you are in the DC area and that the National Capital Chapter, https://www.prsa-ncc.org/, with 1,300 members, is the chapter nearest you. Attend chapter meetings, meet those who attend, and exchange business cards. Volunteer to work with a committee that looks interesting.

Follow up by email and telephone with those members whom you meet and/or locate on the PRSA online membership directory who work in a field that interests you. Invite individuals for lunch or whatever, and “pick their brains” about opportunities in their fields. Ask their recommendations for other professionals whom you should get to know. Be sure to ask if it’s OK to use their names in your contacts.

Even though you have excellent credentials, you might want to check out the Achieving Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) process that demonstrates one’s mastery of today’s strategic communications practice and commitment to lifelong learning and ethical standards. Information on the process is available at http://www.praccreditation.org/apply/apr/. The APR Study Guide is available online without charge at http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/documents/apr-study-guide.pdf.

Hope this helps!

expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: November 22,2016 10:13 AM -- submitted by: Govindarajan NC
Q2: Dear Expert,

I have in total public relations and corporate communications experience of 4 and half years.I also have experience of working in Philippines apart from India.My areas of expertise include excellent written and verbal communication skills,sustainable development and Media relations across multiple geographies.I am looking to shift to USA for similar profiles.Do suggest me how should i go about it.


A2: Finding a position in the USA while not living in this country is a major challenge. Public relations positions are quite competitive, whether the position is called public relations, corporate communications, public affairs or another title.

You should be aware that public relations graduates from USA universities have been taught many skills that USA positions require. Writing is high on the list, along with social media skills. Most of the graduates have experience in college public relations writing labs and in “real life” internships, working under the direction of professionals. That experience makes them highly desirable to employers.

To assess your PR skills, check out the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) process at http://www.praccreditation.org/apply/apr/. You might find that process helpful, although five years of experience are recommended for those who enter the Accreditation process. You could use “2016 Competencies/KSAs Tested in Examination” to evaluate your own KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities). If you find deficiencies, go to http://www.praccreditation.org/resources/recommended-texts/index.html and select a book or books that you believe will be helpful.

If you visit the USA, focus your attention on organizations in the cities you visit. The Washington, D.C. area might be a worthwhile area for you. Try to attend a meeting of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter in one or more cities. (See https://www.prsa.org/Network/Chapters/Find/index.html#.VgF5apoQW1s to find a chapter.) Meet PR professionals; exchange business cards; follow up immediately by email or phone. Ask for 20-minute meetings (in person or by phone) to get overviews of the market and contacts. Finding a job is much easier if you KNOW the person whom you are contacting.

Best of success to you!

expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: November 15,2016 01:55 PM -- submitted by: Dana
Q3: Hi,I've been at my job (at a healthcare company) for 6 years as a team lead in data entry which required supervising, and preparing/presenting educational materials. And now I do QA and training for the same department. My degree is in Communications. It was difficult finding work in my field and I basically stumbled into my current job and ended up staying there for 6 years.

There's an opening @ my job in communications but it requires 3 yrs experience. Should I apply or would it be a waste

A3: Dana--

Communications is an extremely broad area. This website is intended to provide information for professionals in public relations and corporate communications.

If you have a degree in corporate communications, public affairs and/or public relations, you may be eligible for the job opening you mention. However,the field of public relations has changed dramatically during the last few years, so your experience in data entry may not be useful in that position.
expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: October 29,2016 04:16 PM -- submitted by: Sheena Bell
Q4: Hello, I was wondering which cities are the best for a career in Public Relations? I am not just referring to working in a PR firm, but in general.

A4: Sheena--

Generally, the larger markets have more opportunities for public relations professionals. Here's a list of the largest U.S. cities by population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

Be aware, though, that statistics for cities don't always tell the whole story. Take the Dallas area, for example. The city of Dallas is surrounded by large suburbs that greatly increase the population of the area. Here's a list of metropolitan statistical areas, which provides more reliable data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

The rate of growth also is a factor. Take a look at this chart for the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.: http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/uscities_growth.html.

Hope this helps!
expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: October 28,2016 07:39 PM -- submitted by: Erica
Q5: I am currently in the market for a new job and have come to realize that many employers today love to talk about diversity and their diverse workforces. With the "coming out" as transgender of many people in the news, it seems the perception of who transgender people are is in flux. As a professional transgender woman myself, with multiple degrees and 15 years experience, and which no one knows my past, is it wise to stay mum on that part of my background, or should I embrace my diversity?

A5: Erica,
This website is specifically for communications and public relations professionals. Your questions are outside our area of expertise.

Regards,
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: October 28,2016 07:37 PM -- submitted by: Nelson
Q6: Hi sir
I'm 27 year old man and I am having 2.5 years of experience in sales & marketing in hotels. I did MBA in HR and Marketing, Bsc in Hotel Management.Now I'm doing my MSc tourism hospitality at American university,it will finish on 2017. Could you tell me which will be the right way for my next employment and career?
Regards;
Nelson

A6: This website is designed to provide information on careers in public relations and communications. It looks as if you need experts in the hotel and hospitality industry. Your questions are outside out field of expertise.

Regards,
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

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