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Need Career Guidance? Pose a Question to the“Ask the Experts” Forum

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:

Ask the Experts: Answers to quick questions about your job search. Examples include:

  • How should I respond to these types of interview questions: "Tell me about yourself” or "What are your salary requirements?”
  • How can I develop a network? Where do I start?
  • What am I doing wrong? I send out resumes but never get interviews.
  • How long should I wait after an interview to hear from an employer?

To ask a question, scroll down to the question form and fill it out. When you’re ready to submit it, click the "Submit Question" button at the bottom. Many of your questions may already be answered in the more than 300 responses listed below so you may wish to review them first.

Mentor-Match: In-depth coaching. Examples include:

  • Resume review
  • Interview coaching
  • Individual career assessment and coaching
  • Tips for dealing with current job situations

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There are currently 585 questions posted.

You are currently viewing questions 16 thru 20.

  posted: July 19,2014 09:36 AM -- submitted by: Michael MacKay
Q16: Need resume advice...

I've been working in the radio/communications industry since 2007 and just graduated in May 2014 with my degree in Communications-Public Relations. While I was in school I took part in two different PR internships that I received excellent reviews on.
Lately, I've been sending out my resume, only to receive the automated responses, not even getting an interview. I'm willing to start at the bottom or intern if if gets my foot in the door at a big PR firm. Advice?

A16: Are you networking in addition to sending out resumes? Most jobs are found through networking. Are you requesting and following up on informational interviews?

Are you involved with your local PRSA chapter? Do you attend meetings and meet PR professionals?

Is your resume in order? Does your resume focus more on results than activities? Are you clear when people ask you about yourself and your career goals? Do you have an elevator speech?

If you are a PRSA member, you can tap into the PRSA College of Fellows mentoring program and request a mentor who will talk with you in more detail. It is a free service to members. If you plan to attend the fall conference in D.C., you can schedule a mentoring session with a Fellow.

Good luck with your job search.

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

  posted: July 18,2014 10:38 AM -- submitted by: Renique' King
Q17: As I have been researching more about the differences between Public Relations and Marketing, I am finding that as the jobs are evolving they have become slightly wrapped around each other. So the leads me to wondering, what should I major in? Should I major in marketing or communications with a specialization in public relations?

A17: You are correct. In the past decade, the boundaries have blurred. However, the question you ask is one only you can answer. It is a good question to ask.

I suggest you talk with one of your college professors who can ask you follow-up questions and understand your background and what drives you.

My advice is to follow your passion as the two disciplines, while similar, are still distinct.

Good luck,
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

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

  posted: July 7,2014 10:07 AM -- submitted by: Ryan
Q18: I am about ready to graduate with degrees in PR and communication. I have an opportunity to create a job at the place I just interned for the summer. The job would be titled: social media/PR Specialist. They already have a communication/marketing director. Also it is a non-profit and their operating budget is 3.5 million. My main duties: creative content for social media, company literature, and crisis and internal communication. What is the least I could be worth salary wise? 25K? Thanks!

A18: Ryan,
Congratulations on earning your degree. Interning is a good transition tool -- as in your case, sometimes jobs grow out of those experiences.

You're right to consider the size of your organization when thinking about salary. However, other things are also important, including location. Are you in a big city, a small city, a town? What state are you in?

Also, you should know if it is a 50l (c)3 or has another non-profit designation?

Check GuideStar for the 990 of your organization. From that you can find the 5 highest salaries at the organization. You could also ask about entry level jobs in other parts of the organization to compare expectations with reality.

Contact your local state government -- departments vary from state to state, but wherever the job resource centers are located would be a good starting point. They should be able to give you information on salaries in your specific area. You might also contact your CPA or the person who prepares your tax filing for that kind of information.

You should think about how interested you are in creating your own job, the level of respect your have for the rest of the staff and for your immediate supervisor. Is the culture one in which you want to work for the next few years? Is there an opportunity for advancement. The job is always more than just the salary, but understand how much money you need to live properly. These are just some of the variables. You will most likely think of more.

Once you have this concrete data, you will be able to make a better decision on the job and to suggest an appropriate salary -- one based on data, not just a figure you grab out of the air.

Good luck,
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: July 1,2014 10:38 PM -- submitted by: Jeff C
Q19: I've been trying to transition myself into a mid-level, marketing/pr role. I've been the director of marketing and fundraising for a mid-level, local non-profit but I'd really prefer a position that doesn't involve fundraising or sales. I've interviewed for some great positions in my area in the past year but have been "2nd best" twice. I recently wasn't invited to interview for a job that would've been an ideal fit for me. Might I be missing something that I'm not realizing?

A19: Jeff,
Are you a member of your local PRSA chapter? If so, I recommend that you connect with the mentor program at PRSA. A PRSA Fellow will work with you -- review your resume and talk with you about your experience and learn from you how you are presenting yourself and talking about your work.

This is a member benefit -- a free service which comes with your membership.

A mentor will be able to look more closely at your specific case and give you advice.

You are asking good questions. Good luck
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: June 30,2014 02:31 AM -- submitted by: Lucas Miller
Q20: Would experience or a Master's degree be more helpful for future career advancement in the world of Public Relations? I guess I'm really getting at this: how important is a Master's degree in the world o Public Relations? I'm hearing a bit of everything, to be honest, and would love to know what you think.

A20: See your previous inquiry.
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: June 30,2014 02:30 AM -- submitted by: Lucas Miller
Q21: I'm a Spanish and Latin American Studies double major at Brigham Young University with one semester left of school. I'm currently interning at Fusion 360 which is a digital marketing and PR firm based in Salt Lake City. I love what I do and want to start working right after graduation. Do I need a graduate degree seeing as how I haven't formally studied communications? I've been offered a job by the firm, but the pay is pretty weak. Do I need to "pay my dues" as far as salary is concerned?

A21: Lucas,
Thank you for both your inquiries. Even if you plan to do graduate level work, the practical experience you are currently getting is invaluable. There is no hard and fast rule about graduate school. As with most things in life, it depends on you, your abilities, your skills, the opportunities you make and take advantage of, etc.

Regarding pay: is the pay "pretty weak" based on your expectations or upon industry standards in your location? You should be able to find out about industry standards through your state department of labor and industry. They should be able to give you starting level salaries for public relations firms.

Regarding accepting the offer: are you learning things each day/week/month? Do you work with people who encourage your professional growth? Is the organization you're working for respected in your market? Do you like the culture of the organization? Do you like and respect your co-works and leadership team?

Only you can answer these questions and know if this is the right fit for you.

You are fortunate to have a choice to make. Many recent college graduates are not finding satisfying work in their fields of study.

Good luck with your decision and in your career.

Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

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

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