Thursday, October 2, 2008

Job tips: Don't take calls in Target, and more

John Wagner '84, who owns his own PR/marketing company called Wagner Communications, based in Houston (and is a former sports editor and managing editor of the Battalion) sends some more great advice for students and new grads seeking jobs. Previously, he was general manager of the PR group at Bates Southwest Advertising & Public Relations: "We did a lot of recruiting at A&M in our heyday (1998-2003)," John says.

Thank you, John, for these -- they are great! Here's what he sent:

I used to hire lots of young journalism/PR grads when I worked for Bates Southwest … and I often spoke at A&M about how to find a job.

So I read with interest your tips for job-seekers on the Aggie Journalists blog. Great stuff.

May I recommend a couple for your consideration?

I always told students NOT to put their cell phone number on their resume. They should use their home number (I liked talking to moms because I knew their son/daughter would get the message!) If all they have is a cell phone, they need to learn to screen their calls during their job search. It is extremely frustrating to try and talk with a candidate about a possible interview while he/she is hanging out with friends, shopping at Target or driving down the road (and unable to write down your phone number or check their calendar) with loud music blaring in the background. Let voice mail pick up the call and return it when you are in a quiet place and ready to talk like a professional.

Be specific and detailed on your resume and communicate the results of your jobs/internships. Too many students just list their jobs but fail to include the detail that lets people know what they actually did and learned. Tell about the beat you covered, important people you interviewed, what projects you handled, how many stories/news releases you wrote, what kind of response those stories/releases received, etc.

The Facebook/MySpace info you gave is excellent … too many young people fail to understand how damaging that stuff can be. Profanity and party photographs are the worst. Plus, don't blog about your job search. I currently screen blog posts for a major client and provide weekly reports … you wouldn't believe how many job candidates leave the interview and trash the company thinking only their buddies will see it.

If you don't have writing samples, blog, blog, blog. This is an excellent way to build a portfolio that the oldtimers never had available! PR firms and newspapers are desperate for people who can write … and they want to see samples. But be sure and keep the content focused and clean!

Hope this helps, Sue. I used to love to meet with students and share all this kind of stuff … I helped a bunch of folks get jobs back in the day and it always made me feel like I was repaying A&M back for all I learned there. – jw