Although You’ve Mastered Pitching, Can You Pitch Yourself into a New Role?


Stories about company mergers or acquisitions are daily news in today’s headlines. Journalists love these stories because they usually have the potential to be juicy. Customers, clients, employees, competitors and stakeholders may be heavily impacted. Plus, these mergers can make for a good story over a lengthy period, anywhere from one month up until a full year until the merger is a done deal.

If your company is suspected to merge or be acquired, remember there will be a long time period of merger talk  internally, eventually an official external announcement, followed by a period of working normally,  while aware of the merger effective date.

After recently living through this series of events, I would like to share my recommendations on how to work smart, pitch yourself successfully and be realistic throughout this merger. Hopefully you will never have a reason to implement these suggestions but just in case you do…

When I first learned about this pending merger, there were a few key steps I took (round one) that helped me make a job move six months later.

Round One

Inform your network
Inform all of your professional contacts with whom you have a positive business relationship that your company is in merger discussions and as a result, you are exploring your options.

Refresh Your Resume
Make it perfect. Ask several people you trust to review it. Mark your calendar consistently to update your resume each month as there will be key responsibilities or projects you may forget later on.

Create Your Target List
Consider what companies you would like to be employed at. Make a list of these companies, noting who you may know there or who you may know who knows someone there (second level connections). Start working these contacts. Ask to meet or speak to them at their convenience, before work, at lunch, after work or even on the phone in evening hours.

Get Pitching!
Craft your homerun pitch and become comfortable with it before launching your network conversations. Where do you want to work? What is the work you want to do? What size company? Where should this company be located? What level should your next role be? Why are you searching? Simple: you are not sure how this merger is going to shake out for you. Write down your final pitch and review it daily. You are now married to your pitch so stick with it.

I took all of these steps initially in June, four months leading up to an October merger. I did not learn my job was being eliminated due to this merger until two months after the merger had occurred. That is why it is key to continue working your network with your new pitch before, during and after the merger. If and when you do learn your role is going to end, you will be well prepared for round two of your search. The better you managed round one, the easier round two will be.

Round Two
Reconnect with the contacts that you initially informed about your pending company merger. Share with them your job status change and that you are on the market. Before reaching out, review their company websites for potential job openings that interest you. Even if none of the current postings are right for you, continue informing them of your new undesirable job status and awesome pitch.

Maximize all of your job leads by consistently following up on each one. Never EVER sit tight thinking that you are guaranteed any particular role until you have received an offer letter.

After landing successfully in your new role, it doesn’t hurt to continue practicing to pitch about your background and future interests (within reason!) to your new colleagues.

Karen Toner is a PPRA member who works in professional services marketing/communications. She recommends reading The @ Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton to ramp up your search.  Karen is happy to assist any fellow PPRA members whose companies may be merging with their search and pitch strategy.

How To Nail Your Next PR Job Interview

With graduation season upon us, countless college grads will now be making their way into offices around the country (and the world) to interview for their first “real” job. There are some basic tips to keep in mind when interviewing for any type of job, and then there are others that change based on the industry you are trying to enter.

A recent PR Daily article, “5 boxes to check in a PR job interview,” shares several things that you should keep in mind during your next interview. While these tips are particularly helpful for new grads, they definitely hold true for those already in the industry as well.

  1. Media: Still part of the discussion. Experience with media relations is still very important. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work directly with the press yet, you should at least have a working knowledge of the media landscape.
  2. Do you fit the company? First, you need to make sure you really research the company you are interviewing with and understand what they do. A quick glance at the website doesn’t count. Second, you must make sure you can relate your experiences to the duties of the job. Yes, it’s great that you studied abroad and did volunteer work, but how will those experiences translate into real skills that you can use on the job?
  3. Does the company fit you? Interviewers don’t just want to hear about how their company is a good fit for you. They also want to know what YOU could do to help the company.
  4. Defend/animate your resume. Chances are, the person interviewing you has already read your resume. So, you better be ready to explain what you have listed on it. Bringing examples of your work also helps.
  5. Find your voice before you get to the interview. A conversational “middle ground” is needed for a successful interview. Sometimes it can be tricky to portray confidence without coming off as cock (or even bored). Practicing your interview is always a great way to help find the correct tone and demeanor.

What else do you consider or keep in mind when going into an interview for a job in the PR/communications industry?


Start Your 2014 Job Search The Right Way

For many, the start of a new year also means beginning a new chapter in your career. Whether  you are a recent grad or an established professional looking to switch things up, the process of looking for and securing a new job can be tricky. A few weeks ago, Mashable shared “7 Tips to Revamp Your Job Search for 2014.”

As you begin the journey toward finding your next (or maybe first) job, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Don’t be a copycat candidate – You can’t rely on tactics that have worked for other people. Use your personal experiences, preferences and career goals to create a strategy that works for you.
  2. Learn to look at job titles differently – Remember, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (or title). Even if the words PR or communications aren’t in the position title, your skill set may still be a great fit for the requirements of the job.
  3. First impressions are everywhere – Yes, that includes your social media accounts that you think are private. Make sure everything is in order.
  4. Be prepared to land the job – No interview is just informational. Treat every meeting like a formal interview.
  5. Be strategic with social media – Not all social media sites are created equal when in comes to landing a job. Start by finding out where hiring managers in your desired industry spend their time, then connect with the people/companies you are interested in working for.  
  6. Network with your peers – It’s not all about connecting with senior management. Your relationships with your peers can sometimes make or break new job opportunities.
  7. Be realistic – Make sure you can deliver on any promises you make to a potential employer during the hiring process.

What tips do you have for those entering the job search journey? Share them in the comments below.