#HAPPO advice for 2010 Grads/job seekers
I was unemployed from around Valentine’s Day until April 5th. I was fortunate enough to participate in #HAPPO in February. While I didn’t get a job offer as a direct result of #HAPPO, what I DID learn is how to connect with a larger community than the one I was involved with, and where to look for job opportunities I may not have looked previously. Here’s a few words of advice, which are worth what you make of them.
- Landing a gig at an agency is not the be all/end all. PR agencies are fantastic. I know many people in the agency world, and have many friends that work there as well. It is a great career path. But don’t forget that those Fortune 500 companies, or large non-profits, or any other number of entities, usually have PR/Marketing departments. There’s just as much a chance to start your career in a place like that…with far less pressure than will be placed on you in the agency world. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE AGENCY WORLD OR MODEL!!! I’m just saying there are more opportunities out there than those at agencies. Explore them.
- Have a particular area of interest. I’m not talking about a particular area of practice. Do you like the health care industry? Sports? Agriculture? Or do you have a particular area of the country you absolutely adore? Focus your search in those areas. It narrows down the fire hydrant of job listings you’re looking at and makes it easier to select the jobs you want to go after. I’ve settled in Missouri. Never would have pictured myself here, but it’s home now. The advice there? Take a risk on an area you’ve never been to that you think you might enjoy.
- Large metro areas are fantastic…but so are smaller areas. Maybe it’s because I’m from the Midwest and tire of being called “fly-over country”, but there’s great areas like Kansas City, Columbia, Iowa City, Des Moines, Austin, MSP, and others that aren’t named New York, LA, Miami, etc. Here’s my point. If you have your heart set on being in New York, then by all means, go after a gig in New York. I’d encourage you to explore areas less traveled. These places are just as exciting as other major metropolitan areas. Give them a shot.
- Don’t be disappointed. Don’t expect to get a job offer during #HAPPO. DO expect to make lots of great connections. As I’m sure you’ve heard many times, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Treat #HAPPO as the who you know.
I hope you’ve found some of this helpful, or organized your thoughts somewhat. Best of luck to all of you in your search.