Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
January 13, 2010

2010 Career Search: Job Hunt Tips for a Strong Start

Based on my e-mail traffic this week, I’m guessing that a number of people have made New Year’s resolutions to find a new and better job in 2010. I have good news for you, from where I sit, things are picking up! At Spencer Stuart, we are seeing a solid increase in client activity in the corporate communications space.

That said, the harsh economy of the past year has sharpened the wits and raised the expectations of most hiring managers out there. There are jobs available, but only for top talent. Here are a few pointers on managing your career toward a top position in this choppy and somewhat unpredictable economy:

  1. Keep your skills very sharp. I don’t care what level you are — individual contributor or the leader of a corporate empire — the boss expects you to add value through your own hands-on communications skills. It’s the price of entry into an employment discussion.
  2. Know the numbers very well. This may sound simple, but I’m surprised at how often candidates don’t know the revenues, earnings and market dynamics of their own companies. When I run into that, our discussion is quickly over. The leadership team is looking for a business partner in the communications role who can use the power of the function to add value. You’ll never have credibility unless you really understand the business.
  3. Let them see your breadth. Business executives have lives, personalities and interests, just like everyone else. Communicators circulate in spheres that are different from the other members of the leadership team, and the company benefits when you bring the insights and information that you gather in the world back to the executive suite. Share.  They like it.
  4.  Have well-formed opinions and share them articulately. This is what leaders do, and communicators are only valuable when they give straight, honest advice. It makes no sense to withhold this part of yourself out of timidity — it will stop your career dead in its tracks. The highest praise I hear from CEOs is “I get really great, straightforward advice from my head of communications.”

There are more things that we’ll talk about in future blogs. Next time — the five deadly sins people make in their resumes.

George Jamison III, corporate communications practice leader, Spencer Stuart, leads the firm’s corporate communications business. Based in the firm’s Stamford office, he brings more than 20 years of communications and public relations experience, focusing on the recruitment of senior corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communications executives across a variety of industries. He also is a member of the firm’s Consumer Goods & Services, Marketing Officer and Diversity practices. Connect with George on LinkedIn.


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