Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
November 19, 2010

Following Up After the First Interview

My experience as the manager of the PRSA Jobcenter has given me a 360 degree view of what can help you land that job. Although I’m not a human resources expert, I have seen recent success stories and tactics that can help job seekers compete more effectively.

A friend recently asked me if she should contact a potential employer regarding her recent interview. This was her third interview with the same company. I found myself asking her to show them what she’s bringing to the table other than just her resume and cover letter. This conversation illustrates the dilemma that many job seekers encounter after an interview. Consider utilizing these suggestions for following up regarding the status of an interview (think ARTS):

  • Article(s) they might find helpful for their business. This demonstrates that you are an expert and seek up-to-date information within your industry.
  • Review their website in great detail. Is there anything that can be improved? Does it reach the right audience? How can they grow their audience? Can you improve upon their message? If you have any knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), it will only be a plus. You will need this expertise when writing SEO-maximized press releases. Subscribing to Lee Odden’s newsletters can help cultivate these skills.
  • Target their bottom line with insights into improving their business. What challenges does their company face? How can your unique talents help them meet those challenges? Prepare a marketing letter, fundraising letter, press release or whatever is most applicable to demonstrate that you understand their needs and have the qualifications to meet them.
  • Show your knowledge on social media. Can you prepare a social media plan for your potential employer? If so, make sure you state the goals of the social media plan. As a side note, two jobs recently posted to PRSA Jobcenter were Web and social media communications officer, and social media group leader.

Consider the best format to present this information, such as an online portfolio, a PowerPoint presentation or other method.

These efforts will also help get you to the second and third interview, and hopefully lead to becoming a recipient of a job acceptance letter.

With your documents shared with your potential employer, you have a reason to call to follow-up and inquire if they received the information, whether it was helpful and the status of the job.

According to Andrea Nierenberg, an industry expert in networking, 20 percent of rejections still result in a hire if you stay in touch. The key is to always bring something substantial to the table first, such as ARTS.

By Richard Spector, manager, Jobcenter and Client Services, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Get connected with the largest community of public relations and communications professionals at PRSA’s Jobcenter. Whether you are posting a job or job hunting in community relations, corporate communications, public affairs or any communications sector, the PRSA Jobcenter connects you with more than 77,000 potential employees, including 22,000 PRSA members and nearly 10,000 PRSSA students. View more than 1,000 communications jobs, public relations and other career-related opportunities and professionals today!

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