Helpful Encouragement for the Class of 2009

Unemployment may be at a 25-year high but there is still hope for the soon graduating college students! NY Times recently wrote an article titled “All is Not Lost for the Class of 2009” giving the class positive encouragement on finding a job in today’s economy:

The first thing that is so important for college job seekers is to adjust your expectations on your first job. This includes the pay, the location, and the job description. If your a public relations major, you don’t have to work for a public relations firm. Look for jobs in company communication departments or non-profits and apply for jobs that need any kind of communication background.

Use the big job board sites to search for job listings and try ones that are focused on recent graduates like Also check the corporate and big business website to check their own personal job listings.

Another great suggestion the article makes is to look for unpaid work that you can do to gain experience and connections. Contact organizations and non-profits and ask if you can work an unpaid entry-level position. Hopefully you can impress them enough that they will want to hire you for the long run, or at least you will learn alot in your field and make vital industry connections.

You can use social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find job leads, as long as you use them correctly. Do not use your Facebook as a networking tool if you have pictures of you out drinking with your friends and other inappropriate information on your profile. Use Twitter to follow people in your industry and companies you might be interested in. Sometimes they might post some job openings or useful information for you. Also use LinkedIn to introduce yourself to an employee in your industry. Message them and see if they would be interested to meet you for a quick information session. Do not ask or show interest in looking for a job in the company, make sure it is stricktly for information.

Lastly, being forced to work for a restaurant or retail store in order to pay your bills while you are job searching is totally OK. These jobs on your resume might even help you land your desired career because they show you have experience and certain skills that might be desirable to your employer. So don’t be afraid to work at Starbucks while your trying to find that yearly salary job you need and want!

So don’t give up Class of 2009! We can do it!


Recession Proof Jobs

In today’s waning job market, it is important to identify career fields with ample opportunities for employment. I stumbled across the video, “How to find recession proof jobs,” by career consultant Maggie Mistal. In the video Maggie explains which industries are “recession proof” and what skills are transferable to qualify for these positions.


Let’s face it, we could all afford to be better communicators. Here is a lesson on apologies. A bad apology is worse than no apology. In the working world, if you manage to find a job, there are always going to be people you cannot stand, like that guy from Office Space, “I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, m’kay?” The bottom line is, if there is friction, apologies are necessary. Not halfhearted, but wholesome, sincere

To all of our male readers, maybe no one has ever told you this before, but apologies are not pass/fail, anything lowering than an A really doesn’t cut it. So here is a road-map of what to say to anyone, a boss, colleague, classmate, even significant other:

1.) This is what I’ve done wrong.

2.) I feel badly that I’ve hurt you.

3.) How do I make this better?

If you follow these step, I can almost guarantee you will be married forever, and probably employed forever too, even in this economy since that seems to be a secret no one knows.

A good apology has the ability to heal a wound, where a bad one is just like pouring salt in it. If you want to keep your job in this day and age, you must be aware of these three simple rules. Utilizing them in real-life situations is good practice as well!

Stuck in a Rut? Get a Coach!

If you believe you have done everything you possibly can to find a job and you are just not having any luck, then perhaps it is time for you to hire a career coach! Yes, the current state of the economy is not ideal for spending money on the non-essential but this may be the solution for you! d_coach


These coaches provide sessions where they will help you to strategize and plan, and are usually around at any time to provide advice or answer questions until you feel comfortable on your own. The International Coaching Federation is one of the free resources available online to help you find the perfect coach if you do not already have a referral from another source.

Remember, when weighing the cost of how much money you will spend paying for this information and the amount of time you will lose by doing the search on your own, you should know that the average hour-long session is around $200. Also, keep in mind that a coach will help you along the way, but they are not recruiters. The coach will most likely only refer you when he or she is confident in your abilities.

I know I made the decision to hire a coach to help me find the right college in high school and though it was pricey as well, it was very helpful. However, it is not right for everyone. So if you have the money, and you have already done everything we have told you to do on our blog and you are still having trouble, take some time to research this option.


JMU PR Symposium This Wednesday!

Attention all JMU students out there!

briefcaseDuring this fantastic and informative event, ten public relations professionals from all over Virginia will speak to you about how they got to where they are in the field of public relations with tips and advice to help you get that first job.  The organizations at which these pros currently work include…

Wolf Trap
Newspaper Association of America
JMU Office of Public Affairs
Communications Dept. of YMCA of Greater Richmond

The full day event includes two panels of discussion, provided lunch, and resume/interviewing tips session.  
Panel # 1- 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Panel #2- 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Lunch- 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Resume/Interviewing Tips- 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event will be held in Taylor Hall 402 and 404 on the JMU campus. 

Come out and plan for your future in public relations!  If you would like to RSVP to the event, please email

Cash, Dinero, Bucks, Mula!


Excited about getting into grad school but not sure how to pay for it?  Receiving financial aid is not uncommon these days.  At least 40% of graduate students borrow money.  Here are six easy steps to getting free money for grad school…

1) Create a bidding war  for yourself by applying to several graduate schools, including at least a couple for which your grades, test scores, or other qualifications are above average. Schools are more likely to add a financial lure for applicants who bring up the school’s statistics, rankings, and prestige.

2) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

3) Ask your university department or grad school adviser for help in finding aid.

4) Track down and apply to charities and government agencies that fund graduate study in their fields. This is a great option for those in the sciences, education, and languages.

5) Get your employer to contribute to your education. This is a great option: At least half of all workers receive education benefits from their employers.

6) Even if you don’t get free money, you can lower your out-of-pocket costs by taking advantage of tax benfits, loan repayment programs,  jobs, or grad school bargains.

‘Hello’ Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are becoming more prevalent. Especially in today’s economic recession, employers are cutting costphone1 by relying on phone interviews to do two things: 1. Identify and recruit candidates for employment, and 2. Screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants to invite for in-person interviews.

I recently engaged in a phone interview with a potential employer. The below tips and tricks helped me conduct a successful phone interview.

  • Be prepared. Prepare for a phone interview the same way you would an in-person interview. Practice answering potential questions with behavioral, or experienced-based answers.
  • Interview location. Although you can conduct a phone interview in almost any location, make sure to clear the room. Turn off the TV, close your door, and tell friends and family not to enter till you give the OK. Have your resume in view, compile a list of skills and accomplishments to reference, and keep paper handy for note-taking.
  • During the interview. Do not chew gum, smoke, or engage in any activity that you would not do during an in-person interview. Smile, speak slowly and clearly, and take your time. Do not interrupt the interviewer and remember the goal is to make it to a face-to-face interview.

Follow these steps and you will be one step closer to an in-person interview!