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How to find your next comms role – 7 steps to pastures new

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Posted: Apr 2022

Comms professionals are on the move. The Great Resignation has seen record numbers of people from all industries leaving their jobs over the past two years and high performing PRs are a hot commodity in this talent-led market. For many, it’s been a while since they last considered looking elsewhere. A lengthy tenure with an employer can mean uncertainty around the job search process when it’s time to relocate to pastures new. We are often asked by PR pros “How do I go about my job search?” when it’s been a while since they seriously considered their career options. So where do you start? If you’re contemplating a move, either now or in the future, here are 7 important things you should know.

1. Prepare the basics

There are two things that you need to get right before you start contacting anyone, your CV and your LinkedIn profile. Future employers, HR professionals and recruiters will overlook you if these do not show your expertise, experiences and successes in a clear and succinct way.

Know exactly what you want from your new job so you can refine your search - consider everything that is important to you. It’s a great idea to review your remuneration, too. Are you being paid market rate? Our Salary Guide 2022 is coming out very soon but in the meantime do check out the industry trends from 2021. And make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter to receive a regular email of interesting PR and comms industry news and views.

2. Where to start?

Look to your network and get back in touch with former employers; PR agencies you have managed; well-connected friends; journalists you have a relationship with; ex-colleagues who are working at interesting companies; people who rate you; senior people you know who are well-networked themselves. If you don’t have the time to go wide, just come up with three really well-connected people who rate you.

If you think about it, when a Director of Comms is looking to find people for their team, the first thing they do is think about their own network, ask their team to contact appropriate people in their network and perhaps ask their agency and maybe a journalist or two. This is the time to contact these people as you’re tapping into their network which extends your reach. Do not be shy, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen them for ten years, people are usually very happy to help so drop them a line. You can always meet up with them for a drink later if you can’t currently. Your network right now is your strongest asset as a HUGE number of roles are filled this way.

3. How often do you follow up?

As frequently as you think is acceptable – you can always follow up with any changes from your end, perhaps you have updated your CV, will now take on a contract as well as considering permanent roles or perhaps to remind them of what’s happening with your search. The key is, do follow up – people are busy and good intentions to help can quickly fall down the priority list. You are used to following up with journalists and stakeholders. This is no different, and you matter.

4. Is it worth applying to job adverts?

Adverts for communications roles on LinkedIn often attract many responses. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply but would suggest that you only apply for the roles you are a ‘slam dunk’ for and tick EVERYTHING off the employer’s requirement list. More competition for roles means there are likely to be some people in the mix with everything the employer desires so don’t waste your time on anything leftfield. It can be disheartening spending lots of time and energy applying for jobs and sadly, for many of them, you will not hear back from them. We say, be really selective.

5. Talk to headhunters

Search consultants tend to be a fair barometer of what is happening in the market so get some recommendations for good people to talk to. We are always happy to offer advice! Although remember, when the job market is challenging, it is not a time to rely solely on search consultancies, your network and a proactive approach is vital to successfully securing a role.

6. To blog or not to blog

Comms professionals may act as a spokesperson for a company or client but rarely promote themselves. Now, you may feel uncomfortable about this but it could be a great time to write blogs and post them on LinkedIn. One rather brilliant Director of Comms we know wrote about his opinion on companies’ comms strategies, tagging the companies in his articles. He ended up being invited in for interviews off the back of it. Your opinion counts, so perhaps it’s time to find your voice and start promoting your thoughts and ideas.

7. Be kind to yourself

Finally, when you are not working, time can move like a snail and your job search can feel never-ending and slow. Thankfully, we are seeing are lots of great opportunities at the moment for PR and comms professionals, but finding a contract or permanent role that is your perfect fit can still take months. Carve out some of your week for filling in applications, connecting and speaking with your network and following up. Be kind to yourself and keep some balance. You will find something at some point, it is just a question of time.

Wishing you all the very best of luck!



The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email sarah@the-works.co.uk. 

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