Job Hunting: Keep Your Head on a Swivel

Kyle Trompeter

Hello, my name is Kyle Trompeter and I’m unemployed.

It has been three years since I graduated from Ball State University, where I laid the groundwork for a career as a TV sports anchor or news reporter.  I was lucky walking across the stage back then… I already had a job lined up.  I was the new weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter for a CBS-TV affiliate in Washington state.  After two productive years out on the west coast, I wanted to move back home to Chicago. However, I did not want to continue in News.

I wanted to try PR.  I was selected to join the Sheffield Institute, an internship program with Sheffield Marketing Partners in Downers Grove, IL.  It was there I was able to get my feet wet in PR, and when that internship ended early this year, I was picked to be the new corporate intern at Ketchum.  I had been moving seamlessly from job to job, never enduring any unwanted time off.

Well, it’s been a month since my Ketchum internship ended, and I’m looking for my next gig.  There are a few points I’d like to make to others like myself who are on the prowl for their next or first job:

Practice Patience
It is hard to be patient when job searching, but that is exactly what you have to be.  You obviously want to be aggressive, but being realistic about how quickly you will find a job will help you get through the days, weeks, and most likely, months of job searching.

This is said all the time, but job searching is a job itself.  I’m sending out resumes nearly every day to all kinds of places.  The nice thing about my situation is that I have plenty of job experience for someone my age – 25.  I’ve been a reporter, photographer, writer, media relations specialist, and a PR intern.

Be Flexible
My thought process now is this: apply everywhere.  First off, there are many people looking for jobs right now, so don’t limit yourself to a certain position or geographic location.  You don’t have time to worry about some hang-ups on jobs you haven’t even applied for, so just apply now and if you get a call for an interview, you can worry about your reservations later.  Remember, just because you apply or interview for a job doesn’t mean you have to take it.

Besides, you want to go on as many interviews as you can, if only to work on your interviewing skills.  Eventually, you will go on an interview for a job you really want, and when they ask you what you have been doing lately, you want to be able to say you have gone on several job interviews and are being considered by other companies. It’s good to be wanted as a job seeker.

Develop and Maintain Contacts
Another important part of the job search is making and maintaining your key contacts.  During my time at Ketchum and Sheffield, I’ve made dozens of contacts who know a lot of people in the PR/Media business.  When I knew I was going to be job searching, I made a point of letting all of my contacts know I would be doing so, and then I keep my close ones updated every few weeks, and the rest of them once a month.

The fastest way to your next job will most likely be through someone you know.  Once you get a good contact, keep it alive and promise them if they are the one that helps you get your next job that drinks are on you next time you’re at the bar.

Good luck!

Kyle Trompeter is a 2008 graduate of Ball State University where he majored in telecommunications.  He blogs at Stump the Tromp, the popular Chicago Now blog consortium. 

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