Last week, CooperKatz had the opportunity to participate in the Annual Job Fair co-organized by the Howard University Johnson School of Communications and The Council of Public Relations Firms. While we’ve always found these types of networking events to be fertile ground for the exchange of resumes, business cards and conversations with candidates ‘putting on their best,’ they’ve also provided us valuable, real-time insight on what’s actually happening out there relative to young people on the job market – both now and into the near future.
So what’s the word from Howard, you ask?
You might think that a slower than expected economic recovery, along with the doldrums of one of the most severe East Coast winters we’ve had in recent memory, might be getting to the best of soon-to-be alumni. Yet that couldn’t be any farther from the case. The energy and enthusiasm of the Class of 2011, as well as among the respective agencies and recruiters in attendance, was palpable and reinforces our feeling that the light at the end of the economic tunnel is growing closer and brighter.
We also heard a few specific things that had us jazzed about what young adults entering the field of public relations and communications really want. A few thoughts from those discussions:
- Let’s Hear It For New York – We met candidates who hail from all over the country, including major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. Yet for those looking to start in PR, one thing remains abundantly clear – young professionals still view New York City as the media capital of the world and are eager to start their careers here. You can see it in their eyes as well as hear it in their words. Score one for CooperKatz for having our office just a few blocks away from The Empire State Building!
- Ready to Roll Up Their Sleeves – Forget the stereotyping of recent years, associating young graduating adults with attitudes of self-entitlement or a need for constant coddling. The candidates with whom we met were very realistic about the hard work it takes to kick off their careers. They demonstrated a lot of flexibility and willingness to roll up their sleeves, work hard and learn the ropes. There’s a strong sense that the rapidly evolving media landscape will, in turn, require them to evolve and adapt throughout their careers. And they also feel fortunate to be graduating at a time when there is more optimism and opportunity than perhaps a year or two ago, when graduating peers were facing some of the worst job prospects in generations.
- Mid-Sized PR Firms Are The Place to Be - We always dedicate a large portion of our time with candidates to discuss our culture and the benefits of working for a mid-sized, generalist agency. The opportunity for one’s point of view to be heard, even at the entry level, and to meaningfully participate in all facets of our business while engaging with colleagues and clients at all levels resonated strongly. Many of those with whom we met proactively noted that they’d prefer to hone their energy and talents within a mid-size firm – something we’ve been hearing more and more from candidates at all levels. Which underscores our belief that a mid-sized agency is the place to be!
We’re looking forward to reconnecting with many of the candidates we met at Howard. And if it wasn’t already obvious, CooperKatz is always looking to connect with great people. So if you’re actively pursuing an entry-level position in PR – and are thinking some of the same things in this post – drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!