QUESTION: Ms. Hamburger
I was told that there are telecommuting positions in public relations. What is the best way to zero in on or locate PR firms wanting employees who telecommute?
ANSWER: I telecommute. I found my current opportunity on Craiglist. Because so many people are skeptical of this excellent source of jobs, there are usually more to choose from - if you are super fast at responding to ads. That means checking Craigslist every day and responding quickly!
There is a way to set up job opportunity alerts with Craiglist AND all other job boards. However, one of the best ways is to make your own opportunity. For example, a cover letter/pitch that offers to take that advertised part-time job, go in for an interview and THEN let them know you can do some or all of the hours from your home office. I have almost always "flipped" jobs in this way. But be certain your skill set is special or unique in some way(s) that enable this offer. Employers are often open to this suggestion because it helps keep their costs way down and one less person, er, underfoot, to micromanage or create inside office politics.
-- Be open to taking on two part-time employers rather than one full-time. Full-time gigs have a stronger feeling of ownership over your time and presence and do require more on-site interaction.
-- Another great way to search for this type of work is at professional association meetings that offer face-to-face networking.
-- Just pitch them. Find your list of PR firms and send an email. This is a long-shot though.
-- Or, pitch a large New York Agency and offer them a presence in a geographic market that they wouldn't otherwise have access to. You look especially attractive if you offer an area of specialization. For example, perhaps a NYC agency wants to reach a Latino market and you live in Miami with excellent contacts. You might seem like a wonderful find.
-- Start in-house and then segue over to off site. This is a rather tricky and usually only works if you have been with a company for a fairly long time and they don't want to lose you entirely. If you present valid reasons why you need to telecommute, some people do find this works. Agencies are skeptical however with valid concern that you might steal accounts. Another reason agencies prefer in-house employees.
-- Lastly, why only agencies? For example, attend a real estate trade fair (if that is an area of interest to you) and pitch! Let prospects know that you can increase their visibility with an affordable plan for PR from your home office. This may of particular interest to law firms, health care providers, real estate interest and other employers that need their in-house desks for career specialists in those fields and be all too happy to have someone using an off site desk if they needn't interact with an entire staff of in-house employees but perhaps only one or two (such as the CEO, department manager(s), etc.)
Telecommuting is often viewed as Freelance. Freelance folks are in essence starting their own independent consultancy. Be honest with yourself and decide if you really want to telecommute or if your goal is to be your own boss. Then, go all in. If you want to be an independent consultant that means taking ads, creating your collateral and throwing yourself with a passion into that effort.
To telecommute, be ready to sign a noncompete, nondisclosure agreement and a valid reason why you want that type of work. You must be extremely time conscience, provide excellent reports and results and understand that you might have to be flexible with salary, benefits and even work on weekends on evenings should an emergency, get-it-done now job comes along.
I hope this helps spur some ideas for you. Telecommuting is exactly like garnering any other job: Have special skills, an ability to hunt for opportunities and a need to be flexible and think out-of-the-box.
I love my set-up and hopefully you will too.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks, Ms. Hamburger
I should state that I have a degree in public relations but missed an internship. I did do a project very well in college where a client was given (a department of the college) that needed PR.
Any tips on constructing a resume without internship or experience?
First use a free resume service such as Monster.com to get organized. Then, contact either a TEMP Agency or TEMP To PERM agency and they review resumes and skill sets at no charge. They might even find you an awesome job. They usually have great suggestions for resume improvement as well. And skills training.
Put your hard skills on top: Software programs, Skills such accounting or sales, etc.
Put your membership organization on the bottom which should always be something like Public Relations Society of America or America Marketing Association - doesn't matter which professional organization you like best but be certain that it reflects your career.
In the middle just be sure to put your job title first, then employer.
You may not yet have enough skills for PR. If so, you'll need to get some of your own freelance clients. Go door-to-door of small businesses and offer to do some PR at a low cost or barter. You can build your skills this way as well.
That should get you going...