When I graduated college in Dec. 2001, the job market wasn’t exactly strong. The economy was still reeling after the attacks of 9-11, and many of us, myself included, were looking for jobs in Toledo, OH (where we went to school), an economically challenged community. Many of my fellow graduates endured long job searches — searches that frequently ended with settling for any old job just to pay the bills.
I was one of the lucky ones. My college mentor connected me to a local PR agency that was hiring. He helped me get the interview and provided an excellent reference … and the rest is history. This helped me understand the power of networking — and the willingness of the PR community to help their colleagues.
As the economy shows some signs of bouncing back, we’re starting to hear about companies and agencies looking add some PR staff. (Hooray!!) And we know there are LOTS of talented PR people on the job hunt. How can we help connect job seekers to employers? Enter HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out), an incredibly smart concept from Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon.
On Friday, February 19, from 11 am – 3 pm eastern, PR bloggers, agency leaders, and PR professionals from across the country will donate their time and talents to help fellow PR pros connect with employers as part of the first-ever “Help a PR Pro Out” day.
- Are you a job seeker? Prepare a creative blog post, pitching yourself to prospective employers and share it via Twitter during the event on Feb. 19 using the hashtag #HAPPO. The HAPPO “market champions” (see below) will help by retweeting and connecting you with potential employers in your specific market (or markets you’re willing to relocated to).
- Are you an employer looking for talent? Follow the hashtag #HAPPO on Friday, Feb. 19 and share your openings. Market champions will do their best to connect you with talent they think matches your specific needs.
- Are you a PR blogger/Twitter addict? Yes? Then share the #HAPPO tweets with your personal networks and lend your support to those in need. Help your market champion identify job seekers and pair them with potential employers. This is your chance to make a difference!
The HAPPO Champions
(make sure to connect with the person in your area to discover PR pros/agencies)
- Jeremy Porter (Atlanta)
- Kellye Crane (Atlanta)
- Doug Haslam (Boston)
- Jennifer Wilbur (Southern CA)
- Gini Dietrich (Chicago)
- Lauren Fernandez (Dallas/Fort Worth)
- Richie Escovedo (Dallas/Fort Worth)
- Justin Goldsborough (Kansas City)
- Arik Hanson (Minneapolis/ St. Paul)
- PR Cog (New York Metro)
- Deidre Breakenridge (New York Metro)
- Valerie Simon (New York Metro)
- Heather Whaling (Ohio)
- Adrienne Biggs (San Francisco)
- Danny Brown (Toronto)
- Mike Schaffer (Washington, DC)
If you’re an employer or a job seeker in Columbus, Ohio, I am here to help! Email me at heather [at] gebencommunication.com and I’ll do my best to facilitate connections. You can also connect with Amy Taylor, who is lending a big assist to help me with the Central Ohio market.
For those of you with some artistic skills, HAPPO is looking for someone to design the official logo. Check out the blog for details.