Help a PR Pro Out Day

JonHuntingDo you have a friend or colleague who lost their job in the last six months? Unfortunately, chances are the answer to that question is “yes” for most folks. And typically, the response most folks have when they find out that friend or colleague lost their job: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

Well, folks, I’m here to say there is something you can do. Very soon. Let me explain.

About a month ago, I received an email from an organization named TalentSeekr. A representative from the company was pitching me on ads to post on my blog. While the offer was intriguing, I passed for a variety of reasons (stay with me here). But a few days later, my friend David Mullen got me thinking again with this thoughtful post. Maybe those ads would actually help our fellow PR colleagues who were on the job hunt. Maybe I had acted hastily.

After giving it some additional thought, I decided to stick to my guns and pass on the ad offer. But, in re-thinking the proposition, I came up with an alternative idea (along with my friend, Valerie Simon).

What if we created a community-based “Help a PR Pro Out” Day?

An obvious play on HARO (big fan, by the way; hat tip to Mr. Shankman), Help a PR Pro Out Day will be a one-day event designed to help PR pros find jobs.

Like many of you, I’ve noticed a few more PR jobs opening up lately. In fact, I’m sure some of the agencies or organizations you work for or represent are probably looking right now. And, we all know there are many people (even a few friends) out there looking for a job right now. Why not take action and help by playing recruiter and connector for one day?

On Friday, February 19, from 10 am – 2 pm CT 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!

Of course, we realize not everyone looking for a job can do so publicly online. So, for those candidates who wish to be more discrete about their job search, please contact one of the local HAPPO champions who can help facilitate the appropriate introductions through the Twitter back channel or via good old-fashioned email.

I realize we don’t have all the major markets covered in the list below, but please realize this is a volunteer event. We’re all donating our time and efforts. And we all want to help. But, we also wanted to put some kind of definition around this event. If you’re in one of the markets we didn’t cover below, please don’t let that stop you. Reach out to myself, Valerie Simon (my partner in crime) or any one of the market champions to see how you can help. This certainly isn’t meant to be exclusive.

Below is a list of HAPPO champions. Over the next two weeks leading up to Feb. 19, these folks will be posting and tweeting about the event. Make sure to connect with them if you’re a job seeker or an employer looking for PR talent. That will help us all connect the dots on Feb. 19.

There are also a number of other folks who will be supporting the event in different ways, including Sarah Evans, Dave Fleet, Allan Schoenberg, David Mullen, Shonali Burke, Rachel Kay and a few others.

If you’re a job seeker, I hope you’ll consider posting and participating. If you’re an employer, I hope we can help you identify candidates for your openings. And, if you’re a PR practitioner who’s happy in your current role, please contact myself, Valerie Simon or one of the market champions to see how you can help.

You can find more information and ongoing updates leading up to the February 19 event at www.helpaprproout.com (we’ll be updating this site much more next week).

I hope you’ll consider getting involved in one way or another. Remember, this is your chance to make a difference. Jump on it.

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30 comments on “Help a PR Pro Out Day

  1. ValerieSimon says:

    I’m so excited to get to play matchmaker and put our collective networks to work! Hoping that together we can really make some new connections and a very real difference!

  2. MikeSchaffer says:

    What an awesome idea! I’m honored to be a part of this initiative…and can’t wait to help hook-up job seekers with some terrific jobs!

  3. Every month at our IABC luncheons we ask people to stand up and introduce themselves if they are looking for a job and then we ask people to stand up if they have a job to offer.

    Still far too many standing up for the former and too few for the latter for my liking, but we have seen the tide start to shift. Hopefully an effort like this will provide one more way to help the numerous qualified, unemployed PR pros we all know get back in the game.

    Arik and Valerie, you two are rock stars for organizing this event. Thank you for letting us be part of the band :).

    Best,
    Justin
    @JGoldsborough

  4. Fantastic idea – I’m forwarding this link to some folks I know who are looking. Will see what I can do to get our PRSA chapter involved!

    @wvpmc @prsawf

  5. kescovedo says:

    This is why I’ve always been proud to be a public relations professional. What a great community to belong to.

  6. Chris says:

    You seem like a charitable and helpful group…

    To a new, post-MBA, job seeker. Who can clarify for me the blurred line between online pr and social media marketing? And which one do I want to be in?

  7. Arik Hanson says:

    Valerie/Mike/Justin: So glad you’re all on board. This will definitely be a community effort.

    Wendy/Kristin: We’d love to have you involved in one way or another. Please let me know what I can do to help/facilitate.

    Chris: Many questions before I can answer that question. Might be best suited for an offline conversation, if you’re really interested. Shoot me a note via email and we’ll chat privately.

    @arikhanson

  8. Excited to be a part of this! Kudos to Arik & Valerie!

  9. Arik, thanks to you and Valerie again for getting this effort organized and explained. I look forward to helping in this initiative.

    – @vedo

  10. Elisha says:

    I really look forward to this event. I have been looking for a job in PR since May and haven’t had much luck. I currently have a 9 to 5 but not in the career I have my heart set on. I’m not giving up my goals becuase of this economy!

  11. Chris says:

    @Arik. Thanks a lot for your offer. I would email you, if only I could find your address somewhere. Say you email me first at cenglund@gmail.com. I’ll let you know what’s on my mind. Thanks!

  12. Solodovepr says:

    Hey Elisha I am there with you working as a publicist or in a PR agency is my dream and I will not give up. I work my 9-5 till I can do what I really want full time. I hope this event works out and people get the connections that they need

  13. NajjabeePR says:

    This is a truly wonderful idea! As someone who is currently searching for a position, while still encouraging aspriring professionals, this opportunity gives hope in what has proven to be a bleak job market. I am forwarding this information to all my friends, faster than the speed of light!

  14. Shane Arman says:

    I will be graduating in May 2010 with a degree in PR. Am I eligible to participate? This sounds like a wonderful idea!

  15. Tom McVey says:

    This is such an innovative way to use social media. We are always trying to be helpful to reporters and to clients. It will be nice to have a chance to help each other. Have you thought about sending Peter Shankman a message to see if he would like to get involved somehow?

  16. arikhanson says:

    Elisha/Solodovpr/NajjabeePR: Hoping we can help people exactly like you on Feb. 19. Get creative with your post ideas. And let me know what I can do to help.

    Chris: Email is arik (dot) hanson (at) gmail (dot) com. It’s on my “Speaking” and “ACH Communications” tabs, FYI.

    Shane: You’re definitely elgible. We’ll do our best to connect you with folks who may be open to hiring you come May.

    Tom: Thanks for the note. I did actually send Peter a note earlier this week. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m really hoping he responds and lends his support. He’d be a huge addition!

    @arikhanson

  17. Deanna says:

    Can you provide more information for the old-fashion email or “discreet” way in which PR pros and advertise they are looking for a new job. I was laid-off my a PR agency and am still looking for full-time work, so I wouldn’t have a problem publicly listing my information. At the same time, there are others who have jobs, but hate them and are looking. Also, I would like to give more details to my local PRSA chapter – http://www.prsatarheel.org/
    Thanks!

  18. dianesager says:

    Houston– This is a fantastic idea! Thank you! I didn’t see anyone representing Houston. If you are a representative, employer or a public relations professional in Houston, I would love to connect with you!

  19. arikhanson says:

    Deanna: Send me a note at arik.hanson@gmail.com. We’ll discuss offline.

    Diane: I don’t think anyone is representing Houston. May want to connect with Lauren (@cubanalaf) and Richie (@vedo) though–our champions in DFW.

    @arikhanson

  20. MariaJamesPR says:

    I agree with everyone above – this is a wonderful idea! I hope we can make this a regular event. I will share with all of my PR friends. Looking forward to Feb. 19th!

  21. Worob says:

    I like it! Let me know how I can help

    @Worob
    PR at Sunrise blog – worob.com

  22. ValerieSimon says:

    Hey Andrew- thanks for the support… I’ll follow up with you!

  23. LaurieBartolo says:

    Great idea! As the Recruitment Director for Ogilvy PR’s Washington DC office, I look forward to following #HAPPO on the 19th!

    @lauriebartolo