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Job Search Tips for Integrated Marketing and PR Pros

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integrated marketing and PR careers

Last year was a vibe. For some, it meant having to leave their job and begin the search for something new. For others, a remote work environment and stressful times brought light to concerns that led to a search for a new opportunity. And for others still, market changes allowed for new lanes to open up as they think about their future.

Whatever your reason to think about your next career move – prioritize day-to-day needs and build your search around longer-term goals.

What is the biggest factor in making you look for a new job?

integrated marketing and PR careers

A recent survey of working professionals between the ages of 25 and 44 found that salary, schedules and promotions are top of mind when thinking about a career move.

While frustrations in any of these areas can certainly be triggering, are the value of training & development and a mentor/mentee relationship with your employer being overlooked?

“Having a mentor within your company is particularly valuable — she can identify opportunities for advancement you might overlook, guide you through challenging projects, and help you build relationships with higher-ups. Most importantly, if she’s influential, she can earn you recommendations for special projects or teams that you might not have been considered for otherwise. And these are the factors that are going to pave the way for success at your company.” Jessica Taylor, Writer

Where to Prioritize Career Development in a Job Search

When considering your next job opportunity, how important is a career development program to your decision?

career development priorities


“PAN’s dedicated model is a true differentiator. As someone who has worked at previous agencies, I’ve never come across another model that is as hands-on and supportive as the one PAN offers. The dedicated team leaders truly care about the growth and career trajectories of each of their team members. It really is a partnership – working together with your dedicated team leader to identify the goals that best meet your specific career path. The shift to receiving feedback quarterly has made the process more open – I now have a clear understanding of what goals I’m marching towards and receive the feedback I need to keep learning and growing.” – Alex Evans, Director, New York

Would you consider taking a slightly lower starting salary to work for a company with a robust career development program?


job search tips

When asked specifically about training & development, almost 75 percent of survey respondents value career development opportunities when evaluating a career move. And if given a chance for a slightly lower salary for more T&D opportunities, most would take it.

In fact, in a survey from Degreed on the state of skills in 2021, 53 percent of marketing respondents stated that if their employer doesn’t invest in their skills development, they would be more likely to leave their job.

Particularly in the communications industry where there’s always something new to learn, don’t overlook the value of a robust training & development program, as well as a dedicated mentorship program (more on that later).

“One of the things I love about PAN is how much management cares about its employees and their futures. As with our clients, PAN is always thinking steps ahead when it comes to its personnel – creating initiatives to help us get where we want to be on our PR path. I feel very fortunate to have a dedicated VP that lives up to the meaning of the word and is truly committed to seeing us thrive – whether that’s helping us find our perfect role within the company or ensuring we have a healthy work/life balance. It’s these types of programs that separate jobs from careers, and at PAN, I see vast possibilities for my career.” Staci Didner, Account Supervisor, Orlando

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • What training programs are available to your employees?
  • Where is the last person to hold this job moving onto?
  • Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?


Where to Look for Motivation in your Job Search

What are you most looking to ignite in yourself with a new opportunity?

personal development in a job search

While “New skills/resources for a new challenge” is last on the list for “the biggest factor in making you look for a new job,” respondents affirmed it first on their list for personal growth from a new opportunity.

“The most useful skillset I’ve gained since joining PAN is how to become a more empathetic leader. I’ve been lucky enough to work with many Directors, VPs, SVPs, and EVPs that have helped guide my career and my own leadership style. Tactical skills like how to draft a pitch or build relationships with reporters are obviously important, but learning how to lead with more empathy has made the biggest difference in my professional and personal life.” – Ashley Waters, Director, Media Relations, New York

Part of the reason for this could be an outcome of the ongoing pandemic. New ways of doing business have required employees to think about new ways for doing their own jobs. In the world of marketing, digital strategy shifts have become more necessary than ever before. Transitioning from physical to virtual event strategies; ramping up paid social to stand out in channel feeds; adjusting content marketing strategies to create stronger emotional connections; we could go on and on.

This, on top of working in an industry where there is a constant cycle of new technology to learn, new obstacles to overcome and new strategies to become best practices.

According to the Citrix Talent Accelerator, 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe that workers will need to reskill or upskill at least once a year to maintain a competitive advantage in the global job market. Furthermore, Degreed’s State of Skills survey reported that 66% of marketers felt their core job skills would be obsolete within the next 5 years, 55% within just 3 years.

integrated marketing and PR careers

“You may be worrying over the question ‘How legitimate or worthy is my career path likely to look to an outsider – someone who doesn’t already know me?’ When we are contemplating or preparing for a job search, that is often one of the first questions we ask ourselves. The more important question to explore is ‘How do I feel about my path and my learning in life so far – and what do those experiences and my instincts tell me about my next, best career move?’” – Liz Ryan, Founder & CEO, Human Workplace

A refreshed motivation and inspiration, better work/life balance, and a company who shares similar values shows the importance for a positive mentor to help guide you through each stage of your career. Afterall, in the words of Gary V., “Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.”

“At PAN, I don’t just feel lucky that I can continue my streak of great mentors, but I can serve in that role to others as well. PAN’s career coach model ensures that each employee has a dedicated manager who is responsible for their individual career growth. That’s what is unique about PAN – our leaders are passionate about helping their dedicated team of employees find their role within the agency and in the integrated marketing and PR industry as a whole.” – Kate Connors, Director, Boston

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
  • Do you expect the primary responsibilities of this role to change in the next 6 months or a year?
  • What are some of the challenges you expect the person in this position to face?


The Unspoken Value of a True Mentor

“Leaders & mentors aligned with career goals” seems undervalued when stacking up the reasons to look for a new job. Although last on the list for what they’re most looking to ignite with a new opportunity, 73% of survey respondents find an inspiring supervisor important or extremely important.

How important is a supervisor who inspires you to take risks and push yourself in your career?

integrated marketing and PR careers

The value of a career mentor is priceless as you map out your future, whether it’s at your current company or beyond. Their influence in motivating your training & development possibilities and helping you reflect on areas for improvement will arm you with valuable insights on your personal growth. But a true mentor also supports your mental well-being.

“Being a good manager doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. It means investing in developing your teammates, tapping into their strengths and training for their weaknesses. The result is a more productive team where everyone adds value and has a role.” – Jenny Radloff, Vice President, Boston

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • What is the performance review process here? How often would I be formally reviewed?
  • What goals do you have for the company, yourself and employees over the next five years?
  • How do leaders set employees up for success?


Balancing the Pros and Cons of Remote Work

What is your biggest challenge when working for a company with a remote workforce?

remote job search tips

If brands and employees alike have learned one thing from the global pandemic, it’s that we’re resilient enough to be able to perform our jobs from anywhere. But despite not having the daily commute or the in-office interruptions, we as humans struggle to disconnect when our work is in our living rooms, or dining rooms – or maybe even bedrooms.

“Bridging the gap between trainings, client relations, PAN processes and everything in between will always be a top priority for PAN. We care about training and development, for every level at every stage of employment, and we know that feeling like you’re part of the team means being able to understand, jump in on the various tasks and know all the tips for your role to be successful on your accounts.” – Sydney Mueller, Account Supervisor, Orlando

While some are balancing the needs of children, pets and spouses, others are going through this remote period by themselves. Most of us are missing our in-office friendships and the face-to-face relationship building with new employees.

Even as we look forward to a vaccine bringing a sense of normalcy back to our lives – we’ll likely find more opportunity to stay digital and choose when we want to be in a physical office space. Virtual onboarding will likely continue – as employees find their digital/physical balance that works best for their lifestyle.

“I’ve been through job inductions before but what makes PAN unique is its focus on people over process. It always takes a bit of time to bed into a new role (especially virtually!) but when you’re surrounded with friendly personal support, it makes everything a whole lot easier.” – Martin McGourty, Associate Director, London

Despite its challenges, some sort of hybrid of digital + physical work schedules will continue. In fact, the Citrix Talent Accelerator reported that 76% of U.S. knowledge workers will prioritize remote and/or flexible work schedules, even if it means taking a reduced salary.

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • How would you describe the work environment here?
  • What benefits are focused on work-life balance?
  • What benefits & perks does the company offer?


Defining the Boundaries on Employer Loyalty

At the end of the day, 86% of respondents would start looking for a job within the next 6 months because of a lack of work-life balance.

How long would it take for you to start looking for a new opportunity because of a lack of work-life balance?

integrated marketing and PR careers

Maybe it’s too little too late, or maybe it’s a lack of loyalty to employers. Whatever the reason, employees are not giving their organizations much time to enact change. It’s on the employers to make sure that they’re in constant sync with employees and to provide solutions to retain their valued employees.

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • How do leaders encourage employees to ask questions?
  • How does employee feedback get incorporated into day-to-day operations?
  • What are the company’s biggest problems? How are they overcoming them?


Mental Health and Well-being Initiatives to Counter Burnout

The most common culprit for strain on mental well-being: burnout. Employees are looking for ways their employers are prioritizing mental health, despite work-life balance challenges.

For those searching for new opportunities, when asked specifically about the importance of mental health initiatives and overall well-being, 77 percent of respondents said it was important or extremely important.

How important is working for a company that prioritizes mental health initiatives and overall well-being?

mental health in the workplace

Like searching for companies who emphasize their T&D programs and mentorship models, ask about initiatives they’re taking to prioritize well-being for their employees.

To address wellness concerns, PAN offered a mental health webinar series to employees during the pandemic.

mental health in the workplace

“PAN has set the bar so high for my professional standards – the people and the clients have made it such a fabulous experience. Being in San Francisco, the tech PR industry is so crowded, but I truly believe PAN goes the extra mile by placing so much emphasis on a good work balance, fostering productive employee relationships, all while delivering killer client work.” – Emily Hubbard, Account Executive, San Francisco

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • How frequently do employees make themselves available outside of normal working hours?
  • How long does the average person keep this job?
  • Why do most employees leave the company? How often is a new hire the result of a previous employee quitting?


A Brand’s Purpose and its Impact on the Job Search

Ninety-two percent of employees say it’s important that their employer’s CEO speaks out on key issues, and 73% of employees want to be included in planning the future of the organization.

Transparency is key. This extends to a company’s leadership team according to our survey:

How important is a company’s leadership team proactively sharing their perspective on the industry, the company and/or DEI initiatives to your decision to work for the company?

purpose driven job search

“Companies can no longer just be in business to make a profit; now they have to make a societal difference, especially during these times of hardship and political and social polarization.” Dan Schawbel, New York Times bestselling author & Managing Partner of Workplace Intelligence

How important is alignment with a prospective employer’s values, including DEI when making a career move?

purpose driven job search

Employees of socially engaged companies are more likely to stay at their company, feel optimistic about their company’s future and believe their company is more competitive.

These factors are important – and we should expect to see them grow in importance. 51% of people expect brands to publicly announce actions being taken to make their company more diverse and inclusive. 

purpose driven job search

“Authenticity will be a major differentiator for brands moving forward, and we will continue to see brands move in two (potentially opposite) directions:

  1. Take strong social and political stances
  2. Publicly announce their intentions to be apolitical

“No matter which direction brands take, it’s important they stay committed to their decision, communicate clearly to their employees, and understand the potential risks, as well as gains, to customer retention.” – Sara Spivey, CMO, Braze in PAN’s 2021 CMO Predictions

Top questions to ask in your interview:

  • Is there a formal mission statement? What does this company value the most? (Make sure this isn’t easily found via their website ahead of time!)
  • What do you want the company to be known for among employees – past, present & future?
  • How transparent is the company about operations/revenue/future plans?


Next Steps: Finding Your Dream Job

Whether you’re just beginning your job search, you’re knee deep in Indeed listings and interviews, or it’s on your mind for the future, don’t focus solely on the surface level issues.

Look deeper to employer inspiration, career development and mentors who challenge you, prioritize your well-being – especially as we continue to balance digital and physical work spaces, and align your beliefs in purpose to your employer’s.

METHODOLOGY: This 2020/2021 survey was commissioned by PAN Communications and fielded by Dynata, a global online market research firm. The responses were generated from an online survey of 405 adults between December 4-7, 2020. The survey was made up of working professionals between the ages of 25 to 44 and surveyed what they were looking for when searching for a new job, as well as where certain elements fit on a scale of importance.

Discover what your career at PAN Communications could look like by visiting our ‘Work at PAN‘ page.

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