The missing link…

I finally finished–well almost finished–putting up my profile on Linked In, the networking website for professionals. I first created the profile in mid February as part of a school project.

Since then, it kind of fell off my things-to-do list, mainly due to a healthy amount of procrastination. The fact is, I was never sure what I wanted to put up on my profile. As a student, I couldn’t see the value of using the site to network, since I felt that most of my contacts would be other fellow students. As a communicator, I still felt like too much of a novice–even with all of the contacts I had developed through various projects–to start randomly adding everyone I knew.

What finally prompted me to complete my profile was realizing how important it is to maintain the ties I have developed in the field of communications, especially with my former classmates.

As I found out during a recent get-together with some of them, most of them are beginning to build their own career paths as communicators. By keeping in contact with them, I am able to learn from their experiences and improve my own knowledge, especially in social media and Web 2.0 which have become so vitally important to our industry.

So, six months, 10 days and 14 hours later (give or take a couple of weeks) Joe Chawla has finally made it onto Linked In. For those of you who have been waiting for me to accept your invitations to join and become your contact, my apologies. For those of you who I have recently sent invites to, hopefully it won’t take you six months to respond back to me.

But in case it does, don’t worry … my profile will still be waiting.

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Welcome to the (PR) jungle…

Whoo hoo! I have found a job! Actually, in all honesty, I have had the job since about the start of August, but between my sister-in-law’s wedding and waiting for my contracts to come in the mail, I kind of held off writing about my newfound employment.

Now that I have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on my contract, I can tell you that I am now one of the new Public Relations Coordinators, handling Media Relations, for Markham Stouffville Hospital. I went for an interview with the organization in mid-July, did a follow-up in late July and was offered the job near the end of the month.

I start on August 25th and will be working with two other people in handling PR for the Hospital. For me, its a great job for several reasons:

1). Markham Stouffville Hospital is a fantastic organization that serves more than 300 thousand people who reside in the communities of Markham, Stouffville and Uxbridge, as well as some residents from the Scarborough and Durham regions.

2.) As an organization MSH’s vision is to “care for its communities through partnerships and the pursuit of excellence”  and its mission is “to make every experience with them great!” These are great values because they signify the committment the organization has to its communities, not to itself. Its easy to do media relations for an organization you respect.

3). Third, in handling media relations I can make use of my broadcasting background, which I hope will give me an edge in delivering great stories about the Hospital.

4). As a PR job its a great opportunity because it’s a full-time, permanent position which means I don’t have to worry in a year or two about finding a new job.

5). Finally, it’s ten minutes away from my home, which means I don’t have to get up an hour and a half in advance to ensure I have time to get to work!

So, I am looking forward to getting started with MSH and helping to spread the word about the organization, its vision and mission, and its work within its surrounding communities.

(P.S. I will still keep writing about some of my job hunting experiences and my time at Newmarket, however, as I am sure they can still provide some value to people who are still looking for a job or internship or getting started on the job hunt.)

Quality over qualifications…

I’ve never been a big fan of job hunting.

The stress of having to write cover letter after cover letter, update your resume to include every single relevant credential and then edit the whole affair to ensure you have no potential mistakes that could leave your application in the trash bin gives me a headache.

But the other frustration I have with job hunting comes from being considered either not qualified enough for a position, or even more surprisingly, too qualified for it.

Now don’t get me wrong. In a way, its a bit flattering having someone tell me that I exceed the qualifications of the position they’re hiring for, especially considering my limited experience in PR. But, at the same time, if I applied for the job, doesn’t that mean I want it and, even more importantly, consider myself qualified for it?

Now I understand the position of the organization. They want to hire someone who will fit nicely into the role, not become easily bored with it, or use it as a stepping stone to move higher in the company leaving them with the task of finding another candidate a year down the road.

But, at the same time, I still feel that if I applied for the job, it’s because I felt I was qualified for it and wanted it.

Furthermore, chances are that I would likely stay in that position for at least a year or two so that I could learn more about the company and how it operates. Then when I finally did make the jump up in my career, all of that carefully cultivated experience and knowledge could be used for the company’s benefit (since I would probably stay with them out of loyalty for hiring me.)

In addition to this, isn’t the expectation of moving up in a company something that any job candidate would consider? After all, who goes into a job wanting to stay at the same position and pay rate for their entire career? Pretty much no one.

So what do you guys think? Is the perception that a potential job candidate is too qualified for a position a fair assessment to make? And if so, isn’t it worth retaining the skills and experience that person could bring the position and the company? If there are any HR people out there who may read this blog, what are your thoughts?