Making the right hire is always a challenge, particularly for entry level positions. By definition, there isn’t much of a track record to examine since it is generally the candidate’s first full time job. At MPRM that position is account assistant, a trainee position that requires someone who can handle administrative tasks but is also eager to learn and take on publicity skills that will take them to the next level. Our ideal candidate will have completed a few internships so they are familiar with the work, not just classroom theory. When we don’t have an open position, we will schedule “informational” interviews for those ambitious enough to ask. We save formal interviews for when we actually have an open position.
We’ve been very fortunate. Over the years most of our assistants have become outstanding public relations executives. Three are now part of our senior team. Many others have become clients, some competitors. A few decided that public relations was a good building block but not their final career. Among them are several lawyers, business school grads, a doctor, a veterinarian who actually includes a few of us as her clients.
While our track record has been good, there is always room for improvement. When our newest assistant, Skylar, presented us with the idea of doing a blog post about job seeking and hiring from both our points of view, we jumped at the opportunity to learn from each other. Although she was looking to break into entertainment, her experience will benefit anyone starting out in the profession of their choice. So let’s turn to Skylar.
As a 2020 college grad, I had the unfortunate experience of graduating during a global pandemic. After my internship with the Television Academy Foundation, also impacted by Covid, I began looking for a job, but Hollywood was shut down and there were no jobs in entertainment, let alone publicity. I learned three key things through my job search that helped me land my dream role at MPRM.
- Build Your Skills
- Gather Information
- Stay in Touch
I first found MPRM through a colleague at the Television Academy Foundation. She introduced me to a senior vice president at the company. Although in September of 2020, nobody in entertainment was hiring, I still did multiple informational interviews and started my first job at another Los Angeles publicity agency that wasn’t focused on entertainment. My time there was extremely important as I was able to build my public relations and writing skills. I knew staying in the public relations field, even if it wasn’t exactly the kind of PR I wanted to be doing, was going to be beneficial in the long run.
Meanwhile, I continued to watch MPRM. I followed their social media and added employees to my LinkedIn contacts. I read past Deadline articles about the agency and old blog posts by co-founder Rachel McCallister. I had my eye on this agency throughout the pandemic and my first six months living in Los Angeles.
During my first few months living in LA, I completed more than 25 informational interviews with a variety of entertainment professionals ranging from a senior vice president at Warner Brothers to a production assistant at Cartoon Network. One morning, when Hollywood was slowly re-opening in March 2021, I decided to cold email MPRM’s President, Mark Pogachefsky. I asked him if he was hiring and expressed my sincere interest in a role at MPRM. I think my excitement about the role must have bounced through my email because he quickly responded that they were indeed hiring. Three weeks later I was a part of the MPRM family.
Timing and persistence are everything, not to mention a little passion. Skylar put in the work, did her research, put herself out there, and wrote a great cover letter that helped her to stand out. The team remembered being impressed by Skylar from the earlier informational interview so when she reached back out the decision to formally consider her was easy. She checked all our boxes, with the extra bonus of some real work experience. She has been a great addition to the MPRM team and we look forward to her future growth with our company.