PRSA Tampa Bay Counsels Job Candidates

By Joseph Priest

Sometimes, PR professionals can demonstrate the best of PR when they’re not directly doing  PR. Our chapter’s recent participation in the United Way Day of Caring was one of these times.

On Oct. 12, the Public Service Committee organized our participation in a résumé-review and job-search counseling session for the Day of Caring at the United Way’s Sulphur Springs Resource Center. The Center, which opened in 2009, provides a range of community services, including job training, legal assistance, and education mentoring, and enables residents to do everything from use computers, to take GED classes, to participate in leadership-training and personal-growth-assistance programs, among many other activities. 

For our Day of Caring event, we were able to arrange, with the special help of Elizabeth Watts, APR, an activity in which we could specifically apply our communication and  planning skills by evaluating job candidates’ résumés and providing counsel on the best strategies to help them with their job searches. The event follows a similar Day of Caring résumé review workshop that we participated in at the Center two years ago, and also builds on the Day of Caring project we took part in at the Hillsborough Education Foundation last year. 

Our day consisted of dividing into three groups to evaluate the candidates’ résumés on areas such as neatness, organization, and effectiveness, and then sharing feedback with the candidates and having in-depth discussions to provide counsel on their job-search strategies.

Ten of our members participated:

  •         Betty Carlin, APR
  •         Bobby Eagle, APR
  •         Kathlyn Fitzpatrick
  •         Bart Graham
  •         Felicia Johnson, APR
  •         Stephanie Navarro
  •         Joseph Priest
  •         Jessica Summers, APR
  •         Elizabeth Taylor
  •         Elizabeth Watts, APR


Although we just had a few hours to contribute, our team had an amazingly rewarding experience. We were able to offer high-level communication and planning advice to job candidates who don’t normally have access to this kind of counsel. 

In particular, many of the typical job candidates at the Center are different than many of the typical PR candidates that we encounter in that the candidates at the Center are middle-aged, have had many jobs in many areas, and face special challenges with their ability to work or with their job histories. These challenges can include having regular access to transportation, having special family needs that restrict the days and hours they can work, or having a termination history for past job performance.

The way our team came together to apply our skills to address these different challenges and give personal counsel to the candidates truly exemplified both the professional value and community benefit of what our profession offers. It was rewarding to be a part of this event, and rewarding to be a part of PRSA Tampa Bay. 

The Public Service Committee is working on other ideas to keep our chapter involved in the community, so stay tuned for more ways you can help serve. And if you have any suggestions, please send them to Joseph Priest

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