Public Relations Pro Shares Success Tips to Find Work

January 1, 2014 at 4:34 AM

Julie Du Brow's public relations business of 12 years was dipping by 2010 as the recession picked up steam. Faced with fewer long term, and smaller, clients she was concerned, getting worn out, searching, and in need of a new source of income. In a world of “meant to be”, Julie married up her volunteer work in the green space and her resume to land a great part-time job via a job board. Today she is a permanent part-time Communications Specialist at The Bay Foundation in Santa Monica, California and this position is attracting new and exciting clients for her public relations firm, DubroWorks.

Julie began her job search by exploring the postings on the UCLA job board (her alma mater), looking directly on company websites and setting up alerts on Indeed. She applied to several job postings including the one for her current position. What she learned can help others.

No Response Is Not Always a Dead End

In August, 2011, Julie applied to her current position via a job posting on Indeed and she did not hear anything from the company until October. It turns out that Julie’s resume arrived at the end of their search and The Bay Foundation had already settled on another candidate. By October, that lead candidate fell through and Julie’s resume got its first glance. Several interviews and two weeks later she started. A killer thank you note that nailed her interest in the firm, passion for their work and included media ideas kept her candidacy top of mind.

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Last Minute Interviews Can Take Some of the Pressure Away

When the call came in, they asked Julie if she could interview the next day. With very little time to prepare, she studied their website and annual report to create a list of questions, but she was far less prepared than she would normally be. Moreover, it was clear that The Bay Foundation is a science based non-profit in water conservation, an area with which she was familiar but hardly knowledgeable.

Worried that this would hurt her chances, Julie told her interviewers “I don’t have all the answers because of the short notice and I need to really delve into and learn this arena.” She also took a chance and indicated that, if hired, her job would be to bridge the scientists’ work into much clearer and simpler language so that non-scientists, the general media and public, could understand their stories. Both approaches signaled honesty and a desire to learn for the interviewers—key factors as it turns out.

Keep Your Job Search a Little Broad to Maximize Your Chances

Julie decided that it didn’t take a lot more time to search for jobs that matched her background as well as those that hewed to her hobbies. For her that meant jobs in the green space. Using Indeed, she set up four different alerts in the Los Angeles area and it was the one of these that surfaced the position with The Bay Foundation.

A Part Time Job Can Be Good Business Development For Your Own Business

Julie’s work with The Bay Foundation connects her with partner organizations on certain projects. Some of those firms have approached her for short-term assignments, often related to projects with which the Foundation is involved. With the approval of her management, Julie has been able to bring in new business to her consulting firm. This virtuous employment circle has clear upside for the Bay Foundation as it results in cohesive messaging for several of the key constituencies in the water conservation space.

Many years of volunteering in the green space also has the potential to bring in revenue. The agencies and design and engineering firms for water and green building overlap in many cases and her professional experience in one has led to cross-industry introductions and discussions about consulting work.

We like to think that what goes around comes around. Volunteerism and environmental activism make the world a better place. The economy forced Julie Du Brow to reconsider her “business model”. Something as random as a job board merged her personal and professional lives and both are the stronger for it.

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AnnMarie Quintaglie McIlwain is a former marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and consultant to several Fortune 100 companies.  Now, as Founder and CEO of, she is a social entrepreneur who connects people with the information and inspiration they need in order to get jobs and start businesses. CareerFuel is the only site that gives people what they need to know to find jobs or start businesses plus blogs and short films about real people who made it happen. 

A recipient of numerous civic and leadership awards, AnnMarie is a Board member of, was a participant in the first White House Entrepreneurial Session, the recent WeOwnIt Summit, and the first Alley to the Valley Event.  She is also a member of 85Broads and Startup America.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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