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David LaBar

"I targeted the top ten PR firms in New York. Cold call - sent in a resume, placed a phone call and they just happened to have an opening at that time."

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

Learning to trusting myself to know the right direction for me when it presented itself. I've had several job offers that have been tough to chose from. In my present job, I decided to take it because of the warm reception I received during the interview process. I had other job offers but I felt best at this one particular company. I could tell it was very team focused and I knew I'd have to work hard, but I knew it wasn't a sweat shop either. Trusting my instincts have paid off in my career.

How did you get your big breaks?

I targeted the top ten PR firms in New York. Cold call - sent in a resume, placed a phone call and they just happened to have an opening at that time. I got lucky. ?The interview was fairly casual. They did not ask me to do a writing sample but I brought a writing portfolio with me. Writing samples are standard in the industry.?After two rounds of interviews - first round met with the human resources division, second round met with the head of the high-tech division, received an offer. I also met with the head of another division as well.?

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Have several people look over your resume. I've interviewed several people who have had typos on their resumes and that looks really bad. I made sure mine were perfect before I sent them out. Someone also suggested I research the company before an interview. With the Web, finding the company web site is so easy to do. There is no excuse for not being familiar with the company at the interview. ?I suggest to people: be prepared to state not only you want to work with the company that you're interviewing with but also the specific division you're working with. I don't like to interview people who say, "Oh, I'm flexible and open to a lot of things." It's a very broad answer. As much as possible try to stress why you want the specific job in the specific division you're working in.

What have you learned from your experience?

I've learned communication skills, speaking the "business language," improved writing style, better verbal communication. It takes skill and practice to be able to cold call a reporter. It can be a little intimidating if you've never done it before. I've also been able to pick up lots of information and sift through it and determine what's important. Working for a PR firm you really get inundated with information overload, you have to pick up what's important, what's relevant.

What most excites you about your job right now?

Learning, in high-tech pr you learn something every day, it's exciting to be able to pick up a language you couldn't speak before, to be able to read magazines that you couldn't understand before. Kind of becoming an authority.

On a scale of 1-10, how relevant was your academic major to your career? (1=not at all, 10=absolutely essential)

10 Absolutely Essential

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