By Anne Petersen, PRSSA member
When Bill Renk graduated from college, he wanted to be an actor. But in an unexpected twist of events, he made a career in public relations instead.
Renk, the Marketing Director of Jumer’s Casino in the Quad Cities, spoke to the James F. Fox chapter of PRSSA on September 28 about the unexpected career turns his life took leading him to his current position, and how to move up the ranks in a company.
His message was clear: Get noticed.
Like many college graduates, Renk began his career with what he called “survival jobs,” entry-level positions in marketing and public relations. He moved to working with local theaters, and was soon noticed by Iowa’s burgeoning casino industry. He took a job with one, traveling to cities like Des Moines working to boost interest in the new business.
Renk continued his career in casinos by becoming the promotions manager at Jumer’s Casino. He was then promoted to Director of Marketing, and although he still felt unprepared for the professional world of marketing and PR, he went for it.
Renk has been the marketing director at Jumer’s Casino now for 17 years.
As he climbed through the ranks, Renk picked up a few pointers for hopeful PR hires and anyone else looking for a job in the dwindling market.
- Be around. Even if you can’t get the job you want, if you can find another job with the same company, take it. You’ll have a history with the company and later, it might make you stand out against other interviewees.
- Get noticed. Go the extra mile and step up to get noticed. If you ever interview for a better position, it will help higher employees remember you and the extra work you put in.
- Be yourself. As Renk put it, “One of your greatest tools is your personality.” Be friendly and outgoing, be memorable and likeable, and it may earn you that promotion that you’ve been looking for.
- Don’t be desperate. Renk said the old saying is true, “It’s easier to find a job when you’ve got a job.” As a professional who has hired and been hired, Renk said interviewers can often sense the desperation that comes with an unemployed interviewee. And that’s a bad thing. For some reason, Renk said, a company is more likely to hire someone with an “I don’t need this” attitude than someone who seems on the verge of begging.
- Pay your dues. It’s unlikely anyone will get a great job right out of college in today’s economy. Take the menial jobs that don’t necessarily interest you, and work your way up. And do the tasks with a smile on your face—it might just lead somewhere unexpected.