Home Airlines Southwest’s Hiring A New PR Person & the Jokes Are Writing Themselves. But…

Southwest’s Hiring A New PR Person & the Jokes Are Writing Themselves. But…

by SharonKurheg

Southwest dug itself a huge hole over the holiday season. That’s when, from Christmas Eve onward, they wound up delaying and canceling thousands upon thousands of flights over the course of a week or so.

Southwest has apologized multiple times to all those affected. They’ve offered refunds, reimbursements, travel vouchers and 25,000 frequent flier miles to passengers whose reservations were canceled or significantly delayed.

But right now, let’s face it, they ruined Christmas for thousands. At least one person missed her own wedding. Countless others missed cruises, or couldn’t get back to work.

No one who was supposed to fly on Southwest during that time frame and couldn’t, is happy with the airline right now. Everyone who were lucky enough to avoid the aviation “cluster-F to beat all cluster Fs” particularly trusts them right now (and who can blame them?).

So what is Southwest doing right now? Advertising for a new Public Relations representative. And if you think about it, if there’s anything Southwest could use right now, it’s better PR.

Anyway, the ad was posted on LinkedIn a few days ago. They’re no longer accepting applicants, but here’s what is said:

It’s a full-time, Mid-Senior level hybrid position, based in Dallas. As of this writing, they have 288 applicants.

From LinkedIn:

About the job

Department: Communications & Outreach

Our Company Promise

We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Job Description:

All of Southwest’s People come together to deliver on our Purpose; Connecting People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. The Public Relations Advisor supports our Purpose by creating compelling, engaging content for various social media platforms. As a member of the Public Relations Team supporting social media efforts, this role will collaborate with various workgroups to ensure messaging is inspirational and entertaining and that it aligns with Company initiatives. The Public Relations Advisor is an innovative thinker who is excited to be part of the Team that develops and executes the communication strategy for the Company.

 

As a Public Relations Advisor, you can expect:

  • Knowledge and experience with short-form video storytelling (Instagram Reels and TikTok) may be beneficial in transitioning to this role but is not required.
  • Fly for free, as a privilege, on any open seat on all Southwest flights (your eligible dependents too)
  • Up to a 9.3% 401(k) Company match, dollar for dollar, per paycheck
  • Potential for annual ProfitSharing contribution toward retirement – when Southwest profits, you profit.
  • Explore more Benefits you’ll love: swa.is/benefits
  • U.S. citizenship or current authorization to work in the U.S. required and no current or future work authorization sponsorship available.
  • For eligible Leadership and individual contributor roles, additional bonus opportunities are available and awarded at the discretion of the company.

Southwest Airlines is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We continue to look for opportunities to reflect the communities we serve, and welcome applicants with diverse thoughts, backgrounds, and experiences.

  • Responsibilities
  • Serve as a strategic communications advisor to colleagues, internal clients, Leaders, and Executives determining appropriate tone, messages, and channels to deliver clear and effective messages that align with Company objectives and offer support during times of crisis
  • Demonstrate autonomy in the development of message and channel strategy, gathering inputs from multiple sources, obtaining and coordinating the proper approvals, and partnering with other departments or outside partners as needed to build and execute comprehensive communication plans and strategies
  • Work with Communications teams to define and measure key performance metrics, analyze data, and develop recommendations based on findings to ensure continuous improvement
  • Demonstrate comfort and confidence with public speaking and presenting in front of senior level Leaders and external audiences
  • Maintain knowledge and expertise of emerging communication trends and offer strategic counsel to adapt our tactics accordingly and ability to respond to issues and crisis events with a sense of urgency and professionalism, demonstrating high ethical standards
  • Writes or oversees development of news releases, media advisories, talking points, fact sheets, blogs, and presentations, and provides strategic direction for their distribution; oversees development of multimedia assets such as photos, videos, podcasts, and other creative content that supports the Company’s public relations activities.
  • Plans and/or directs external press events that announce Southwest news and engender favorable perceptions among the public, media, and Stockholders regarding Company accomplishments, results, responses, and strategies.
  • Responds to daily media inquiries in real-time as a Southwest Spokesperson and monitors media sentiment to inform responses and potential shift in approach. Responsible for weekly 24/7 media response on-call shifts multiple times throughout the year, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • Activates during any emergency declared via the HECC, Go Team, or Communications Department and will actively develop, issue, and monitor crisis responses on behalf of Southwest.
  • May perform other job duties as directed by Employee’s Leaders
  • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  • Superior oral and written communication skills, including production of Executive-level presentations and communication materials
  • Superior knowledge of communication strategies, tactics, and tools and an understanding of how to effectively execute on them
  • Comfort and confidence with public speaking and presenting in front of senior level Leaders
  • Expert knowledge of the traditional and social media landscape with a proven track record of creating effective communication tactics and dissemination techniques and methods, including alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media
  • Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, leadership, production methods, and coordination of people and resources
  • Skilled in using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
  • Ability to anticipate issues and potential hazards and proactively develop communication to position Southwest Airlines in the best light possible
  • Ability to negotiate as both a strategic advisor and direct negotiator for a broad variety of communication issues
  • Education
  • Required: High School Diploma or GED
  • Experience
  • Expert-level experience, expansive and far-reaching knowledge in: Public Relations, Executive Communication Communications strategy, message dissemination, and measurement analysis
  • Experience identifying and managing communication during a crisis
  • Leading cross-functional projects
  • Media Communication
  • Leading cross-functional projects
  • Licensing/Certification
  • N/A
  • Physical Abilities
  • Ability to perform work duties from limited space workstation/desk/office area for extended periods of time
  • Ability to communicate and interact with others in the English language to meet the demands of the job
  • Ability to use a computer and other office productivity tools with sufficient speed and accuracy to meet the demands of the job
  • Other Qualifications
  • Must maintain a well-groomed appearance per Company appearance standards as described in established guidelines
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or have authorization to work in the United States as defined by the Immigration Reform Act of 1986
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be able to comply with Company attendance standards as described in established guidelines
  • Must be willing to travel for work as needed
  • Must be willing to work outside of 8-5 hours as needed depending on the needs of the business

*401(k) match contributions are subject to the plan’s vesting schedule and applicable IRS limits

**ProfitSharing contributions are subject to plan’s vesting

Southwest Airlines is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Please print/save this job description because it won’t be available after you apply.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the jokes to start all over the internet:

  • “I hear Hell is looking for a PR director too. Probably an easier job” — anonymous
  • “Couldn’t pay me enough, not even in free flights.”
  • “No pressure…” — Jayne A.
  • Article: Southwest Air Dangles PR Dream Job: “Are you looking for a challenge? Southwest Airlines, the Grinch who stole Christmas for tens of thousands of Americans, is scouting for a PR advisor.
    The airline that canceled 15,000 flights around Christmas due to winter storms and an outdated crew-scheduling system wants a PR person who will develop messaging that is inspirational and entertaining, according to Southwest’s post on LinkedIn.” — O’Dwyer’s PR
  • “I wouldn’t touch that job with a 10-foot pole” — Michael S.
  • “If anyone is looking to spice up their New Year, Southwest is looking for a Public Relations Advisor”– Katie M.
  • “Maybe the Wendy’s Twitter person could spin it around?” — Cassie H.
  • “What kind of thrillseeker do you have to be to apply for this?”– anonymous
  • “I would advise them for $25,000 per hour but that is my best and final!” — anonymous
  • “Three jobs I don’t want:
    1. Piano mover. I recently helped move a baby grand.
    2. Chief of the snow-removal department in Buffalo, New York
    3. Public Relations director for Southwest Airlines” — Harold A.
Of course, after any sort of catastrophe, be it natural or, as in this case, man-made, the crisis eventually ends and you have to start picking up the pieces. Some travelers are, understandably, not yet willing to move on. But Southwest? They’re obviously deep into recovery mode.
From what I can see from various online forums, the airline is actively working to make good on its promises. I’ve seen peoples’ stories about refunds for canceled flights (even for their “Early Bird” payments) and reimbursement for alternate plans (i.e. flying home on other airlines on last-minute fares, car rental and/or Amtrak fees, having to buy new clothes due to no luggage, meals purchased, etc.) after they’ve filled out the forms to make the requests. Some passengers are starting to say they’re receiving their misplaced luggage (granted, often with no notice it was coming, but at least it arrived). 25,000 miles are being offered to virtually everyone who was caught up in the debacle, etc.
It’s not everyone yet, and some people are reporting hitting snags in the road. But the airline has tens of thousands of peoples’ needs that they need to address. That isn’t going to happen overnight.
So Southwest’s looking for a new PR director. Despite all the jokes, yeah, they need one. And someone to do better damage control in the future. But they’re obviously looking in a forward direction, and probably rightfully so.

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