Are you about to graduate from college and looking to land your first PR job?
Here are a few tips from an experienced hiring manager that will help you prepare yourself and stand out from everyone else.
1. Before the interview, read the publications, websites, and blogs important to the industry the company serves.
We like to read Cosmo
too, but in PR it is imperative to have your finger on the pulse of the industry, especially one like technology.
Though we don’t expect you to know everything going on in the world today, it’s impressive when candidates demonstrate that they understand our industry focus and let us know they’re following Wired on Twitter and love the new Samsung Galaxy 5 phone that is coming out.
It shows that you’re interested in this industry and engaged with current news media and that you enjoy having tech in your daily life.
2. Look the part.
When you come in for an interview, be at the top of your game. Brush your hair, dress the part, and please don’t make us wonder whether you just rolled out of bed.
3. Work your assets and skills.
Does your resume resemble an exhaustive list of every wait staff, camp counselor, and social organization position you’ve held? That’s all great and shows you’ve built certain skills, how do they relate to a job in PR?
Think about what you learned at each job and relate it to the tasks you’ll be required to perform. Maybe while waitressing at the local pub you learned all there is to know about 100 local microbrews to help customers pick the best brew to accompany their meal.
Tell that story about gaining knowledge in craft beer. It sets you apart and shows a hiring manager that you can learn, synthesize, and tell a story about a specific product, and then help people come to a decision.
4. Ditch irrelevant information.
Everyone at my agency, Garfield, held a bunch of different jobs before getting to the first Big One, but including every gig you’ve had can be overkill. Going all the way back to the days you mowed grass for your neighbors can probably be left off your resume.
We would rather see a tight list of jobs that you’ve related to the position you’re applying for than an exhaustive list of positions with no relation to the job at hand.
5. Abandon the boring. Make your cover letters unique and compelling.
Typically the least favorite part of any job application process, the cover letter is your opportunity to state your case and show your professional personality.
Don’t state the obvious: “I’m interested in xyz position and think my skills fit the job description and would be an asset to the company.” This is a given; you are applying for the job.
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Be friendly and unique; cut to the chase and set yourself apart. Don’t copy, paste, and send the same letter you’ve sent to everyone else. Sell us on why you’re the best
candidate for the job.
Cassandra Grob is a senior account executive at Garfield Group. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency's blog.