How job seekers can prove their strategic prowess

Increasingly, hiring partners and team leaders are looking for candidates who can be a trusted advisor and business consigliere. However, it’s hard to show those intangibles on a CV.

If a company wants to hire a strategic mastermind, how do they go about finding one?

More important, if you have the chops to be a C-suite whisperer, how do you show that to a hiring manager or talent recruiter?

Jamie McLaughlin, talent expert with JWM Talent, offers a peek behind the curtains for what companies and agencies are thinking about when they go looking for communicators who have a deep understanding of business strategy.

The strategic advisor

Both PR pros and the businesses they work for want to expand the role of the communicator in the organization. That means PR pros must have the tools to be a strategic advisor to the leadership team.

McLaughlin says many organizations want to see whether PR pros “understand business, not just communications.”

He adds that this aligns with many communicators’ career goals. “A lot of PR people don’t want to be limited to just talking to the media and considering the impact of the media. It’s a much more holistic approach to things.”

How can a PR pro demonstrate those abilities in the job application process? McLaughlin advises that you put some thought into your interview prep.

“I suppose it is difficult to get across on a résumé to really get across how much you’ve been involved in the business,” he says. “It could be who you managed … on the agency side, it could be: How did you win the pitch, and what was the remit?”

He says it is important to “show you were actually involved in making business decisions, not just decisions around public relations.”

Tactical abilities

The perennial must-have for communicators is the ability to write. However, what about a PR pro’s facility with newer tactics such as online video creation?

“I think at the more junior level, content creation comes much more naturally,” McLaughlin says when asked about the need for PR pros to have video creation skills. “That’s not a given that a PR person will have that, but it’s certainly prevalent.”

He notes that video is a component of communications programs at Syracuse, NYU and Columbia. However, McLaughlin says, PR pros should think about more than just tactics.

“Yes, content is king, and everyone wants earned media,” he says. “If you can crack that, then you are away and you are going to be super-successful; however, communicators are also trusted advisors. Communicators are C-suite whisperers. Communicators are crisis communicators; they are the moral compass of an organization.”

So, video is an important element of any PR team or program—but it’s not the only thing.

“I think the video aspect is critical and you have to have it, whether it is in your communications team or in your agency,” McLaughlin says. “It’s revenue-generating for agencies, and it’s a real easy, quick win on the ROI for communications departments … but it’s not the only thing that communicators do.”

What are the tools and skills you are looking to add to your teams, PR Daily readers?

Here are two new social media positions from a member of Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council:

Pearson Education is looking for a senior social media content analyst that will be responsible for developing and managing organic social media content that is designed to engage users and create and interactive relationship between interested families and Connections Academy schools.  

Pearson Education is looking for a social media moderation analyst that will be responsible for supporting the cross-functional moderation strategy that enables Connections Academy to respond to followers in a focused, streamlined and collaborative manner by including experts from other departments.

COMMENT

One Response to “How job seekers can prove their strategic prowess”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    At first this may sound like pretty much the same thing but look closely and you see it isn’t: the job is to make clear not so much “here’s what makes me an excellent candidate” as “here’s what you get for the company if you add me.”

    Trump’s job is to say not so much that the impeachment is “an effort to overthrow me” but is “an effort to overthrow the will of more than 62 million Americas who voted that I should be president.”

    The key message when applying for a job is not so much “I have what it takes to be successful” but “. . .to add in a small but perhaps important way to the success of this organization. I yearn to be part of what this organization is accomplishing.”

    It would be too strong to say that the recruiter you meet doesn’t give a damn about the candidates. But over 99% of what the recruiter cares about is the organization so that’s what it makes sense to talk about.

    Everyone wants to be loved, even companies. So what if in truth there’s nothing about the company you love or even much admire? Then apply somewhere else where you may care more. If you don’t it probably won’t matter because the skilled recruiter is likely to find a candidate who does.

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