How storytelling skills bolster your industry cred

What are the ways you can distinguish yourself as a communicator and PR professional to get promotions and leadership roles? Carrie Jones of JPA Health points to the basics.

When you are looking for your next PR role, it’s important to know how to frame your experience in a way that impresses the right audience: industry leaders.

These savvy veterans have been through many sea changes and are looking for passionate and self-motivated candidates who can tackle the challenges organizations will face in the coming years. In an industry that changes as much as PR, making the right hire is crucial.

We sat down with Carrie Jones, principal with JPA Health in Washington, D.C., to get her insights on how to impress as a PR candidate.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. What is the biggest mistake you’ve seen from an applicant?

Applicants who have typos on their résumé are quickly removed from the pool of candidates. Perhaps the most surprising—and I would say major— misstep was when an applicant’s mother called me to ask why her child hadn’t been asked to interview with us.

2. What impressed you the most from an applicant?

 Storytelling is at the heart of good public relations. I like to see interviewees add context and relevance to their response. When I sit down to interview a candidate and they can use stories to share their experiences, reveal their personality and capture my attention, I know they’ll be effective in their role at the firm.

 3. What’s an essential skill that a PR pro must have to advance in the industry?

Because PR is both an art and a science, just one skill won’t cut it. I’m looking for the ability to have deep expertise in one category along with the ability to collaborate with others. The real magic happens when people work together, blending their strengths and perspectives.

4. What’s the most important part of the interview process for your organization?

Everyone at JPA must take (and pass) a writing test. It helps assess a candidate’s ability to produce content under time pressures.

5. How can a PR pro stand out on LinkedIn?

Become an ambassador for your organization and its work. It’s not about sharing everything that your company posts on LinkedIn; however, I love it when I see people share posts that reflect their passion and purpose.

6. What on a CV demonstrates that a PR pro has proven results?

One indicator is length of time. When I see that someone has stayed with a client, team or organization for an extended period of time, I’m inclined to think that it’s because they were effective in their role.

7. Where do you look when you conduct a talent search? Do you use recruiters?

We believe in casting a wide net to find talent. All PR shouldn’t look and feel the same. The best way to ensure that we’re diverse in securing talent is to draw from different resources.

 JOB SPOTLIGHT: VP of Communications, Allegheny County Airport Authority—Pittsburgh, PA

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