Take Your PR Resume from Lame to Game

by PR Coach on April 27, 2011

PR resume tips

Your PR resume must stand out

Can we talk?  PR interns and PR pros are not getting interviews because of weak resumes and terrible cover letters. Today, we’ll talk about how to make your PR resume shine.

You mean I still need a resume? Yes Virginia. I can’t just send my LinkedIn url? No Vlad, although you will stand out if you have the social media tools covered too.

Traditional resumes are often a requirement and they’re still the best way to showcase your writing and PR experience with panache.

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Here are 11 ways to make your PR resume and cover letter go from lame to game:

  1. Follow instructions: Employers have reasons for asking applicants to submit in a certain way.
  2. Customize: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a resume or cover letter with “personalized” information included that was copied and used in a previous application. Guess what? Tossed immediately for lack of attention to detail and laziness. Same goes for form letters and obvious resume templates.
  3. Write well; read well: This is public relations people. You’re expected to know how to write better than 90% of the population. That includes excellent grammar and no spelling mistakes or typos. Oh, and you do read, don’t you? Because I’m going to ask what you’re reading and watching.
  4. Proofread: Edit and re-edit. Eliminate jargon and corporate-speak. Use the active, not passive voice and proofread resumes and cover letters carefully.
  5. Show you know the business:  Use the language of public relations. Employers are looking for smart PR professionals. Your words, your tone and your style of writing will be carefully assessed.
  6. Presentation matters: Match your presentation to the organization. Stunts and silly packaging don’t often work. Be creative, but most of all, be professional.
  7. Keywords count: If you’re applying to a PR agency for example, include hot button words: “agency experience”, “clients” (name several), “billable hours”, “project management”, “client profitability” and “team leader”. Use appropriate keywords for other opportunities.
  8. Highlight achievements: Results mean more than job duties. Get specific. Name key clients or projects where you delivered specific results. Quantify your results with meaningful PR measurements such as return on investment, percentage increase in sales, the increase in traffic to your website or the reduction in the number of customer complaints.
  9. Prove your media savvy: One of my biggest complaints is PR people claiming to be pitchmeisters when they don’t read major newspapers, listen to national radio programs or watch TV news and feature programming. How can you pitch local or regional news if you don’t read or watch them? And you’d better also know your way around online media too. The Beast, The Daily, Mashable and Huffpo who?
  10. Demonstrate your traditional PR knowledge: The fundamentals count. You still need to know what a news release looks like. You will need to be an expert media pitcher. Speechwriting, community relations and internal communications are in demand.
  11. Show your social media moxie: Link to your online portfolio. Share examples of your social media expertise such as blog post, tweets, FB posts and more. But make sure all your online links and “profiles” look outstanding and professional. Nothing says lame like sloppy writing, way-too-personal photos or Facebook info that’s not ready for prime time. You are PR job hunting aren’t you?

PR Job Hunter’s Guide video

Here’s a quick 60-sec video that highlights PR job opportunities and provides tips and a PR job hunter’s guide for success.

If you’re looking for more PR job resources our PR Library is always open. Try the Public Relations Job Tips & Resources and Best Places to Find PR Jobs sections.  But please, no chewing gum or talking in the library or you may get into trouble with the librarian. The PR Coach Job Board is also active with new PR job and PR intern openings 24 hours a day.

Photo Credit: Sana Syed via Flickr

Author:  Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

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