We’re in the middle of the great reshuffle and those in the PR industry are rethinking what they want out of their careers. While there’s no doubt it’s a candidates market right now, with plenty of opportunities to negotiate, how do you stand out and position yourself as the perfect fit for your dream role?
We’re sharing our tips, and insights from those who are looking at PR resumes on the daily to find out how to stand out from the crowd.
Start with the Basics
It’s resume 101, and it is even more applicable when you’re looking for a role in communications. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, make it personal, and craft a cover letter that shows some personality. Don’t forget to address all the questions you’re asked as well – hiring managers want to know you have attention to detail and are tailoring your application to their role rather than mass sending out resumes to every comms job on Seek.
Jake Halpin of GLOSS Communications, who is currently hiring for a PR executive and reading a whole lot of resumes, said, “Show that you have researched and understood the role you’re applying for. A ‘copy and paste’ Cover Letter and CV is very easy to tell when you’re reviewing hundreds of applications. Those applications that go the extra step of demonstrating why they have applied for that particular position or with that company are far more likely to make it to the next stage than those that simply ‘copy and paste’.”
Demonstrate real results
Hiring managers want to know what you’ve achieved, and they want you to be specific. Owens says, “Tell me what you achieved – specific campaigns or responsibility, and stats are even better.” Those who are recruiting you want to know you can deliver results, that you know how to measure them, and that you can replicate them.
This sentiment is also echoed by Audrey Jaggs, Brand and Communications Strategy Manager at Spell. She says, “When it comes to writing a PR resume I am always most impressed by real world examples of previous projects a candidate has worked on with quantifiable results. It is one thing to say the right things but quite another to show you have successfully achieved those results in the past and could do it again!”
Stand Out from the Crowd with OOO Interests
You’re more than just the 9-5, and potential employers want to know you’ve got interests outside of the office. This is particularly so in PR, where having a diverse range of interests can make it easier for you to build relationships or bring unique perspectives to client work. Halpin says, “In your cover letter, be sure to introduce yourself in a way that separates you from other applicants. What are your interests outside of work? Do you have any passions or hobbies that give you a more well-rounded perspective in addition to your professional experience? Working in PR is very contingent upon relationships and the ability to build rapport with people – so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward from the beginning to show your personality.”
Design matters – but make sure it’s readable.
There’s no excuse for having a basic b*tch resume these days. Sign up for a free Canva account and add some flair to one of the most important documents you will create – but above all, make sure it’s readable. You don’t have to go over the top, just show that you appreciate good design in an industry where style is important. According to Kelly Owens of Sling & Stone, “That super slick format you sometimes see on resumes can be confusing to look at. When you’re reviewing hundreds of applications, being easy on the eye makes you stand out.”
Key into Keywords
Look at the words used in the job posting, or do some research for the types of tasks you’re likely to be doing. Use those keywords in your resume and cover letter. Not only does this subtly reiterate that you’ve actually tailored your application, it also helps if recruiters or hiring managers are scanning through a lot of resumes. If the company is using AI or similar tools to filter out resumes, using keywords is also a way to make sure you get through to the interview round, where you can really shine.
Talk Yourself Up!
You’re applying for a job, so now’s your time to shine! Why are you the best and only choice for this role? Use supporting material wherever you can, share testimonials and links to work you’ve undertaken (nothing confidential, of course!). Halpin says, “Don’t be afraid to hero your successes and strengths. Remember – you are applying for a job. This is a time to stand out, to make yourself known and show someone from the very first impression why they should want to hire you.”
Tap into Your Network
You’re in PR, which means building relationships is your game. Don’t just apply through traditional channels or when you see a job posting shared. Get your resume in order and reach out to the types of organisations you really want to work for, and share why you think you’d be the perfect fit for their team. You can also think differently about your current working relationships. In our recent interview with Spell’s PR Lead, Audrey Jaggs, she discusses how she pitched to her then-boss at AWPR that she move inhouse to Spell’s PR team, who were a current client of the agency. Watch the full interview here.