How to Stand Out in the Sea of PR Pros

PRSA THE EDGE OCTOBERThere’s great news! The economy is looking up for today’s job seekers, but that doesn’t mean companies are just hiring anybody. In today’s job market, tenacity and creativity go a long way.

Employer’s want to know you were productive between the time you graduated and the time you applied to your dream job with their company. They love to see that you are committed to your career and gaining valuable experience independently. After tailoring your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, going on informational interviews, and actually applying with a compelling cover letter, we often complain that the job hunt is a job within itself. The hustle is real but is well worth it once you land a job you love.

Prepare yourself for job-hunting success by creating a job hunt strategy. This goes beyond updating your online presence and applying to jobs but actually making strategic moves to land the job you want. Think organization. Create a list of companies you want to work at vs. companies you would love to work at. Use this list to prioritize time spent on cover letters and networking. Create a google doc and track the applications you send and the responses you receive. Keep in mind the date you applied and the date you followed up. Did you land an interview or was their no response at all? Log it!

Public Relations is a career that requires constant learning. While you are searching for full time positions, strategically introducing yourself by reaching out to companies you the companies on your “love” list. Share the relevant skills and accomplishments that would add value to their company and why you are interested in working with them. Show your passion by volunteering to assist in a project part time or on a paid contract basis. This is the perfect time to prove that you are an asset to the team.

Set yourself apart from other job seekers by taking on alternative positions that are related to the industry. A great way to gain experience is to serve as a Brand Ambassador at local events. Some of the top brands are represented at local festivals and doing a great job marketing their product is attractive to employers. Have you ever thought about asking your local coffee shop if they need some help with their social media? I mean you’re always there anyway applying to jobs, right? The least they can offer in return is a free cup of joe. Create a Social Media Strategy Proposal for them and if they like it, ask them to pay for you to implement it. If not, you have a social media strategy to add to your portfolio.

What are you doing to stand out from the crowded job market?

i-zthGPGn-XLJasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-NCC, focuses on building community through dynamic events and engaging online marketing as a freelance integrated communications professional in Washington, DC. Keep up with her on Twitter at @LoveJasPR or visit 

How to Manage Your Next Job Interview Process

Untitled design (3)Many people assume that job interviews would be “no big deal” to a PR professional. After all, don’t we get paid to interview and be interviewed for stories? Here’s the catch–most interviews aren’t job interviews. Job interviews are intimidating. They are a necessary evil that many people fear, yet we all encounter.

If you’re getting nervous just thinking about job interviews, don’t worry. There’s several tips that can help you manage the interview process and put some that PR training to work!

Before the Interview

The interview process begins long before you put on your best outfit. It begins with the job application. How you present yourself in your resume and cover letter impacts whether or not you’re even offered an interview.

To be successful you must customize your cover letter and resume for every job application.  Job coaches suggest creating a “master” resume that includes everything in your repertoire so when you apply for a job you can select only the information that best reflects your qualifications. From this list you can also choose a few examples to highlight in your cover letter.  

This is where your PR training comes into play. You have spent several years learning how to write persuasively. Take that training and infuse it into your cover letter. Target your writing and convince them that you are the right person for the job.

During the Interview

Believe it or not job interviews aren’t about you, your abilities, or your education. They are about how you can fill a need in their company. More importantly, job interviews are about connecting with people. Hiring is expensive.  That’s why companies are concerned with hiring the right person and not just anyone that can do the job.

Yes, you need to be prepared with your resume, portfolio, and lots of great questions that show your interest, but none of that matters if you can’t connect with the people who are interviewing you. Be genuine and leave a lasting impression with everyone you meet—from the secretary to the CEO. You never know who may influence the hiring decision.

Don’t be surprised if companies have researched you on the internet. They recognize that cover letters and resumes are “sterile” representations of your personality. They want to know what you be like on Monday morning after your car broke down and you walked to work in the rain. No, seriously, they want to know who you really are and if you are a good fit for their culture and their current team.

After the Interview

After your interview follow up with a thank you note and include any additional information from your interview. While emails are appropriate, you may find that a handwritten note will leave more of an impression. Electronic communication is easier, but don’t let that stop you from picking up the phone or writing a note.

Be mindful and patient as you wait for their decision. Remember, it’s all about people, so use any follow up conversation to build on the relationships that you began in your interview. At the end of the day, whether you get the job or not, it all comes down to people. They are life’s common denominator no matter what situation you are in or profession you may pursue

As PR professionals we are trained to relate with people. Take that training into your next job interview. You may be surprised to see what happens!

RuthannCampbell (1)Ruthann Campbell graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. She is currently the Communications Specialist for a non-profit organization located in Rochester, NY. You can connect with her directly to network or share ideas on LinkedIn or Twitter.