On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to Skype with public relations powerhouse and PRSSA mentor Ron Culp as part of my public relations management class. (Sidenote: this was the highlight of my week! If you aren’t already connected to Ron, check out his blog “Culpwrit” for young professionals and follow him on Twitter @Culpwrit.) This former Ketchum executive shared a lot of valuable advice for aspiring PR pros, from resumes to job searches.
- A resume is not a reiteration of the job description. It’s about outcomes and results.
- Constantly quantify your achievements. Use numbers and statistics wherever possible.
- Considering getting creative with your resume? Remember that the more difficult you make it to read, the less likely it is to be read. Creative presentation can’t substitute experience.
- No internships? Look for volunteer opportunities related to public relations. Seek out local nonprofits and volunteer to help coordinate their events or do media outreach for them.
Beginning your job search
- The best way to find a job is through networking. Today, about 80 percent of jobs are landed through networking, not job boards.
- Big agencies are selective because you’re billable the moment you walk through the door. You need to have problem-solving and critical thinking skills so that you’re able to get to work right away.
- You won’t know or catch everything. Have the ability to ask questions and admit when you miss something.
- In today’s job market, the majority of the entry-level positions are in agency and nonprofit. Corporate and in-house jobs have been severely reduced in the past few years, so you may not want to concentrate your job search there.
- Foreign language skills are a big plus in today’s global world! Be sure to include if you speak another language on your resume.
- Writing! Of course, writing is extremely important, especially business-style writing. In the real world, you have two pages (at most), not twenty pages, so learn to be concise.
- Understand social media. Today’s businesses and organizations expect you to understand social media platforms. Be visible on the most popular networks and pay attention to what’s going on.
- Have an online presence. In addition to being on social media networks, start your own blog or online portfolio. Be easy to find when a potential employer “Googles” you.
- Have business sense. Even in this creative industry, you need to understand basic business practices and principles. If you have a few extra credits, take a business course.
Finally, be passionate! If you love PR and are excited about the field, that will become evident in an interview.
Did you learn anything new from Ron Culp’s advice?