By Kiersten Kaye (@klkaye)
I know it’s cliché, but if I had a dollar for every time someone told me “I hate recruiters” or “Looking for a job is SO hard,” I’d be a very rich woman. The fact of the matter is, most people find the hiring process to be frustrating because of a lack of reciprocation. First you apply to a job online and then you receive a generic email that says “Thank you for your interest in X company. We have received your resume. If your experience matches one of our open roles…” – and then it’s crickets.
So, what can you do to make your resume stand out and increase your odds of receiving the elusive call (or email) back?
Here are the top five ways to make your resume stand out when applying to a PR agency
#1 “I have agency experience”
Recruiters and hiring managers automatically scan your resume and look for PR agency names. Then they look to see what titles you held, how long you held each title and how quickly you may have risen through the ranks. This is your opportunity to self-promote! Capture your abilities and accomplishments as bullet items that start with strong action verbs.
#2 “I worked with clients X, Y and Z”
The next thing PR folks want to know is what kind of PR experience you have. Consumer? Tech? Lifestyle? So, make sure your resume showcases the clients and brands with which you have worked. And, *if* you are looking to jump categories then highlight some of your more transferable accomplishments (landed coverage, counseled in time of crisis) to demonstrate your “crossover-ability”.
#3 “I am a media maven”
Why do clients hire agencies? For media results! When we’re looking for Account Executives and Senior Account Executives we want to know things like: the outlets you know/have pitched, the creative angles you’re using and the results you’ve garnered for clients. One of the best ways to get a hiring manager’s attention is to send a portfolio including this kind of information (coverage clips!) along with your resume.
#4 “My resume is as polished as I am”
At the risk of a collective “eye roll,” here I am going to say it: Proofread your resume. PR folks do not tolerate silly mistakes, sloppiness, poor grammar/spelling or lack of attention to detail. Make your resume stand-out by sending along a proofed and polished document. For example: we are SHIFT. That’s right – all caps. 🙂
#5 “I am local and can start yesterday”
This comes directly from our hiring managers. We do get resumes from all over the world; the most attractive candidates are the ones who nailed number one through four here and also have number five. When prioritizing resumes, hiring managers will naturally move the local candidates to the top of their lists. At the risk of alienating those PR pros looking to relocate, if you are serious about a move, invest in carving out a 2-3 week period of time to meet with potential employers in your city of choice or be prepared to move before landing the dream job.
A final note: everyone asks me about cover letters and resumes. Here’s the naked truth: Don’t tell me what you COULD do in a cover letter when you can show me what you HAVE done on your resume! Resumes are typically looked at first – cover letters are more of a writing sample. As a side note: if your story is unusual (as many are after the tough economic times we have been through) then the cover letter is a great place to tell your story.
Kiersten Kaye is the director of human resources at SHIFT Communications – and she is hiring! If you think you fit some or all of the above criteria, and are looking for a position in the SF or NYC area, please click on your city for more information on available positions and instructions on how to apply.