Thursday, May 03, 2007

So you want to work in PR...

Every week I get resumes from students or young people who want to work in PR.

First off, let me thank you. As they used to say in showbiz, keep those cards and letters coming. For an agency owner, it’s good to know you’re out there.

But what can you do to make me take notice? Make me think you’re a person I want to recommend or hire?

Here are some things I look for:

Find out about my agency and me then come up with a creative way to show me what makes you unique and why we need you (without showing off).

Customize and carefully proofread your intro note and resume. I hate typos, form letters, long, boring paragraphs about your career objective. I know your objective: to work in PR.

Be a media junkie. Read the papers (all of them, even the tabloids). Watch TV, listen to radio, know the best websites, social media, blogs. Talk to me about reporters, who’s covering what. And when I ask you how you’d pull together a media list, don’t say you’d consult an online database. Instead, demonstrate that you understand, respect and enjoy media by starting at the source.

Be yourself and tell me your story. Make me want to listen but please don’t ramble on. And never lie or misrepresent yourself. I recently met with someone who listed a PR certificate she hadn’t completed. So much for her credibility.

Put away your ego and follow up. Pursue me. Use your wits and imagination. Landing a job is a lot like pitching media. Grab my attention, get me what I need and please be mindful of my time because I’m probably in the middle of about 10 deadlines. It may take a while, but I am reachable and I do return calls.

Come prepared. If we do meet, bring an extra copy of your resume, your best work samples (that you actually wrote) and a little something extra. So what do I mean by that? Maybe you’re an expert in social media. Maybe you have a good reason to be skeptical of it. I’m looking for a fresh perspective, a spark of intellect. I want to learn something new.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. But this is a start.

Repman Steve Cody has more good suggestions here.

All the best with your search. It may feel like a long process but you just need one person to say yes. As for me, I don’t have a lot of jobs to offer, but I’m happy to take your call.

3 comments:

Miguel Albano said...

Hy there,

excellent post. Just wondering the following. Aren't we focusing too much on (P)ress. I mean, i wouldn't want an information junkie who knows the press, but more important, who knows the companies, their interconnected relationships, their employees, shareholders...the other (P)s.

I want someone who's able to pitch to a reporter and be able to be a spokerperson for a customer at an employee meeting, for instance.

What do you think about that ?

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks for your comment and perspective. Since my post is aimed at people starting out in agency PR, I strongly believe one of the first steps is a thorough knowledge of media (and I mean media in the broadest sense). As for being a company spokesperson, unless the client specifies this directly, I don't believe that's ever the agency's place.

Julie Meehan said...

As said young person I think that's great advice.

In this Workopolis era, the extent of people's job search effort seems to be limited to uploading their resume.

As for Miguel's comment,if you're not a media junkie than you probally don't want to pursue a career in public relations.

Pitching a story idea becomes a whole lot easier when you're familiar with a reporters work- because you took the time to read it.