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Top tips to get a job in PR

31 May 2009 5 Comments
giant stack of resumes
Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

‘Tis the season when all those bright young grads return from university looking to get on the first rung of the career ladder.  Based on some of the interviews I’ve been involved in lately, here’s some tips for young professionals who want to make a good first impression.

1. Don’t let your parents contact your prospective employer. That means not before the interview; not after the interview.  Never.  When your mummy or daddy rings to give the employer insight into your character or to make sure  we fully understand exactly how clever or accomplished you are, it doesn’t reflect well.

2.  When asked, “Why do you want to work in PR?”, never reply that you are ‘good with people’.  I get a sinking feeling when I hear this reply.  For me it’s often the end of any real interest in a candidate.  Instead, do some research into what is actually required for the job and focus on how your skills and talents fit.

3. Bring a hard copy of your CV to the interview, even if you’ve already emailed to the interviewer. You’ll look prepared and business like. Even better, bring in samples of your writing and other accolades you’d like to highlight in the discussion.

4.  When asked what newspapers you like, don’t reply, ‘I don’t read newspapers’ or  ‘Dunno, The Sun, I guess,  because  when I visit my Gran she  has it for the crossword’.  This is a complete turn-off.  Show some interest in the industry in which you are seeking employment.

5. When asked, did you check out our website?, don’t reply, ‘I meant to, but didn’t have a chance yet’, or ‘Ya, I had a quick look to find your address this morning’. Failing to do even the most basic research tells the interviewer a lot about you, and it doesn’t reflect well.

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  • Leo Bottary said:

    Parents calling? Have you ever really had that happen? I’ll have to admit, that blew my hair back. Great advice overall! I’ve often reminded students that there are many people who are qualified to do the work of the entry level position being filled; the person who gets the job most often does so based largely on who they are – work ethic, curiosity, trustworthiness, etc.

    You may also want to remind them to clean up their acts on Facebook and other social media sites as well. They have to be as mindful of their “brand” as their prospective employers.

  • sherrilynne (author) said:

    Leo I’ve had parents call on a number of occasions. It’s called ‘helicopter parent syndrome’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent. Had one man ring to explain to me that his daughter is a sensitive girl. Had a woman ring me to restate her son’s credentials because he wasn’t offered an interview.

  • primii pasi spre un job in PR « Blogul de Relatii Publice said:

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  • GIni Dietrich said:

    OMG! The parents calling! YES!!! I once had a parent call to negotiate a starting salary. I almost fell out of my chair! I also have a hard time when they say, “You know, I need to discuss this with my parents to be sure it’s the right thing for me.” Sure you might need to discuss it with your parents (or your spouse or your friends), but I don’t need to know that!

    The sinking feeling you get when “I’m good with people” is the answer is the same I get. It’s sad that answer is so rampant. What a shame!

    Yes, yes, yes. ALL of this! YES!

  • Kathy Knorr said:

    What a surprise to find PR has the same issues of applicants remaining self absorbed, even to the point of bothering to read up on an agency they are applying to! Yet, most could tell you what is trending on twitter right now!

    Your article is appears to be focused on fresh out of school applicants. I hope they take your advice to heart. And the Facebook and other online presence to be a good reflection of the person they want to be known as.

    Also, anyone who gets to the interview stage in this economy is probably lots more hungry these days — will be more prepared and have more to say about the value they bring to the team.

    Let’s hope so — and if not, may I suggest you interview me!

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