Public Relations Tactics

Résumé Ready

April 1, 2015

Last September, we started recruiting for an editorial assistant, who would be responsible for working on the print and online editions of Tactics and The Strategist, as well as the daily Issues & Trends e-newsletter.

The job opening, which we posted on Mediabistro and the PRSA Jobcenter, yielded nearly 120 résumés. There were job seekers with 20-plus years of experience applying for an entry-level position, and there were people who didn’t even seem to read the ad, expressing a desire to work in digital marketing or graphic design.

I took some notes about the résumés, thinking that some observations would be helpful for this career development issue.

Overall, there wasn’t any consensus on layout and design. Some résumés led with professional experience, while others opted for education, an objective or a qualifications/skills summary. “Detail-oriented” and “highly motivated” were preferred descriptors.

Few candidates offered a list of key accomplishments. (Even recent graduates or new professionals should be able to highlight results from an internship or first job.)

And several applicants, including those fresh out of school, opted for two-page résumés, a curious decision given their limited work background.

As for experience, deciding what to include is a challenge. The relevant work is essential, as are related activities and employment that shows a person’s well-rounded background.

For best practices, I turned to Korn Ferry, the world’s largest executive search firm, who shared these core components of any résumé with the PRSA Jobcenter:

• Executive summary: This section should be approximately 50 words that provide a snapshot of your specialty area and technical skills, as well as hard-to-find competencies and niche expertise.

• Experience: List your employers, positions held, primary responsibilities and promotions in reverse chronological order.

• Key accomplishments: This is the heart of the résumé and focuses on specific, even quantifiable, results that you have achieved. Organize your accomplishments in categories relating to your job function, such as “Business Development,” “Project and Team Management” or “Media Relations.” ?

• Education: List the highest degree that you have attained first, with the area of study, institution, year of graduation, and any honors you received or special academic programs you pursued. ?

Visit the PRSA Jobcenter at www.prsa.org/jobcenter for more helpful tips.

As for our own search, Renée Ruggeri, a spring 2014 graduate of the University of Richmond, joined us last October.

Her impressive experience included working as a reporter for The Collegian, a staff writer for The Capital News Service, where she filed stories from Virginia General Assembly, and a student manager at a campus coffee shop. Originally from Warwick, N.Y., she holds bachelor’s degrees in English and journalism and also received a certificate in publishing from New York University.

We’re thrilled with her work to date, especially on Page 12 of this issue, where she interviews executive recruiters on the job outlook for PR professionals.

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the publications director of PRSA and the editor in chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.

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