What You Need to Know for Writing a Public Relations Resume
Public Relations professionals are hard-core communicators that help control the negative press a company picks up in the public eye. A huge part of the job also involves planning, coordinating, and hosting public and/or professional events aimed at garnering a positive image for a company. You need to sell yourself with your public relations resume, and make it clear you know how to sell the company image to strangers. A good public relations resume will sell YOUR image to the company you’re applying to.
In most cases, your job will involve working closely with upper executive management and the advertising/marketing departments of the company you work for. For this reason, being able to show you have experience in many different areas of a corporation is vital to getting a great job. Education is just as important in most corporate environments as your level of work experience – so entry requirements for public relations can be very strict and vary widely from one company to the next.
First, you have to consider the size of the company that you are applying to:
Small companies present the best opportunity for you to build your list of PR skills and accomplishments, but they are also the most time-consuming organizations to work for. A typical public relations manager in a small company can expect to work 24/7 – meaning you’re always on call for any situation that may pop up relating to the company’s reputation. These types of positions are reserved for people that have experience in the field, or in running their own business. Hiring staff in these businesses will be more careful in scrutinizing the public relations resume you give them and will expect more well-rounded skills.
Larger companies are slightly easier to gain entry-level PR assistant positions, whereas they typically look for the best of the best in their PR management positions – or promote them from within the company. Entry level positions are reserved for graduates who have degrees in: public relations, business administration, marketing, journalism, or communications: Public Relations Managers are expected to come from other executive roles in marketing, administration, or business planning – or are promoted from PR Assistant positions.
Overview of Responsibilities
It should be obvious that you won’t find a “one size fits all” format for your public relations resume. You need to match your qualifications for the position you’re applying for (assistant, executive, etc.) and also tailor your
CV to the size of the company you’re applying to and the job description provided in job postings (or on the company website.)
A Public Relations Assistant will normally assume the role of proofing press releases, preparing inter-office memos, posting in social media/blogs, and other company image-related material. This is a position where listening skills, along with the ability to follow through and meet deadlines will be highly scrutinized. If you’re looking to gain entry into this field, then your public relations resume should reflect skills like: document preparation, knowledge of Internet-based social media, press kits, customer service, etc.
Public Relations Managers need to have experience working as an assistant, owning their own successful business, or a high level of experience working in varied executive positions. If you’re considered for this type of position, you will also need to specialize in the specific industry you’re applying to: health care, government, crisis management, etc. – and be willing to work every day if necessary, along with extensive travel requirements for most positions.
Entry-Level Public Relations Resume
The public relations resume that you write should be highly focused to the company you’re applying, but you don’t want to leave anything to chance. If you are just entering the field, place a list of job-related skills you have directly below either the summary statement of the resume, or beneath the education section – it all comes down to highlighting your strengths (skills, education) while taking attention from what you’re lacking (experience.) Emphasize how adept you are with computers, proofreading skills, clear communication abilities, etc.
PR Management Resume
If you’re applying for a management role; you should place most of the focus of your resume on work experience. Most companies will assume you’re applying because you have the necessary traits they’re looking for – so telling them about your specific work experience – and relating it in some way to the company you’re applying to, become super-important…
… Let’s say you’re coming from a customer-focused position in a small not-for-profit health care business, but are now applying for a reputation management position in a major corporation that needs you to coordinate relations with different sub-sectors of their business: Your skills from the health care job may have many overlapping responsibilities (transferable skills) such as: coordinating with staff, preparation of press-release material, research, data analysis, etc.
A public relations resume should include the following sections: Personal Information, Public Relations Job Summary, PR Experience, Education, and Qualifications/Skills. You can include more, or less depending on your level of experience, or education – just make sure you read the job description for the position and focus the resume to the position you’re applying to. Look at some public relations resume templates if you’re unsure of what you want to include.