December 9, 2015

From the Horse’s Mouth: Pro Tips for PR Job Seekers

job seeker

Pic: Dustin Lee

In my role, I look after the team we have and also recruit new talent to the agency.  After too many years I care to mention in this business, I have seen all sorts!

When I joined here, I realised I had a tough time on my hands. I was joining a really solid, welcoming team who like each other, help each other and are genuinely phenomenal at their jobs to help earn TOH PR the reputation it has.

Sounds amazing right? Absolutely!

Then it comes to recruiting the right people, with the right attitude and skills to join this team and maintain the culture and standards.

Therein lies the challenge… So here are a few tips.

Be clear in your personal statement about what role you are looking for next and the environment in which you work. Believe me, everyone is hard working, passionate and looking for growth so you need to explain what YOU need and who YOU are. The covering email rarely stays with the CV so make sure everything you want a future employer to know about you is on the CV itself.

I skim read the skills listed under each role. You are an AE, AM, AD – great, you have done everything on the task-based job description and so has everyone else. It will soon become clear if you haven’t when we speak. Demonstrate what you have achieved, campaigns you are most proud of and media/influencers you know. Quantify your successes through the number of media you secured for an event, creative ideas you had to secure an amazing piece of coverage or the value of new business you have personally brought to the company. This is far more interesting and gives a better sense of who you are plus it makes for a more interesting discussion!

Think about what you wear and how you look. Your appearance should be appropriate for the industry sector you are planning to work in whether it’s F&B, fashion or corporate. Interviewers are putting themselves in their clients’ shoes and assessing whether they will be happy for you to represent their brand to the wider world.

The best PR professionals are calm, collected and problem solvers. This does not mean that it’s impossible to display passion, enthusiasm and interest. We spend a lot of time at work and as a team we feed off each others’ ideas and energy. I need to see that you care about PR, your clients and your opinions otherwise who else will? The best interviews are discussions not a rote Q&A – where do you see the industry going, what is important for good client management, what is the latest on the movers and shakers in the media/influencer world?

And finally, at the end of the interview it’s important to ask questions. Sounds simple right? You would be amazed the number of people I meet who ask nothing or ask one question. Don’t let an interview feel like an awkward date. This process is as much about you working out if you can spend time here as much as us understanding whether you will fit. Think about it from the interviewer’s perspective, just one or two questions project a sense of desperation or complete indifference. Would you hire that?

To all those job seekers out there, perhaps this will make you look again at your CV or prep in a different way for an interview. Or maybe you think you are already doing it all! Don the mantle of the interviewer for a second and look at yourself through fresh eyes – do you stand out from the crowd?

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