Thursday, February 17, 2011

Résumé Tips

As I've written about before, I meet with a lot of students either looking to learn more about the communications industry or they are young professionals seeking information on how to get to the next level in their career (the transition from AE to SAE for example). While I am not a recruitment expert, I can attest that this is the good advice that I have received (and followed) over the years that may help you stand out during your job search in the public relations/communications field.

Cover letters are for telling more about you. Résumés only provide a snapshot of who you are as a candidate. Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself and expand upon relevant skills and outcomes listed in your résumé. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to talk about why you are a fit for this current position and why you want the job. Be as specific as possible and keep the length to one page.

Highlight key information upfront. I cannot tell you how many résumés I’ve seen where contact information and other key pieces of information are buried or in font so small you need a magnifying glass to see it once it’s printed. Highlight key information upfront to include your contact information, education, digital skills, relevant awards, professional societies, online portfolio, etc. It makes it much easier for recruiters and those who will interview you to learn something about you ahead of your interview.

The difference between a more entry-level person's résumé and a mid-level/senior level person's résumé is that the latter talks about results. I have seen so many AEs with résumés that essentially list their qualifications in terms of tasks (e.g. "Conduct daily media monitoring and compile media report") without explaining the use or how it informs the client's larger strategy (e.g. "Conduct daily media monitoring and compile media report to share with larger team for campaign optimization and client's market awareness.") Same goes for "Pitch bloggers and print media for trade show events." How about: "Pitch bloggers and print media for major client technology trade show leading to 25 confirmed media interviews which resulted in a 35 percent increase in coverage of client than the previous year." See what I mean? It makes a big difference.

Have additional résumé tips? Would love to hear what has worked well for you.