3 Tips for Entry-Level PR Job Candidates

3 Tips for Entry-Level PR Job Candidates
Mike Nowlin
November 13, 2014
Newspaper, electronic devices and glasses

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently distributed a Wall Street Journal story that reports the number of entry-level jobs in public relations are expected to grow over the next decade.

This good news comes even as the Journal reports some companies, in the wake of the recession, have cut entry-level jobs that once provided young adults a foothold in the labor market.

PRSA, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, notes the demand for bottom-rung professional positions will likely remain stagnant or even decline in the coming decade. However, new opportunities have emerged as a result of this transition – and PRSA says it bodes well for those looking to launch careers in public relations. PRSA reports, for example, there are more than 18,000 open positions for social-media managers, which is a job that didn’t exist five years ago.

As Güd Marketing’s senior public relations manager, I routinely meet with and review the resumes at college job fairs of dozens of students who are seeking entry-level PR jobs, particularly because our office is located near the campus of Michigan State University.

During these visits, I am always bombarded with questions about what our company desires in aspiring job applicants. Here are three tips I offer as advice:

  • Don’t just tell me what you did – tell me about the outcomes you accomplished. Our clients demand results, and metrics are integral to demonstrating our effectiveness as PR and marketing experts. Many of the students I meet can detail the campaigns they worked on or the duties they fulfilled as interns. But that’s not enough. I suggest they can better develop their “brand” by telling me about the results their efforts achieved: How many people did you spur to sign up and volunteer at an event, for example? How much of an increase in website traffic did you generate? Highlighting the success you delivered on behalf of your client isn’t bragging. It’s smart PR.
  • Prove you can talk the talk. I know the popularity of social media is exploding. Too often, though, those seeking entry-level PR gigs forget that interpersonal communication skills are a valuable asset on a par with writing quality Tweets or Facebook posts. Having relationships and being adept at talking with the news media, legislators and their staffs, policymakers, vendors and consultants – and being willing to pick up a phone and follow up with one-on-one conversations – is as equally important as your ability to write clean copy or produce clever headlines.
  • Be persistent.  It’s not enough to send your resume to potential employers and meet with them at job fairs. We always stress to aspiring applicants that’s just the first step in a marathon that demands “stick-to-it-iveness.” Keep telling us about your latest accomplishments. Update us on a new conference you attended. Show your creativity by embracing tactics that extend dialogs. 
    I wholeheartedly agree with PRSA’s Kyra Auffermann’s observation that in an era of reduced training budgets, “companies want workers to arrive job-ready, with both soft and hard skills.” Do you think you have what it takes to launch your PR career at Güd Marketing? Contact me at your convenience and let’s talk!