PR agency owners and hiring managers get a healthy amount of résumés each month. I probably receive at least 20. Long ago, I promised myself (when I was the eager beaver sending out that résumé in hopes of a reply) that I would read each and every one that came across my desk and respond accordingly. In the many years of owning this firm, I’ve kept that promise. However, the time I spend on each résumé and my responses certainly vary – many times because of simple mistakes that could have been avoided.
Sometimes these errors are forgivable; sometimes not. When you misspell my name or my agency’s name, you’re probably not a very good PR person or you were being careless. In either case, why would I consider hiring you?
Our team put a list of PR résumé sins for consideration:
- Misspellings: Check your spelling, check your spelling and then check again. Our field is built upon accuracy. If you can’t get it right in a résumé, it goes in the trash.
- But aren’t we all? Please do not put “I want to do PR because I’m a people person.”
- More isn’t always better. A solid two-page résumé is better than a six-page résumé outlining everything you’ve done since kindergarten.
- Where are your handles? Social media, that is. Omitting your social media handles makes it that much tougher for potential employers to look you up. And believe me, they will.
- Where’s the sell? When someone sends over an emailed résumé as an attachment with no other correspondence, we consider that lazy. Formal cover letters aren’t always necessary, but tell me in that email why I should even open up your résumé.
- Overuse of buzzwords. Yeah, we get it. You know strategic planning, media relations, social media, etc., but these can come across as stock vocab if you don’t explain your experience more fully.
- I like to collect pickle jars.Really? Is that necessary to share? Unless you’re applying for a PR job at a pickle manufacturer, probably not. Don’t include too much personal information unless it is somehow relevant to the position.
- What an ugly résumé. Don’t forget to make the document look good. Pay attention to format and consistency. And please make sure the font size is legible. Résumés sent with bad file names — eek! Make sure to keep it simple with first and last name and not revision12resume.docx.
- I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some résumés are just too design-heavy. It takes away from the meat – the content. It should be visually appealing but not gaudy. Keep it classic.
- I want a job. All too often, we see a vague or meaningless objective right at the top. Be specific about what you want to accomplish in that role. Ensure that the skills and experience you mention are specific to that job.