12 Tips on Applying for a PR Job

March 12, 2015

We recently had three open positions that we needed to fill quickly. We advertised our needs on ECPR’s social media channels and posted them on LinkedIn and Indeed.com. We started getting responses almost immediately.

That’s where the real work began for me. As the keeper of all ECPR job listings, here are my tips on what to keep in mind when you are applying for a job.

1. Take the list of requirements seriously. If your education and work experience do not meet any of the requirements, please do not apply.

2. Be thorough and accurate in your application. Provide your future employer with everything the posting asks for. In our case, we requested a resume, cover letter, references and minimum salary requirement. We also asked that applicants address their skills as they relate to the duties and requirements listed in the job description. A number of submittals were incomplete. When looking at two seemingly identical candidates and one has given you what you need and the other has only provided a resume, you can guess who is likely to get called for an interview. It would also be helpful for you to indicate your earliest start date. If you live out of town, you might want to indicate that you could do a Google Hangout or Skype interview and that you don’t expect moving expenses, etc. Anything you can do to let your future boss know you are serious about the position and that you are ready and willing is very helpful. Last but not least, get your resume packet in before the deadline—well before the deadline if at all possible!

3. Choose your references carefully. Ideally the references will be professional and can speak to your skill set as they pertain to your work. A good contact phone number is key, but an email is also essential. For heaven’s sake, don’t list someone unless they are going to give you an honest and glowing review. Be sure you give them a heads up that you are applying.

4. Use your contacts, but use them carefully. Could one of your contacts/references proactively call ahead in hopes that would get you in for an interview or seriously considered following an interview?

5. Proof all your documents. Then proof them again. Nothing is worse than a cover letter that brags about your “attention to detail” but is accompanied by a resume that is full of typos.

6. A too-cute resume is not effective. Please allow time to print your resume on nice white, ivory, or light gray paper. One page is great, but use two if you need the room for your education, experience and skills as they relate to the position. Also, coming in and letting us know your printer ran out of ink is not the best first impression. If that happens, be resourceful and go to a local copy shop.

7. You might want to change your voicemail to something that sounds professional and mature. Crazy sound effects and informal slang are not appropriate when you are looking for a job.

8. Check your social media postings. Is there anything you don’t want your future employer to see? A good rule of thumb is don’t put anything in email or social media you would not want in the newspaper.

9. If you are called in for an interview, you should ask how many people will be in the interview and then bring that many resumes (plus one or two more as a cushion). Go to the website and see if there are team photos. If so, dress like the team when you are interviewing. Don’t forget a firm handshake and look your interviewers in the eyes. Practice your interviewing techniques with friends.

10. Do research on the company and come prepared to ask some thoughtful questions.

11. Please show up on time. Showing up too early can be just as bad as showing up late.

12. Some people will tell you to mail a thank-you note, but a thank-you email is even better. It’s a quicker way to thank everyone for her/his time, and it allows you to briefly re-state why you would be a good fit.

I hope these tips help you in your future job search. Best of luck!

-Kathleen Smith
Senior Vice President, Business Affairs

Austin PR Job Tips