Details, schme-tails. The only people that need to pay attention to details are accountants, lawyers and physicians, right? Wrong. If you are looking to land a job at a PR agency, being detail oriented is not only an asset, it is a necessity.
First and foremost, clients demand high-quality services, about 90 percent of which involve some type of writing or presentation creation. If you hand over a PowerPoint presentation meant for a C-level executive with grammatical errors, informal tone or worse yet, incorrect information, not only will you not get high marks for performance, but the agency’s reputation will suffer a hit as well. Not cool. After all, if a client can’t trust you to spell, why should they trust you with their business?
It may seem obvious, but check your work, check your work, check your work.
Second, perception is everything. It may sound trite and old-fashioned, but it really is true. Providing deliverables that are spelled correctly, formatted consistently and address the audience accurately will enable you to stand out from the competition and position yourself as a professional that can be counted on for quality work. Agencies have high standards and if you have a grammatical error in your resume or cover letter or have misspelled something in an e-mail, your name will likely get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Plain and simple: paying attention to details makes you look good.
Third, there are multiple PR Internship openings across the Porter Novelli network right now, and the application deadlines are fast approaching. Before pressing “send” on that application, recheck your grammar, style and spelling. See the above two items. Seriously.
Going back to the campus where you spent your college life can be a strange thing. It still feels the same, except everyone looks younger than you remember and there is now a building where there used to be a green field. After spending two days speaking about social marketing at my alma mater, the University of Florida, I leave invigorated and excited for these students. They face an uncertain employment world with passion, enthusiasm and a great education. I remember those fears during a job hunt too well; that nagging suspicion you’ll never find a job and will wind up back at your parents’, using those communication skills to ask “Do you want fries with that?” Never fear Gators (and all other students), the job market is getting better and a great job will be yours with a little hard work and some patience. Below are some tips to set you up for success.
- Everybody starts somewhere. The Catch-22 of building a resume. You need a job to get experience, but everyone wants you to have experience before they’ll give you a job. Use internships at smaller companies or organizations to build up to your dream job. Think about your club or volunteer experience. These can be valuable resume builders that have both applicable skills and show your leadership potential. How do your extracurriculars provide you with event planning, organization, recruitment, or materials development skills? Highlight these as you begin your internship career.
- Apply, apply, apply. What’s the worst that could happen? Nobody calls you back? You’ll be in exactly the same position you are now. Think you’re under qualified? Let the company make that decision. Every application, cover letter, and interview makes you better at the next. Think of it as practice for that dream position that’s waiting on you.
- Beyond spell-check. Read and reread your cover letter and resume. Then have someone else read them. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. A typo on a resume tells an employer that you’ll also make typos on their important documents. They’re easy to make, so have someone else read your work. I still do (thanks Kristina!).
- Network. Take advantage of those speakers or guest lecturers to learn more about what they do. If you’re interested, introduce yourself and ask for advice. People coming to campus genuinely care about the students and want to help. Making a good impression can help your resume rise to the top of the stack.
- Be patient. It always takes longer than you’d like. It’s frustrating, exhausting and stressful. While waiting for the phone to ring, know that you’re not the only one. Instead of staring at the phone, get online and look for some new jobs or call a friend or mentor to see if they know of any openings.
– Wendy Ruben, Porter Novelli Atlanta