Finding a job in the competitive world of public relations is like trying to find Waldo in the mix of hundreds of tiny people. There you are searching the page aimlessly, trying to pinpoint the man in a red and white stripped shirt, wearing a matching hat and oversized glasses. Once your eyes spot the target, you realize that he stood out the entire time, you just didn’t notice him right away.
Just like you have trouble finding your perfect job, employers also have trouble spotting their perfect employee.Every year, thousands of college students search frantically for a job upon graduation. What makes these potential public relations practitioners stand out from other applicants? While employers have the tedious job of searching through thousands of candidates to find their perfect Waldo, there are things you can do to make yourself shine.
The first thing to do is perfect your resume. Make it stand out and catch the employers’ attention. Just think, employers receive tons of resumes a day. Separate yours from the mumbo-jumbo stack they receive daily.Know the mistakes people make on their resumes that annoy employers.
Remember, you’re just as good as the next applicant, but make sure your resume is professional. Spelling and grammar still count. If employers see one spelling or grammar mistake they will toss out your resume so fast it’s like seeing a perfect baseball pitch thrown straight into the strike box.And please, firstname.lastname@example.org is not an appropriate e-mail address.
Once you get the interview, research, research, research. I have been told many times that if I want to stand out I need to be prepared and do my research. Before sitting down for your first interview with a potential employer, know your stuff.Research the company. Know it like the back of your hand. Google the company to see what publicity and recognition it has received. Acknowledge their achievements in the interview, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you take the time to know the company, then the company is one step closer to finding Waldo.
A tip I’ve learned is to not only research the company, but research the person who is going to give you the interview. If you find interesting things about them you can bring it up during the interview. This helps breaks the ice and also shows that you really know your stuff.Another thing to remember is to always strive for perfection. Not to sound like the Army, but be all you can be. Don’t show a potential employer B work. Present your portfolio as the best work you have ever written because you only get one shot, two if you’re lucky, at your dream job.Looking for a job is a scary process. Sitting in front of an individual who you have never met, staring at your every move, every word and every gesture is not always comfortable. However, you may meet some pretty interesting people and get a taste of what certain companies are looking for in a potential employer.
To get all the practice you can, interview with a company you know you would never work for. The pressure is off, and you can practice for the job you have wanted since you were 10. Still go to the interview prepared, ask questions and blow them away. You might even surprise yourself.Remember, not only are they interviewing us, we are interviewing them.Like the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” So get out there and practice until you’re ready to become the Waldo your dream job didn’t know it was looking for. Good luck.
By Carly Smith (Published Nov. 9 2007)