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For the past couple of years, I’ve been very much involved in giving advice to students. Whether it was speaking to them at a PRSA job conference, mentoring undergraduates at my alma mater (West Virginia University), or even answering their questions on social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, one of the most popular questions that I get asked is about how to craft a resume.
This topic is one of those things that never gets old, and as I continue to grow in my career and have the opportunity to meet candidates for various positions at a PR agency, I feel like I’m in a good position to help out an even wider audience – you all!
The following is a list of do’s and dont’s I recommend following when putting together a resume:
- Put an objective at the top of the page. Tell me what you are looking for in a PR opportunity.
- Include links to your social media pages and make sure you do not have any scandalous photos or information on them. An HR person is going to look you up no matter, so you might as well help them out and include the links.
- Highlight if you have attended PR or social media workshops. Especially for the latter, if you are engaged in SM then you are ahead of the curve.
- List your experience at the top. I want to know why you are ready for a full-time career or paid internship, and seeing that you have a background in this field is obviously key.
- Add your educational background at the bottom of the resume. I don’t care if you went to Harvard or Hamburger University. You either have experience in the industry you are applying for, or you don’t. Earning a 4.0 in college is certainly a good sign, but it doesn’t mean you are ready to take over the world.
- Include professional experience that has nothing to do with the industry you are interested in, i.e. I don’t necessarily need to know that you were a bartender at Coyote Ugly.
- Use funky looking fonts and colors. This will just aggravate me.
- Apply for a job at a company in which you haven’t done any research on. Much like I wouldn’t pitch a reporter whose background I didn’t know, I wouldn’t apply for a job just for the sake of doing so.
- Anything negative. Whether it was a problem you had with a boss or your co-workers, you don’t want to show any weaknesses if you can help it.
- Lie. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you still aren’t sure what I mean by this, see George O’Leary.