Sitting in front of a prospective employer for an interview could be one nervous moment. Applicants are expected to be very calm and relaxed but yet vocal enough to convince the interviewer that you are confident enough. Attending an interview for a Public Relations job is a bit different, because you are expected to display those dexterities that make you a PR person even before getting that appointment. The following dos and don’ts may help you in having a pretty decent interview for a PR job or internship:
Do tell me your passions: When asked why they are passionate about working in the PR field, don’t just give one of those common responses like ‘because I’m a people person’ – meaning you like interacting with people. However, being able to talk to others does not necessarily translate into a career in PR. What should come to your mind when asked about Public Relations is, storytelling, Listening, Writing, Interviewing, Researching, and what have you. One of these descriptors might offer more insight into your communications passions and help others better understand where your strengths lie.
Don’t send me a 3-page resume: Strange as it sounds, it’s not the number of pages your resume contains that gives you edge over others. As a matter of fact, employees and interviewers only have few seconds to glance through resumes. Hence, narrow your resume to one-page and include your relevant experience, so that when a potential employer glances at your resume, he or she will quickly see all of the skills that you have obtained related to this field. Even if it’s not tied to a particular job you’ve had, create a section for a project you are proud of that reaped significant results.
Do tell me why you want to work here: There are plenty of PR shops out there, so make sure you do your research and have a good answer to; as a prospective PR person, you should be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt why you want to work with a particular PR firm. In this vein, it is advisable you conduct your personal research about the company so you have enough to say when asked questions like “Why do you want to work at our firm?” or “What drew you to our agency?” Whether it’s because someone on the team has a similar background as you (major, college, upbringing) and that caught your eye, or you have a real passion for one of their clients, no matter the reason you have in mind, make that agency feel like they are number one on your list.
Avoid typos or errors on your resume or in your email: This cannot be overstated. Double, triple, quadruple check everything – and then have others you trust check it, as well. I often see typos or even incorrect contact information, which immediately raises a red flag. Mistakes happen (i.e. forgetting to show off a portfolio you worked hard putting together), but your resume and outreach email make the first impression, so make them count!
Do make a connection: Connection doesn’t necessarily mean having a friend in the organization to help you secure a job weather deserved or not. In this case, as a prospective PR practitioner, you can begin to create good rapport with your prospective employees. More so, endeavor to always ask questions, when given the opportunity. This is probably a good time to find some common ground that will make you memorable and stand out from a pile of resumes. Demonstrating your relationship-building skills will make employers feel more confident about how you’ll work with other team members and support the agency, and eventually even help build relationships with future clients and media contacts. After all, relationships are the currency of Public Relations business. Above all, be passionate, be articulate and be yourself.