Top 5 Qualities Every PR Professional Should Have
By Kim Eberl
Applying and interviewing for jobs can be a long, strenuous process. In crafting your resume, it can be challenging to determine which qualities you should emphasize most. After being in the PR industry for over 15 years and as the founder of a PR agency for the past 10, I’ve seen my fair share of resumes. Over time, I’ve learned that the people who emphasize the following qualities in their resumes tend to be the ones who get hired and end up being the best employees. Not only will these skills help you once you are on the job, but they should be utilized throughout your career.
- Detail-Oriented Behavior: Being detail oriented is an attribute all PR professionals should possess, as this skill is especially important when it comes to preparing press materials, such as writing press releases and pitches. This skill comes in handy even before you secure the job because, while you’re applying, you must be sure to pay attention to details in preparing interview materials, such as a resume or cover letter. Be sure to elaborate by adding impressive numbers through percentages or dollar amounts. For example, instead of saying that you “devised strategies for an organization’s membership retention and growth,” include concrete results by saying you “increased an organization’s membership by 20 percent.” This reads much stronger. It is the details, whether in a press release or resume, that can be the defining factor as to whether or not a reporter covers a story – and in the same vein, can determine whether or not a resume stands out enough to lead to an in-person interview.
- Savvy Research Skills: PR professionals always conduct extensive research when writing their pitches and in determining to which reporters they will be pitching their story ideas. They become familiar with reporters’ story topics to determine the best approach in positioning a client in front of them. Similarly, job seekers should be diligent enough to research a company’s history, culture, values, clients, etc., prior to interviewing. Being prepared with this information, and relaying it back during an interview, will demonstrate that you know how to do your research.
- Pitching/Persuasion Skills: When PR professionals pitch a story idea to reporters, they should be able to speak to every angle of the pitch and anticipate what questions might be asked. While pitching, it is important to get to the point early-on and explain why this particular reporter should care about the news you have to share. Likewise, as an interviewee, you should speak about your experience with conviction, confidence, and passion. State your previous accomplishments, provide a thorough explanation of the work, and speak to the results.
- Forming Connections: After a story is covered, PR professionals are sure to send a thank you follow-up email to the reporter, notifying them that their client would be happy to be a future source for any upcoming stories. Just because an interview concludes, this does not mean the process is over. As such, an interviewee should always send a thank you email to the potential employer, referring to a specific topic discussed during the interview. This small gesture can make a reporter or recruiter keep you top-of-mind.
- Managerial Qualities: Excellent managerial qualities are crucial to every publicist’s career. Effectively building teamwork and delegating tasks in an efficient manner is important in maximizing results and providing team members with needed guidance and support. Management skills are important in adhering to time-sensitive deadlines and for multitasking while balancing multiple client accounts. Job seekers can apply such managerial skills by submitting application materials on time, following up within a timely manner, and keeping track of where each job application stands. Organizing deadlines and staying on top of different moving parts is how both publicists and job seekers achieve desired goals.
If you find yourself going to interview after interview without landing that sought-after job position, it might be time to take a step back and consider the ways you are under-utilizing each of the above skill sets.