Succeeding in a Public Relations and Communications Career

Often referred to as spin-doctors (disparagingly and unfairly if I might add), public relations jobs can be interesting for persons that have the requisite skill and interest in doing them. The description of an actual PR jobs sometimes varies depending on the industry or institution. However, there are certain tenets that the holders of jobs in public relations are expected to do and that is protect the brand by delivering well-though out and business-friendly communication to internal but mostly external parties.

It is the role of the PR and Communications specialist to ensure that any communication that leaves the organization is clear, consistent, and coherent. There should be no contradiction and the aim of each message would be to leave the intended audience clearer on what the institution is doing, why it is doing it and the benefit the stakeholders would expect to realize once that happens. PR specialists are a major component of institution crisis management and are often called upon to provide reassurance to external parties that the management is in control of whatever crisis it may be.

Because of this, the jobs call for someone that can think quickly and on their feet. You may be called upon to respond to a question that may not have been addressed within the press statement and the response you give can either reinforce the public's perception of the institution or sink it further down in the court of public opinion. At no point must a PR person appear to deceive the public on the institution's position. Rather communication must be done in a way that retains the institution's integrity and demonstrates management that is above board.

Your quest for success when it comes to applying for public relations jobs cannot be realized in the absence of a great resume and cover letter. Remember what the heart of jobs in public relations is: communication. It would be tragic if your resume were unable to communicate why you are the best person for the job as compared to other equally competitive candidates. Therefore, make sure that the cover letter you submit with your resume for any list of PR jobs that you apply for, demonstrates your capability for job. That said, even as you do this be careful not to go overboard on your personal self-pitch as you may come across as arrogant and conceited. Take an appropriate professional tone but keep it exciting in way that stands out among the pool of applicants. After all, your main aim at this point is to get an invitation to the interview itself.

On your resume, layout for the purpose of applying for public relations jobs is important. Just like a corporate press release, it should be easy to read while answering the five main questions: that is, who, what, when, where and how. Make sure that the resume is not clouded with information that is really not relevant for the position. It must be your aim to use the resume as an example of your ability to execute the broad number of responsibilities that PR jobs often require. Therefore, activities that may come across as irrelevant should be left out and the resume should only be as long as is necessary. As always, keep a balance by not making the resume a summary that seems to hide or withhold information that would be a key for the interviewer's decision-making process.
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