Plays well with others

At an IABC/Toronto event, someone told me:

“In this industry it’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know and what they know about you.”

As a “newbie” PR practitioner competing against several others, it’s hard to set yourself apart from the crowd. Everyone is in the same boat you’re in – the will work for money and great experience boat. Racing against others who can offer potential employers the same thing you can make for a difficult run. So, to try and set myself apart from the others I turned to well-known practitioner who was a colleague of mine – who I will now refer to as Ms.X. She knows exactly what potential employers are looking for becasue she has seen a gazillion resume and has also interviewed several people for both junior and senior positions in the industry. She shared some valuable advice and information with me that I feel will really help a “newbie” PR practitioner, like myself, get ahead of the game.

1. Renovate your resume
Your resume is what will get you in the door. The only thing potential employers have to judge you on is this document, so you had better make sure your resume is good enough to be placed in the “call for interview” pile. My colleague gave me the following tips on how to blow away the competition:

  • Check it one, check it twice, check it THREE times
    Ms. X says that one mistake, whether it’s grammatical or a spelling error – will send you home packing, so read it over and over again and then have a fresh pair of eyes proof read it before hitting SEND. We’re in the communications industry! So you had better believe potential employers are looking for people who know and understand the importance good grammar and spelling.
  • Leave no room for questions
    Provide brief descriptions about the comapnies you worked for in the past, make sure your dates add up and be clear about your duties at each place of employment. Don’t assume your employer will figure it out or will know – they don’t have time to look up information you neglected to provide.
  • Tailor Made
    Tailor your resume to fit each employer you send it to. You know what they are looking for so highlight how you can help them by emphasizing certain work experience and training that meets their needs. Even though a resume outlines your qualifications, remember, it’s not all aobut you – it’s about the employer and how you can give them what they are looking for.

2. Play well with others

“In this industry it’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know and what they know about you.”

Keeping that in mind, you need to get out there and start building your network. Ms.X says that by networking with people in the industry you are opening doors for yourself without even knowing it. She says a hidden job market exists in the industry that those who employers know or know about are the ones who benefit from it. Volunteer at IABC or CPRS events – it’s great way to meet people in the industry and to get your name out there.

IABC/Toronto is holding it’s Volunteer Recruitment Night this month – click here for more information.

At the end of the day, we are all capable of bringing something fresh and exciting to the table, but we may not know how to highlight the reasons why we are different from the last person the potential employer interviewed that day.


1 Comment »

  1. I’d add a few other things to this list:

    1. Join a professional organization and NETWORK
    2. If you’re willing to relocate, develop your base in a less competitve location, get damn good at what you do and then re-enter and destroy the competition
    3. The most important advice I’ve ever received in business: “If you want to succeed fast, you have to become indispensible. Be better at something than anyone else in your organization and your superiors will recognize your value. Without you, things will simply not be done as well.”

    The most important step I’ve taken is within the social media space. It’s done plenty– forged great relationships with local communicators, gained international recognition and even landed me a spot on the board of the local IABC chapter.


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