Monday, April 24, 2017

3 Skills That Top PR Firms Look for in Candidates

FleishmanHillard, Weber Shandwick, Edelman. These are just a few large PR firms that many Journalism and Communications students alike yearn to work. But if so many want to work at these agencies, then competition will be tough. So how does one get in? Are there any skills that can make someone stand out from the crowd? Well of course there are! And I'm here to help. Below are a few things that will make you stand out.

1. Strong creative writing skills.

A variety of writing samples that showcase your best work should always be available and offered during the interviewing process. Actually, most firms will want to see writing samples up front, so present them in the beginning. Show that you are prepared and eager to provide samples of your work. Also, make sure you are able to handle multiple types of writing. Whether email communications, business plans, press releases, pitch letters or bylines, you should be able to handle  all of it well. Many firms will also have candidates complete a timed writing test, so don't be surprised if asked to complete one. 

Now that you know what is expected, what can you do to improve your skills? A good first step is to take as many writing classes as possible and to get feedback from your professors. You'll particularly want to connect with those that have a PR background, especially if they have worked at a firm you are interested in to possibly get a referral. Learn about why this is so important by clicking here.  

2. Good research experience.

Research, research and more research! This is a pretty nice percentage of what many PR interns will typically do for their account teams. The type of research may range from social media research and analysis, existing or potential client background, media/journalist contact details, and especially with our current climate -  political research and trends. Not only will having a strong research background help you, but also knowing how to present the most relevant information to your team and/or clients. This will help set you apart. Find good examples of how you done thorough research and analysis and presented it. 

3. Polished communication and other soft skills.

Both written and verbal communication needs to be well presented in any interview, but is extremely important when you want to work in the communications field. It's pretty clear why. This will include email, phone and in-person communications with colleagues, media and clients. In the interviewing process this will be shown through all interactions with HR and interviewers. Other soft skills or professional skills are very important as well. Particularly showing high initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit when taking on projects. Someone that can be a team player is also a plus. During the interview, give examples of how you initiated and led a project or how you organized and motivated a team. These attributes a very needed when working in a PR firm and will show that you have the potential to fit right in! 

Best wishes, 
Jess

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