By Alyson Roy
Getting your foot in the door can be the hardest part in any industry, but there’s a lot you can do to make yourself more attractive to potential employers and to stand out in your first job in the PR world.
Angle your experience. The first step is to represent yourself in a way you would represent a future PR client. If you can’t sell yourself, no one will ever believe you can sell a client. Build your resume like you would build a good story pitch. This means getting right to the hook from the get-go and backing up your idea with clear bullet points that can’t be argued. Don’t make your dream employer read three paragraphs deep to get to your selling point; they won’t. Instead, sum up the who, what, when, where, and why of “you” in your intro. Your previous job experience (which will hopefully include some PR internships) should take inventory of the skills you’ve learned in the real world. Bullet point any actionable tasks you’ve accomplished such as writing press releases, securing a story or working Fashion Week (hyper-linking to examples of your work is a good look, too). It’s also a great idea to include some testimonials instead of listing that references are “available upon request.” You might not get to the “request” part, so it’s better to let your supporters vouch for you while you have an employer’s attention.
Google yourself. No really. Most companies considering a slew of applicants will Google the top contenders to check for a clean—and hopefully impressive—online reputation.You should test Googling yourself to see what a potential employer might see. Two potential problems could arise. The first issue is any unprofessional photos. You should make sure that your public-facing profile photos on all social networks are professional (that means no partying or duck-face selfies!) If you use one network in particular (such as Facebook or Instagram) to share personal photos with friends and family, you should set that profile to private so that only those you are connected to can see it, but remember, your profile picture will still be visible. The second issue is that you aren’t Google-able at all, meaning, you don’t come up on the first two pages of Google. This can be a red flag for employers, ie: “She wants to work in PR but she’s not even on any social media? Will she know how to maximize social media for our clients?” If this is the case, you should consider using your full name to create profiles on as many networks as possible, including a detailed profile on LinkedIn. If you’re not Googleable because you have a really common name (sorry John Smith, that’s you), you should create a basic blog or resume website specifically for SEO purposes to boost your visibility (Tumblr and About.me are easy options). Once you’ve cleaned everything up and become a social butterfly (literally), you should consider focusing on one network to grow for professional purposes. LinkedIn & Twitter can be good for this. An employer might be browsing your tweets, so if you’ve recently been sharing #PR tips and getting involved in industry conversations, that will leave an impression. Finally – when applying for jobs, it’s a wise idea to include all of your social links (and links to a blog with writing samples if you have one!). In doing so, you save the hiring manager the task of finding you, and bonus: you ensure you’re pointing them to exactly what you want them to see.
Be solution-oriented: Your first real job usually includes a trial period, and one of the best ways to prove you’re capable is to be a problem-solver. Never come to your supervisor with a list of reasons why a certain task or idea won’t work. Instead, always approach your boss with creative ideas that WILL work. Coming to your higher-up to ask approval to implement a solution that could be saving them from a PR disaster will not go unnoticed and will help you to become identified as a valuable team member. By approaching problems with a positive can-do attitude, you will paint yourself as a resourceful candidate who is ready for more responsibility.
Be Consistent: My friend, Lauren Berger (Author of “Welcome To The Real World”) always says, be the same person you were on Day 1, on Day 30, Day 90, an so on, and she’s right. On the first day, we all show up in our most professional outfit and a willingness to work, but after that we start to get a little too comfortable. At the end of the day, we’re not judged on our first impression, but on our cumulative work ethic, so try to wake up every day like its your first, and constantly find ways to create new value and be a well-liked team player. It will pay off in the end.
Be in it for the right reasons: There is a lot of glitz and glamour in Fashion PR, also known as shiny distractions. Show your employer you’re not in it for the fancy perks, but because you genuinely love the work. Show up for opportunities, take initiative, and always check in to see if there’s anything else you can be doing to help. When you’re ready to handle more, ask for it. You’ll get what you ask for. By becoming someone your boss can always rely on to finish a task completely, especially the mundane not-so-fun ones, you’ll also become the employee your boss trusts the most and thinks of when opportunities for more responsibility arise.
These tips will definitely help you land and succeed in your Fashion PR career. Promotions and raises for everyone!
About Alyson Roy:
Alyson Roy is a Guest Contributing Editor for The PR Closet, and the Co-Founder of AMP3 Public Relations, a boutique publicity agency that specializes in Lifestyle & Fashion PR campaigns. Follow Alyson at @AlyAMP3 or www.AMP3pr.com.