By Patrick Foster
Public relations is becoming increasingly digital. Where traditional PR was conducted through print and broadcast, digital PR is orchestrated through social media and email.
Consequently, it’s important that candidates create a digital résumé that caters to this new style of PR. Read on to find out how to create an online résumé that will stand out during your job application process.
Build a comprehensive online resume
Before you start building your digital resume, you’ll need to find a content management system (CMS) to display it. This is where your prospective employers will go to view your resume online, and it needs to look good to them and be intuitive to use for you.
WordPress is the most common and easy-to-use CMS, and its free version is perfect for a resume. Creating pages and adding content is straightforward, and no technical wizardry is required to make a great online resume.
Your digital resume can include the following pages:
- About Me: talk about yourself, your hobbies and personal ambitions. For example, if you’ve always wanted to visit Japan, mention it. This is about letting your personality shine through.
- Education and qualifications: starting with your most recent, include your entire educational history from high school and beyond. Highlight any extracurricular qualifications you might have achieved.
- Work experience: include all the jobs, internships, and placements you’ve held over the years. Only include relevant work experience — PR employers generally aren’t interested in your summer spent working at Target.
- Blog: while this isn’t mandatory, it certainly goes some way towards impressing prospective employers. A PR-focused blog shows that you’re engaged with the industry.Use sans serif fonts such as Arial or Calibri to make your copy readable, and don’t use more than two different types. Include a smart, high-quality photo of yourself (no party photos).Takeaway tip: your digital resume doesn’t need to be a bespoke website with superfluous bells and whistles. Keep it minimalist, sleek and, above all, functional. Prospective employers want to know about you, not about your web design skills.
Cultivate a sprawling social media presence
Public relations and social media go hand-in-hand, this much is true. Being able to navigate the choppy waters of social are a crucial skill for any aspiring PR professional.
But simply saying you’re good at it isn’t enough, and nor is demonstrating past projects in which you used social media. Instead, you should cultivate a social presence that sprawls multiple platforms, even the least obvious ones.
LinkedIn is the most obvious choice here. The social network for business professionals, your LinkedIn profile displays everything from your educational history to your work experience.
Indeed, most recruiters use LinkedIn as a key part of the hiring process, headhunting individuals through PR communities or personal recommendations.
But you should not confine yourself to LinkedIn alone. Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram are all vital networks that you should create and maintain a presence on. Twitter in particular is an important platform to use, as it lets you join conversations in real-time and helps you build a virtual network with ease.
Now is a good time to evaluate your social profiles and make them employer-friendly. Click here for some tips on how to make your social presence look and feel professional.
Takeaway tip: follow key industry players on social media, joining conversations, offering opinions, and asking questions. It gives you an insight into PR, and gets your name noticed too. This gives you a foot in the door when you start networking with industry professionals.
Visually showcase your work experience
As with every role, work experience is vital. It’s what prospective employers look for most when recruiting, and with good reason. Not only does it demonstrate that you have experience of how the industry works in practice, but it also shows that you are a self-starter.
Find internships online through recruitment websites. There are numerous sites dedicated to summer internships which are ideal for college students, although there are still plenty of short placements available for those in full-time jobs.
Freelancing is also a good way to build up your résumé. Unfortunately, working for free is part of everyone’s journey to a paid role, so offer your services to small local businesses to bulk out your résumé.
Alternatively, create your own experience. Launch a pet project by starting a niche blog or running an online business and conduct a PR campaign to promote it. Include the analytics from your project as a case study, explaining how you formulated and executed your strategy.
Finally, why not create a hypothetical PR campaign for existing or fictional businesses? It might seem like a long shot, but creating an imaginary proposal is a creative solution that will impress prospective employers.
A digital résumé is the perfect place to showcase your work experience. Create case study pages that outline past projects, visualized through screenshots and data.
Takeaway tip: create dedicated pages for each project you’ve worked on and display screenshots and data excerpts of your projects. Accompany each project with your own notes, explaining your thought process and talk about the skills you developed.
Of course, what you can display will depend on your work experience employers’ NDAs. Always consult with your employer first, or simply change the names of your clients to preserve anonymity.
Take your digital résumé further with video
A rising trend in recent years has been video résumés. Employers are increasingly looking for people rather than skill sets. Video résumés are the perfect place to showcase both experience and personality.
Use a blend of both video and still imagery to create a dynamic video résumé. The whole point of a video résumé is to show not tell. PR is about personal skills, so include clips of yourself giving a presentation or pitch to showcase yours.
You don’t need to be a rigorously-screen tested daytime TV presenter to include a video on your digital résumé. Simply be genuine and convey your individuality. In doing so, you give your résumé depth, showing potential employers who they’re interviewing, rather than simply what.
Takeaway tip: in your video, be smart and well-presented. Create a script and stick to it — no riffing. Keep it short and sweet, no more than a couple of minutes in duration. Finally, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Let your personality shine through, as it is this that employers are looking out for.
When you’re applying for a digital PR role, it makes sense to create a digital résumé. Follow the tips above and craft an online résumé that will stand out to prospective employers.
Patrick Foster is an ecommerce consultant with Ecommerce Tips, an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. He tweets @myecommercetips.