Posted by Tom Gable
We blogged last year about “Looking for a Job in PR? Gable PR Has Tips for Getting Resumes Read, Advancing Toward an Offer.” After receiving more than 100 resumes recently for an intern opening and seeing everything from candidates for sainthood and the Pulizter Prize to the uneducated (or on some form of hallucinogen), it seemed time for a quick refresher course.
Our emotions surged and waned: admiration for the work ethic of some (multiple internships, working more than one job, active in organizations); disbelief that some students were actually in college or recently graduated (poor grammar, typos); and some LOL experiences (using the name of another agency in the salutation when emailing Gable PR; and probably doing the same to the other agency).
Other issues: blank emails with no introductory messages, just attachments named “resume”; all the resumes named “resume” (think about personal branding!); wrong agency name in the subject line; and including photos taken with a phone at a party.
For specifics, here is one we are going to submit to the What Were They Thinking Resume Hall of Fame.
Subject: ATTN: Gable PR (to whome it may concern)
To whom it may concern, hello my name is XYZ and I am a undergrad student at San Diego State and while browsing the Public Relations Soceity of America site I came across your webpage and in my efforts to try and obtain a internship in the field I am writing to whom it may concern in regards to any possible intenship positions you all may be offering. Thank you for your time, if there is anything at all that might be availble please contact me, I am a more than willing student trying to get a start and oppurtunity in the field, I can also send my resume, etc. over as well.
Thank you all for your time
We did provide feedback:
Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to consider you because of the number of typographical and grammatical errors in this email.
For future inquiries, you might want to spellcheck your work and also have someone else proof it.
Good luck in your search.
Count the errors, post a comment and the winner gets a free PDF copy of the PR Client Service Manual.
On the good news side, we liked the following as an example of a smart, short introductory email:
I am a senior at San Diego State University studying public relations and minoring in political science. As I am close to graduating and starting a career in the public relations field I am looking for an internship that will help me put my education in perspective to the real world. I have held previous internship positions doing public relations for San Diego businesses and I am interested in growing with a firm. I have a passion for blogging, reading newspapers, writing, fashion and travel. I was wondering if Gable Public Relations had any internship openings. I have attached my resume for your convenience.
And a final one from someone with a few years of professional experience, which we liked because of the detail that related to our profession:
Subject: Rockstar Publicist Looking for New Home
I’ve recently relocated from Florida to San Diego and I’m seeking a publicist position at a dynamic agency in town. At a meeting with ABC of DEF PR, she spoke very highly of your agency and I wanted to reach out and see if there are any current opportunities.
I have 3+ years’ experience as a results-oriented PR professional who has a passion for media relations and client satisfaction. Highlights of my capabilities include:
• Exceptional writing and editing skills; from press releases and newsletters to media kits distributed to retailers nationwide.
• Developing client plans, presentations and creative ideas while working with executive team.
• Creating and maintaining excellent media relations on regional and national levels through aggressive print, online and broadcast pitching. Clients received exposure in top outlets such as: Good Housekeeping, Parents, CBS Early Show, NBC Today, and Good Day LA.
•Extensive knowledge of broadcast media, securing and executing over 45 segments last year alone.
• Working in both a team and individual dynamic to exceed client expectations.
• Planning various media tours, from small destination immersions to hosting 30+ media professionals.
If there are any open positions I’d love to be considered.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have openings at the time. We did let the individuals know that we would be saving their resumes for future reference should our needs change. Great cover letters and resumes do make a difference in the PR job search.