Resumes, Portfolios & Social Media – “Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online and in Person”

by: Christina Binz

Before a public relations student can start a job promoting a company or product, they have to learn how to promote themselves and their own personal brand.

Two experts in this area, Walter Bateman and Natalie Neczypor spoke to students at the PRSSA 2009 National Conference in San Diego about efficiently creating and using tools to land a job in the field.  They each shared their different experiences and opinions about the best ways that students should search and prepare for jobs and internships.

Bateman, a retired CEO of The Harleysville Group and son of J. Caroll Bateman, had one simple tip to start: get organized.  He urged students to use a manila folder, title it “job search” and fill it with the following information:

-Yourself: Know yourself and how your potential employer will view you.  Write down your talents, competencies and personal beliefs.  This includes your personal brand that you will represent.

-Your Job: What are your intuitions about your first job? Write this down and search for potential jobs that include a value exchange of what you can give and what you can get.

-Your Action Plan: Write a strategy statement for getting a job and tactics to accomplish it.  These include engaging a network of influential people, maintaining knowledge of the economy, politics and the trade, and research potential employers.  Knowing who is interviewing you is one of the most important and impressive things a candidate can demonstrate.

-Your Notes: Keep record of all conversations with references and employers and your updated progress.

Neczypor, marketing executive for Ernst & Young, echoed Bateman’s preparation emphasis.  Her five-step process included ways to enhance resumes and portfolios and make the most of the job search.

  1. Awareness: Know who you are and what you want to do. Create a resume and portfolio that demonstrates your experiences, your impact on these experiences and the results.  Be open to opportunities that mirror these tools.
  2. Positioning: Your personal brand is important and you should always be selling and convincing others of your competency. During an interview, give an overview of who you are, make sure to ask questions, and present yourself related to those questions.  Networking is also important in positioning your brand. Ask yourself what you have done for those core influences and why they should continue to be a resource to you.
  3. Prior Planning: Research! Use social networking sites and search engines to learn more about the company and the interviewer, practice interviewing, and be prepared. Interviewers are now using behavioral based interviewing, which emphasizes situation, impact, and result.  Learn how to respond to these questions and demonstrate leadership.  Also be prepared to take notes during the interview and ask questions, such as “What’s the next step in the interview process?”
  4. Follow-Up: Have a thank-you note in the car and mail it to the interview immediately after the interview.  Send a thank-you e-mail within 24 hours.  Don’t forget to call any resources that helped you get the connection and update them on the interview.
  5. Big Picture: Be open to all areas in the field and be a jack of all trades.  This includes relocating, even for a 3-5 years.  And remember, you’re only as good as your last 15 minutes of accomplishment.

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