We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jackleen Morgan, a recruiter with Robert Walters in New York City. We asked her a few questions we thought every PR girl would ask if she could pick the brain of a recruiter or HR manager BEFORE the interview.
You review hundreds of resumes a day. What can a girl do to make sure her resume catches your attention?
Try not to use elaborate resume formatting or fonts, it distracts the reader and may result in the bypassing of your resume. Less is more ‘“ that’s what draws in the reader. A Recruiter or HR Manager is most interested in quickly ascertaining the following: your education, where you have worked/interned, your job titles and for how long you were in each role. A simple, Times New Roman size 10 or 12 font used on a resume is best. Your name may be a size 14 or 16 font if you desire. You want it to look clean, consistent and easy to read!
If you are a recent college grad (within five years) keep your resume to one page. Ensure your education is listed at the top of the resume along with relevant coursework in journalism, communications, or PR.
List ALL of your professional experience and internships. Even if a past role was not specific to the PR industry, include it anyway ‘“ employers are looking for people with diverse experiences and opinions to bring to the table!
What are your clients looking for in a PR representative?
A strong candidate has a firm handshake, good eye contact, is dressed well and can describe her individual role in detail and articulate her accomplishments. Great PR professionals focus on the importance of building and maintaining good relationships. Be able to explain how you get to know editors and press contacts. You want to be able to give examples of how you have gone above and beyond expectations to get things done for your client (or your company if you’re working in-house). Have an anecdote in your back pocket to share with a HR Manager if it’s appropriate to bring up.
Our clients are looking for PR candidates with strong writing skills, a composed, mature nature and a welcoming personality.
What are some impressive traits you look for when interviewing over the phone?
Some candidates don’t realize the impressions they make over the phone. In preparation for phone calls from prospective employers, have a professional voicemail recording stating your full name and brief greeting.
I am impressed by people who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do and who are willing to thoroughly explain their career history and select accomplishments.
If you’re actively searching/interviewing and an unknown number calls you, be prepared for it to be a HR Manager or Recruiter. Sound excited about taking their call! If you have the time, make sure you are wide awake and in a quiet place to speak – otherwise let the HR Manager know if you need to make time to talk later in the day ‘“ he/she will appreciate it if you handle it professionally.
If you are on a formal phone interview, dress up! You will feel mentally more formal in your speech and personal presentation. Always speak clearly and take your time organizing your thoughts. Listen to the interviewer’s questions and answer them completely.
How can an applicant be persistent after a job without coming off as pushy? Where is the line drawn?
Send a thank-you email or hand-written note within 24 hours of your first interview and send a subsequent thank-you note to each new person you meet during the interview process. Do not be alarmed if you are not contacted for 7-10 days. If by that time you still have no response, follow up with an email kindly showing your interest in the position and inquiry about continuing the process.
I’d advise against follow-up phone calls to a company’s HR Manager; if you are working with a recruiter or other 3rd party, a follow-up call is acceptable.
Recommended do’s? Absolute DO NOT’s?
Do bring a book of press clippings and writing samples to your interviews; do organize them neatly in a binder and have additional copies of your resume on hand. Do remember to stand whenever greeting an interviewer coming into a room, smile, sit up straight, maintain eye contact.
Do not have a copy of your resume in front of you on your lap during the interview, it will distract you and deter you from making eye contact. Do not ‘œoverpitch’ yourself in the interview while still coming across as confident and competent. Remember to showcase how you are also a real person.
Have any additional questions for Jackleen or want to learn more about working with Robert Walters for your next career move? Be sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org
image via quipster.com