FORUM Fall 2016 - Page 9

Resume Advice You Should Ignore BY MARY T. HENIGE, APR, FELLOW PRSA FOUNDER AND CHIEF CONSULTANT, MAGNETICA COMMUNICATIONS LLC Resume Checklist 1. One-page limit is a myth — don’t limit yourself or accomplishments. 2. Quantify your results. 3. Don’t assume employers know the significance of your achievements. 4. Include your overall GPA. 5. List your colleges and degree(s) before work experience. 6. Proof for consistent use of punctuation and style. 7. Include links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles — and make sure they’re professional. 8. Spelling, grammar and word choice count. 9. Use AP Style. 10. Objectives aren’t necessary. Not to disparage the well-intentioned campus career service center counselors whose goal is to help as many students as possible become well-paid alumni, but guidance they give doesn’t always align with what many employers expect from resumes. I’ve helped hire nearly 100 interns and new professionals over the years while leading General Motors successful internship program. Additionally, I’ve had the privilege of being the Professional Adviser to Wayne State University’s James S. Measell PRSSA Chapter since 1993. Consequently, I’ve read a lot of resumes. Resumes can and likely should be more than one page, especially in our profession. This assumes you have something to say and have had several internships and leadership roles. It’s a myth that employers won’t read more than one page. Ignore career services when they give you this artificial rule. I’ll read a resume to the end assuming, like a good book, you grab my attention early and meet the criteria. A resume that’s just a list of tasks won’t get you an interview. Quantify results as often as possible. Don’t just state that you’ve done something — provide metrics that demonstrate the work you did led to a positive result. Anyone can write a press release, but what happened? Did you obtain media coverage, and if so, by whom? When you revamped a newsletter, did readership increase? Don’t assume employers know the significance of honors or awards you’ve received. About a decade ago I met with a newly-unemployed professional who wanted advice. I questioned him about the Helen Thomas scholarship he listed. He received $25,000! When you add the dollar value it obviously carries more weight. And yes, we ended up hiring this man. Your overall GPA does matter, so be sure to include it if it’s higher than a 3.0. If it’s not, be ready to explain why. Entry-level employees should list their universities and degrees before work experience. Employers first look whether candidates meet minimum requirements. Importantly, agonize over your writing. Because we’re in the communications industry, employers expect exceptional writing and flawless attention to detail. Use correct action verbs. Press releases aren’t “crafted,” they’re “written.” Use AP Style and pay particular attention to city and state abbreviations. Unless you’re submitting your resume to a jobs bank, leave off the objective. They’re almost always meaningless. Finally, if you’re emailing your resume, assume your email is your cover letter and give it the same care and attention. Don’t repeat what’s in your resume, but demonstrate your passion for the profession and interest in the position. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Former National President Continues to Serve JORDAN MCCRARY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA Kent Landers, APR, served as the PRSSA National President while he was a student at the University of Tennessee at Martin, and later served as a co-chair for the Champions for PRSSA. He is an Accredited member of the PRSA and has served on the Board of Directors for the PRSA Georgia Chapter and the national PRSA Foundation. Landers currently serves as FALL 2016 group director of corporate media relations for the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia. In this position, it is his responsibility to oversee global media relations strategy while focusing on telling Coca-Cola’s global story. He works closely with investors, the corporate secretary’s office and other key financial functions throughout the company. Before working at Coca-Cola, Lan ders held several communications roles for Delta Air Lines. In his various roles he focused mainly on crisis communication, which included managing communications for bankruptcy, a hostile takeover, a major merger and a regional airline crash. During his 12 years at Delta, his team was awarded more than 30 professional communications awards from PRSA and the Interna- tional Association of Business Communicators. Jordan McCrary, a sophomore from the University of Florida PRSSA Chapter, chatted with Landers about his success and his start in the Society. Q: Why did you decide to join PRSSA? A: My involvement in PRSSA came thanks to a professor and a more senior student who recruited me because they thought I could benefit from the Society. At the time, I was switching my major from biology and chemistry to communications, and they thought I could get established more quickly into the communications field through immediate involvement in PRSSA. And they were right! Q: What made you decide to run for National President, and how did you succeed in doing so? A: When I was a junior, our Chapter had the good fortune of hosting the PRSSA 1997 National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I led our Chapter’s National Conference bid. Through this experience I was exposed to the vast leadership and networking opportunities available to PRSSA students nationally. This inspired me to put my name in the hat for National President in 1998. Q: What was the most valuable takeaway from being involved in PRSSA that you have used throughout your career? A: The power of the PRSSA and PRSA network is phenomenal. One of the benefits of PRSSA involvement is that you quickly build a network of fellow communications professionals across the country. While I don’t talk to all of my old PRSSA friends frequently enough, I know I could call any of them at any time and the bonds of friendship remain. It’s a fantastic network of smart, motivated people who can benefit you throughout your career. Q: What is the most rewarding part about working in public relations? A: The fact that every day is different. This is a clichéd saying in our business but it’s true. If you like to multi-task, manage a wide array of issues and be exposed to all facets of a business, public relations is a great career. Q: If you could give young professionals one piece of advice for launching their careers, what would it be and why? A: It’s three pieces of advice, but they are intertwined. Be interested in the world, read every newspaper you can get your hands on, and think about how changes in one part of the world affect another. We live in a very small global economy and being successful today requires a broad worldview. WWW.PRSSA.PRSA.ORG/FORUM 9