Resume Advice You Should Ignore
BY MARY T. HENIGE, APR, FELLOW PRSA
FOUNDER AND CHIEF CONSULTANT, MAGNETICA COMMUNICATIONS LLC
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jordan McCrary, a sophomore from the University of
Florida PRSSA Chapter, chatted with Landers about his
success and his start in the
Q: Why did you decide to
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
Q: What made you decide to
run for National President,
and how did you succeed in
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
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
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
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.