One of the important things every business needs to do is maintain a positive image. This is crucial to the success of the business. Without it, all the marketing and advertising will amount to nothing.

A negative image can cause a business to go down faster than anyone would imagine. And in these days of online reviews, even false accusations can cost a business dearly.

How do businesses mitigate such threats?

In comes the Public Relations specialist.

With knowledge and a natural skill to handle conflict, PR specialists are a big asset to any organization.

If you’re in the Public Relations career, then you made a good choice. As long as there are businesses, there will always be a need for your services.

But to offer your services, you must first get a platform through which to exercise your abilities. That platform is a job and to get the job, you must start somewhere.

You obviously know that you must write a resume in order to get a job. You most likely also know that sending a resume and a cover letter doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the job.

There is competition and every employer wants to hire only the best. So what do you do?

First of all, you have to make sure your resume goes past the Applicant Tracking System. From there, it has to be appealing to the hiring manager since she decides who comes in for the interview.

In this article, we’re providing you with the advice you’ll need to stay ahead of the competition.

You will learn how to write your resume such that it grabs the attention of the person reading it. And even if hiring managers typically spend only 6 seconds on resumes, you can make them read yours to the very end.

Together with the advice, we’ll give you public relations resume samples from which you can adapt your own.

Don’t forget that you can also build your resume using our resume templates. These will help you easily deal with the issue of resume format and make it colorful while remaining professional.

But before getting into the resume, here are some industry insights to help you know what to expect.

PUBLIC RELATIONS JOB OUTLOOK

There is no doubt that the public relations field is an interesting one. But if you’re just getting started with your career, you may not know that there is also a not-so-glamorous side of it.

Like many others on the outside, you can easily think that the job is all fun.

Product launches, meeting managers and top managers of other businesses, knowing the right people in other industries and attending colorful events.

But not so.

The job of a PR manager or officer is quite hectic. And if you work in a competitive industry like retail, then you’ll probably need to be stronger than you currently are.

The business environment is tough and it’s possible for a competitor to deliberately tarnish your company’s name.

The intention could be to slow your company down so as to enable the competitor catch up or even drive you out of business. You can therefore have a lot of bad situations to deal with.

If you’ve been hired to counter such, then you’ll definitely need a lot of strength and motivation.

Public relations salaries

The biggest motivation when it comes to any work is your pay. Your salary plus any other benefits play a big role in the level of motivation you have for the work.

Of course other factors play a role too in determining your motivation to work or even your job satisfaction. One such factor is the office culture.

Coming back to salaries, what can you expect to be paid for your expertise? This knowledge will help you have a background when negotiating your salary.

Public Relations – Salary Median. Source: Salary.com

According to Salary.com, 2020 salaries for PR specialists are at a median of $66,050 per year.

Depending on your employer and the amount of PR work you have to do, the pay can be lower or higher than that.

Something else that will greatly affect your pay is the number of years you’ve been working.

As you’ll see when we get to the work experience when discussing writing your resume, it’s critical to show what you’re really worth. You do that by telling your potential employer about your past achievements.

These are what will show what you’re capable of doing for the company. Remember that employers want to know what benefit you’ll bring to the company. In any case, they have a business to take care of and profitability is key.

So, if you show that you can help cut costs and improve relations with the right people, then your pay will definitely be higher. If the pay can’t be as high as you want, you can probably negotiate the benefits.

This will be a good time to ask for a package that allows you to have a good work-life balance. Won’t you be happier having time for your family and friends?

Going by the data from PayScale, below are figures showing the pay of PR professionals based on years of work experience.

Pay by Experience Level for Public Relations (PR) Manager. Source: PayScale

As you can see, an entry-level job might land you a salary of around $44,000 per year. Fortunately, there is room for much growth.

Public relations job growth

Don’t allow yourself to be anxious over the pay differences shown in the graph above. Everyone starts somewhere.

If you’re one of those with lots of experience, you can surely go higher than $77,000. Remember it’s all about what you can do. And if you feel that growth is stunted in your current job, you can move to where there is a demand for your expertise.

If you feel like you’re really up to the challenge, then apply for a job in highly-competitive industries like retail or media.

That said, projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the job market for PR professionals is going to increase. From 2018 to 2028, the increase will be 6%.

This is largely because business will continue to grow even as startups keep coming up. In fact, as startups pose threats to established businesses, so will PR need to be engaged.

PUBLIC RELATIONS RESUME WRITING

Industry insights aside, let’s now talk about your PR resume.

Since your resume is the first thing the hiring manager interacts with, you need to make it good. It must present a strong message about your abilities and value.

We will discuss the main sections of a resume and the purpose they serve. As we do that, be keen to notice the difference between the examples of wrong and right way of writing your information.

This is to help you see the practicality of the advice provided. Moreover, at the end of the article, we’ll give you two full public relations resume samples.

One of these resumes will be for an entry-level job application while the other will be for an experienced PR specialist.

The entry-level PR resume sample is meant to help the graduate fresh from campus get a job. The other one is to help the seasoned PR specialist go higher.

Remember, we have resume templates suitable for your Public Relations resume needs. With different formats to choose from, you’ll be sure of an attractive and professional resume.

Let’s get started.

Personal information

Arguably the easiest section to master, this is simply where you do an introduction.

Who are you? Where do you live? How can you be contacted? Where can we learn more about your professional life?

You will answer these questions by giving your name in full, physical and email address and sharing your LinkedIn profile link.

If by any chance you don’t have a LinkedIn account, it’s time you opened one. But before signing up, read our article on how to have a great LinkedIn profile.

Quick advice for this section centers on being professional with your name and email address.

Resist the temptation of using your nickname despite how good it sounds. You also need a professional email address.

Here are ways of handling this section.

Wrong way of writing your name

Bob (Marley) Gibson

Wrong
Right way of writing your name

Robert Gibson

Right
Wrong way of writing your email address

bobbygibby@myemail.com

Wrong
Right way of writing your email address

robertgibson@myemail.com or robert.gibson10@myemail.com

Right

Summary or objective

What follows your name is the summary or objective statement.

Being a statement doesn’t necessary mean it has to be a couple of sentences. It can also be a bullet list. In fact, this is the better way of writing your summary or objective.

Going by the powerful effect of using numbers, a list of four accomplishments is easy to spot compared to four accomplishments in a short paragraph. The fact that they’ve been listed means that they can be easily counted.

Also, there is a distinctive look to it. These are easy to remember and they quickly stand out.

But the paragraph versus bullet list debate is not the most important one here. That title goes to the summary versus objective debate.

You might have read or heard that objectives have no place in a modern resume. Those on this side of the fence say that employers don’t want to know what you want to achieve. They want to know what you can do for them.

Although this is true, the conclusion doesn’t take into account the fact that a career objective can be tuned for the employer.

Should you use a career objective or professional summary?

This is the logical question you’ll be asking after reading the above. The answer is quite simple.

A career objective is best used by job applicants who have little or no work experience. A summary on the other hand is best for those with experience to show off.

Here is a very short guide:

Use a career objective when…

  • Just entering the workforce
  • Making a career change
  • Returning to the job market after a long break

Use a professional summary when…

  • Loaded with tons of work experience in the field
  • Have career-specific achievements to show off
  • Moving to a different company but similar position/role

Now that you know when to use what, how do you actually write them for maximum effect?

Here’s the best advice for you: write your full resume before coming to this section.

The reason is simple. Whatever goes into the summary or objective is really a borrowing from your work experience, education and skills.

As such, listing everything you have done and the skills which make you a unique candidate helps you to pick the best. You highlight the best of your work and use them to pitch your value and candidature in the shortest time possible.

Remember that hiring managers have little time and patience. Unless your resume proves that it’s worth being read to the end, it won’t. That means not making a powerful and lasting impression.

Here are examples of resume summaries.

Ineffective resume summary

Public Relations manager with lots of experience writing copy and press releases. Utilized networking skills to develop strategic relations with industry stakeholders and media influencers. Created a good image of company and oversaw CSR activities.

Wrong
Effective resume summary

PR manager with over 5 years experience developing promoting positive image of company through press releases to TIME magazine and Wall Street Journal. Managed PR and marketing budgets of up to $500,000 and ran social media campaigns which improved brand awareness by 50%.

Right

When it comes to the objective, the advise is still the same though the content of the objective is different.

The essence of writing an objective is to try and convince the employer that a compromise in your favor will be worth it. You’re basically saying, “Although I don’t have the work experience you’re looking for, I have the knowledge and some special skills to do a perfect job.”

Use language that shows how you can use your knowledge and skills to benefit the company. Talk of previous achievements which prove that you can handle tough situations faster and better.

In everything you say, make sure it’s all tuned to the benefit of the company. This is how you show that you’ll be valuable.

Here’s an example of how to do it.

Ineffective resume objective

Recent Stanford graduate with experience writing blog articles and marketing material. Skilled in using social media and writing press releases. Seeking job as PR officer so as to utilize my skills.

Wrong
Effective resume objective

Energetic and flexible Stanford graduate with a major in public persuasion and internship experience of 2 years at New York Times. Produced blog content which increased engagement rates by 30% and spearheaded conflict resolution talks leading to White House dropping charges against NYT journalist. Seeking PR position where persuasion skills would be utilized.

Right

Work experience

We’ve just mentioned work experience. Do you have it?

If you’re looking for your first public relations job, you might quickly say “No.” And that’s understandable. But have you really no work experience at all?

If you don’t have any work experience at all, then that’s a pretty bad place to start. Whatever the reason for that, you may need to first volunteer for some roles somewhere. Even not-for-profit organizations can be a good place to start.

Employers prefer hiring people who have some experience of what it means to work in a company. This is to help them avoid training you on basics like work ethic, teamwork, deadlines etc.

But if you’re like many first-time job candidates, then you actually have some work experience though you didn’t see it as such.

Examples of work experience you can mention include:

  • Instances of successful conflict resolution
  • Appointment to leadership roles
  • Volunteer work
  • Freelance work
  • Projects you worked on in campus

Whatever you write in this section, ensure it’s not a mere duty or responsibility you had. You should list the accomplishments you have. These should also be measurable though it’s understandable if not everything contains numbers.

Here’s how to write this.

Ineffective work experience

Public Relations Officer
Blue Line Coaches
2016 – Current

  • Writing exciting blog content
  • Developed good relations with media personalities for company’s benefit
  • Helped marketing team run social media campaigns

Wrong
Effective work experience

Public Relations Officer
Blue Line Coaches
2016 – Current

  • Wrote copy which increased engagement by 45%
  • Built strategic relations with media outlets and earned premium space for advertising at 20% less normal cost
  • Got special feature coverage on prestigious American Coaches magazine

Right

Education

Your education background as a PR professional is pretty basic. As long as you have a degree in public relations or other related field like marketing, you can get a PR job.

If you have been in the field for some time, then you might have done some specialization courses to improve your chances of career growth. Those will help you better pitch your candidature.

When listing your academic qualifications, remember to use the reverse chronological order.

Your most recent successes will always be the most important—unless they’re not directly relevant to the job.

If you haven’t done any PR-specific job and are wondering whether your education can be tweaked for the job, then the answer is yes.

When all you have is a university degree, then it’s time to be smart.

List your education as you normally would. Then, taking a hint from the job description, list four or five course units or school projects which are relevant to the job.

Below is an example of how to write this section.

Wrong way of writing your education

BA in Public Relations and Social Communication
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2012 – 2016

Wrong
Right way of writing your education

BA in Public Relations and Social Communication
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2012 – 2016
Relevant Coursework

  • Strategic Communication in Public Relations
  • Public Relations Campaigns
  • Mass communication and persuasion
  • Marketing and advertising

Right

Skills

And finally, the skills section.

As it’s popularly said, coming last doesn’t mean it’s the least important.

The skills section is an important part of your resume and you shouldn’t underestimate it. Whereas what you’ve talked about in the work experience and education can be used to deduce your skills, no one has the time to do that.

Recruiters don’t want to make assumptions. They want to make a judgment on what you say. Therefore, go ahead and tell them what skills make you worth being employed by them.

The biggest trap for you here will be to list skills just because you read about them and think they’re valuable. You should also list skills which are related to the keywords in the job description of the job post.

Apart from the usual skills people list about teamwork and communication, there are some which are specific to public relations. These are the ones you should list first then followed by the others.

Here are a few you can consider mentioning. If you like a skill but don’t have it, then look for ways of learning it first.

  • Copywriting / Copyediting
  • Research
  • Brand management
  • Social media savvy (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, WhatsApp)
  • Marketing
  • Multimedia
  • Creativity
  • Customer engagement
  • Relationship building
  • Negotiation
  • Flexibility
  • Communication
  • Strategic thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Public speaking
  • Strategic communication
  • Persuasion
  • Marketing and advertising

PUBLIC RELATIONS RESUME SAMPLES

Have you noticed the differences in the examples given in the above sections?

Now here are two resumes that put it all together to make a beautiful resume for any PR job candidate. Whether you’re looking for your very first job or are seasoned and looking to move to a better-paying company, we got you covered.

Check out these resumes for your reference and remember that using our resume templates makes the writing easy.

Entry-level Public Relations resume sample

Right

Experienced Public Relations resume sample

Right

CONCLUSION

It’s clear that there’s a big difference between average PR resumes and the ones we’ve shown you here. If you were a hiring manager, would it be difficult to see why one candidate will better serve your company over others?

Make it easy for the hiring manager to choose you and cut short your job hunting period.

Pick one of our resume templates and go for that PR position today.

Public Relations Resume: Sample and Complete Guide [+2 Examples]

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