If you want to land a job in public relations, you need to know how to write engaging copy. You need to understand target audiences, and how to reach them through a variety of tactics. And of course, you need to be professional, smart and a hard worker.
We all know these things, but there’s one thing missing from almost every job description that can help you land a job — the perfect job — almost every time.
You need to be yourself.
Now I’m not talking about simply personality (I mean, of course, you shouldn’t be a phony!). I’m talking about demonstrating those unique, individual interests and skills that set you apart from the pack.
For example: When I was studying abroad the summer before finishing graduate school, I kept a daily London travel blog with posts about what I was doing and seeing in my own, unique (and somewhat self-deprecating) voice. I love travelling, writing and photography, so I combined them into one blog for three full months. It wasn’t a professional blog showing all of my expertise. No, it was me doing something I loved (travel, writing and photography) and following my passions.
The result? The first agency I worked for read it, told me how much they enjoyed it and hired me soon after.
Following — and acting upon — your passions gives you an edge. It shows that you take initiative, that you have a zest for life and that you have a life outside of work. Sure, employers want their prospective employees to be devoted to the job – but they don’t want robots.
They want humans who love their work, but also love their free time, because that makes for a happier employee all around. (Side note: If they don’t appreciate you having a life outside of work, that is a glaring red flag.)
So how do you start pursuing your “outside the 9–5” passions?
Start a blog: Write about animal rights, fashion, cooking, travel or anything that you truly love. It doesn’t have to be a daily blog, or even weekly. Update it when you want, and above all, make sure you enjoy it.
Get visual: If you’d rather not write after you’ve been writing all day, consider telling your story through photographs. Tumblr is a great place to host a “photo blog” where you can share photographs, design work, quotes or anything else you’re interested in.
Go on camera: Do you love cooking? Start a recipe channel on YouTube. Are you a fashion fiend? Share your favorite finds on Vimeo.
Employers want more than a résumé; they want a unique, passionate person who inspires them. And what’s more inspiring than following your dreams in and out of the office?
Stephanie Vermillion is a senior account executive for Litzky Public Relations in Hoboken, New Jersey. She is co-chair of the PRSA New Professionals blog. Follow her on Twitter at @SMVermillion.