Conference Corner: Back to the BAYsics

One of the best things about attending the PRSSA National Conference is getting to gather all the great information about what to do when it comes to finding a job. Below are some of the great tips from Emma Shiflett (a recruitment coordinator for Edelman) and Brooke Kruger (the founder of KC Partners). 

(pic courtesy of

(pic courtesy of

Landing your first job or internship

A lot of being able to land an internship or your first job has to do with branding.

You need to be able to represent yourself as a pro and stand out from the rest of the people who want that internship or job. Can you produce videos? Do you excel with graphic design? Make yourself the most desirable candidate you can be.

Cover Letters + Resumes

From my own experience, cover letters are the worst part of applying for jobs. I don’t know about you, but talking myself up in a letter is very hard. What makes it even harder is that your cover letter can’t be long – it needs to be short. And it needs to be relevant.

What should be in a cover letter? Well, your first paragraph should be an introduction, talk about why you are great for the job. The cover letter shouldn’t exceed a page, but you need to get a lot on that page. You should include three to four key points about why you’re a good fit for the job and what you’ve done to make yourself the best candidate. Also, try to include something interesting and quirky about you – but make sure it isn’t too out there.

Your resume needs to be strong and standout from the rest and it needs to be strong.

 You do not need an objective statement.

 Always be consistent – if you bold company names, bold all of them, not just one. Use the same font. When you use color, be careful. Don’t make your font size any smaller than 11. Make it easy for employers to reach out to YOU.


 Have a clear, clean, crisp, concise, classic and simple one page resume.

 Don’t send your resume in the body of an email. Use a .doc or .pdf format.

 And, include links! If you have an online portfolio, link to those. Link to your social media accounts, too. Again, make it easy for them.

 Save as? Save your resume as: lastname_firstname.doc Ex: My resume is saved as: vontom-emily.doc or vontom-emily.pdf.

 You love PR. Put all your relevant PR experience on that resume.

 It’s a crazy social media, digital age. Have clean social media, show you can use platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Do you write a blog? It is all important to showcase!


Interviews are your chance to “wow” your potential employer and there is a LOT about interviews that you should know and practice before you head into one.

 Prepare. This is vital. It is hard to land a job without preparing for the interview. Research the company – know who they are and what they do.

 Never stop networking because you never know where your next job will come from.

 Have a website! Show off your self-online. Don’t be ashamed of who you are and what you love to do (within reason).

 Dress comfy and conservatively – play it safe.

 Know the schedule. Know what is happening during your interview, know who you are meeting with and when. If they don’t give you that information, ask for it. Research these people on LinkedIn – do you have anything in common with them?

 Bring copies of your resume. Have them ready to go in a folder so you aren’t fumbling around for them.

 Show your personality. Things potential employers love to see? Your curiosity, dynamics, ability to manage up, flexibility, confidence and passion.

 Demonstrate your skills when they ask you about your past jobs.

 ASK QUESTIONS! At least two – four questions is good. Make the best use of their time and yours.

 Bring water and maybe a small energy bar if there is a break between the people you’re interviewing with.

 Questions to prepare yourself: What do you like about this agency/company? What is a challenge you have overcome? What is your biggest success? Do you have any media hits? Show SOAR (strategy, objectives, action, result). Set up a story and make the conversation more interactive.

 Follow up. Send a thank you note, but don’t sell yourself. But do show/tell how you are even more excited about the opportunity now.

Emily Vontom

Vice President


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s