In one very particular way, communications professionals have a great disadvantage – or advantage depending on how you look at it – in the job search than other professions:
We’re communicators whose talent is based on ability to communicate well, and, unlike most other professions, our résumés and cover letters are, literally, samples of our work. If you’re a writer like me, your writing is right there front-and-center for everyone to see on the face of your résumé. If you’re a designer, your résumé is an addendum to your portfolio just like a product sample or screenshot. If you’re a magazine editor, here’s one more example of your editing talent. If you’re a media professional, your CV is simply an extension of your chosen media. If you‘re any type of communications professional, your résumé and cover letter are no different than another sample in your portfolio.
Check that, it is different than other samples in your job-search arsenal: it’s the one a recruiter or hiring manager is most likely to see. It’s a gateway to the rest of your work; if your resume materials don’t reflect good writing, good design, or good communications, no one is ever going to see the rest of your portfolio.
And this goes doubly for public relations and marketing professionals. Your résumé submissions are simply nothing more than materials and one-sheets for the product of you. Introducing the new-and-improved, state-of-the-art, direct-to-you, money-back-guaranteed, fiber-rich, fun-size, easy-to-use, high-speed, late-breaking, no-hassle, 99 44/100% pure you! But wait, there’s more! Operators are standing by! Want to sell a product or service? You best be able to show you know how to sell yourself first.
When you’re looking over your cover letter and your résumé, which of course you’ve tailored to the specific job for which you’re applying and addressed directly to the hiring manager you need to impress, take a step back and view them with a writer and designer’s eye. See it as a portfolio sample, see it critically as you would a television program or print article or marketing campaign someone would bring to you.
Now go back and look at your résumé materials. Make it shine, to make you shine. Because your job is to put a product in front of a hiring manager and convince them that they want to order one of you right now because this is a limited time offer. You’re the product that every office needs.
In fact, tell them if they act now, you’ll throw in no-charge shipping and a second one free!
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Michael is a Copywriter, Creative Marketer, and Broadcaster with 15 years in Programming, Marketing, Promotions, and New Media at television and radio stations in markets like Philadelphia, Syracuse, Albany, Wichita, and Kansas City, as an advertising writer in marketing departments and at ad agencies, and as a freelance copywriter. A Philly native and graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School, Michael is available for freelance work, full-time writing, and wedding receptions.
"Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright." - Aaron Sorkin, "The West Wing"