What’s Missing from Entry-Level PR Candidates Right Now

We recently sat down with Alyson Roy, the Co-Founder of Fashion PR agency, AMP3 PR, our “Agency of the Year” winner at the 2018 Bespoke Communication Awards, to discuss what she looks for and what she feels is lacking in entry-level job applicants today.

What do you look for in a job application?

I’d say we easily receive 10 incoming job applicants per day via email, and to me, this email is the first point of entry and tells me a lot about the candidate. Gone are the days of writing a brief email and attaching a Cover Letter with more info. I want you to hook me in the body of the email—this is the first place to show you really understand the art of “the pitch” starting with how you pitch yourself. If it’s intriguing enough to convince me to click through to your resume, that’s very telling that you’ll also be great at pitching future clients to the media. Conversely, if the outreach is generic, that’s a red flag. Even when we’re not actively hiring, I find myself filing the great applications into a special folder to come back to the next time we have an opportunity.

Hook me in the body of the email—this is the first place to show you really understand the art of “the pitch” starting with how you pitch yourself.

What are some examples of job pitches that have really stood out to you?

With our most recent hire, she checked several boxes! First, she had a stellar subject line (“My under promise”), and then, she actually quoted me from an article she found online, where I talked about how important it is in PR to “under promise” and over deliver. From there, she pledged what her under promise would be. The entire pitch flowed perfectly, kept my attention, and showed throughout that it was very obviously tailored directly to AMP3 PR. As an added bonus, she also created a “Portfolio” (not something that is standard in PR), showing clippings of actual work she had done at her various internships including writing samples, social media posts, newsletter designs, press placements, and more.

How can someone stand out in the Interview?

Showing a true understanding of what it is we really do in our job is crucial, so it’s really important to be well researched beforehand. It’s inevitable that at the end of any interview, the interviewer is going to ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”. I can’t tell you how many times the candidate will turn down this opportunity and say they think I’ve covered everything. Pre-plan some questions that show you’ve done your research and demonstrate an understanding of the work. I love it when I get asked questions about specific clients or skills, and even better, when someone stumps me! For me, it’s not how you answer the questions, but how you ask the questions that leaves me feeling impressed.

What’s missing in entry-level candidates today?

There is so much information and opportunity available to budding PR pros today thanks to the digital era. From webinars to panel discussions, and networking events to live feeds on social media, you can learn so much. When we’re looking at applications, it’s really not about the degree you have or the school you went to anymore, it’s about demonstrating your real-world experience, and showing that you’ve taken advantage of everything that’s available. I’m looking for that hungry attitude.

For this reason, at AMP3, we actually host a complimentary Fashion PR Boot Camp called “CAMP3” that students can apply for. The camp includes education on pitch creation, an NYFW crash course, social media PR tactics, data analysis, how to excel at a PR internship, and guest speakers including a journalist and an influencer to answer a Q&A on the do’s & don’ts of pitching. Our goal is to mentor and empower the next generation of PR pros and to encourage best practices to shape the industry going forward.

For me, it’s not how you answer the questions, but how you ask the questions that leaves me feeling impressed.

There’s a terrible stigma out there that says Millennials are either lazy or entitled. What do you think of that?

That’s absolutely not true! Everyone I see pursuing PR loves the career specifically because it is so goal and results-oriented. In publicity, there can be a lot of stress and also a lot of ownership when it comes to doing a great job. From the students that attend our boot camp just to learn and soak in as much as they can, to the job hunters we see applying to work for us, we can feel the hustle out there and it’s so inspiring!

Old school resumes always have that infamous “Skills” section. What’s the one skill that you’re really looking for?

I’d have to say agility. The definition of PR is a moving target right now and new trends are happening quickly. The worlds of social media, influencer marketing, and search engine optimization are always evolving, as is the role they play in PR, and our clients expect us to stay ahead of it. The ability to anticipate these trends and adapt is a quality we look for in our employees. Job candidates can show this through the diversity of their experiences, and a clear passion for life-long learning.

For more information about AMP3’s complimentary PR boot camp or to apply, visit their website here.

About This Author

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. A decade later, Crosby is a successful fashion marketing strategist who spends her time championing PR Couture's growth and mentoring fashion publicists through her signature online course PRISM. Learn more about opportunities to work directly with Crosby at her website crosbynoricks.com