Congratulations on your graduation! As you continue to research and apply for your first big PR job, make sure you aren’t neglecting your online presence. A great cover letter, resume and portfolio will only take you so far if the tone of your social media accounts is more amateur than brand ambassador. Yes, we are looking.
Checking out your social media accounts is one way for us to differentiate you from all the other applicants and help filter down that big stack of resumes to a handful of potentials we may actually want to hire. After all, we aren’t just looking for someone who could do a good job, we are looking for greatness.
As you look to acquire a PR position, your very first assignment is to act the part and present yourself in a way that makes it a no-brainer for hiring managers to contact you for an interview and then offer you the job.
Here’s a handy process you can use to make sure your profiles are interview-ready:
1. Define your personal brand for professional – getting a PR job – purposes
I tweet about a variety of things, from client happenings to breaking news, to the “leave you speechless but ya gotta say something” happenings on Scandal.
Hiring managers want to see your personality, likes, and interests. But we don’t want to see a rant about your deadbeat boyfriend, a snap of body shots with your girls, or anything questionable behind you in that recent selfie. We’re not judging you, (ok, maybe we are a little), we’re mainly concerned that you know how to be smart with your social presence, and are using it to show off your quirks and talents in a positive light. We also have to consider how our clients as well as media, might react to finding your public persona.
“But this is me, Nancy and I want to keep it real.”
You’re still keeping it real. Really PR-ready and PRofessional. If you need a place to keep it any real-er than that, create a private profile just for friends and guard entry like well, a bodyguard.
You are entering an image and perception-driven industry. Perception is reality.
2. Ensure Your Information is Updated and Consistent
Google yourself and see what comes up. For any social media account profiles, make sure you are able to login and update your account. It’s time to review your profile for consistency, accuracy and content. Choose the same image (or similar) for your profile pic, update your headline, and evaluate what you’ve published. If anything is questionable, delete the content in question, change your privacy settings, or delete the profile entirely.
3. Follow the brands and agencies you hope to work for (or have recently applied to work for).
This is 101, but you’d be surprised how many candidates don’t sign up for a company email newsletter, and don’t follow companies they are interested in on social media. We will check. We want to know that you are interested in being a part of our community. We are also going to see if you are following any industry organizations, editors, magazines, influencers, etc – which lets us know if you are in the know. For PR agencies, we want you to follow us and our clients.
In the PR industry we’re actively thinking of ways to ensure a response from media contacts that results in great coverage. As a pre-PRofessional, it’s the same thing except instead of the media, you’re trying to get a response for that job you really want. So embrace the challenge, and make sure that your social media profiles are working for you – not against you.