Apr 9

April showers bring resumes: How to make sure yours stands out

April showers bring resumes


It’s almost spring in West Michigan, and the deluge has begun: unsolicited emails requesting informational coffee, internship consideration, resume review and other employment precursors are already crowding my in-box.

I so appreciate that Sabo PR is in the running for consideration. Since I set out my shingle 15 years ago, we have grown nicely, with much of that growth coming in the last five years. That has allowed us to hire great team members, expand our service offerings and attract new clients around the state.

And that means we want to keep our eyes open for new talent. We offer a paid internship each winter that gives the right candidate an opportunity to see agency life first-hand while building a portfolio of meaningful work. We sponsor an event from Grand Valley State University’s chapter of PRSSA each year.

We do informational meetings when our schedules allow, although steer clear of job shadows – most of my day is spent on the phone or on my computer, often working on confidential client projects, so my day doesn’t lend itself to job shadows.

What you can do

But we can’t say yes to everyone who reaches out, particularly at this time of year. So how can you catch my eye:

  • Send a PDF: of your resume and a link to an online portfolio. I won’t open Word documents from folks I don’t know – and I’m not alone. Turn your resume into a PDF, slug it with your name rather than just “resume” and ship it with a link to press releases, media pitches, writing samples, etc.
  • Know who we are, part 1: Sabo PR is a full-service communications firm offering a host of services. Advertising is not among them. Be sure you have the skill set we need – and we offer the services you are selling – before you reach out.
  • Know who we are, part 2: While I know students reach out broadly with their asks, try and add a line that lets me know what about Sabo PR resonated with you. Don’t simply cut and paste: spend a minute or two on our website and weave something into your note that lets me know you did a little due diligence on us.
  • Don’t mention the competition: I received an email last month that referenced a competitor of ours who’s teaching a PR class that this job-seeker was taking. In his ask, he noted that said competitor “on several occasions claimed that I have great public relations insight.” Super – start there with your job hunt.
  • Careful with your social media footprint: If I get to the point of reviewing a resume and clip, I’ll take one more step before reaching out and agreeing to coffee or a conversation: I check out students on social media. You can learn a lot by reviewing LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when it comes to professionalism, grammar and content creation.
  • Proofread your ask: I received a really great note from a soon-to-be grad last month. She had clearly done her homework on us – she reviewed our website, mentioned our social contract and connected it with her personal values. But she had one unfortunate sentence that made me stop reading:“I have recently concluded a PR Internship at a dull-service digital marketing agency….” “
  • Show some enthusiasm: I received two asks on the same day. The first started this way: “I am currently searching for a summer internship in the field of PR. I am a second year student at Michigan State University. Attached is my resume. Feel free to look it over and give me a call or email back….” Serviceable, but yawn. The second email started: “My roommate told me about how highly her aunt speaks of your company and to reach out to you. I have looked at your website a little today, and I do agree it looks amazing and your company seems like such a wonderful environment to work in. I would absolutely love to get a cup of coffee….” Sure, there’s flattery built into that very long sentence, but her enthusiasm seems genuine – and I’ll take that any time.
  • Keep in touch: While we may not have an immediate opening, we do like to keep in touch with folks who show promise. We had a job candidate who was not selected for a position last year but has done a good job of quarterly check-ins to see where we are and to let us know where she is and what she’s been doing.

Beginning your career is both an exciting and scary time. The unfortunate truth is that there are thousands of students, just like you, vying for the same positions. As with all effective communication, tailor your messaging so it resonates with the receiver. If you take some time to go the extra mile, I’m sure you’ll be rewarded in the end.

Looking for more career advice? Check out this blog with 28 tips that we polled from communication professionals around the country.

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