Learning from the Pros

If you’re a PR student, having the opportunity to dialogue with recruiters from one of the world’s largest independent public relations firms is invaluable and exciting.  Yesterday, Waggener Edstrom, one such firm, invited several UO PR students into their Portland offices.  We had the opportunity to learn more about Waggener Edstrom and hear recruiters’ perspectives on resumes, personal branding and more.

Six members of WE’s Talent Acquisition Team talked with us about what they look for in a job candidate and offered tips for job seekers in the PR industry.  My own job search won’t happen for a couple years, but I learned a lot from the tips they shared.  Some of the “gems”:

  • It’s important to demonstrate your digital fluency to a prospective employer.  This was a new phrase for me, which I understood to mean your ability to demonstrate proficiency in a number of different digital media.  It’s not just about being able to use a Flip Cam, though; it’s also about being able to demonstrate how you use digital platforms like social media.
  • Four C’s: Though it wasn’t specifically communicated as “the Four C’s”, the team discussed the importance of knowing the company, its competition, its clients when you come into an interview, and the necessity of coming to an interview with questions.  It seems obvious, but I know that I can spend so much time anticipating questions that I forget to do extensive background research.  Doing background research will inevitably lead to questions you want to ask the interviewers.
  • You can share anecdotes during an interview that aren’t necessarily related to a public relations internship or experience.  In my case, I didn’t gain PR experience while working as a nanny this summer, but I still learned a lot about solving problems on the fly, working with a team and dealing with long-term challenges.  In an interview, I can share those experiences and what I learned from them.  It’s not a replacement for a PR internship, but non-PR endeavors can still prove valuable in the job application process.
  • Be prepared to accept an intern role post-graduation that has high potential to lead to a full-time position.  Even though I’ve always pictured accepting a full-time job after graduation, the Waggener Edstrom workshop helped me understand how a post-grad internship could fit in nicely with a long-term career plan.  It may seem counterintuitive, but it could also help get your career off the ground.

While I’m far from a PR pro, that’s what I gained from the Waggener Edstrom workshop.  The Talent Acquisition Team shared several other tips, but I can’t post them all here without writing a small novel.  Aside from implementing what I learned yesterday, I’m looking forward to learning from the Waggener Edstrom Career Blog, which posts WE employee profiles, shares interview tips and more.  Waggener Edstrom Careers also tweets: @WE_Careers

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