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How to make a good impression and land a role

The PR and comms recruitment process in the PR & comms & creative sector is renowned for being tougher than most industries: lengthy applications, numerous interview stages, group interviews and hefty presentations are common.

Even with all the capabilities and experience in the world to do the job, mastering the PR & comms recruitment process to land a new role is a whole new skill, that often comes with practice.

With over 30 years’ experience recruiting and headhunting in the PR & comms industry between us – we want to give candidates a leg up, with valuable advice on mastering the hiring process to leave the best first impression and land a job.

1. Build your digital profile

Your LinkedIn profile is like a shop window. Always put the best offers on display.

When recruiters or headhunters are out shopping (…talent searching) for a new vacancy with a client or reviewing candidates off the back of an application, they’re looking for good quality.

So if you’ve got something to offer, don’t be shy, make your digital window shine by keeping LinkedIn up to date, highlighting who you are, your key projects and achievements, and engage with valuable content to build a personal brand.

Even when you’re not looking, sometimes awesome opportunities find their way to you.

2. Spice up your CV

We’re not saying you need to get crafty, making personalised gift boxes or personalising your CV to every brand (although in some cases, this can make your CV stand out when applying for famous brands, creative agencies, and junior roles).

We encourage candidates to create a visual online CV or portfolio to demonstrate your work, as it’s the best way to show how amazing you are in an easy-to-read format.

You don’t have to be an Adobe pro either – there’s loads of templates to steal or make your own CV through these creative websites: Canva, Visual CV and CV Maker.

It’s not just about experience. The clients we work with want to see folk who can add to their culture, not retro fit into it. So be the best person you can possibly be, bring your authentic self into your CV. That will bring opportunities within environments and teams that celebrate exactly who you are and nurture what makes you, you.

3. An attention-grabbing message

Once you’ve nailed your CV, before you can hit send, you need a brief personal note that’ll capture the recruiter’s attention with your enthusiasm.

Keep it punchy, avoid long sentences or paragraphs and bring in bullet points to highlight your credentials, making it as easy to digest as possible (hint: bring in keywords from the job description).

Briefly outline why you’re the perfect candidate for the job and a good match for the company, and lead with a few of your top achievements (relevant to the role).
*Don’t forget to make your awesome personality shine throughout the message too.

4. Great news – You’ve got the call up – Be prepared for anything

If you’re wondering where to start to prep for interviews in a creative industry, here are a few pointers:

  • Create a brief intro about yourself, both professionally and personally.
  • The job description is your bible. Digest it, dissect it and add your key projects, skills and wins to each element of it. This will keep you focused on giving the interviewer what they’re looking for, whilst selling yourself.
  • Review the website.
  • Check the socials channels.
  • Research the interviewers on LinkedIn.
  • Prepare your own favourite campaigns/inspiration and why they stand out to you.
  • Analyse the brand’s PR, comms and marketing activity – outline the good and bad, and be ready to give your rationale.

5. Dig deeper in the interview

The interview process isn’t just about the interviewer getting to know you.
You need to figure out if it’s the right role for you and asking questions is a great way to do that. Plus, asking questions gives the impression you’re curious, enthusiastic and engaged.

Of course, your own interests in the role will guide your questions, but here are a few suggestions to help get started:

  • Why are you looking to hire for this role? Why now?
  • What projects are you (or the team) currently working on / have you got coming up?
  • What was it about the agency or brand that initially attracted you and how do you feel now?
  • What does your diversity policy look like?

So now get working on these 5 tips to make a good impression and get a job.

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