Today’s Secret: How to “Show” Organizational Skills on a Cover Letter or Resume
The Publicity Club’s board of directors has received questions weighing on the minds of today’s communications students. Members of our board have provided you with answers – off the cuff, honest and useful information to help today’s college students prepare for their careers. Have more questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you the answers.
Today’s question: When applying to a PR agency, when you are likely to service multiple clients at once, is organization a top quality you seek in new hires? How do you “show” that in a resume or cover letter?
- Yes, organization and being able to effectively multi-task are critical. I would recommend showing that by using action verbs that showcase your organizational skills and give examples of where you lead projects/assignments from start to finish.
- Without a doubt. It’s so critical that a colleague of mine coined “ATD,” or “attention to detail,” and often references it when thinking about what she’s looking for in a team member. An agency won’t only have multiple clients – frequently, those clients will also have multiple initiatives and priorities in play at any given time. Staying organized and ATD are so important because as an entry-level team member, you are the glue that holds everyone accountable and on track.
- Think about projects you’ve led or contributed to where several pieces had to come together for a successful outcome. They could be research projects at school, leadership roles within student organizations, volunteer work for charitable events or internship achievements, for example. Then think about how you contributed to that success by managing multiple priorities. The detail and results will help paint a picture for your audience.
- Simultaneously, don’t ignore the presentation of your work. For many, a resume or cover letter is a first impression. Typos, spelling mistakes and run-on sentences are red flags when it comes to ATD and organization. Don’t rush to deliver a product that’s lacking in quality. Take the time to proof-read and make sure you’re conveying your messages clearly.
- Organization is important for PR, although not always a top quality. Show that you can be thoughtful in your organization by how you organize your actual resume and cover letter. Tell me a story using your accomplishments and experience as the plot points. That will show you can stay focused and organized in other elements that are critical for PR.
- Applicants that can succinctly demonstrate how a tactic(s) they were responsible for translated into a measurable business outcome go to the top of the list in resume screening. It shows they have started or can connect the dots between tactics and strategic objectives.
- Being able to juggle and prioritize is an important skill. It’s not easy to spot on a resume so we focus on it in the interview and ask for specific examples/scenarios so we can get a good feel for how they manage their time.
- Yes, organization is definitely a quality we look for! I recommend including mentioning organizational skills as a strength (as long as they are) in a cover letter, and provide examples to back it up in a resume. But it’s one of the first topics I bring up in an interview, so be ready to discuss exactly how you stay organized with real-life examples.
Thank you to board members from CerconeBrown, KoMarketing, Liberty Mutual, LPP, March Communications, PAN, and Text100 for addressing these questions. What other advice do you have on this topic? Tweet us your advice to @PubClubofNE #Tips.
Next up, we’ll answer a question about the best way to cold contact someone over email or through LinkedIn. If you have advice to give, or more questions to ask, send it along to email@example.com.