BY: Maura Olek (’17)
Whether you are a fifth year senior or a freshman, the idea of making a resume or portfolio (especially one that will stand out) can be very intimidating and overwhelming. On Monday night, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF) chapters hosted a workshop to ease students’ minds.
A resume is the first impression you make on potential employers, so it needs to stand out and really show who you are in a concise and attractive way.
Pennington’s main piece of advice when starting to build your resume is to make a master list of all of your skills and accomplishments. Once you have everything together, you will need to be your own self-critic and decide which skills will be most valuable for the position for which you are applying.
Much of Pennington’s advice revolved around “it depends.” She suggested having a main resume that could work well for a variety of jobs as well as a resume that can be tailored to more specific positions. She said it is okay and expected for job-seekers to have multiple resume versions.
One thing you can do to help yourself is to research the company you are applying to, she said. Looking at the company website and seeing what its social media channels are like will give you a good sense of the company culture, which will help you target your resume. If the company seems laid back and creative, you should tailor your resume to match this theme; if it has a more serious look you will want to make your resume more conservative, she noted.
Another important note that was touched on was the topic of personal social media channels. Even though they are personal accounts, you should be mindful of what you post because 93% of employers use or plan to use social media in recruiting, according to a 2014 survey by the recruiting firm Jobvite. Even if your profile is private do not assume your content will not be seen by them. It is not uncommon for an employer to ask around about applicants and they tend to work around it in order to get a sense of the person they could potentially be hiring.
The portfolio segment of the workshop was especially important to Communication Arts majors, as well as graphic designers, as it is where we showcase our best work.To build a good portfolio, you once again have to be your own critic. You should only include work that best represents the unique skills you have. Make sure the work you include is eye-catching and tells the story behind the creation of the piece.
A portfolio can be less formal than a resume, so you should put a bit of your personality into it. Pennington noted how she put the odd skill of cake decorating on her resume and portfolio and it ended up being a conversation starter in an interview.
So, whether you are a freshman just starting a resume and portfolio or an already established professional looking for a new job, this is not an easy process. This event hosted by PRSSA and AAF was extremely informational and gave students great advice. For more information from the session from Mandy Pennington’s workshop click here to check out the presentation slides!
Maura is a senior advertising and public relations major. She is the social media editor for The Wood Word and Her Campus Marywood. She is the secretary for Marywood PRSSA and AAF. Her favorite things are dogs, traveling, and coffee.