guiding the career in public relations

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Update Your Resume Regularly

July 12th, 2013 · 2 Comments

The days of working 40 years for the same company and retiring with a nice pension and a gold watch have long since come and gone. Job hopping is the new normal for members of the Millennial Generation (born between 1977-1997), who have an average stay of just 4.4 years at each job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that would mean that these younger workers can expect to have between 15-20 jobs in their working lives! As a result, they must always keep their resumes or curriculum vitae (CV) up to date, especially if they work in public relations.

An ever-changing industry: The internet had a dramatic effect on public relations, since the job has always been about managing the dissemination of information, and no other form of media can compare with the internet when it comes to doing just that. The fortunes of a celebrity or even a global corporation can be altered forever with a single story, post, email, or tweet. The PR expert of today must be a master of all forms of media, especially the virtual one. They must be able to control the spread of information between their clients, whether individual or organization, and the public, which isn’t easy in this day and age. Not surprisingly, the average PR man or woman changes jobs quite frequently, more often, in fact, than that 4.4 year average we quoted earlier. It is no wonder than that most of the workers in this mercurial industry update their resumes on a regular basis.

How regular is regular?  Every worker in the modern economy should revise his/her resume at least once a year. For PR workers, we recommend biannual updates, since a lot can happen in 12 months at a public relations firm or office. As we said, the axe could fall at any time and you should never wait until you lose your job to update your CV. Failure to do so could prevent you from landing your next position in days rather than months.

What to focus on: Contrary to popular belief, most interviewers don’t want to hear your life story. Because the PR industry is changing so rapidly, they only want to know what you’ve done lately. In other words, an interviewer is unlikely to ask you many questions about college or what you did a decade ago. After all, that was an entirely different landscape you were working in. What they really want to know is what you’ve accomplished in the last 12 or 24 months of your career. Interviewers will ask questions about major projects, who you worked with, and what technologies you utilized to accomplish your goals. Be sure to add all recent projects, awards, etc, each time you update your resume.

What do prospective employers want to see?  Although they often have less job security than the average worker, PR men and women have incredibly interesting, exciting jobs where they get to work with powerful and important people on a regular basis. When revising you resume, always include you most exhilarating assignments and describe them in such a way so as to whet the interviewers’ appetite. You want him/her to ask you about that project so that you can demonstrate your passion for your career.

It is also important to note that you should ideally update your resume after each major project you complete. Six months or a year may be too long to wait, since you may forget or misremember important information, feelings, and facts in that time. So, if you made a substantial contribution to an important project, always add it to your resume as soon as possible.

The benefits:  As we mentioned, revising your resume on a regular basis ensures greater accuracy. It also makes the process less unpleasant should you lose your job. There are few things more depressing than having to update your resume after you’ve been laid off. You might feel angry or even like a failure. But if your resume is current, you can hit the ground running and start your job search.

Frequent updating also saves time. Taking 15 or 20 minutes every few months to revise you resume will save you hours over the slacker who only update his/her resume when they change jobs, every 4.4 years, on average.

Martha Buckly is a freelance writer based in the USA where she currently works with assignment writing service. She wrote her first article at the age of 9 and after so many years she is still passionate about writing.

Tags: Advice from a Pro · Guest Post · Job Search

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jill I. // Feb 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing these tips! As a college senior, they will definitely come in handy this year. I think I have a pretty good resume right now, but I am worried about some of my past jobs and internships. I am a PR major with a Political Science minor, so the majority of the work I’ve done has been in politics. Do you think I should include these experiences on my resume? I am afraid to turn off a future employer just because we do not belong to the same political party.

  • 2 Culpwrit // Feb 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    A resume heavily slanted to political work can turnoff some employers. Perhaps you can consolidate some of your prior political work under a single block, citing accomplishments that will be of interest to a prospective employer.

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