Resume Template: Public Relations

by | Resume Templates, Resume Templates: Marketing

As a public relations specialist, you understand the importance of making a great first impression.

When it comes to your job search, making a great first impression matters, too — and your first impression is your public relations resume.

A well-written resume can be the difference between getting called in for an interview and getting your materials tossed to the side.

So how do you write a great one? We’re going to show you how, one section at a time.

A great public relations resume shares with the hiring manager not only your duties from previous roles, but also what you learned and accomplished in each position. It uses your past experiences to show that you are the best possible candidate for the job you’re applying for.

It may seem daunting, but writing a great resume doesn’t have to be as hard as you think it’s going to be. The thing is, you probably already have all of the information and you just need to make sure it goes in the right places.

This article will help you do just that.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample public relations resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best public relations resume you possibly can.

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Public Relations Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Sandy Gates
sandygates@email.com
1 (302) 678-0764
Wilmington, DE 19806
linkedin.com/sandygates

Summary Statement:

Public Relations Specialist: Skilled Public Relations Specialist with experience in both corporate and media environments. Past roles have included drafting press releases, statement preparation, social media management, and image awareness Specializes in new client acquisitions, brand management, and online marketing. Adept at interpersonal relationships and communication.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Media Relations
  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Viral Marketing
  • Assertive
  • Organization
  • Research

Professional Experience:

New England Media Corp. | Wilmington, DE
Public Relations Specialist | May 2017 – Present

  • Worked with creative teams to develop story concepts and PR initiatives
  • Produced press releases and marketing strategies
  • Managed social media updates and authored marketing campaigns
  • Pitched concepts to print, digital, and broadcast media
  • Assisted in research projects and building influencer lists

Williams Consulting | Willmington, DE
Public Relations Manager | March 2014 – March 2017

  • Conceptualized PR ideas and produced story angles
  • Handled multiple accounts and client relationships/acquisitions
  • Delegated tasks to company PR team
  • Developed account strategies and client-facing materials
  • Supervised pitches to both national and local media

THY Solutions | Philadelphia, PA
Public Relations Consultant | July 2010 – December 2013

  • Executed projects assigned by PR manager
  • Integrated PR campaigns with consumer sales promotions
  • Refined measurement strategies for PR campaigns
  • Collaborated with PR team to identify new opportunities and improvements for brand
  • Created promotional marketing materials and visual merchandising

Education/Certifications

Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations

The University of Delaware, Newark, DE,
Class of 2010

Correct Resume Formatting

In the introduction, we mentioned that you already have all of the information you need, you just need to learn where it goes. Here’s why that’s so important.

Formatting can make or break your resume because hiring managers need to know right away where to find the information that they’re looking for.

This is because the typical hiring manager only looks at the average resume for about six seconds. If they can’t find the information they need in six seconds, your materials might get tossed in the trash.

For this reason, throughout your public relations resume you’re going to use a type of formatting called reverse chronological order.

To use this method, list your most recent position first and work backward through your work history, ensuring your most relevant details get seen first.

When it comes to your work history, don’t feel like you need to include every single job at every single company where you’ve ever worked.

With very few exceptions, your resume should stick to one page, so be selective about what you include. Keep it interesting, informative, and brief.

It’s critical that your public relations resume is easy to understand, by humans and bots alike (more on the bots topic later).

Use a straightforward font like Arial or Times New Roman and make sure to utilize white space to help guide the eye and make your resume easier to read. Similarly, try to avoid big blocks of text.

When it comes to formatting, remember that simple is best. This is not the place to try to stand out!

Finally, always double-check your finished resume for typos, spelling errors, and misaligned margins.

Your Resume Summary

If the hiring team is only going to look at your resume for six seconds, what should you do to grab their attention and convince them to keep reading? Try starting off with a resume summary first thing.

Starting off with a resume summary gives the reader a quick way to find your “greatest hits.” In two or three sentences, share your top skills, experiences, and attributes. Be as specific as you can – you don’t have a lot of space!

This section should be impressive. Why are you great at your job? What makes you a great potential candidate?

Here’s what that looks like for public relations specialists:

Yes!

Skilled Public Relations Specialist with experience in both corporate and media environments. Past roles have included drafting press releases, statement preparation, social media management, and image awareness. Specializes in new client acquisitions, brand management, and online marketing. Adept at interpersonal relationships and communication.

No!

I am an experienced public relations specialist with experience in many industries and environments.

What makes one summary better than the other?

The first example is informative and specific, while still being brief and snappy. It grabs the reader’s attention and inspires confidence in your abilities.

The second example does not tell us anything about you. Not only does it not share your accomplishments, but it doesn’t even tell us the basic duties of a public relations specialist. It also uses personal pronouns, which we do not recommend.

Areas of Expertise/Key Accomplishments

After your resume summary paragraph, you’re going to make a list of your key accomplishments.

Why a list?

This section is going to look a little bit different, in order to give the hiring team an easy way to see if you’re qualified for the position. A list can help make the most of those precious six seconds, because it gives the reader something to scan to see if it’s worth it to keep reading.

Here, you should include the skills you have that would make you stand out over other applicants. Do you have special leadership training or know how to use a particular computer program?

PRO TIP: Be sure to look at the job description when filling out this section. If the employer is looking for an applicant with certain skills, it will be listed here.

Example:

  • Media Relations
  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Viral Marketing
  • Assertive
  • Organization
  • Research

Have you heard of the terms hard skills and soft skills?

Hard skills are the technical skills you would learn in school or at work. They are objective and you can usually get better at them with practice. For example, coding or equipment operation would go in this category.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are hard to define. Unlike hard skills, they are subjective and can’t necessarily be taught. This category includes skills like time management, communication and leadership.

Public relations specialists tend to be very versatile, so be sure to include a mix of the two categories in your list.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas related to public relations to inform your skills section.)

Work History

While your skills list might show the hiring manager that you’re qualified enough for the role, you still need to show that you are the best possible candidate.

This is where your work history will come in. Your work experience is one of the most important sections because it gives the employer a good idea of what you would be able to accomplish in the new role.

Remember earlier when we mentioned a format called reverse chronological order? Use that in this section and list your most recent, relevant position and work your way backward through your work history.

Describe each position in three to five bullet points and be as specific as you can, discussing not only your duties, but what you accomplished during your time at the company.

Avoid using the first person by starting each bullet off with an action word to describe your experiences. Use strong language and try to not be repetitive – it will stand out in the small space.

Don’t forget that you only have one page, so be specific and select only your most relevant experiences from your work history to include here.

Yes!

New England Media Corp. | Wilmington, DE | Public Relations Specialist | May 2017 – Present

  • Work with creative teams to develop story concepts and PR initiatives
  • Produce press releases and marketing strategies
  • Manage social media updates and author marketing campaigns
  • Pitch concepts to print, digital, and broadcast media
  • Assist in research projects and building influencer lists

No!

New England Media Corp. | Wilmington, DE | Public Relations Specialist | May 2017 – Present

  • In charge of public relations
  • Research
  • Public relations strategy

The first example is specific, using an action word to start off each bullet point to share your accomplishments. It inspires confidence in your abilities as a public relations specialist and gives a good idea about what you’re like in the workplace.

The second example is vague and repetitive. It shares some, but not many, basic duties related to public relations, but not much else.

PRO TIP: If you have quantifiable information available to you, be sure to use it. Things like sales data or website traffic can be really useful in showing the impact you had at your job, if it’s easy to understand out of context.

What About Bots?

Earlier we mentioned that your resume needs to be easy to understand for not only human reviewers, but also bots.

What are bots?

Sometimes, an employer will get so many applications for a single role that they can’t read all of the materials from every single applicant. Because of this, some organizations will use software called Applicant Tracking Programs (ATS).

How do they work?

An ATS will be programmed to look for keywords and sift through the applications to find the resumes that use those particular words or phrases. It’s those applications that will be seen by human reviewers and possibly brought in for an interview.

In most cases, the ATS will be programmed with words from the job description. This means that it’s absolutely critical that you carefully read the job posting and use any keywords you find in the listing throughout your public relations resume. You can be totally qualified for the position, but if you don’t use keywords, your application might not be considered.

PRO TIP: Avoid synonyms! Use the keywords exactly how they appear in the posting. Even if two words mean the same thing, the ATS might be programmed to only look for one of the phrases.

Some applicants will try to get around a potential ATS by using as many keywords as possible and writing their work history section in paragraph format.

Here’s what that looks like.

Bullet list:

New England Media Corp. | Wilmington, DE | Public Relations Specialist | May 2017 – Present

  • Work with creative teams to develop story concepts and PR initiatives
  • Produce press releases and marketing strategies
  • Manage social media updates and author marketing campaigns
  • Pitch concepts to print, digital, and broadcast media
  • Assist in research projects and building influencer lists

Paragraph format:

New England Media Corp. | Wilmington, DE | Public Relations Specialist | May 2017 – Present

Work with creative teams to develop story concepts and PR initiatives. Produce press releases and marketing strategies. Manage social media updates and author marketing campaigns. Pitch concepts to print, digital, and broadcast media. Assist in research projects and building influencer lists.

As you can see, both formats are keyword-rich. The difference here isn’t the number of keywords — they both use the same number — but what the examples look like.

The second example creates a big block of text. Now imagine what that would look like a few times down the page — that’s a lot of text.

While both examples would get through an ATS, only the first example is written with a human reviewer in mind. That’s why at Big Interview, we recommend using the bulleted list format.

The Education Section

And just like that, the biggest section of your public relations resume is finished!

Next up is your education section, which works a lot like your work history.

Using reverse chronological order, list your educational background by starting with your highest, most impressive degree. For example, a master’s would come before a bachelor’s.

Include the school you attended, your field of study, and your graduation year. If you graduated recently, you may also choose to include your GPA.

While this is more relevant to you now, it will become less so as time goes on, so be sure to reevaluate down the road.

Example:

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations

The University of Delaware, Newark, DE,
Class of 2010

What else can go in this section? If you have any other certifications, online coursework, or workshops, feel free to include them here if they are relevant.

Example:

  • “Advanced Social Media Strategy,” Weekend Course, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • “Perfecting the Press Release,” Online Workshop, University of Delaware Online

Alternative Sections to Include

If you have some extra space or other areas of interest that don’t necessarily fit into the other sections, feel free to add more categories. Just be sure the additional sections are still relevant!

Some sections to consider including are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What if You Have No Experience?

You found your dream job posting, but you have no experience in the industry. What should you do?

Despite what you might think, it’s totally okay to apply for a job when you have no experience. How else will you gain experience in the industry in which you want to work?

If you’re a recent graduate or just making a career shift, here’s how you can adjust your public relations resume to show the experience you do have.

Start off your resume like usual, with a resume summary and list of key accomplishments. Next is where you’ll do something a little different: move up your education section to come before your work history.

When it comes to your work experience, you need to share the experiences that you’ve had that share your knowledge of the industry.

It’s okay if it’s not paid work! Internships, volunteer positions, or online coursework could all go here. Also think about summer jobs, workshops, or any certifications you’ve completed.

PRO TIP: Remember, you need a mix of hard skills and soft skills to be a good public relations specialist. Do you have any experiences that show you’re good at communication or team building?

Resume Points to Remember

Include contact info

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to include your contact information like a phone number, email address, or LinkedIn profile. When you’re focused on crafting the perfect resume, the little stuff can slip through the cracks.

Use data

If you have quantifiable information available to you, use it! It’s a great way to share your accomplishments and showcase your abilities.

Stay on one page

With very few exceptions, your resume should not exceed one page. Be selective about what you choose to include and while you should be informative, keep your bullet points quick and to the point.

Resume “Don’ts” to Remember

Don’t forget the job description

The job description contains the critical information that you need in order to apply for a job. Not only will it include the keywords you need to get through an ATS, but it will also tell you what materials you need to submit in order to complete your application.

Don’t forget to proofread

Always reread for typos and other errors! Take a break from your completed resume and come back with fresh eyes, or better yet, ask a friend to take a look when you’re finished writing.

Don’t use personal pronouns

It may feel strange to not use words like “I” or “me” — especially while talking about yourself — but the first person does not belong in resume writing.

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words related to public relations to use for inspiration.)

Helpful Tools:

Public Relations Resume Power Words

  • Assisted
  • Delegated
  • Pitched
  • Supervised
  • Managed
  • Arranged
  • Integrated
  • Created
  • Produced
  • Developed
  • Conceptualized
  • Executed
  • Designed
  • Refined
  • Handled
  • Collaborated

Public Relations Resume Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Press Release WritingOrganization
Viral MarketingResearch
Social MediaTeamwork
Media RelationsReliable
CopywritingAssertive

Further Resources:

We have many great resources available to you 100% free on the Big Interview blog. Read the articles below for more information on resumes and cover letters.

The Art of Writing a Great Resume Summary Statement

How Long Should a Resume Be?

Creating Really Good Resumes

How to Get the Applicant Tracking System to Pick Your Resume

8 Design Ideas to Make Your Resume Pop

6 Tricks to Makeover Your Resume…Fast

How to Write a Cover Letter