PR & Communications CV Guide plus Example / Template
If you want to land a job in PR & Communications then your CV needs to demonstrate that you are a creative person who can communicate clearly and simply. The two words you need to get into your head are 'concise' and 'relevant'.
The exemplary PR CV is a written sales pitch designed to get you an interview. It needs to grab attention and deliver that pitch in about 30 seconds.
The perfect PR CV will showcase your communication skills whilst highlighting your achievements, demonstrating your experience and giving you a personality - and all in no more than two pages of A4.
This is our guide to laying out your CV correctly for a PR or marketing job: at the bottom you can download an example that you can modify for your own use.
First Things First
Whatever point you are at in your career, we'd recommend that your CV always starts with your personal details, with your professional profile (personal statement) next.
Your name, email and telephone number(s) are obviously a must, but so is your town and the first part of your postcode. Many people are wary about putting their full address on a CV these days, but your recruiter will want to know what area you live in. You should also include your LinkedIn details and any other professional online profiles (Twitter, Blogger etc).
Professional Profile (Key Skills & Achievements)
No more than one short paragraph summing you up. If you're a graduate or junior then this will be more 'who you are', but if you have any experience then this must be a statement of what you have achieved. Nothing demonstrates what you can do better than what you have done.
It's a good idea to consider tweaking this to be 100% relevant to each job you apply for. Look at the requirements of the vacancy, then make sure that this paragraph answers the question 'Why are you the best person for this job?' by concisely stating relevant achievements, skills and experience.
What comes next will depend on whether you are a recent graduate or junior candidate or a more senior candidate.
Graduates / Juniors
Providing a detailed education record is crucial. Please include your degree subject and classification, and A-Level subjects and results. If your dissertation is relevant to PR or marketing then also include this in the outline.
The next section is your employment experience. It is important to outline your most relevant experience first. So, if you had a one year work placement for a PR agency, this needs to be highlighted and detailed on your CV. Any other forms of employment need to be placed in a separate section further down your CV, especially if is pre-university experience. Do demonstrate the difference between paid employment and work experience.
You can state that these are available on request, but if you have room it will do no harm to list them here together with the (business) name. If your referees come from jobs that you gained relevant experience on, so much the better.
If you have no work experience or have not undertaken an industrial placement, your best approach is to send your CV direct to employers, because most companies will not approach recruiters for graduates. If you have the money you could subscribe to Marketing Spotlight (previously Hollis PR). If not then you will need to use search engines and online directories to build a prospect list. The PRCA have a member list, and there are well over a thousand PR firms listed on FreeIndex.
More Experienced and Senior Candidates
For those candidates with over 2-3 years post-graduate experience:
- employment history should follow immediately after your profile section;
- professional qualifications and education should then come next;
- other relevant skills and further information (e.g. clean driving licence) should be included;
- finish with interests and hobbies.
There is no need to include referees as this tends to use up valuable space on your CV. Instead just say 'references are available upon request'.
Remember that the point of this section is to show that not just that you have the right skills and experience, but what you have done with them. So, do not just list job tasks and responsibilities as if this was a job advert.
Highlight your achievements, and reinforce them with facts and figures to show how successful you were and to demonstrate that you are results-focused. Good examples would be things like 'increased national media coverage by 50%' or 'pitched and won seven new clients in 12 months'.
Avoid outlining your experience in paragraphs as it is difficult for the reader to pull out the key information quickly. The best approach is to use bullet points, with no more than two lines per point.
There is no need to use 'I' when describing what you did. Dates (month and year) should be given for all employment contracts. Make sure the dates follow on from each other. It is far better to explain any gaps up front, so include time spent travelling, on sabbatical etc.
Start with your most recent employment and work backwards. For each job, give:
- the business' name, its location, website;
- start and finish dates;
- your job title;
- your responsibilities and achievements.
Your employment history should have demonstrated your skills, but if you have other relevant skills then you can include them here, but keep it brief if they are not relevant to the job in question. For example, languages spoken or IT skills are always worth including, but don't include basic abilities that everyone should have. Remember, skills that were acquired whilst working should always be covered within the 'Work Experience' section, as you can demonstrate how you acquired each one and relate it to that particular job.
Brief details of academic and professional qualifications (including grades), starting with the most recent.
Hobbies & Interests / 'About Me'
Keep your hobbies/interests brief unless you can relate them to the job in hand, but do put something here to show that you're a real person with a personality. What are you interested in? What makes you tick? What makes you laugh? How would your friends describe you?
We also recommend reading our companion article with 'Dos and Don'ts' plus layout tips and advice.