The ordinary need not apply: finding “creatives” in the PR industry

Twitter and YouTube are now tools for the application process.

According to a recent blog post on Mashable, the new trend in internship applications especially among start-ups is including a social media component in the application process.  What is the reason for this inspired new idea (besides the fact that companies are sick of reading through cover letters and resumes)?  For one thing, your social media accounts are hopefully a perfect blend of the professional and personal you, so employers can use them to learn more about you.  This is exactly what they want to do, because they are looking for a cultural fit as well as a candidate who fits the requirements.  Smaller companies rely heavily on dynamic within the office and emphasize teamwork in projects to utilize all of its man power.  They want interns and newcomers who can fit in right away and add to the already established office culture.  PR is a profession where social media is booming and creativity is not optional.  You have it, I believe you, but how can you show them that you can put your creativity to use and promote something?  Now, it’s easy: you put your skills to use and use social media to campaign for yourself!

You are your most important brand, and companies want to see how you can develop that brand beyond the results they will find by running a simple Google search.  How are companies putting this idea into practice as far as interns for Summer 2011 go?  Some are asking candidates to make their cases on YouTube and others on Twitter, other than that there are very few rules in the spirit of the creativity these employers are seeking.  A program called InternMatch began an entire campaigned devoted to creative social media applications by banning the use of cover letters and getting small companies behind them.  Going through programs like this ensures that no intern will ever have to fear that they were too creative to handle.  However, if you have an idea and the company you are applying for is not participating in a program like this I say go for it anyway!  If nothing else, it will make you stand out and still flex your social media muscle.  Being unique never hurt anyone, especially in PR.

Fresh out of good ideas and positive the company you are applying to join will not appreciate a creative application?  It is still important to represent your social media knowledge on your traditional application materials.  At the very top where you have your contact information, include your Twitter handle…yep, it’s that important.  Even better, unless it is otherwise specified, send your resume as a PDF so that you can include links.  Link to your Twitter and your LinkedIn.  Only include a link to your FaceBook if you are comfortable doing so, most everyone will assume you are proficient enough in FaceBook even without.  FaceBook shouldn’t be the only exception.  The next thing I will say to you is very very important.  Do not link to any account that does not represent you professionally.  If it doesn’t benefit the “you” brand and it risks damaging it, leave it out.

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