PR Fish Bowl

5

TGIF: Gaffes and Goofs to Avoid in (PR) Resumes

Ahh, springtime, when PR firms revel in the rush of resumes from recent (or soon-to-be) college graduates.

Rifling through the resumes and cover letters can be irksome, however, when faced with a galling and appalling array of grammar, syntax, and spelling gaffes and goofs. The following is just a sampling of what has landed in our inboxes this month.

Beware, punctuation junkies, and those for whom “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” is a grammar bible. The following may be painful.

“As a senior psychology major graduating from Yale in May, I was wondering if Cremshaw Communications might possibly have any entry-level opportunities available.” (Our company name is Crenshaw Communications.)

“I am ‘in the know’ of current news, trends, and practices. I demonstrate the ability to work cohesively and strong written, verbal, and social media skills.”

“My previous management experience has given me a solid foundation to multi-task and my degree in International Relations required many hours of research that was complied into 50 page papers giving me strong analytical and writing skills.” (you find the typo!)

“I am interested in this job because I moved to New York with the desire to work amongst luxury brands or with brands that translate ultimate beauty and fashion.“ (And what to do these brands “translate ultimate beauty and fashion” into?)

“ In regards to my salary requirements, based on my work experience, education and the New York standard of living costs I feel that a salary within the range of $35,000 – $50,000 would be fair.” (The sentence may be punctuated correctly, but the audacity is questionable!)

Please share your favorite resume “wrongs”!

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Comments

  1. LoudPen

    Awesome tips! As a current entry level candidate in Fashion PR, I read as many articles on breaking into the field as possible so I truly appreciate articles like this.

    However, I have to take it to the flip side and say that companies seem to be looking for “perfect candidate” and don’t seem to want to interview you unless you met every qualification and more on their list. Additionally, I have come across several position postings that ask for a salary requirement. In essence, I’m not sure how the last comment is inappropriate. In fact, since this candidate listed reasons for the salary they are requesting, I’m not sure how this could be viewed as “wrong”. A salary between 35k-50 is reasonable for a candidate living in New York because of the cost of living and yet most companies only offer 30-35k for entry level. Also, keep in mind there’s usually an extensive list of qualifications like previous internship or agency experience, contacts, and social media and other related skills. I understand seeking qualified candidates but when you are seeking all of the above and more yet you’re only offering 30k that seems to be a bit much to me.

    I really feel that there is a huge miscommunication between companies and job candidates. There needs to a forum or discussion set up because neither party seems to understand each other. Why are there so many companies only offering unpaid internships? Why are companies seeking candidates with “proven experience”? What is the best way for a job seeker to approach a company they’d like to work for? Also, resume and cover letter length and formatting tips.

    My apologies for the lengthy comment. Thanks again for this article.

  2. marijane

    Thanks for your comments and questions. I appreciate that perhaps you have seen job listings asking a candidate to provide their salary requirement – that seems unusual to us for people seeking an entry level position. Furthermore, we feel that information should come about after a first interview has taken place and salary discussions are more appropriate. It could come to pass that a candidate so exceeds what a company is looking for that they could actually offer higher than what was expected,so putting it in writing at this early stage is not recommended.

    We also recommend that if a candidate has several unanswered questions, they contact the company and ask them before even submitting a resume and cover letter. This way the candidate can certainly pre-determine whether a job offer is an unpaid internship or not.

    Often times, proven experience can be “relative.” For example, if a candidate organized sorority events or duties for the campus press office, that is “proven experience” often equal to that one would experience in an agency. It comes down to crafting a well-written cover letter and resume.

    Cover letters can be one paragraph – if the writer covers the basics and is a good communicator – certainly not longer than a page! A one-page resume with career and experience highlights should also do the trick. There are quite a few formats that work, I suggest you look online for some that are interesting, a bit different but patently functional and easy-to-read. Don’t go overboard on colors and wacky fonts – you want to be interesting and intriguing as a candidate, but also plain spoken, easily understood, and grammatically correct. Feel free to comment again and hope this was helpful.

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