Public relations is all about presenting information in an enticing way. That means you should be ahead of the game when it comes to creating your public relations resume. You know how to capture the attention of your audience, but, of course, so do the other applicants for the job. As you begin your job hunt, you need every tool available to help you reach your goal: the job of your dreams.
Avail yourself of the resources here at Resume.io. Our powerful resume guides and resume examples for 300+ professions and our easy-to-use resume builder will take the pain out of the job search process.
Stick with this guide and you will find:
- Details on the job of a public relations professional
- How to write a public relations resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a public relations resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
What does a public relations professional do?
In broad strokes, the job of public relations is to communicate with the media to spread an organization’s message. They are responsible for image and branding in the public eye. In addition, public relations professionals must sometimes run damage control when potentially damaging information becomes public.
To achieve this, public relations officers develop strategies and campaigns around the message. They write press releases, keynote speeches for company managers and executives and try to place their materials in media outlets. They establish relationships with media representatives and propose ideas to those reps.
The job market and salary for public relations specialists
You chose wisely! The demand for public relations specialists is expected to grow faster than the average occupation – 11% in the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts. The market for public relations and fundraising managers will leap by 13% in that same period.
The salary for public relations specialists ranges widely from an entry-level average of $41,000 (Payscale) to $234,121 (Salary.com). That disparity accounts for experience, industry, location, education, skillset and level of responsibility.
How to write a public relations resume:
As a public relations specialist, you know that structure helps deliver the message. Your resume is no different. Most resumes contain the following sections:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
You may have a portfolio that accompanies your public relations resume. By adding your portfolio or LinkedIn account to the header of your resume, you can make it easy for prospective employers to find examples of your work.
Choosing the best resume format for public relations
You may choose to bump up or down the sections of your public relations resume depending on your experience level, however you should stick to the reverse chronological order format for your employment history (and publications if you have one) sections.
The reverse chronological order format allows recruiters and hiring managers to quickly find what you have been doing lately. It also makes your life easier because Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed to scan your details into this format when you apply online.
If you have a more complicated work history, are changing careers or are looking for your first job, you may consider one of the hybrid or chronological alternatives we recommend.
Account for the ATS
As we mentioned above, the ATS scans your relevant information into HR software, but more importantly, it ranks your public relations resume using complex algorithms that, in part, are searching for keywords and phrases linked to the job. We can’t guarantee you will get past this gatekeeper, but personalizing your resume to match the important keywords and phrases in the job ad will greatly increase your chances.
By the way, you should always adapt your resume for each application. That shows your prospective employer that you understand the specific job and are not mass-mailing applications, but carefully considering your options.
Resume summary example: Your chance at messaging
The summary, or profile, section of your resume is your best shot at showing off your talent for branding. You have 3-4 lines to send the message that you are the right person for the job. Your product, of course, is yourself.
You can’t afford to be modest here: Tout your biggest success and describe your outstanding ability to develop relationships and elevate the image of your employer. You will have more space in your work history section to go into details, so pinpoint your greatest campaign or article placement and focus on how you achieved that. The resume sample below will get you started.
Dynamic public relations specialist with 5+ years of industry experience and a fresh perspective on effective PR communications. Committed to working with clients to create unique and specialized PR strategies that support their goals.
You know how to deliver a message, but if you are looking for more inspiration, click over to our marketing category of resume examples. There you will find a general marketing resume sample as well as a social media manager resume example, a digital marketing manager resume sample, a brand manager resume example and a content writer resume sample.
Employment history sample
The employment history section of your public relations resume is the place to make your previous experience shine. Start with your most recent, or current, role and work backwards through the past ten years of experience, taking care to note the job title, employer name, dates worked and location.
Under each subheading, create a list of 4-5 bullet points that detail your main responsibilities and skills. Make sure to choose examples that most closely reflect the duties outlined in the job description written by your prospective employer. Below you’ll find the employment history section from our adaptable resume sample.
Public Relations Specialist at Bett and Rothchild Communications, New York
August 2019 - March 2022
- Created strategic PR campaigns to address the specific needs of clients.
- Helped clients to clearly communicate with the media during events.
- Saw a 12% increase in new accounts due to effective social media outreach.
- Assisted clients in building and maintaining positive identities and reputations.
- Helped clients in all aspects of brand management and media relations.
- Communicated with clients regarding media requests and issued statements when appropriate.
- Established and fostered positive relationships with media representatives across news outlets.
- Calmly and effectively handled crisis communications in a way that best served the client.
Public Relations Assistant at New World Public Relations, New York
August 2017 - July 2019
- Worked to consistently support the Senior Vice President and Public Relations Director.
- Coordinated press mailings and assisted with all campaign and event matters.
- Identified and evaluated media outlets and contacts.
- Prepared media materials including press releases and marketing kits.
- Assisted with strategic messaging and social media campaigns.
CV skills example
What does it take to be great at public relations? What skills do you have that your prospective employer needs? Which of those distinguish you from other candidates? Answering these questions will help you choose the best attributes to highlight in this at-a-glance view of your career.
Here are the top skills PR pros need, according to PR firm Prezly:
- Marketing, including SEO, keyword search, trend and web analytics and the UX of content
- Audiovisuals and graphics
- Data analysis
- Crisis management
Match your skillset to the requirements of the job to create the strongest possible skills section. Use names of specific software and other tools you have used and describe your knowledge level, especially if they are mentioned within the job listing you are targeting.
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
September 2013 - May 2017
Brainstorm any work-related skill you can think of that you have. You may choose to organize the list by hard and soft skills, basic and higher-level, or any other division that makes sense to you. Then, consult this list when creating your skills section.
Public relations resume education example: Strong foundation
In general, public relations jobs require a bachelor’s degree in PR, marketing, journalism, communications or business. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, so if you have a degree in another field, don’t be discouraged.
Your education section is simply a listing of your academic degrees, so no need to do anything other than name them. If you have a master’s degree or higher, you don’t need to include your high school diploma.
- Media Relations Strategies
- Campaign Management
- Client Relationship Management
- Brand Management
- PR Performance Metrics
- Data Analysis
If you have earned any certifications in software, data mining or other skills that will give your application a boost, list those here as well or create a separate certification section.
Other sections to consider, if you have room (remember, your PR resume should not be more than two pages): Awards and Accolades and Professional Affiliations.
If you are a freelance PR pro, consider adding a Campaigns section and linking to your broader portfolio from there.
Resume layout and design: Visual branding
Here, again, your talent will stand you in good stead. You know you want to attract attention without detracting from the main message. Use visuals to your advantage here to give your header containing all your contact information a pop while making sure it is highly legible.
Choose your fonts wisely and refrain from getting cute with your section titles. Remember that your goal is to make life as easy as possible for the recruiters who are hunting for excellent candidates.
Also consider white space. Leave margins of at least three-quarters inches all around and avoid big blocks of type by employing bullet lists and varying line lengths.
To get your job hunt going faster, try one of our field-tested resume templates. They are infinitely personalizable and will give you a great start on an eye-catching resume. Not only are they professionally designed, but they will eliminate your need to get into the nitty gritty of formatting.
Sync your cover letter style to that of your resume to create a cohesive package. Use the same header and same or complementary fonts.
Key takeaways for a public relations resume
- You know how to message and brand, so use those transferable skills to create an excellent public relations resume.
- Demand for your skills is on the rise, so look for the job that’s right for you.
- Resume.io allows you to link directly from your resume to your portfolio to create an even more impressive application package.
- Speed up the application process. Use the online resume builder to get your job hunt started now!