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Three Simple Steps to Stand Out

I’m currently building my personal brand and I thought the Power Candidate’s Advice Blog had some great tips on finding your niche. So far, I’ve tried the first tip and the feedback I’ve received has been hilarious and helpful. I’ve learned that I’m pretty consistent and friends and colleagues seem to have the same perception of me. 

Give it a world! 

3 Steps to Identifying Your Unique Abilities and Value

  1. Make a list of people you trust to provide candid feedback about your strengths, unique abilities and value. Consider friends, family, peers, clients and superiors. We recommend you create a list of five to ten people to start and add more as needed. Tip: It helps to create a diverse list of contacts that can comment on various abilities. For example, a former client may have a different perspective than your peers.
  2. Ask your contacts to describe what makes you unique compared to others in your industry, company or position. To help get them started, have a few topics ready to discuss. For example, ask them what is unique about your approach to collaborating, presentation design, selling, project management, risk analysis, etc. Ask them to be detailed and describe a time when they witnessed your unique abilities in action. Tip: This step works well in general, but very well when you set the stage by explaining the position you are pursuing. This will allow your contact to describe your unique abilities as they relate to the position.
  3. Document all the feedback you receive and start thinking about how to present the information on your resume and during the interview process. The great news is that this step is easy because your awesome network completed most of the work for you.


Filed under strengths brand value job interview profile public relations business

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Coping with Your Boss, No Matter What Fate Provides

Your relationship with your boss and co-workers weighs heavily on your work experience. One thing I value most is being able to express my feelings and concerns freely. Unfortunately, managers don’t always realize that employers need assurance that they can truly come to them for anything. An open and honest relationship makes a big difference in team morale and productivity (in my opinion). 

Do you have any struggles? 

Check out some dos and don’ts via the link. 


Filed under boss workplace job professionalism tips

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Guide: PR Writing Test

One of my professors set up my very first job interview at a small PR firm in Tallahassee. I knew I was going to get the internship, until I was asked to go into an office for five minutes to complete a writing and editing test. I totally panicked. My mind went blank and winging it was out of the question. Needless to say I was not prepared and I soon decided to exit left. I haven’t been asked to do a writing test since then, but I came across an article that is definitely a great reminder to expect the unexpected no matter how far you are in your PR career.  

"So whether you’re just entering the job market or you’re a seasoned pro considering a career move, here are five tips to help you navigate the PR writing test:

  1. Yes, spelling counts. So do grammar, punctuation and familiarity with AP style. “We are looking to see if a potential candidate is able to express himself or herself clearly, concisely and without errors,” says Alan Amman, chief operating officer at mPRm, a Los Angeles agency specializing in media and entertainment clients. The firm requires interviewees for entry-level and junior positions to bring in a mock press release announcing their hiring by the agency. Senior execs may be asked to write a client release, a new business proposal or a client strategy document. Amman recommends that before turning in their work, candidates double check for mistakes by printing it out on paper and reading it out loud to themselves—and then have someone else proofread it as well.

  2. Know your formats. “While we do not expect entry-level employees to walk through the door fully equipped with the skills to draft flawless press releases and pitch letters, we do expect candidates to possess a strong base knowledge of press release writing and formatting,” says Ryan Croy, partner and director, Brands Division of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations. Croy recommends that candidates spend time reading up on PR fundamentals and familiarizing themselves with published press releases by visiting the websites of distribution services BusinessWire and PR Newswire.

  3. Practice writing fast. Banging out press materials on deadline is part of the job description for most PR pros. That’s why some firms administer timed writing tests in their offices. Croy says his agency gives candidates 20 minutes to draft a press release on an assigned subject. “It allows them to showcase their core writing competencies and creativity within a specified time period.”

  4. Be prepared to get graphic: These days, both social and traditional media are about more than just words. Corporate Ink is in the process of revising its testing policy to better reflect this shift. “We’re moving away from the news release, for instance, and focusing more on visual design,” says Bermar. “We recently asked two finalists for a digital-specialist position to work up an infographic for a client.”

  5. Strut your stuff. Yes, proper grammar and spelling are important, but they’re not enough to make you stand out as an applicant, says Miller. “We look for candidates who do that extra something,” she says. “Demonstrating a level of creativity or passion, or taking the initiative to demonstrate knowledge of our company or the industries in which we work—those are things that set candidates apart for us.” Corporate Ink’s Bermar also looks for candidates who take risks and offer a fresh perspective in their writing. “Our written ‘test’ is really just an outline,” she explains. “I could care less if you make up the content, as long as it’s interesting, creative and makes me want to take action. I like it when people color outside the lines.”

Following these guidelines should help you prepare for whatever writing test a prospective employer throws at you.  

But just in case, you might want to bring along a couple of No. 2 pencils, too.”


Filed under writing public relations PR jobs interview test tips