Want a job? Pick up the phone.

March 9, 2010

As I sat down recently behind a 7-inch-thick stack of resumes submitted over the last several months, I was reminded how competitive entry-level job searches have become in the communications industry.

Entering my fourth hour that day of reading resumes and cover letters (for those candidates smart enough to write a cover letter – hint, hint), I noticed the stack of resumes in the recycling bin was a lot taller than the one of resumes that made the right impression. So what can candidates do to end up in the right stack? That list is long, so expect additional posts from me.

Here is one thing an applicant can do to get him- or herself noticed: Make a follow-up call.

I estimate that fewer than 5 percent of MP&F entry-level applicants follow their resume submission with a call. A PR professional should be able to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively, and a phone call is perfect for demonstrating the ability to do so.

Before you pick up the phone, though, prepare.

First, have the grades and internship experience. Then prepare for the call itself. If your primary talking point is, “I was calling to make sure you got my resume,” don’t bother. You know why you are calling, and so do I. You want to know if a position is available and if you are right for it. If you’re smart, you’re calling to sell yourself.

If you are not good at selling the most important information about yourself, you will not be good at selling my clients’ most important messages to their target audiences. To be successful in the communications industry, you need to be able to communicate effectively in the written and spoken word. Prove you can do both.

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2 Responses to “Want a job? Pick up the phone.”

  1. Josh Says:

    Great post, Jim. I look forward to your next few. I’m teaching business and professional communication and will use your points.

    For anyone else reading this, you can trust Jim. He’s one of the most thorough and exact pros I know. And from personal experience, be sure you can spell the name of the company at which you are applying.

  2. Alicia Says:

    Jim, this post is great and you’re great. I’m actually going to to send this to my brother who is graduating from undergrad in the Spring.


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