By Elizabeth Lytle
Whether you’re a seasoned public relations professional, a practitioner just breaking into the field or a student looking to land the perfect internship, navigating the competitive job market, or the ins and outs of your workplace, can be a daunting task. At FPRA Orlando’s September professional development breakfast held at the beautiful Hub 925 co-working space, Mark Havard, director of human resources for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, shared key insights to help members take their careers and leadership skills to the next level.
Crafting a Standout Resume
On average, each job posting attracts 250 applications. And, despite the hours you’ve likely spent crafting your resume, hiring managers spend mere seconds scanning it. So, how do you ensure your resume catches the eye of a potential employer? Havard shared several tips – utilizing white space, keeping design simple and tailoring your objective to the position you’re applying for – but stressed one key point: show, don’t tell.
Anyone can say they are motivated, dedicated or passionate, so it’s crucial to back up these claimed qualities with real-world examples. Potential employers are not interested in the responsibilities you’ve been tasked with; they’re interested in the results you achieved while managing those responsibilities. Students seeking their first internship can take advantage of this advice, as well. Highlighting academic accomplishments, accolades and community involvement can effectively illustrate initiative – a sought-after trait in internship candidates.
Acing Your Interview
According to Havard – who has interviewed countless candidates in his career – the best way to make a lasting impression in your interview is to do your homework beforehand. Knowing the company’s mission, purpose, vision and values is key and will help you tailor your answers in a way that personally resonates with the interviewer. Plus, your interviewer is investing time in you, so it’s important to return the favor.
Agencies, companies and PR departments always have their clients top-of-mind, so Havard advised kicking your background knowledge up a notch by researching issues affecting the industries the company serves. With client-specific questions at the ready, you’re guaranteed to make a unique impression.
Another reminder from Havard: relax! Break the ice, establish a rapport and treat your interview like a conversation.
Leading With Success
Nearly every public relations practitioner reports to a boss, but how many can say they follow a leader? According to Havard, you can clearly differentiate between a boss and a leader by assessing whether your supervisor is working above you or working alongside you. Noting that engaged employees are proven to go the extra mile, he covered his top tips for leading with success, including being visible and accessible, clearly communicating expectations and making a concerted effort to publicly celebrate employee achievements and accomplishments.
Regardless of where you are in your career path, commitment, passion, empathy and dedication are crucial to your success. Havard’s insights underlined the importance of these qualities and we would be wise to keep them in mind as we work toward becoming effective leaders within our organizations and community.