Section-by-Section PR Resume Guide + Examples

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Table of Contents

We hear the term PR (Public Relations) bounced around all the time, especially in reference to celebrities, and anyone who is famous or attempting to make a name for themself knows they need good PR.

The Balance Careers sums it up as “PR communications jobs involve developing and maintaining the public image of a client or company through appearances, press releases, and social media.”

The quote was so perfect I decided to include it unaltered.  But that’s not all they had to say.  PR is a type of work, not a licensed or regulated field, which means you can work in PR and have one off a long list of titles.

Some jobs that fall under the PR umbrella include editor, brand ambassador, public affairs specialist, media director, publicist, and social media manager.

PR work embodies several fields of work, primarily communications, but also development, fundraising, marketing, and media.  

Resume objective for PR

The first part of your resume HR is likely to read, after your name, is your objective.   And since you are in PR, your statement best be shiny, sparkly, and sell you.

After all, if you can’t sell yourself, how else are you supposed to promote anyone or anything?

PR’s role has morphed with the uptick in technology and social media over the last few decades.  

PR reps have to watch out for more than just stories reported in the paper, handle an interview gone wrong or embarrassing photos.

They need to monitor social media sites and Twitter accounts to watch out for posts made by those they represent, especially if they represent someone whose social media filter is…. Lacking.

USC Annenberg points out that PR reps must be adept at handling and understanding social media audiences. 

Your objective should highlight your understanding of all media types, as well as exceptional verbal communication skills and advanced problem-solving skills.

It is your primary job to keep the organization or person you represent in a positive light and when they get into hot water, to get them out, and as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Sample Objective

Superb and detail-oriented Public Relations Specialist with exceptional content writing skills seeks a position to apply their knowledge and social media expertise.  Over 15 years of experience representing businesses while maintaining their overall vision and goal.  

Resume skills for PR

A public relations specialist deals with a lot of words, both written and spoken, so communication skills are a must. 

Depending on who or what you represent, wit, comedy, business, and technical language skills may all come in handy.

Prezly, a PR marketing firm, mentions eight skills a PR pro needs to succeed on their blog.  At the top of the list are marketing and audiovisual & marketing graphics.

Prezly says that while PR and marketing are not the same fields, they are begging to overlap heavily.

Knowledge of SEO, trend analysis, and keyword searches can prove immensely useful in PR.

More and more individuals are watching videos online; in fact, video content is taking over as the most preferred type of brand content consumers want to see.  

Learning how to make video and social media content will provide your skills section a boost. 

Lastly, PR practitioners must be creative, compelling, flexible, innovative, and possess strong research skills. 

Sample Skills

SEO | Communicate Effectively | Content Writing | Copywriting | CANVA | Adobe Spark | Storyboarding | Apple & Android Devices

PR work experience

PR is a field that requires excellent writing experience.  The Muse interviewed four women in the communications and PR fields, and each one had a background or a degree that involved writing. 

Ways to build up your writing experience include writing for your college’s pape or working as a public relations coordinator for a campus organization. 

Consider starting a blog, or shadow or intern for a local PR firm.

The article also suggested breaking into PR with a start-up as they will not have the money to hire a large PR firm or expensive rep.

Working for a new company on the scene gives you a chance to get solid experience under your belt and show off your talents.  And who knows? Maybe that start-up will be the next big thing!

Other work options include working for a large PR firm or an internal PR team at a company.  

Of course, there are many flashy jobs out there like PR for celebrities, but you will likely have to put in some groundwork before you can get there if that is your goal.

The PR field is vast.  When searching for job opportunities, look for job titles that fall under communications, marketing, media relations development, and fundraising.  

Sample Work Experience

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)

Manager of Public and Media Relations, 2015-current

Manage marketing and public relations for the institute. Provide public relations and marketing coverage for the university by developing public media strategies and tactics to ensure a positive image is maintained.

  • Manage press releases for media and communication distribution
  • Assist in writing press releases, stories, and articles and communicating with media representatives
  • Assist in the planning of crisis communications as needed
  • Collaborated with editorial, web, and graphic staff to develop effective marketing plans

Authority Brands

Communications Manager, 2005-2015

Worked with brand executives and operations representatives and led the marketing team to develop further and refine the brand’s voice and personality.  Responsible for managing the day to day relationship with the PR agency overseeing pitch development, owner stories, and brand activation.

  • Responsible for social media content management
  • Maintained company web pages and LinkedIn accounts
  • Managed brand content calendars
  • Performed community outreach as needed

US Business Services

Public Relations & Communications Asst., 2000 – 2005

Worked as part of the Communication Team to provide PR, marketing, and advertising for our clients.  Worked independently under minimum supervision to achieve prioritize and meet deadlines.

  • Personalized mentorship by company executive in Public & Media based strategies
  • Created briefs and still image ads for social media use
  • Oversaw social Twitter marketing campaigns for two high-profile clients
  • Created innovative social media material

PR education

PR revolves around using communication to convey a clear and usually positive message about the client.   To do that, you must have a way with words, as they say.

Many individuals who seek out a career in public relations have studied journalism, marketing, communications, English, etc. 

Target Jobs states additional degrees useful in PR include business, management, media studies, behavioral studies. 

Written words are the majority of what a PR rep creates.  It may be in the form of ads, press releases, or planned spoken statements, but the dialogue that is being presented needs to be clear and concise. 

A four-year degree is expected to work in this field, and many seek out a master’s as well.  

Sample Education

Northwestern University

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, 2003-2008

  • Minor in Human Communication Studies
  • Internship with Purpose Brand, summer 2007
  • Study Abroad Arcadia University, London, Fall 2005

Courses 

In some entry-level situations, a bachelor’s degree is all you need to secure a PR job.  If you apply for a PR job with a non-relevant degree, it could be useful to list any related courses.

If your degree falls under the communication or related studies umbrella, then citing courses will likely be white noise on your resume. 

However, if you took an elective course or participated in a study abroad program, you may want to add unique courses that could add color to your experience.   

Sample Courses

  • Work in Thought & Actions
  • Contemporary Photographic Practice

Complete PR resume sample

The article has walked you through what a PR resume should look like and contain.  Below is an actual job posting for a PR position; following that, there is a complete resume example and template.

Taking a look at the education requirements, a master’s degree is preferred for this position.  They also mention the need for excellent communication skills.  

This position lies heavily on the media side, so the more experience you have dealing directly with the media, the better; highlighting that experience in your objective and work history would be suggested.  

PR Position

Objective

Skilled Public Relations Associate with over twenty years of experience developing, coordinating, and executing strategic media pitches.  Guided companies into the digital and social media age through the early 2000s and expanded and managed media interests across the internet maintaining websites, blogs, and web resources.

Skills

Media Crisis Management | Marketing | Still Image Ads | Detail Oriented | Excellent written and oral communication skills | Various Writing Styles | Management Experience | Adobe Illustrator | Canva 

Work Experience

MITRE

Health Communications Lead, 2013-2020

Identified and resolved complex problems that affect healthcare delivery and organizational management from a consumer and societal standpoint.  Conducted qualitative research to address change, prevention, risk, and communication needs and promote positive growth within the healthcare sector.

  • Coordinated activities related to long and short-range projects
  • Applied communication models to health communication campaign development
  • Planned communication activities to impact positive incomes
  • Served as a communication touchpoint across departments

HRS Consulting

Public Relations Specialist, 2005-2013

Worked on PR concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure quality, accessible healthcare, and provided consulting services to the Veterans Health Administration. 

  • Developed outreach campaigns for print, digital and social media
  • Prepared materials for healthcare conferences, seminars, and meetings
  • Worked on healthcare communication plans to build relationships between the VHA and other health agencies
  • Executed a communication strategy with consistent messaging

Surreal Solutions

Public Relations Associate, 1998-2005

Worked as part of a team to increase brand awareness and increase the consumer base for our clients.  Collaborated with the marketing, advertising, and promotional sales department to ensure continuity for the client.

  • Designed web pages 
  • Designed web ads
  • Responsible for content and copywriting of materials
  • Created cost-effective strategies and stayed within budget

Education

Penn State University

Master of Arts in Communication, 1998-2001

Albright College

Bachelor of Arts in Communication, 1994-1997

  • Journalism specialization
  • Recipient of the Gold “A” Award

Key Takeaways

Public Relations is an essential aspect of any organization, business, or public persona’s team.  Without proper PR, a company can take a dive, or the next big star may never happen.

PR is about spin and wording, but it is not about tricking or fooling people.  

PR specialist, Alex Honeysett, wrote in an article that the most effective PR crisis management she has seen has involved figuring out what went wrong and briefing people to find a solution as a team. 

Target your writing experience, journalistic background, and marketing skills on your resume to show you have what it takes to work in PR.

  • College a degree is needed, master’s preferred
  • There is PR for almost every industry and organization
  • Tech, web design, and imagining programs could prove useful

Tips from Experts

“It’s PR that needs to be creative. It’s PR that needs to be new and different. It’s PR that needs to be original. The best way to establish a brand is to create a new category, and creating a new category requires creative thinking of the highest order.” – Al & Laura Ries, Founders of the advertising consulting firm Ries & Ries

“Public-relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them, so the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by sturdy blooms.” – Alan Harrington, Novelist

“PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering – it’s an ever-changing and always interesting landscape.” – Ronn Torossian, Public Relations Executive & Founder of 5W Public Relations

“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart, and successful, he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person, and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.” – S. H. Simmons, Author of The Great Garage Sale Book & How to be the Life of the Podium

Conclusion

The job outlook for PR is a bright one.  As more and more start-ups expand, PR is needed to foster these brands’ success and name recognition.  

It is a career that blends journalistic prowess with interpersonal and problem-solving skills.  

In recent years more and more PR focus is going to the web and social media as consumers now gather most of their information from those sites.  

If you enjoy writing, researching, and finding the positive spin in every story, PR may possibly be an excellent fit for you!

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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