When recruiters are in the hiring process, what are the main qualities they seek in candidates?

It begins with your résumé and cover letter.

It begins with your résumé and cover letter. Together they should capture the essence of your career and articulate why you are the best candidate. They also demonstrate your written communication ability - a requisite for PR.

Generally, recruiters seek someone who displays career commitment and a consistent advancement in a PR practice area or the ability to advance. Strong media relations and client-service skills are also key, as is writing ability. If you're believed to possess the above, an interview will typically follow that allows you to demonstrate your verbal communications skills - another necessity for PR.

During this stage, recruiters will seek candidates who can effectively communicate why their experience and skills will add value to the firm and its clients. Individuals must also convey a clear picture of their PR knowledge, including an ability to think creatively, problem-solve, and manage other employees. Lastly, applicants should discuss their professional development goals and the experiences they hope to gain.

When hiring PR talent, everything counts - from how you introduce yourself in the cover letter, to what's on your résumé, to your interview presentation. Your success at achieving these will hopefully add up to a job offer.

Bob Gemignani is SVP and chief talent officer at Hill & Knowlton.

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Ask the expert: letters@prweek.com

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