What is a CV?
In simple terms, a CV is a format used to clearly and succinctly lay out your various skills, qualifications and experience in one (hopefully well-organised) file. It is a vital component of any job application, and it is the perfect way to showcase what you have to offer prospective employers. When applying for a role in a competitive field like working in a digital PR agency, you need to make the most of the space on your CV and set yourself apart from other applicants applying for roles in digital PR, which can be done in three main ways:
How to structure a digital PR CV
Your personal details
No matter what kind of role you are applying for, it's crucial to list your personal details on your CV to give the hiring team a way to contact you if you are successful and proceed to the next stage. They are commonly listed at the top of the resume, and this information typically includes:
Your full name
Your phone number
Your home address
Your email address
A brief (but impressive) personal statement
Your personal statement should be written in the first person and seek to summarise your current situation, a brief overview of your experience and skills and a short summary of who you are. However, since this is only a short snippet of text to summarise yourself in, you want to make it snappy, striking and impressive, so show off your biggest achievements as concisely as you can.
Your key skills & competencies
The skills and competencies section is usually presented in a series of bullet points simply listing your skills.
These can be a wide range of skills, including soft skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership and presentation skills and more technical ones, such as proficiency using certain platforms or certain courses you have completed. You should try to marry these skills with those mentioned in the job description since this will make it clear that you are a good fit for the role.
Relevant work experience
This should be expressed in chronological order, but if you have lots of work experience to mention and are stuck for space, it is a good idea to leave out the least relevant or most insignificant experience.
In this section, you should list the role title and company name along with the period in which you worked there. Beneath this heading, you will then briefly describe (usually in bullet-point form!) the various roles and responsibilities you had undertaken during that work experience. Usually, being selective and mentioning the roles and responsibilities that are most relevant to what you are applying for can make all work experience appear valuable, no matter what the field and positions were.
Further down your CV, you should list your education history and your qualifications from GCSE grades right through to degrees if you have them and feel that they are relevant. This is usually a good way for the digital PR hiring manager to recognise your work ethic, your ability to manage tasks, and whether you have the basic qualifications required for the job.
Your hobbies & interests
This part of a CV is optional, but it is a perfect way to tell the hiring team a little more about yourself, your hobbies, your freelance projects and your passions. This gives hiring managers a better idea of your personality and how well you might fit within the company culture.
What is a digital PR hiring manager looking for in a CV?
Care & attention to detail
One of the last things you want your CV to portray is that you have carelessly rushed your application since a digital PR role typically requires a keen eye for detail, an organised approach and strong copywriting skills. What’s more, signs of a rushed application may also indicate that you haven’t done your research or you don’t have a genuine interest in the role, which will inevitably let your application down. Therefore, you should pay particular attention to doing the following in your CV:
Proof-reading your CV to pick up any typos, mistakes, inaccuracies or grammatical errors
Pay attention to any specific requests made with regard to the CV’s formatting. For example, does it need to be no more than one page? Are creative CVs preferred?
Ensure that you tailor your personal description to the role and company you are applying for, not just make it broad enough to apply to several positions.
Relevant skills & experience
Perhaps most obviously, digital PR hiring managers will be looking closely for candidates with the right skills and experience for the role, which is why only putting the most relevant skills and experience on your CV is critical. It is not uncommon to have too many work experiences to fit on your CV, so you may need to be selective and choose the most relevant to the role you’re applying for, not just the most recent.
Similarly, when stating your skills and competencies, try to address the skills and competencies discussed in the job description, since these are clear indications of the kind of candidate they want, and you can use these to present yourself as just that. Using the same or very similar language in job descriptions is also helpful, particularly where CVs are screened by a computer and not a person.
You will be surprised at how many perfectly good candidates will never be considered simply because of the way that their CV is formatted. Common formatting mistakes include:
Frequent errors and typos
Text that is too small to read
Too many pages long or too short
To get a better idea of how a good digital PR CV may be formatted, download our free PR CV example today to help you get started.
Digital PR is an exciting, vibrant and creative field to work within, so if your CV presents you as those things, you are more than likely going to be the perfect fit for the role. Whilst it may be tempting to conform to the traditional plain CV formatted on Word that has been seen time and time again, consider conveying your character in a different way, such as by incorporating branding and interesting information about yourself into your CV.
In fact, creative CVs are increasingly popular in the world of digital marketing, since a CV is a prime opportunity to show how you can market yourself and build your own brand within a document.
You can convey your character by doing the following things in your CV:
Choosing an exciting, original and appropriate CV design
Discussing your interests and hobbies in a separate section
Striking a good balance between listing relevant and diverse work experience
A willingness to learn
Even where you may not entirely meet the criteria for a role, you can often get ahead and prove yourself by demonstrating that you are willing to learn what you don’t know already. This can be explicitly mentioned in your cover letter or subtly asserted in your CV by saying that you read books, listen to podcasts, write blogs, have independently completed online courses, or do something else which shows a proactive approach to learning (particularly within the field of digital PR).
Top tips for making a digital PR CV that hiring managers will remember:
Be proactive and seek opportunities: Be proactive in gaining as much relevant and useful experience as possible. This will help you present yourself as qualified, eager to learn, and more ambitious than other candidates. No matter how big or small the experience is, it could be what gives you a competitive edge over your fellow applicants. For example, this can be done by taking free online digital marketing courses.
Start with a strong personal summary: Some resumes may never get read beyond their personal summary, particularly where hiring managers are faced with hundreds of applications for very few roles. Considering that this is your first impression and first opportunity to make an impact, you want to ensure that your summary is striking, well written and hits all of the key points for the role.
Use power words throughout: Power words are words that truly emphasise your accomplishments and the nature of your actions. For example, you may want to use words such as ‘adaptable’, ‘innovative’, ‘championed’, ‘amplified’, ‘advanced’, ‘accelerated’ and ‘accomplished’.
Focus on formatting: Formatting is essential to ensuring that your CV is visually memorable since cluttered and poorly structured CVs will often lose a reader’s attention rather than gaining it. Make sure your format is clear, accessible and quick to grapple with.
Keep it within their guidelines: Some hiring managers will spend very little time reading through CVs, so they request that you do as much as you can to make it easier and quicker for them. For example, if they ask you to make it less than two pages of A4, make sure you do that.
Show firm understanding of the job description: Digital PR recruitment teams want to read about why you are suitable for the job they are offering, so make sure you show that you have understood the job description and tailored your response accordingly to make it as valuable as possible.