Quotes from the Pros

"If you want to separate yourself from the pack in PR, you should do two things. First, be an information junkie. To span the boundary between your employer and its external environment, you have to know what's happening in the world. You can do that through voracious news consumption, volunteer work, internships and informational interviews. Second, learn to write well -- not just conceptually, but syntactically. If your spelling and grammar are poor, take a remedial writing course. New media and a lack of training have corrupted the grammar of a generation, so good writers stand out more than you can imagine." -Jeffrey Paterson, APR, Director of Communication & Advancement, Health Association of Niagara County Inc.

"Join PRSA. Get involved. Don't be shy -- meet as many communication professionals as you can...the people you know and the network you build can be the keys to success. And write, write, write." -Barbara Byers, APR, Associate Director, Communications, UB Office of Alumni Relations

"First, be thorough and accurate. Typos and mistakes on cover letters and resumes will knock you out of the box. Have someone proof your work to check for errors. Secondly, seek to differentiate yourself. You want to be able to show that that you do well academically, have taken different courses, and have some sort of internship or volunteer work under your belt. The more experience you have, the better. Also, get involved with groups such as PRSSA/PRSA. Attend their events so that you can get your name out there as early and as much as possible. Thirdly, have an intellectual curiosity, read as much as you can and show that you have a large and growing base of knowledge. Lastly, follow up with a letter or phone call. Always do what you say you're going to." -Kenneth Houseknecht, APR

"I didn't know it at the time, but my first two positions at Independent Health helped me land my job in PR. I learned a lot about the health insurance industry and our products while I was a sales rep and later on as I worked in our product development department preparing proposals and project plans for new products. When the position opened in PR to handle communications to our employers, brokers and members, my training in the other two areas came to great use. Now that I've had to hire for a position here, make sure you proofread! We all make mistakes and typographical errors that slip through and make it to print (I've made plenty), but your resume, cover letter and writing samples should be perfect. Take the extra time to have someone proofread your resume and letter before you send it." -John Fisher, Manager, Public Relations, Independent Health