How to Get Hired at Edelman

Amy Sarno, Account Supervisor at Edelman

Amy Sarno, Account Supervisor at Edelman

So you want to work at Edelman? This award-winning agency (Edelman nabbed PR Week’s 2009 Agency of the Year and 2009 Large Agency of the Year awards) is hiring. With over 70 openings  in several of its national offices, there may be an opportunity in your city.

I caught up with Natasha Avery, senior recruitment manager for Edelman’s western region to find out what Edelman is looking for in a candidate. Not surprisingly, Avery shared that when reviewing candidates, she looks for a strong online presence and intelligent use of social media.

Mopwater: When you first review a good resume, what excites you and makes the candidate stand out? Avery:  A well-formatted resume that has detailed experience and clear career progression.  Often candidates think their resumes have to be one page..this is NOT TRUE!  It’s very important to have detailed experience.
·         I like a soft and consistent font like Calibri as well as use of bullets.  You can leave personal details off of your resume.  I’m apt to overlook a typo but many of my hiring managers will not. So proofread-don’t just spellcheck.
·         Please include a cover letter that is well-written and references the position for which you are applying and highlights how your experience fits with the qualifications we are seeking.
·         If you are applying to a non-local position, state in the letter if you are looking to relocate.

Mopwater: On the contrary, what would make you immediately discard a resume from a candidate?
Avery: Experience that is not applicable to the job I’m hiring for is a turn off. Also, someone who has done a lot of jumping around. If you have moved around due to layoff and/or contract jobs you can note that. A poorly formatted resume is not a good sign either. I would overlook format if the experience was spot-on but I would be concerned about this person’s ability as a writer and communicator-which is a critical skill in public relations.

Mopwater: Do you evaluate a potential candidate’s social media presence? If so, what sorts of things make you think the candidate would or would not be a good fit for Edelman?
Avery: Yes, absolutely.  We would want to see a built out Linked-In profile, Twitter and Facebook presence…best to keep the ‘party” pictures to a minimum but also recognize that social media space is a place to be authentic, be smart about it. We would be looking for someone with a searchable profile, meaning we should be able to find them in a web search.

Mopwater: What inherent personal traits do you think help a person thrive in a public relations career? What traits do you think help a person thrive at Edelman?
Avery: A person with a thirst for information and what it takes to drive authentic conversation and ultimately move the brand’s needle. Someone who is a big picture strategic thinker, who is smart, fun, dynamic, a strong writer, has  intellectual curiosity and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Mopwater: What kind of educational track do you look for when you evaluate a candidate for Edelman? Has there been a recent example where you ignored education in favor of a strong portfolio or work experience?
Avery: We are very open to a candidate’s education.  Advanced degrees are not critical but are nice to have. Edelman has a very generous education reimbursement program and often employees take advantage of this program as they grow their PR careers.  Many of our senior leaders have advanced degrees as well as employees who work for our research group, Strategy One. I see the majority of our candidates have degrees in PR, Marketing, Communications and English.

Mopwater: What types of projects constitute a strong portfolio in your opinion?
Avery: A strong portfolio means:
·         Someone who has worked on high profile accounts at a competing agency.
·         Someone who has worked in a start-up environment.
·         Someone who has client side experience.
I’m a fan of people who have a variety of experiences.  I think it helps them to see communications issues and opportunities from a variety of angles so that they are able to offer our clients a holistic approach.

Mopwater: You are currently hiring for a VP in your digital practice. What advice would you give to a person looking to secure this position?
Avery: This person will have a very strong on-line presence and be a thought leader in the digital space.  The ideal candidate will have applicable transferrable experience preferably from a digital agency or digital within a PR or advertising agency.

Mopwater: In this less than stellar economy, what has changed about your recruiting practices? How do you quickly and strategically separate the wheat from the chaff?
Avery: We are very fortunate that we have not had a significant slowdown in our hiring.   In fact, we are recruiting over 70 openings across the country.  Edelman is a very well respected agency and offers its employees tremendous training and career opportunities. When I reach out to people for a cold call, they are usually open to talking and networking with me.

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