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On Dec. 15, I participated in a tweet chat.  #HAPPO champs from across the country volunteered their time for one hour to respond to questions about resumes, cover letters and job searches in general.  #HAPPO is the brainchild of Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon, started a couple years ago when lots of our PR and communications colleagues found themselves in need of a job.

Here are some of the highlights from the chat (forgive any typos, the posts were pulled directly from the transcript):

Ideal length for a resume:

@BuchananPR: QI. Two pages ideal. One-page mandatory has gone out the window. #HAPPO

@mdbarber: A1 -- Length not as important as what you put on it. However, I would say new grads should def try to keep to one page. #happo

@RMZFarrell: @Helpaprproout 1 page for every 5 years of experience #happo

@mdbarber: RT @AbbieF: Q1 - less concerned about length than I am about good information. #happo

@StephLough: @Helpaprproout Q1: Resume length A1: keep a hard copy to one page, but include hyperlinks in digital copy to supplement. #HAPPO 

@BuchananPR: A1 - prefer clean, bulleted experience items; would rather have two pages than one page of dense copy. #HAPPO

Writing skills:

@arikhanson: Q1: Clear, concise writing is key. Remember, this is your employer's first look at your writing skills. #happo

@AbbieF: @shubarao i don't want to see too much jargon on a resume. you should be able to describe what you do in common language. #HAPPO

@rockstarjen: A1: like any writing project, go back over your resume several times to see what can be omitted. this will keep it concise & strong. #happo

@AbbieF: Q2: in your cover letter tell me HOW the exp you have is relevant, don't leave it up to me to reject it. #HAPPO

@dariasteigman: @iBridgeforth People are looking to work w/ ppl they like. The more you can facilitate that process, in res/cover ltr, the better. #happo

@Elias213: RT @StephLough: Writing samples are a must! RT @Elias213: #Q5 I like including writing samples that are related to the specific job and/or industry. #happo

List all experience:

@AbbieF: @kendralante I'm less interested in "where" you got the experience, than what the experience is. You are relevant based on skills. #HAPPO

@AbbieF: Q2-fresh out of school, want to see what you did. With 2-3 years exp, I'm ok with leaving off college work unless PR related. #HAPPO

@mikeschaffer: Q2 - Include any type of job that's relevant to the position or could be an interesting convo. starter. #happo

@AbbieF: any exp can be relevant to PR-good hostess handles crisis, event planning, mgt. And might be the perfect fit for my f/b clients. #HAPPO

@sjplatte: @Helpaprproout A2: Relevance is key. I'd say it's not so much about job title as it is conveying skill sets. #happo

@dariasteigman: a2 Some unrelated jobs are just interesting, conversation starters. Maybe you include, but don't say much. Let ppl ask. #happo

@StephLough: RT @shubarao: RT @shubarao: @D_SuggsJoe Highlight skills you have that are relevant regardless of which industry they are used in. #happo

@libedon: A3: I always include measurable results with actual numbers, showing how I impacted the company with my work.#HAPPO #HAPPO

Follow up

@BuchananPR: Q4 Follow up! An email a week later. Not too soon, not too agressively, but do it. #HAPPO

@mikeschaffer: A4: Follow-up is good, but know that companies will reach out to TOP candidates ASAP. That doesn't mean you lost out, though. #happo

@BuchananPR: Q4. Always try to have the name of appropriate person to send to -- and follow up with. "HR Director" is a turn-off. Make the call. #HAPPO

@arikhanson: Q4: Follow up, but also look for other "ins." Use LinkedIn to search for others in company you may be connected to for recos. #happo

@nikki_little: Q4: Always follow up w/an email or call within a week after you submit the resume. #happo

@laurenkgray: A4 - After you submit a resume, make sure you follow up and continue to research the company and such! Maintain relationships. #HAPPO

@nikki_little: Get the attention of the person you sent the resume to - connect on Twitter/LI, comment on blog posts, etc. #happo

@dariasteigman: Great point. RT @mikeschaffer: Don't be afraid to call and ask why you didn't get a job. Great source of intel/feedback #happo

Cover letters

@BuchananPR: Q5. Most important: Proofread! Astounding how many cover letters come in with grammatical errors. #HAPPO

@laurenkgray: For my cover letter, I include more than what is in my resume to help compliment it and cover their requirements for the job. #HAPPO

@libedon: A5: maybe three paragraphs. How I found them, my experience, my impact and how it's relevant to their company.#happo 

@dariasteigman: A5 Cover letter is opportunity to tie your key experience to the job. And to showcase personality, professionalism, & writing skills. #happo

@ValerieSimon: Q5: Treat your cover letter as you would a pitch. Be concise. Be interesting. Proofread. #HAPPO

Klout scores

@nikki_little: Q6: Your Klout score tells me nada about your PR experience & proficiency. Leave it off your resume. #happo

@mikeschaffer: Klout scores in resume? NO! End of discussion. #happo

@arikhanson: Q6: If you have your Klout score on your resume, take it off. Now. Immediately. Trust me. #happo

@nikki_little: @genettic An employer asking about a Klout score would give me pause, too. Concern they care more about your "influence" than skills. #happo

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

1 Comment

  1. Lools like there were a number of nationally known PR professionals sharing their wisdom.

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