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5 Free Online Tools to Make You Stand Out in PR

April 12, 2017

Use these sites and learn the basics to make you stand out in the ever-competitive job search


When I first started searching for internships, I had no prior experience that put me ahead of every other student applying.  Through hearing speakers, attending conferences, listening in class and talking with professionals, I learned about different online tools that could boost my skillset.  The best part?  They all offer free versions or lessons.  Now that summer is approaching and you are looking for an internship, take the time to look at these sites and stand out in your interviews. 


Hubspot Academy

Inbound marketing is an import skill for PR pros to use content marketing, social media marketing and SEO.  Hubspot offers hours of videos and course material to learn the basics.  There are three free certifications that are helpful to students: Inbound Certification, Emailing Marketing Certification and Inbound Sales Certification.

From the creators of LinkedIn, is an online library of video courses to teach people anything from software development to Adobe Suite to mobile marketing.  You can watch individual videos to learn a quick technique or enroll in a course to conquer an entire program. offers a free trial and is free with a City of Columbus Library card.


Hootsuite Academy

Hootsuite is a widely used, online social media-managing tool.  On Hootsuite Academy, there are two free training courses to help you learn.   Although you have to pay for the certification, learning the material will stand out in your portfolio.  The two online training courses are on Hootsuite Platform and Social Marketing.





This is a tool I recommend to so many students.  It’s a free design site that lets you create posters, invitations, social media graphics and more.  I even used it to design my resume. It’s very intuitive and even has articles for design tips and tricks.  The templates and examples can be a great starting point if you lack an eye for design.



Although this is a method of communication, Slack and similar product-managing tools are great assets you can offer employees.   Learning these the team communication sites before working means that there is one less thing that an employer has to teach you – which they love.  In an interview, I’ve had the employer ask my opinion of Slack, which I was able to answer honestly and confidentially just by poking around at it and using it in group projects.  It’s free and has a simple design to organize your communication.


All of these sites have helped me land internships and have knowledge of topics that I have not learned in the classroom.  We all know putting “efficient in Microsoft Office and PowerPoint” looks bad on a resume these days. Weave these new tools into your resume and talk about them in interviews and I promise, the employer will be impressed.




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