Tag Archives: career tips

10 Things I Learned in PR Practicum

Although the semester has gone by so fast, it has also been the longest one of my college education. When I look back, there is so much that I have blogged about and created for this class. From writing resumes, interviewing skills, reading a PR trade book, and using social media sites such as LinkedIn, I have accomplished many different things this semester that have helped me develop and fine-tune my public relations skills and knowledge. For our final exam, I have compiled a list of 10 things that I have learned this semester in PR Practicum:

  1. Conversation is key! -Perhaps the most important feature of having a blog is that provides a place for two-way communication. By communicating with others online and commenting on their blog posts, your blog will have the chance to become interactive among the online community. You never know what kind of connections and people you will meet by conversing with strangers!     
  2. Blog about issues you know and care about. -I will admit, I am not incredibly passionate or interested in every topic we were required to write about. That is only normal. At the same time, I found that if I attempted to make some sort of connection with the blog assignments each week, it would be much more enjoyable to write. When people have a strong interest and are genuinely excited about what they write about, this will engage you to want to read on. No one wants to read an article that is empty at heart.
  3. Do your research. -When you go to buy a car, you normally have some knowledge of the brand you are looking at and the features of the car and its’ history. The same goes for interviewing or working for any business. Do some research about what the company stands for, its’ mission statement, when it was founded, etc. Be prepared to show employers that you are interested in them and want to make a positive contribution to the team.
  4. Impress with a cover letter. -Much like the cover of a book, people can make a strong impression by what they first read or see about you. Create a powerful cover letter that lets a company know who you are, what you have to offer, and why they should give you a chance.
  5. Practice good writing skills! -Whether I like it or not, I learned in my interview with a PR professional that writing is a key element in the everyday job. From press releases, brochures, radio announcements, and simple emails, public relations and communications professionals need to have excellent grammar, punctuation, and writing skills to get the job done right.
  6. Monitor body language on an interview. -Most people have subtle habits such as rubbing their hands together or rolling their eyes, and are unaware of the possible messages they are sending to others when they do this. When you are on an interview, make sure to have good posture, don’t tap your feet, and maintain eye contact to ensure the interviewer they have your full attention.
  7. Sell yourself online! -Not literally, but use websites like LinkedIn and PROpenMic to post your resume and network with others in the field. Marketing yourself and showing others what you have achieved can only put you in better position for landing a job or making a connection that will help you. Sell the image of yourself you want others to see!
  8. Be smart with social media. -It is okay to have a Facebook or Twitter account, but know that it is easy to find information online about anyone. Google yourself and find out what is out there about you, and whether or not you would want an employer to see this. Don’t twitter anything embarassing or work-related, because odds are someone will see it and you will put yourself in an awkward position. If you have to question if something is appropriate, then don’t put it online!
  9. Create a portfolio. -While having an excellent resume is important, it is also relevant to actually show and present employers with examples and pieces of work you have created. Since implementing social media is such a huge part of the way we communicate, create a portfolio with press releases, blogs, campaigns, brochures, and any assignments that you are proud of to present to others.
  10. Think outside the box! -Possibly the most important thing I have learned in practicum is that there is no limit to what you can do, whether it is during an internship or career. Use your creativity to come up with new ideas for improving a business, and know that no idea is necessarily a bad idea. Employers will be impressed to see that you are taking issues in your own hands and doing tasks that you weren’t asked to do.

While creating a blog for both PR Practicum and PR Social Media was a lot of work and effort, I am excited to implement the things and skills I have learned upon graduation!

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Career Services Event

My first career services event to attend this year, I went to the Communication Arts Career Fair on April 14th. It was a special career event that was created by several students in a PR event management classs. When I walked in, I was surprised at what a great job they did in organizing such a worthwhile career fair that was specific to communication arts. I have been to a Georgia Southern Career Fair last year, and I found it kind of pointless because although it was a great way to network, there was only a handful of businesses and people that worked in communications.

The Comm. Arts Career Fair was held in the Center for Arts & Theater, and there were about 10 different companies there, working with anything from radio, public relations, and broadcasting. I am not normally a very nervous or shy girl, but this was the first time I was going up to a stranger and giving them my resume. I think the whole concept is kind of nerve-wracking! It is scary to introduce yourself to someone and say “Hi, I’d like to work for you, here you go.” But I found that it wasn’t as big of a deal once I got to talking.

The first person I talked to Kelli Sauers, who is the Senior Event Manager for the Savannah International Trade & Conventional Center. She was extremely nice and talked about working and planning different events such as business and trade shows, weddings, and countless other types of shows. I would love to work in the Savannah area, and I think working for a center where so many different types of events take place would be very interesting and keep you on your feet. I am not quite sure if event planning is for me, but obviously the best way to find out would be through experience! I also briefly talked to Jennifer Abshire Patterson, who is the Founder of Abshire Public Relations & Marketing in Savannah. I always thought I would enjoy working for a PR firm because it is structured and would provide the opportunity to work with various clients and improving their potetial.

The two employers I talked to where the only ones who deal specifically with public relations, and I was greatly interested in what each had to offer. Some things I found were that career fairs are not as formal as I expected. It is important to remember to stay relaxed, and put your best personality forward. Don’t be shy! I think if employers see you are being genuine and have a strong interest to work for them, they will show an equal interest in you as well. There are hundreds of prospects who would like to work for a company at any given time, and you have to make yourself stand out above the rest. I am not sure where I will be working after my internship this summer, but by attending a career fair, I am one step closer to possibly landing a job. Only time will tell!

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Tips for Blogging & Tweeting on the Job

I recently came across this article by Andrew Worob at “PR at Sunrise” that gave some excellent tips for using social media for corporate purposes. I enjoyed reading them because they were simple and made sense!

1) Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was any social media community. If you invest and start your own blog, Twitter handle, etc. you are kidding yourself if you expect instant ROI. Be patient, give it time, and you’ll see the rewards in the long run.

2) How often should you blog/tweet? Whenever you have content that provides value to your readers. But more than anything, be consistent.

3) You don’t need to have a crisis communications meeting whenever you see a negative comment about your company. Respond to those comments with honest thoughts and never delete them from your page (if applicable). That person may not like your company, but they’ll respect you even more when they see that you didn’t  ignore their comment.

4) Gaining admirers on these networks is not rocket science. Engage with people and be transparent. That’s how you gain and maintain an audience.

5) Do not put someone in charge of your blog/Twitter handle, etc. that does not want to be there in the first place. You need someone that WANTS to be involved. Take it from me, writing a blog is hard work … but it’s a lot of fun if you enjoy it!

It will definitely help to keep these in mind when you are entering the world of public relations or any career where implementing social media is an every day duty. Best blogging wishes!

Information used on this blog post can be found at the following website:

http://worob.com/2010/04/19/five-social-media-tips-for-corporate-bloggers-and-tweeters/

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Filed under PR Connections, PRCA 3030 Social Media

Interview with a PR Professional

For my informational interview, I decided to interview a family friend that I have known for many years. Rich Mitchell works for Ernst & Young, one of the “big four” accounting firms. Although he is a CPA and works primarily with specific markets of the company in the Northeast region of the country, he also deals with public relations and other communications areas. He received his bachelor’s degree at the Ohio State University, and has been working for Ernst & Young in Akron, Ohio for the past 20 years. Since Rich lives in Ohio, I conducted the interview on Skype one afternoon to find out about his career. The interview lasted for about 15 minutes, and here is the conversation, broadly condensed so it is not so long.

Working at such a large firm, a typical week for Rich usually starts early and ends late. He prefers to work out of his office, which is about 30 minutes from home, and is constantly talking to clients and receiving emails from the time he gets in his car, around 6 a.m., to the time he leaves work, around 5 p.m. During the day, he attends meetings with various clients of the company, discussing issues dealing with company image, current media and press surrounding the company, and working to “grow certain markets” that are firm clients. When I asked him about one of his most memorable accomplishments or projects he has worked on, he laughed and said he is constantly working on so many projects that he learns from them all in different ways. Although he works in public relations, Rich is not a member of PRSA, although he says he would like to gain more knowledge in the industry by becoming a member soon. He has only been working in PR for the past 2 years, and he is taking time adjusting from his accounting background.

Rich told me that he wishes he had taken a stronger interest in writing and developing organizational skills before he began working in the field of public relations. He says he was aware that working with public relations would entail a lot of writing and typing, but not to the extent that he uses it on a daily basis. He uses his Blackberry primarily for sending emails and such, so he told me his writing skills are not that formal. Since he has been with the company for so long, he has interns and younger employees who write the formal press releases and other documents because he does more of the speaking on the phone and traveling to meet with clients. Rich says he is good with Excel and older computer programs, but the only form of social media that he attends to currently is Facebook. He says his wife and daughter know much more about using Twitter and blogs than he ever will. I asked him if he thinks it is important for new public relations graduates to know how to use social media, and he “definitely thinks it is something that will be common among all areas of the industry.” This made me feel confident about the knowledge I have been obtaining all semester in my social media online class!

The three tips that Rich gave me about going into public relations are:

  1. Be prepared to do a lot of busy work you probably won’t want to do.
  2. Use your creativity and think outside of the box for solutions.
  3. Network!

He could not stress the importance of networking yourself and your name and sending out resumes to any possible employer. He told me “It’s all about who you know,” and I have found this to be true in so many instances in my life. From handing out business cards, sending someone a quick email, or making a phone call, Rich said little actions can make a big difference in the future. After the Skype webchat was over, I felt more confident that working in public relations is something I am passionate about and hope to make my future career. It obviously takes time and experience to move up in a company, but I am willing to do that in order to be successful.

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What I Like About PROpenMic

Since I have joined PROpenMic, I have been trying to understand and explore all the functions of the networking site. I usually just log on and tend to search around the main homepage for interesting topics or videos. Today, I came across a video that was both gross and really effective. It was a video made by Greenpeace protesting Nestle and their destruction of the rain forest.

PROpenMic is great because it is a meeting place for public relations topics of all kinds. I enjoy learning about issues that are going on with different companies and organizations, and I was able to find this video and story on site easily. I went to the Jobs/Interns link at the top of website and found tons of posts by future graduates about what they are seeking. I am not sure how many of them hear back from employers, but it is clearly an effective place to get your name out there for those who are looking for interns. Although I am interning in Statesboro through the department, I am most likely going to search for opportunities on the website. Everytime I log on to PROpenMic, I learn a little more and am pleased with what I see!

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Internship Advice for Beginners

An important part of gaining field experience and meeting potential employers, interning can be an overwhelming topic for those who are unsure about what it exactly is and how they go about getting one. According to Webster’s dictionary, an internship is “an advanced student or graduate in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience.” Being an intern is like working with a mentor, where someone with knowledge in public relations or communications can fill you in on what they know and guide you to become better informed and prepared for the future.

No matter what kind of career you are going into, it is important to do some sort of internship beforehand in order to understand the kind of environment you are entering. A surgeon does not start operating on a patient the day they graduate from med school; they work as an intern or resident so they are fully prepared for their work. The same goes for public relations professionals. Depending on what kind of company you are working for, there are different skills and knowledge that are required for the particular job.  On the blog “Entry Level Rebel,” Jessica Stillman offers six tips for getting the most out of an internship.

  1. Consider applying at a start-up– While most people think you have to intern at a company that has been around for years and is well-established, working for a new company can give you more opportunities to perform big tasks and make a difference.
  2. D0 your homework– Make sure you do your research on the company you want to intern with. It will show them you care about what you are doing and you have a strong interest. This will only strengthen your chances of getting an internship and possibly a position with them in the future.
  3. Be the go-to person at all times– Although you may be confused and unsure about the tasks you are handed at first, don’t be afraid to do your research online and talk to others about what you are supposed to do. Be the person that people know they can depend on to get work done.
  4. Be innovative- think before you ask– Instead of assuming you do not know the answer to a potential problem or issue, look deeper into the question and you could be surprised that you have a great solution. Use the resources you are given for help.
  5. Think like the CEO– Is the work you are doing making the company better? This should be the main objective of every task you perform. Go out of your way to do things you are not asked or required to do; it will make you look sufficient and hard-working.
  6. Take notes and always have to-do list– When you are in a meeting with a boss or just receiving tips from an employee, jot down information so that you always have it to refer to. Use your notes to decide what you can do to perform your best work.

Be the best intern you can be!

Sometimes businesses do not have a lot of work to give interns because they are unsure about the kind of skills that interns possess. Brigid Wolf, who attends the University of Akron in Ohio, said she was able to perform more work for the company she interned with after she told them she was fluent with Excel and PowerPoint. “After I told them I was good at working with those programs, the employer was able to give me important projects to complete.”

Jeff Carter, a senior public relations major at Georgia Southern, enjoyed the networking aspect of his internship he completed last year. “It was a great opportunity to make numerous connections with local business owners,” he said. According to the blog, “Career Advancement- Tips to Maximize an Internship Into Career Success,” it is crucial to stay in connection with the people you work with. By letting the employer you worked under know what you are currently doing, this will “…keep your name in front of the employer.” You never know when you will need someone’s advice or help to get you where you want to be.

The most important aspect of choosing an internship is making sure it appeals to you! Tory Johnson, CEO of “Women for Hire,” gives this pointer in the blog “Top Tips for Picking an Internship.” Pick something that you feel will give you the kind of experience and work you are looking for to give you the skills you need for your dream job!

Information used in this blog can be found at the following websites:

http://blogs.bnet.com/entry-level/?p=2016

http://career.pligghanaka.com/career-advancement-tips-to-maximize-an-internship-into-career-success/

http://sbm.temple.edu/blogs/cspd/2010/03/18/top-tips-for-picking-an-internship/

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PROpenMic.. What is it?

When I hear the words “open mic,” I think of comedians and stand-up. I had no idea about PrOpenMic and wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to belong to because it sounds intimidating. After creating my profile, I was still lost. I had to locate “friends” or send gifts, and I was lost about what this website could do for me. I figured out that it is a social network for students, faculty, and professionals of public relations. The website is helpful because it is a meeting place for anyone just starting out or with lots of experience in PR and other areas of communication. With the opportunity to post blogs, view forums, and look for jobs and internships, PROpenMic has endless chances for networking with people across the world.  Since public relations is everywhere and constantly being implemented in the news, this website is a great place to get informed on what is going on.  I like the latest activity feature that reminded me of the newsfeed application on Facebook. It shows blog posts, videos, conversations, who became friends with who, and other things that make the website more personable. I am not sure about all the possibilities that PROpenMic has to offer, but I plan on learning more about the website so I can take full advantage of it.

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Filed under PRCA 3030 Social Media, TOW- Topics of the Week