By Kate Templeton
It’s that time of the year! The academic calendar ends in just three months, so it’s time to find a summer internship. Finding the “perfect” internship can be stressful for many students. I personally have spent weeks perfecting my resume, writing cover letters and filling out applications. It can be discouraging at times, but once you secure an internship the stress will all be worth it. Here are some tips and tricks to help make the internship finding process a little smoother.
Securing a summer internship can sometimes be very competitive. Companies have already begun posting their internships online, so start looking right away! Especially with spring break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start applying. In order to stay organized try creating a spreadsheet to list the internships you want to apply for with their due dates and what’s required for each application. This way you will be on top of all things internship and have the motivation to continue applying.
When figuring out what to apply for, try to think of a few fields or areas of focus you want to pursue after graduation. This will help you narrow down internships. I recommend putting extra effort into applications in the fields you are particularly interested in. However, due to internships being so competitive, you should still apply to a variety. Make sure to not immediately discredit ones you do not necessarily see yourself in. Any experience is good experience, and you might learn to love an area of focus you didn’t even know existed. Try to gauge between internships that are “reach” one’s versus ones that are more “safe.” Pay closer attention to internships that match your career interests, but still apply for others so that you are setting yourself up for the most success.
Use Your Network
Many students are able to secure internships through their own personal network. Always reach out to family, friends and professionals that you are in contact with and see if they know of any internship opportunities or anyone working in communications. Even if you don’t get an internship right away, making these professional connections is a huge benefit. Use these connections to set up informational interviews, job shadows or just for some professional advice. Networking is a smart way to get your foot in the door at a company and possibly access to internships that aren’t publicly advertised.
PRSSA’s Internships and Jobs Section
If you are a dues-paying member of PRSSA, you have an entire internship database at your fingertips. The PRSSA Internship Center lets you browse their wide selection of internships that are available for students. You are able to filter through internships by employer, location, start date or keywords. It’s a great resource for all PR students! Here is the link to search for different internships: http://prssa.prsa.org/internships-jobs/
Securing an internship in a brand new big city seems like an impressive feat and the ultimate goal. But remember to pay attention to the details and what it actually entails. Many internships are unpaid, or pay very little which is why it is crucial to be sensible. Finding a place to stay that is affordable for the summer and being able to support yourself should be the most important factor. Definitely still apply to your dream internship, but also remain realistic when it comes to figuring out logistics.
Remember to be proactive when searching for an internship. You’re going to focus a lot of time and effort to research positions, properly network and personalize cover letters and resumes for particular jobs. This is time consuming and sometimes extremely frustrating, and you’ll most likely face rejection along the way. Nonetheless, it is essential to stay positive and keep trying! With persistence you will hopefully be able to secure a valuable internship and gain real world experience this summer.
By Kate Templeton
Social media has become a prominent and critical tool in the world of public relations. The online presence of a company can either make or break its reputation. When working in PR, it’s important to understand this powerful tool and how to find the most success while using strategic social media tactics. Here are a few tips for using social media to positively support a brand’s digital presence.
Use Hashtags Professionally.
Hashtags are a great tool to grow an online following and engage with users. There are specific social media tactics that are important when using hashtags. For some brands, using the same hashtag on every post creates consistency. This eventually can be seen as a slogan for the company, and all posts that accompany the hashtag are easy to find. Hashtags can also be used to gain traction and reach more users. Because they are easily searched, using relevant hashtags that appeal to the audience will help the brand expand.
Pay Attention to Your Audience.
Discovering what the audience cares about is a crucial step in creating an online brand. Public relations professionals have the opportunity to listen to the conversations their audiences are having on social media platforms. Responding to comments, questions and listening to critiques will help a brand find more success.
Consistency is Key.
When developing a strong social media presence, it is essential to pay attention to the full image the brand portrays online. Developing a consistent look and voice will help establish a solidified image throughout. The design and graphic elements should be similar to increase audience engagement and differentiate the brand from others.
Create a Strategy.
Not every social media platform is going to be beneficial for every brand. Organizations should only focus on social platforms that add value to their company. Create and implement a social media strategy that will meet the brands’ unique goals and objectives.
Analytics, Analytics, Analytics!
It’s one thing to post consistently on social media accounts, but it is another to actually grasp how the audience is responding. The use of analytics is necessary when evaluating the effectiveness of social media strategies. This can help companies reach the correct audiences that positively impact the brand. (Check out Sierra’s blog post last week for more insights on social media analytics)!
You will now be one step ahead when using social media to professionally maintain a client’s brand!
By Kate Templeton
Do you need to practice networking? Or perhaps want to meet the students and teachers involved in the PR program? University of Oregon PRSSA is hosting a Speed Networking Event next Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6:00 p.m. in Allen 141 for a night of low-stake networking and refreshments. Local professionals, SOJC professors and students are all welcome to come. Below are a few tips to prepare you for this night of networking!
It’s All About Relationship Building
Ask Thoughtful Questions
If you are interested in attending our Speed Networking Event, please RSVP with the link below. Hope to see you there! RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdE6CMDLpwaUYRJvfbMBOupt3nO1xo0RDzTK0bj-TkR2pR_bw/viewform
By Kate Templeton
As a junior in college, I am very focused on learning how to prepare myself for a future career as a public relations professional. I imagine many of you are also pondering and planning what steps you should be taking while you are still a student to best set yourself up for success after graduation. Fortunately, as journalism and communication students, we have access to many outstanding resources for guidance. For this week’s blog, I decided to ask an expert. I reached out to the SOJC Dean, Juan-Carlos Molleda, to hear his perspective and recommendations on what to do to be a successful public relations student. He provided me with some incredible insight and advice. Below are some highlights of our discussion.
How can students make the most out of their time as a UO PR student?
Dean Molleda explained that actively participating in classes is extremely important. Students who ask questions, engage in class discussions and interact with faculty are able to gain more than those who just show up to lectures. He also went on to explain that getting involved in extracurricular activities outside of a student’s major is essential, too. He feels that in our ever-changing world, it is important to be knowledgeable about global issues and to be up-to-date on current events in the news. Dean Molleda suggests getting involved in a variety of activities on and around campus to become a more informed citizen.
What are some things PR students can do to set them up for success while in college?
While students are still in school, Dean Molleda recommends actively networking. He explained that networking is a necessity when trying to maintain relationships and establish solid connections. He also emphasizes that one should not be solely focused on getting multiple internships while in college, but the importance of doing high-quality work and having successes while at these internships. This will help students create real world networks that will help them post-graduation. Dean Molleda also suggested utilizing the many resources that Allen Hall offers. For example, guest speakers that come and speak to student groups are a great way to learn about a field of interest, and a way to network with a professional who is actually in that field.
What are must haves when looking at resumes of PR students?
A student’s resume can completely make or break them when applying for jobs. Dean Molleda stresses the importance of having a clean and clear resume, with absolutely no typos. He also reiterates the importance of having unique experiences on the resume. Having solid work experience is a must, but having additional and diverse skills is equally as crucial. Employers want to hire people with skills; they want to see if PR students have the capability to work with various software programs, social media, analytics, etc. Dean Molleda states that “Internships are important, but students need additional skills, experiences and expertise to really make their resume and portfolio stand out amongst the rest.”
What are some things all PR students should know about the field?
In a workplace, the term ‘public relations’ isn’t always used. Dean Molleda explains that there are an array of different titles other than PR used in the real world. The job title could possibly be called public affairs, corporate communication, communication specialist, project manager, etc. He explained that because of the many career possibilities for PR students, it is imperative to be familiar with the variety of jobs students can apply for and obtain. Dean Molleda explains that “We are in a golden age of PR because of technology, so it is extremely important to understand technology and all of its uses.” The basics are still needed in PR: writing, speaking, presentation, critical thinking, etc. But being proficient with technology is now a necessity in the field. To close the interview, Dean Molleda gave one last great piece of advice. He said there is one specific word he likes to use when explaining what a PR professional needs to have in order to be successful in the field, and that word is ‘resilience.’ Having resilience is a valuable skill because it shows that a person will work hard and use all their abilities to get the job done, no matter the obstacles they may face.
By Kate Templeton
When most students imagine studying abroad, they probably picture exploring a foreign country and making lasting memories with new friends. However, studying abroad can actually help students gain professional connections and develop important skills that can positively impact their future. Last summer, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to study abroad. After what felt like months of researching different programs, countries and courses, I finally decided to spend six weeks studying in London. The program I chose was offered through the University of Oregon, and it provided me with an incredible opportunity to spend the summer with 60 other journalism and public relations students. While abroad, I gained valuable skills that have already greatly benefited my life as a PR student, and will help me reach my ultimate career goals.
Here is why you should consider studying abroad:
The professors in my London program were much different than the professors we have in the states. Two of my professors worked for the BBC, one in radio and one in television. Interacting with professors who are also working professionals from a different country with diverse experiences helps students gain new perspectives in the world of public relations. As students, we are advised to make connections and build professional networks. Having the chance to be in small, interactive and engaging classroom settings with professors who have their own unique professional connections opens up more possibilities for networking. One of my study abroad professors actually wrote me a letter of recommendation for a job!
My study abroad courses provided a great deal of experiential learning. We had amazing opportunities to attend a variety of theatre productions, dances, museums and sporting events. Through the classes, I learned how to effectively write news releases, news stories, critical reviews, blogs and features. I reviewed events and performances and learned how to critically and clearly explain what I had seen. Being a strong writer is important for PR professionals. Students who study abroad get the opportunity to dramatically improve their writing skills and become more compelling and effective communicators.
During my program, I had the opportunity to tour different businesses in the heart of London. I was able to see firsthand the role that public relations and journalism have in organizations like Chelsea Football Club, Ticketmaster, the BBC, the Olympic Games and many more. Being able to experience what it would be like to actually work in a communications field for these huge organizations opened my eyes to the many different possibilities that are out there for public relations majors. The hands-on atmosphere in studying abroad is key in showing students how professionals in these fields work and find successes.
While abroad, the classwork we did was very special. My program offered classes that required writing, photography and videography. Students left the program with multiple original pieces of work that showcased a variety of media platforms. The coursework created while abroad is extremely beneficial in differentiating and enhancing PR portfolios in comparison to other portfolios.
And finally, it wouldn’t be a study abroad experience without fully immersing into an entirely new and different culture. When students are able to say that they successfully lived in a new country while also taking classes, this demonstrates personal growth and perseverance. Study abroad students come back to their colleges and universities with a life changing experience that helps them mature personally, professionally and culturally.
By Erica Freeze
I am graduating in less than two weeks. As I continue to process this, I thought that I should end my UO PRSSA blog contributions with some advice for those who get to enjoy college for a bit longer.
The last few weeks of my senior year have felt like the series finale of a sitcom; you say tearful goodbyes to the dear friends you have made and start to reminisce on all of the good times throughout your college career. Your character development over time suddenly becomes apparent and you realize that this development in this environment is ending.
For those of you lucky enough to still be in college, or who are about to start, I remind you to keep your college friends close before they start their new lives elsewhere. Enjoy the fact that you are only a few blocks away from some of the greatest people you will ever meet. Take a class you enjoy and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Make a bucket list and go on adventures with your friends all over the state. Don’t be afraid to overuse the excuse, “I’m in college” while you can. And when you do have some free time, don’t be afraid to utilize the connections you have made to pursue a future career that interests and excites you.
The job search is a long and strenuous one. I am still on my search and rejection is not easy. But something that I am constantly reminded of is that everyone has a different path and you cannot compare yours to your peers. Being in the SOJC, this is extremely difficult as I compare myself to those who have had jobs lined up since the beginning of the year. I feel behind and as if I will never find a job. But at the end of the day, there is, believe it or not, some positivity to the job search. This search has helped me learn more about my passions and exactly what I want to do. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish as you embark on the post-grad job search and journey. I have not had an easy spring term and have dealt with a lot of anxiety and stress about my future. But the thing is that it is MY future, no one else’s. Remember that it is your life, and if you want to move to New York and work long hours to survive, then go for it! Yes, I know that some parents may have reservations about where their children go, but a conversation about your future with them can be beneficial when you present them with all of the wonderful opportunities that there are for young college graduates. Don’t move to a big city just because all of your friends are. Don’t go to grad school because it’s what your parents want. Do what makes YOU happy and strive for that!
With all of that being said, in the craziness of senior year, make sure you take at least one moment to realize how beautiful and special life is at this moment in time. Sit back and smile when you have little responsibilities and time to grab brunch with your friends on a Friday morning or gather around a TV with a pizza on a Tuesday night. Take this moment to appreciate the life you are living. Although next year will be different, keep these memories close to get you through your post-grad years. Life is filled with ups and downs, but there are many great years ahead to look forward to.
To those of you graduating, congratulations to the Class of 2017. We did it! Good luck to you all, and to those still embarking on the wonderful journey that is college.
By Erica Freeze
As I am about to graduate from the University of Oregon, my job search is on full-throttle. Every time I see the words “please attach a cover letter,” I start to question the purpose of one. What is the point of a cover letter? It turns out that they actually have a purpose and when you utilize them to their full potential they can get you past the application process and into the interview process.
The purpose of a cover letter is to help you stand out past your resume. Cover letters are the outlet to introduce yourself and demonstrate your interest in a company. In these letters, you draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you. Often this letter and your resume are the first contact you have with a prospective employer, and if written correctly can have a large impact whether they ask you to interview.
After writing many cover letters for my job applications and conducting some research, I have learned a great formula on how to land an interview. So how do you write an interesting cover letter? Read on:
Headers can vary for every cover letter. Here is a pro tip: usually larger companies look for a header for your cover letter while smaller companies or startups usually don’t. If you are applying to a large in-house company or agency, then a header will most likely be preferred. If you apply to an agency with a few employees, then a header will most likely not be needed.
A header should normally consist of the date you’re writing the letter, your name, address, phone number and email address. Then, skip a line on the page and address your letter to the person who posted the job and their title at the company. For example, if Jane Smith, an HR representative for Edelman posted the job, then you would say, “Dear Jane Smith, HR representative.”
Sometimes you cannot always find the name of the person who posted the job. If you have no idea who this person is, or who makes selections for interviews, I simply put, “Dear Edelman.”
A successful introduction paragraph will include a brief introduction as to who you are and why you are interested, and qualified in the position. I normally start with my name and my education. Following this, I provide a brand statement. One great thing about the SOJC is that it encourages you to have a brand statement made before portfolio reviews. This is great to include in a cover letter because it provides a brief background as to what you are interested in. An example of a brand statement may be, (and this is the one I created for myself) “I am an aspiring public relations professional with a passion for writing, strategic communication and creative thinking.”
Following this, I like to explain why I am qualified for the position and what I can do for the company. It is important to make your reasons relate back to the job posting in some way. Think of it this way, if you can use the same cover letter and simply swap out the name of the company, you aren’t being specific enough.
Read over the job posting again, and the mission of the company as a whole. How can you help this company accomplish its goals? What experience do you have to succeed in the posted role? The next few paragraphs are for you to talk about your experiences that make you qualified. These can be internships, volunteer roles or even classwork if you do not have a lot of job experience.
I like to divide each paragraph up with the same structure. The first sentence or two should introduce your previous role and the skills you gained from the role. The following sentences should include scenarios where you utilized these skills, and how you best fulfilled the role. Lastly, provide results if you generated any. This is one of the most important things that companies look for. If you generate positive results, it proves that you worked hard in your role. An example of a result may be, “increased Facebook page likes by 50%.” It is as simple as that!
Your conclusion should be about one to two sentences, and reiterate the following:
Your enthusiasm about the role.
A “thank you” to the company for taking the time to read.
Where the company can contact you with any further questions.
A mention of relevant documents or links attached (resume, website, etc.)
With this formula, you can hopefully attract the attention of employers and show them your potential! Good luck with the job search.
By Kate Miller
The purpose of an informational interview is to talk with a professional who is working for a company or in an industry that you are interested in working in. This interview takes place either in-person or virtually. It may seem daunting or weird, but I can tell you from my experience that informational interviews have been the most important thing I have done throughout my internship and job search.
Informational interviews have been valuable because they have required me to get all of my ducks in a row, find some courage, be as professional as possible and ask a stranger for career advice. While the wording of an introductory informational interview email request may differ from person to person, most professionals and students know the parameters. You are simply trying to learn about what the professional does for a living. I promise, informational interviews become easier once you get the first one over with.
The first step to landing an informational interview is to reach out. As a student at the University of Oregon you have so many connections at your fingertips and alumni want to talk to you. So have courage, be professional and reach out. Be aware that professionals are busy so be considerate and grateful for their time and expertise. In my experience, professionals love sharing about their job and you being interested in what they do is exciting for them.
The first professional I reached out to was a woman at Edelman in New York. Edelman is a place I hope to work for one day and speaking with an alumnus about her experience helped me understand what it took to get there and provided me with a connection at Edelman when I was applying for their internship program. Networking has been most helpful while pursuing an internship and a strategy I will continue to use to one day find a job. In my opinion, PR is about three things: connecting, storytelling and strategy. The more connections you have the better.
Do Your Research
As a young professional, you need to show the person you are speaking with that you have done your research. You want to know what they have done in their career, how they got there and have some quality questions to ask. They are taking time that could be spent working to speak with you, so be prepared. The questions you ask should show that you are intentional and curious.
Send a Thank You Card
This is key. After the vast amount of knowledge, you have obtained from this professional, send a thank you card. It makes all the difference. It makes people happy to receive a handwritten thank you card and shows the professional that you appreciate the specific things you discussed with them and how much it has helped you.
Networking is essential and after your first informational interview, it will be way less scary. I personally love the insight and connections informational interviews provide me with professionals and I encourage you to take every opportunity that you can. It has led me to internship opportunities and has given me insight on where I would like to potentially work in the future.
By Erica Freeze
“Branded content” is the term for when companies create their own content to attract interest and engage an audience and generate familiarity, in the effort to pull consumers towards the brand to convert them to customers. But promoting your brand to the masses in this way won’t satisfy them. When the same sorts of messages arise from similar brands and competitors, consumers catch on. This is where emotional appeal needs to come in to push your brand ahead of the competitors.
One campaign that took emotional appeal to the next level is Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign. This campaign was groundbreaking because it reached its predominantly female consumers through a completely different method. Feminine care products normally focus on selling women on more idealized versions of themselves. This campaign however, compares stereotypes about the athleticism of young girls. The advertisement shows the frustration and misconceptions behind the statement, “run like a girl” and channels it into a powerful message: women are capable and strong regardless of the stereotypes placed on them. This unique advertisement resonated with women across the globe and was a huge success. Adobe ranked “Like a Girl” the top digital campaign of the Super Bowl in 2015, based on an analysis of mentions on a variety of social networks and internet platforms.
Creating an emotional connection means targeting an underlying emotion that may not be immediately obvious. Generating an emotional response is as important as having the right message. A brand can evaluate the emotional response through social media monitoring. Social media monitoring can help a brand understand how audiences perceive their message. The way that people respond to social media posts can tell your brand what attitudes and ideals your audience holds.
According to Harvard Business Review, those who are ‘fully connected’ emotionally are 52% more valuable to brands than customers who are ‘highly satisfied.’ Connecting consumers through emotional appeal can increase their action towards the brand. Think about it, if you see a brand promoting something that you align with, something that you are passionate about, then that brand activates an emotional response from you and increases your loyalty towards that brand. Therefore, you will want to be connected to this brand, and purchase their products and take action to consume this brand. The customers who are impacted by a brand’s stories and messages ultimately become advocates, sharing the brand on social media or telling their friends about the great products the brand has to offer. This is exactly what the Always campaign did, and as stated before, it was hugely successful.
The best approach to this is to focus on the connection that you want. You want to be consistent and target a smaller demographic; a more specific niche than a wide range of customers. Conduct some research on this target audience, take some surveys, view their social media engagement, analyze the data you collect and then come up with the underlying motivators for their consuming habits. From this you can see which emotional triggers work best and which do not. You can utilize this data to make a campaign to perfectly target a specific audience and utilize this audience to promote your brand and increase brand loyalty.
By Erica Freeze
As the school year is coming to an end, it is important for college students to have updated résumés for future careers or internships. As a graduating senior, I constantly find myself updating and changing my résumé to best represent who I am. A résumé can include other elements besides words – different colors and fonts can all help to show who you are to a potential employer. Potential employers make snap judgments about who you are from a simple glance at your résumé. Because of this, it is important that your résumé makes a positive impression on readers. There are certain mistakes that people make time and time again on their résumés that will make an employer turn his or her nose up. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. There is not enough white space.
You want your resume to appear clean and professional. Overcrowding the page with too much text will most likely overwhelm an employer and cause him or her to not want to read through the whole page. Being precise and to the point on résumés is the best way to go. When an employer receives your résumé, you want them to be able to glace at it and get a general idea of your experience. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to have a visually appealing layout with some color or a logo you have created to represent who you are. If you’re adept at graphic design, there are general résumé layouts in Microsoft Word and also simple design platforms online such as Canva which have premade templates.
2. You didn’t include results-oriented language.
As aspiring public relations professionals, we know that results are very important in understanding how to best target key publics. Employers want to see how you drove change at a previous job or internship. They want to know what you have to contribute to their company to drive change. Your résumé should be clear about results you’ve achieved. It can be as simple as “increased Facebook page views by 15%.” If offered an interview, you can elaborate on how you did so, but it is important that on paper you show them that you do include how you contributed to your past job or internship.
3. Your objective statement could use some work.
If you decide to include a statement at the top of your résumé, try to steer away from an objective statement. An example of an objective statement is, “Seeking a role as an account coordinator to advance my career in the public relations industry.” There are a few problems with this statement. It is very bland, and the focus is on what the candidate wants for herself, to advance her career, rather than providing information on how she can generate change for the potential employer. Instead of that, try using a statement that shows your value to a company. An example of this would be, “Transforming communication problems in the entertainment sector into intensive, results-backed solutions. Creating results through identifying stakeholders, building relationships and implementing change.”
4. You didn’t include skills.
You can list out your skills in a section or provide them interwoven throughout your résumé in your experiences. Employers need to see your skills and how you applied them in previous positions. These skills can help you stand out from other applicants. In a CareerBuilder survey, 35% of employers stated résumés that don’t include a list of skills is one of the most common résumé mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate. If you decide to weave your skills into your resume, start with the skill and then include how you generated positive results because of this skill.
5. You aren’t confident in your past work experiences.
As a student in the SOJC, I know that classmates can get competitive with each other, and sometimes it feels as though you may not have enough experience or involvement to stand out. Don’t give up, and don’t represent a lack of confidence on your résumé. If you have no PR experience, highlight the skills you acquired in another job and how they can relate to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are a server, you can say something along the lines of “accurately recorded orders and partnered with team members to ensure satisfaction for our customers.” This shows that you have experience working on a team which most likely helped you enhance you r communication skills. Additionally, if you have no work experience, highlighting certain classes on your résumé is okay to do as well – that’s how I got my first internship! Be confident in what you have to offer an employer, even if it isn’t a bunch of work experience in the field you hope to end up in.
The job hunt can be a tricky one, but be confident in what you have to offer employers with an awesome, updated résumé! This is a first impression of who you are and what you have to offer. Use these tips to help you stand out among competitors!