A little less than two years ago, I sat in a large introduction to public relations class. Hundreds of students sat in desks around me, and I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating looking at how many of my peers would be going into the same job market as myself. How was I going to stand out? How was I supposed to know how to land an internship or job? What did I need to focus on during my time in the School of Journalism and Communication? I was brand new to the program, and although I didn’t know what the future of PR would hold for me, I was eager to learn everything I could to succeed in the industry.
Fast forward. It’s my last term of college, and I just returned home from a full day of work at my PR and marketing internship. Two years have flown by, but I learned so much and took on many opportunities to get where I am today. For me, it was mostly trial and error, figuring out the answers to those questions I asked myself in that big classroom.
If you are one of those students who is just starting out on the PR track feeling nervous like I did, I have some great news for you. You can get all the inside scoop about classes, instructors, internship tips and more by doing one simple thing. Join the PRSSA mentorship program! I am taking the time to tell you about this incredible program because I was not fortunate enough to be a mentee during my time of need. If I had a mentor during my journey through the PR sequence, my questions would have been answered by a peer who already went through the same experiences. Your peers are often some of the greatest sources of knowledge when it comes to the process of working your way through the sequence and on to the professional world.
I’m going to switch gears to address those of you who have already embarked partway through the PR sequence. The mentorship program is just as important for you as it is for those students just starting out. Become a mentor! I started in the program as a mentor, and it has been such a rewarding experience. Not only are you able to give advice to a peer just starting the sequence, (who doesn’t feel good when helping someone out?) but you also learn from them as well. I’m confident my mentee and I will continue to stay in touch. We learn from each other and encourage each other as we take on new opportunities, which is an awesome connection to take away from this experience.
There’s nothing better than Ducks helping Ducks, and this program gives PR students a way to start building those relationships while you’re still at the SOJC. For more information about the program, check out the PRSSA website.
Kati VanLoo is a senior at the University of Oregon graduating in June. She has interned in both the corporate and agency settings, including her current position she holds as a part of the Portland Senior Experience. During her time at the SOJC she was an account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations, a writer for Her Campus Oregon and a mentor in the PRSSA mentorship program. Check out her PR lifestyle blog or follow her on Twitter at @Katelyn_VanLoo.
Every term UO PRSSA plans a trip to a different city to visit public relations and communications agencies. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Eugene, and soon to be Santa Monica, are a few of the cities PRSSA has visited and will be visiting in the future. Attending an agency tour has numerous benefits, however, you may still be unsure about what those are. If so, here are five reasons why you should go on an agency tour.
Attending an agency tour allows you to make face-to-face connections with professionals in cities you may not have other opportunities to visit. By attending an agency tour, you are able to create connections with professionals that may lead to internships or jobs. By making these connections in person, your professional relationships become stronger and you’re likely to make a lasting impression.
Professional Q&A sessions take up a large quantity of time on agency tours. During these sessions, you are able to practice asking questions you may ask in an informational interview at an agency. You are also able to network with the professionals in the offices and are able to practice your elevator pitch. The agencies we visit want to get to know you and help hone your skills.
We visit many different kinds of PR, communications and marketing agencies on our tours. The agencies we visit focus on industries ranging from tech, lifestyle, food & beverage, fashion, hospitality, consumer, business-to-business, and more. We also visit agencies that are small and boutique, or large and global sized. If you are unsure about what areas of PR you might be interested in, this is a great way to explore and learn more.
Attending an agency tour also means you get to know fellow PRSSA members. It is always great to make new friends (especially those who share your major) and attending an agency tour is a perfect way to bond!
Visiting a new city with PRSSA will open your eyes to new places. Going on an agency tour provides you with the opportunity to enjoy an awesome city for a few days. By the end of the tour you may even find your new home post graduation. Either way, you are guaranteed to have amazing new experiences and connections after attending a PRSSA agency tour.
Tatiana Skomski is a junior studying public relations. She is originally from San Diego, California, and loves spending time with her dog. After she graduates, she hopes to relocate to Souther California and begin her career working at an agency. Tatiana specifically wants to work in lifestyle and consumer branding public relations.
Many students check out when the sun makes an appearance, especially at the University of Oregon, where students are far too familiar with the rain and clouds. Instead of using the sun as an excuse to avoid homework and responsibilities, take control of spring term and use it to your advantage. Here are a few ideas on how to stay focused, while also enjoying the weather.
In order to truly enjoy the nice weather that spring brings, you will need to be prepared to do so. Getting your responsibilities out of the way on cloudy days allows for play on days with blue skies.
Out with the old, in with the new. There’s not much that feels better than throwing out old junk and clutter. It freshens your room, allows for more free space, and becomes a nice place to focus when needed.
May I suggest a little ODESZA? Gather some fun songs that make you put on your happy pants and allow you to dance it out. Listen to the playlist when you’re feeling discouraged and remind yourself summer is only weeks away.
This computer app allows you to put all of your most distracting websites on a ‘blacklist’ and it won’t allow the websites to load for however long you set your focus timer. Take that, Facebook!
After multiple hours of studying and staring at a screen, you often hit a wall and no longer retain as much information. Instead of sulking inside and dreading to continue, go outside, take a walk, a breather, and maybe do some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing again.
Whether it’s spring term or fall, it’s always a good idea to treat yourself after a good day of work. Eat some cake, get a pedicure, see a movie, or go on a fun weekend trip.
Lastly, it’s always good to have goals to strive for. It focuses on an end date and forces you to accomplish what needs to be done before then. Fitness goals, academic goals, or general self-improvement goals are always good options.
Brooke Adams is a junior transfer student, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Business Administration. Brooke is a native Oregonian, avid coffee drinker, and music lover. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeIAdams.
Have you ever contemplated double majoring? How about double majoring in the journalism school? Majoring in journalism and public relations was one of the best decisions I made during my college career. I started off my academic journey in Allen Hall as a “super j” major. But last June, I decided to add public relations to my degree audit. At the time, I was not sure why I wanted to do this, but now I am glad that I did. Here are my reasons why I believe you should consider adding a second major in the journalism school.
1. You will make DOUBLE the connections
One of the best parts about double majoring is the amount of connections you will make. From the day I decided to add a second major, I connected with more professionals than I ever imagined possible. I also made strong relationships with my public relations and journalism professors, who helped with me with numerous opportunities.
2. You will know AP Style like the back of your hand
Associated Press style. Whether you are in the public relations sequence or in the super j program, you must know AP style. It’s easy to say that if you are going through both of these programs simultaneously, you will learn to love your AP stylebook because you’ll know almost every rule.
3. Multimedia? You have it down pat
Have you ever thought about adding a multimedia piece to a campaign you’re working on? No problem. After going through the super j pathway courses and the PR sequence, your multimedia skills are on point and can make a solid project, dynamic.
4. Your writing skills will go through the roof
If you decide to add another major, you can expect to do a great deal of writing. If you’re looking to become an even stronger and skilled writer, double majoring is for you. After taking multiple writing-based courses, I am beyond confident in my writing. This skill had aided me in all different areas in public relations and journalism.
5. Multitasking and time management are a breeze
Multitasking and time management can sometimes feel like two daunting skills. But after going through these academic programs, that becomes a much simpler task. Juggling my assignments, office hours’ appointments and internships are apart of my everyday routine. Multitasking and time management seem effortless after you become familiar with your ongoing schedule.
Olivia Gonzalez is a senior, majoring in public relations and journalism. She hopes to work in the sports marketing and public relations field, specializing in reputation and brand management. She hopes to move back to the Los Angeles area after graduation and she is excited to begin her professional career.
Networking is a tool that can help you open many doors by educating people on who you are and what you are interested in. Sometimes networking can be awkward, but there are ways to combat this. Here are some key ways to help you start networking today.
This may seem obvious, but when you create your LinkedIn account spend some time tailoring it to showcase who you are. You are not only updating it’s content, but you are also making connections with professors, acquaintances and professionals. By using LinkedIn, you are showing professionals that you care about your brand and how you are representing yourself to the masses.
One of the easiest ways to connect with professionals is by following and engaging with them on social media. Find professionals whose interests align with yours and make an effort to engage with them and their content. It is an easy way to build relationships with people who may not be in your immediate vicinity.
If you have a personal blog or website, be sure to promote it across your social media platforms and on your resume. If you are producing quality content, you can attract professionals who are interested in the same topics. It is a quick way to build credibility with professionals by showing them that you are dedicated to producing engaging content on schedule.
Informational interviews help you make new connections and show that you are passionate about what the company does. Reach out to a company via email and express that you are interested in learning about the industry and what they do on a daily basis. They may not be hiring at the time, but when conducting informal interviews, you could possibly be building connections with them. When the company is hiring, you may come first to mind.
Take advantage of on-campus events. Many jobs and internships are already filled because of a personal connection to the company. Networking can help you obtain these connections. Events provide people with the atmosphere to have a conversation with a professional. Whether the event is put on by the UO Career Center or PRSSA, they are there to help you make these connections. When at these events, come prepared with your personal business cards and make it a point to get theirs as well. Be sure to follow-up a few days after the event and bring up something you remember talking with them about. Don’t forget to thank them for their time because it’s all about making a great impression!
Lauren Todd, Internal Events Director, plans internal events for UO PRSSA, in effort to build relationships within the group. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys assisting with weddings and staying up to date on the world of pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @Lauren_Todd.
It is no secret that college graduates should be skilled in interviewing, time management, organization and budgeting (although I haven’t quite figured out how to budget my coffee obsession). Those close to entering the real world have heard numerous times to hone these skills. Here are five skills to acquire before graduation; whether or you want to hear them or not.
1. Professional Email Writing There is a major difference between emailing your mom and emailing your employer. A professional email should be short, concise and to the point. It should remain free from dreaded run-on sentences, and should include a touch of friendliness. This blog provides a few tips on writing a professional email.
2. Professional Eloquence Take a few moments the next time you’re eavesdropping to note how often people use filler words and phrases such as, “you know,” “like” and “uh.” The more you pay attention to how often others use fillers, the more aware you will become of your own bad habits. Eliminating filler words will make you sound sophisticated, professional and concise. Because like, you know, your future boss will like really um, appreciate that.
3. Building a Professional Wardrobe The business casual garb you are accustomed to wearing at work may or may not be acceptable for the professional workforce. As we approach graduation, take stock of your business casual and business professional outfits. In the real world, employees cannot come to work wearing mini-skirts, cargo pants, strappy heels or plunging necklines. Building a professional wardrobe takes time, so get started today!
4. Self-Care Do you ever feel exhausted from a long day at your internship? Do you continue stressing about work responsibilities once you’re home to your cat and lounging in your cozy pajamas? Don’t worry, these are common problems caused by, “the grind” and yes, a solution does exist. That solution is called “self-care.” Self-care is a concept that most professionals do not completely understand and do not take advantage of it. The trick to proper self-care is to brainstorm and plan activities that are beneficial to your mental and emotional health. Practicing yoga, reading novels, journaling, taking hikes, and relaxing while watching Netflix with a pint of ice cream are examples of this. My advice is to become familiar with this practice before entering the professional world so that you don’t get burnt out.
5. Meal Planning You may be thinking, “Why is meal planning so important?” Planning meals ahead of time will save you money, make your waistline happy, and can serve as a creative outlet. I recommend choosing healthy, flavorful and easy recipes that can be divvied into multiple Tupperware containers for a grab n’ go “lunch al desko.” My recent favorite meal to prepare is Greek pasta with ground turkey. It’s best when you top it off with fresh parsley and feta, and you are good to go!
Anna Williams, external relations committee member, is a senior studying Family & Human Services. She’s obsessed with craft beer, avocados and everything about Seattle, and is pursuing a career in Food + Bev PR. Follow her on Twitter @annaleighwill.
Hannah Santucci, a University of Oregon graduate and a previous PRSSA member, has had quite the adventure since receiving her degree in 2012. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to explain her journey and share some helpful tips with current public relations students.
Santucci started her journey by spontaneously moving to California after graduation in search of a career. In October 2012, she landed a job with a start-up company, Become.com. After a few months at her first job, her career path changed course and she became the junior marketing programs coordinator at the CMO Council. After testing out the waters, she came to the conclusion that this position was not what she envisioned and she continued her search for a career that she could be passionate about.
In October 2014, Santucci found success in her job hunt. She was hired as a member of Old Navy’s Field Communication Team and continues to work for the clothing company today. As a member of its field communications team, she receives, stores and relays messages from business partners and executives. She then edits, repackages and publishes these important messages on the company’s internal portal.
Hannah’s Tips for Graduating Seniors:
1. Not only do employers want to see what you’ve done on your resume, they want to see how well you can talk about those experiences.
2. Be confident, be passionate, be a Duck.
3. Begin to apply for jobs months before graduation.
4. Take all interviews seriously.
5. Have an intriguing resume layout.
6. Clean-up your social media accounts.
Thank you Hannah for sharing your story and your valuable PR tips! Feel free to follow Hannah on Twitter, @hannahsantucci.
Shelby Nelson, External Relations Committee, serves as a project manager for the PRSSA blog. She is a senior pursuing a Public Relations degree. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @shelbybriann.
UO PRSSA and Greenhill Humane Society partnered together on Oct. 30 to put on the Ducks Love Dogs event on the Memorial Quad lawn. Ducks Love Dogs allows students at the University of Oregon to “rent” dogs and play with them from 15 to 60 minutes. It’s a great opportunity for students whose housing does not allow animals as well as students who miss their own dogs at home to receive a little puppy therapy. Proceeds from this event benefited both UO PRSSA and Greenhill Humane Society.
Greenhill Humane Society is a local animal shelter in Eugene that saves more than 2,000 animals a year. The shelter provides a safe place for animals without homes and is committed to making sure they achieve the highest level of care. They also make sure that the animals are hopefully one day adopted by a family who best suits them.
Over 50 students showed up to play with the pooches and support UO PRSSA and Greenhill. Luckily, the rain held off until the event was over so everyone was able to stay dry! There were treats, toys and leashes provided by Greenhill for students to use while playing with the dogs. Everyone appeared to have a great time!
Ducks Love Dogs was a successful day filled with fun and ended up raising around $400 to support both Greenhill and UO PRSSA.
Baylie Waller, External Events Director, plans events that benefit both UO PRSSA and local non-profit organizations as well. She is passionate about fitness and nutrition and loves anything to do with animals. Follow her on Twitter at @bayleaf_15.
UO PRSSA and Greenhill Humane Society teamed up on Thursday, Nov. 7 to host an event that had tails wagging – Ducks Love Dogs! Ducks Love Dogs allows students to play with dogs while raising funds for UO PRSSA and Greenhill. Participants were also provided treats for their pup and enjoyed KIND Snacks for themselves!
Twelve adoptable, furry friends were rented out to more than 45 students, raising $443. With that, 60% of proceeds went to Greenhill to help feed animals and host community events that help animals find new homes. Ducks Love Dogs’ success proved that even when it’s raining cats and dogs, there’s always a good time to play with one!
Missed out? No worries. We will be hosting Ducks Love Dogs again in the spring. In the meantime, enjoy some photos taken during the event!
Kylee Plummer is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA Events Director. She is currently a senior in the SOJC as a Journalism major with a focus in Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter at @KyleePlummer.
Internship experience is a must for any public relations student. Whether it’s working for a local agency over the summer or assisting with outreach efforts for a student organization, the experience is vital for building your resume and portfolio before graduation. Any internship offers the chance to put your best effort forward and make the most of your newest position. But how exactly can you shine in your next PR internship?
Present the problem, but also a solution. When things go wrong, be prepared to present the problem in a clear and effective away. But you should also be prepared to present a solution! Explain to your internship supervisor that the news story you pitched to a reporter went astray and he might not be interested in the story anymore. After you explain the problem, follow up with a potential solution or two that you brainstormed beforehand. You can offer to follow up with the reporter over the phone to discuss the story. Presenting a thought-out solution to a problem shows the ability to problem solve, think strategically, and take initiative – all vital skills for a fast-paced industry like PR.
Look for opportunities to go the extra mile. Even in the early stages of an internship, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Is there a pressing deadline right around the corner? Offer to work an extra hour on the project from home. Going beyond expectation not only highlights you as a reliable and helpful team member, but as a young professional who can take the lead and meet deadlines. Plus, these are the type of attributes you want to stand out for any recommendation letters after your internship is over.
Your last impression counts too. After all the hard work you’ve put in, use the end of an internship to leave one lasting impression. No matter what the experience, finish up with a sincere thank you note. It’s worth the effort to handwrite and personalize a note for everyone you worked closely with other the summer – even the secretary, if he or she was important in helping you achieve your goals over the summer. Better yet, consider setting up a final meeting with your internship supervisor to discuss the experience, any letters of recommendation, and the work samples you might want to use in your portfolio later!
PR students might find themselves in a variety of internship positions. But no matter where you might end up dedicating your time, make the most of it! If you aren’t sure where to start, simply showing up each day with a smile and the willingness to learn can make all the difference. What advice do you have for making a great impression as an intern?
Callie Gisler is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA chapter president. She is currently a senior in the SOJC, pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @CallieGisler.