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.
In case you haven’t noticed, the University of Oregon (UO) is pretty big – and I’m not only talking about nearly 300-acres of campus. With more than 20,000 undergrads, the university is a little intimidating, but the trick is to make this big school feel small. How do you go about doing that? By getting involved, of course.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the SOJC – PRSSA, Allen Hall PR and DuckTV, to name a few. College is the perfect place to try new things. These four years are meant for a little trial and error, so take advantage of that. Venture outside your comfort zone. Take a new class. Try an intramural sport. Join a club. Find where you fit in on campus, be that in PRSSA or elsewhere.
Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the student organization directory (http://bit.ly/164QKRt), talk to an advisor or swing by the EMU. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
UO Outdoor Program (outdoorprogram.uoregon.edu) – If you’re a fan of Mother Nature or looking for an adventure, the Outdoor Program is a great place to travel, network and have a great time.
Ethos Magazine (ethosmagonline.com) – While its sometimes overshadowed by its big brother Flux Magazine, Ethos is an award-winning, not-for-profit publication where you can not only meet other journalism students but also help create a reputable product.
College Democrats or College Republicans – If you’re interested in politics or campaigns, this may be the right place for you to harness the skills to break into the field.
American Marketing Association (ama.uoregon.edu) – Want to stay a little closer to the PR realm? Check out AMA for another opportunity to gain real world experience and connect with professionals.
Nothing look quite right? Start your own club or organization! Or make the right opportunity happen for you. College is what you make of it.
I’m going to let you in a little secret: everybody needs good PR… this includes all the clubs on campus. Take advantage of that need! Find a group or organization that shares your passions, whether it’s fashion, the environment, or a sport, and offer your PR skills. Whether it’s running Twitter, designing posters, or making classroom announcements, you’re helping them and they’re helping you.
Campus involvement will not only provide you valuable experience but also enable you to contribute to something you’re passionate about. Stuffy resume boosters will only get you so far after graduation; future employers look for initiative, persistence, and “spark.” Getting involved, in and out of PRSSA, is a great way to display your skills and drive!
Mandy Shold is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA chapter vice president. She is currently a senior double majoring in public relations and environmental studies. Follow her on Twitter at @WayToRepresent or check out her portfolio at mandyshold.wix.com/portfolio.