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.
As membership dues quickly approach, students frequently ask about the benefits of becoming a PRSSA member. While students don’t need to be dues-paying members to participate in PRSSA meetings or activities, there are a number of benefits to paying dues! According to PRSSA National, here are a few reasons why you should become a member:
Once you become a member, you have access to:
In addition to these benefits, you are eligible to join PRSA as an associate member for $60 – compared to $225 for non-members – up to five months before or two years after you graduate.
Membership dues are $80 per student annually and are due Monday, Oct. 21 by 5 p.m. in the UO PRSSA mailbox on the second floor of Allen Hall. You are welcome to pay with cash or check – please make checks out to ‘University of Oregon PRSSA.’
If you have any questions, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Kathleen Nguyen, finance director for the 2013-2013 school year, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. You can reach Kathleen at email@example.com.
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!
UO PRSSA kicked off the school year with a full house for the first meeting of the term! More than 120 students filled and poured out the doors of Allen 141. If you were unable to snag a seat, don’t fret! We’ll fill you in on what you missed.
Here are six things we learned at six:
1. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a nationwide pre-professional organization for students interested in public relations and communications. At UO PRSSA you’ll have the opportunity to network with students and professionals, develop the necessary skills for internships and careers, gain event-planning experience, tour renowned agencies and more!
2. There are endless ways to get involved with UO PRSSA:
3. The benefits of joining UO PRSSA:
4. The events that are planned this year:
We’ll need your help to make each event memorable and successful through planning, design, promotion, budgeting and more – our goal is to give each member hands-on experience!
5. A few of the agencies we’ll be visiting this year:
6. The amazing guest speakers we will hear from this fall! Many find it beneficial to simply hear from someone who has turned their education into a successful career. Our guest speakers provide wisdom and insight into their company and the industry. And after each presentation is a great opportunity for members to network with professionals! This fall, we’ll be hearing from Liz Cawood of CAWOOD Marketing Services in Eugene and Amy Wood of Harvest PR in Portland.
Thank you to everyone who attended and shared enthusiasm for UO PRSSA’s upcoming year!
Kylee Plummer is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA Events Director. She is currently a senior in the SOJC pursuing a major in public relations. Follow her on Twitter at @KyleePlummer.
To our current members, alumni and friends, welcome back to another school year with University of Oregon PRSSA! I am honored and excited to serve as president this year, and help UO PRSSA continue to grow. Over the summer, I’ve watched our executive board build plans for one amazing year complete with opportunities to connect with industry professionals, develop your professional skills, expand your resume, and get involved with a nationally recognized network of PR professionals. Here are just a few ways to take advantage of all PRSSA has to offer this year:
Get involved by joining a committee. Chapter committees assist in all areas of UO PRSSA, from planning events, promotion and fundraising. It’s an awesome way to connect with other members and expand your resume. This year, we’re excited to introduce committee leadership positions and a new Campus Collaboration for even more opportunities to get involved. Learn more about Chapter committees at our first Chapter meeting this year!
Join us for agency tours and networking events. Each term UO PRSSA hosts tours with some of the biggest PR agencies in the nation. This year, we’re heading to Portland, Seattle, and other major cities to get a taste of life in the industry. If you prefer to stick closer to home, we also host regular networking events and mixers with Oregon’s PRSA chapters and other local professionals.
Take advantage of job listings and scholarships. Your PRSSA membership earns you access to an amazing database of jobs and internships (http://www.prssa.org/career/prsa_jobcenter/). Only PRSSA and PRSA members have access to these listings, so it’s a great way to uncover opportunities! PRSSA also offers scholarships and awards each year exclusively for members (http://www.prssa.org/career/prsa_jobcenter/).
Learn from guest speakers and workshops. Our bi-weekly Chapter meetings aren’t just routine announcements. We host a variety of PR industry professionals throughout the year! Come get your questions answered and make a connection! We’re also excited to continue our annual PRofessional Development Workshop series this year to help tune up your resume, prefect your cover letter and build your portfolio.
If you’ve ever thought about joining PRSSA, this is the time to do so. I’d like to invite everyone to attend our first Chapter meeting on October 9 at 6 PM in Allen 141! We hope to see you there and show you all that PRSSA has to offer. Questions? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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.
Cathy Hamilton started Verb Marketing and PR, a full-service marketing communications firm, in 2003. Verb specializes in strategic planning and consulting, media relations, brand development and management and more. Hamilton runs Verb with her Creative Director, Doug Ferguson. As president, Hamilton has a variety of responsibilities ranging from strategic planning to sales to team management—ensuring that all work exceeds client expectations.
Q: How did you get where you are today?
A: That’s a huge question. I got started in public relations because I liked to write and I thought the PR field would be more diverse and varied than reporting. At that time, the advertising field required more that you could do your own design and I thought that you had to really be a true artist. Also, at this point there weren’t programs like InDesign and Photoshop and all of that, you had to be more of a natural artist, able to draw with your hand. I can art direct but not actually produce myself. So I headed into PR.
Throughout college Cathy had numerous different internships, and upon graduation Cathy received a job working in Marketing. She loved her job but was then offered a Public Affairs job in Eugene where she worked for 5 years. She wanted something more fast paced and found that she did like Marketing firms, but she felt that many of the clients were being pushed into a marketing solution for something that could more easily be solved by PR. Her mission was to change the idea of companies who worked under the notion “whatever we have…you get.” Her experience in both the Public Relations field and the Marketing field lead her to the idea integrating the two as one. Her vision was to create a small firm where the top people were always the ones working with the clients, and for her, a single person in charge of the PR and marketing.
Q: When did it “click” that this was the right field for you?
A: “I always liked writing. I think it was always clear I would do something with writing and it’s just morphed over time. It definitely started more with PR and then morphed more into marketing which I think is just more of a function of the market here and also just how communications has changed it’s just really in a totally different ball game than it was, even when I started–which was not–well I don’t think it was–that long ago. It was a totally different era for PR. It changes a lot which is what keeps me in the business. There are parts of it I don’t care for but the parts of it I do are that it is always changing so if you are a fickle person if you like that constant challenge–I mean really, right as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out it changes and you’re expected to be there ahead of the change–so if you like that kind of constant pressure it’s a great field.”
Q: What are employers most looking for in students with my background, as to day, with people just entering the field?
A: “A good writer. The ability of engage, to be responsive. What always makes me smile when we have interns is how they take feedback…I take feedback positive and negative all day long, you know? A client may not like a particular word and you just have to be able to bounce back and say ‘okay, we’ll fix that’. [In addition] you do always rely on that core desire and ability to write, that and an interest in experimenting and that willingness to be pushed all the time. “
Q: How do you see this industry changing within the next decade?
A: “I have no idea what we will see in ten years. You know, if you had asked me that ten years ago I would have said definitely electronic means. I wouldn’t have necessarily predicted the specifics of it, and I don’t think it’s even settled down yet, I think that we’re still trying to figure out. Yeah, we know social media is huge, we know how it plays in, and we know how to use it but what’s coming what’s going what the next big thing will be…is [all] up for debate. Regardless of that kind of [means] the thing that people have to be really good at is being flexible, being eager to learn. You have to have kind of an innate curiosity because that part will stay the same.”
Q: What special advice do you have for a student seeking a job within the PR and marketing fields?
A: “You’re pushed you will never become comfortable in this job. If you do then you need to be pushed a little bit more. And I think if you don’t like that it’s maybe not the right job…and there are times in life when you don’t want that, when things get chaotic you kind of want the calm which is why I’ve seen people slip in and out of the field…I think it’s more of a personality trait than a talent set. [Also you have to remember that] you will never put something forward the first time that is perfect. [This also] is a good reason to do internships, you find out what you like and don’t like and you can leave gracefully.”
Image (c) of Hamilton, Verb Marketing and PR
Post by Leigh Scheffey, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Leigh through our blog editor: email@example.com.
As June approaches, graduating seniors are anxious to finish their final classes and finally dawn on those green caps and gowns. But then comes planning for life post-grad. Navigating job listings can often be frustrating. but Twitter can be a great way to find recent job postings. Here are six Twitter resources to help you land a great job:
1. Follow @PRSSANational. Lauren Rosenbaum, PRSSA Vice President of Public Relations, regularly tweets about internships and jobs that are on the PRSSA internship center.
2. Follow @SOJCCareers. The SOJC Advising Office tweets about many local jobs and internships, as well as some national opportunities.
3. Follow @ComeRecommended. Come Recommended is a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. They tweet helpful job-hunting strategies, and occasionally tweet about national job opportunities.
4. Follow companies that you want to work for. Sometimes those brands will post job openings, but even if they don’t, it is good to learn about that company and what a job might look like with them.
5. Follow professors such as @KelliMatthews. SOJC faculty members often tweet job search advice, as well as any local jobs and internships she learns about.
6. Follow job-listing aggregators, such as @marketjobsUSA, @comminternships, and @EntryPRJobs. These are excellent resources for the newest job listings across the country.
Even if you aren’t looking for a job, it’s helpful to know what sort of skills are necessary for your dream job. Take the time to browse current listings, identify the companies and positions that catch your eye, and make your job search efforts count.
Post by Aimee Gregg, UO PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Aimee through our blog editor at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Paid or unpaid, navigating the role of intern for the first time can be a challenge for anyone. Internship experience is an important part of building your resume as a student. Here are some of our favorite tips for being successful in an internship role:
1. Dress Professionally. Be sure to dress appropriately and modestly at your internship. Be wary of cleavage and be sure your skirt is at least knee length. Your office is not the place to showcase your eccentric personal style. “Inappropriate dress will hurt your quest for professional respect,” said Lorra Brown (PR Daily). Take a look around you, get a feel for the office dress code, and look to model that.
2. Understand Your Manager’s Expectations. Your managers do not expect you to know how to do everything. They do, however, expect you to be able to follow directions. Bring paper and a pen to meetings so that you can write detailed notes when your manager is speaking. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; you want to leave the meeting with a clear understanding of how to complete any given task. Be sure to brainstorm ideas before reaching out to your supervisor so you come prepared and with a possible solution to the problem you are trying to address.
3. Learn to Take Criticism. At some point in your internship you will receive criticism. Your supervisors criticize your work for your benefit as well as the organizations. If you aren’t receiving any feedback, just ask; constructive criticism is key to improvement.
4. Act as an Employee. Although you are an intern, you should conduct yourself with the dignity and integrity of an employee. “Employers frequently criticize interns for lacking problem-solving abilities or their unwillingness to be proactive in generating ideas,” Lorra Brown (PR Daily) Keep yourself busy even when you don’t have a project to work on, ask others if they need help, and bring creative ideas to meetings.
5. Be an Advocate for Your Goals. Be clear with your manager about your expectations for the internship. If you begin the internship with the intention of gaining a certain skill, or creating a particular portfolio piece, communicate that with your manager. If they don’t know what your expectations are, you may end up performing a greater number of mundane office tasks. Your goals are an important priority, however, you are in charge of achieving them!
Post by Katie Keene, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Katie through our blog editor: email@example.com.
There are many pieces of the job search process that are out of your control: job availability, who else is applying, how organizations find candidates, etc. Therefore, focus on what you can control. One of the earliest career development theories proposed, Planned Happenstance, suggests that one must acknowledge the presence of chance in the career planning process, but also work to increase the likelihood of chance opportunities. For example, if you have an extensive professional network, the likelihood of you hearing about an unadvertised job position will be higher. In order to be a successful job/internship seeker, you must facilitate opportunity by building your network and taking advantage of opportunities that you create.
According to a 2012 study conducted by the US Department of Labor, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of networking in finding media jobs is even more essential, as students often encounter professional opportunities through an industry professional or well-connected professor. In the media industry, word-of-mouth and networking are critical.
Follow these steps to utilize and expand your network:
1. Start with who you know. Your instructors, who are also industry professionals, have great connections. Friends who have already participated in internships may be able to make appropriate referrals as well. If you have family working in the media industry, approach them too.
2. Spread the word. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job or internship. Provide some details on your professional goals so they know which connections are relevant. Your best friend’s mom may work for Edelman.
3. Conduct informational interviews. Once you make new connections, ask if these industry professionals will engage in informational interviews—an interview where you ask questions about a job, profession and industry. You can gather information about a job/organization and expand your network. Who knows, if you make a good impression, it could lead to an internship.
4. Follow up. When people graciously donate their time to help you, be sure to say thank you with an email or a hand-written note. Also remember that networking is reciprocal. Maintain the relationship by checking in or referring your new connection to a recent article of interest.
5. Take advantage of the opportunities you create. As you meet more people, introduce yourself, identify a mutual professional connection and offer to have a conversation over coffee or lunch. You can also attend networking events such as the PRSA New Pros Agency Tours. While putting yourself out there professionally can be intimidating, staying on the sidelines won’t get you anywhere.
While chance plays a role in the search process, you must create opportunities by engaging in the most effective search strategies. Databases are a great place to start and can give you a sense of available opportunities, but they put you in a passive role and are incomplete. Instead, actively work to expand your network; you will create more opportunities for yourself. Put yourself out there.
Guest post by Miranda Atkinson, a current Career & Academic Adviser for the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon.