Post by Audree Nethercott, University of Oregon PRSSA Member.
Congratulations to the students who recently (and successfully) made it through Gateway I and II. The UO SOJC Gateway to Media series can be a few of the most rewarding classes you will take in college or it can be the longest two terms of your life.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was staying up until 4 a.m. in Agate Hall editing the “ums” and “buts” out of my audio to meet the 90-second project requirement. For many students, the Gateway series consists of long, lonely nights in computer labs and shamelessly asking everyone you know to participate in multimedia projects. Need some help? Here are a few ways to avoid the Gateway gloom.
1. Go to every class
Sounds obvious, right? Some students think that the lectures can be skipped occasionally. Wrong. Every single class is extremely important to your success in the series. By skipping class, you risk missing a quiz or class project, which can both affect your final grade, as well as your development of essential skills.
2. Attend the workshops
The workshops are where you learn the basics of Final Cut X and InDesign step by step. In my opinion, these workshops are more valuable than any other aspect of the class. Your instructor will guide you through mini projects that teach you the details of each program, resulting in higher quality work.
3. Use the Gateway instructors as resources
The Gateway instructors are there to help you. If week three has rolled around and your interviewee hasn’t replied back to your email, it is probably an indicator to move on to something else; this is a great opportunity to use your instructors as resources for alternate options. Visit them in office hours. They will give you ideas for a new topic and refer you to interesting people in the area. As an added bonus, you will have a chance to hear their amazing experiences, such as Dan Morrison’s stories of being embedded in Afghanistan.
4. Have a backup audio recorder
Sometimes your technology fails during an interview. Most interview subjects are busy and won’t be able to reschedule to another time. To avoid this problem, always have a backup recording device. It can be an audio recorder from the J-Cage or your iPhone.
5. Do not procrastinate
This is an obvious one, but a few graduates have told me they graduated with two degrees; the first a Bachelors of Arts and the second a “Bachelors of Procrastination.” Creative work is not something that should be rushed through the night before a deadline. Pulling an all-nighter will negatively impact your work and your grade. Plus, your instructor can tell the difference between work that is well-done and work that is rushed through.
The Gateway to Media series is supposed to teach you what is expected in the world of journalism, not inhibit your excitement for the journalism industry. Follow these tips and stay organized. It might surprise you how fun the classes really are, if you take the time to do them right.
Post by Aimee Gregg, University of Oregon PRSSA member. Photo by Callie Gisler.
University of Oregon students have countless avenues to get involved on campus; unfortunately, there is no way to take advantage of every opportunity, which can make the decision of what organization to get involved in overwhelming. A good way to get the most out of your time is to find activities that allow you to combine your professional goals with your campus involvement. Here are five ways for public relations students to get involved on campus:
Though we are somewhat biased, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will provide you with the opportunity to network with fellow public relations students and professionals, and learn more about all facets of public relations through professional guest lecturers.
Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR) is an entirely student-run professional public relations firm that takes on real clients. It helps public relations students network with each other, as well as with small businesses and nonprofits in the area. It also gives students valuable hands-on experience, while maintaining high professional standards. The work that students produce is the perfect addition to any portfolio.
3.) Marketing or advertising groups
Both marketing and advertising are closely related with public relations. Learning more about these professional areas is a great way to expand your skills set to become a more marketable professional. You might also uncover an entirely new interest or passion. Examples of marketing and advertising groups on the University of Oregon campus include American Marketing Association, Allen Hall Advertising, Ad Society and more.
4.) Campus publications
Many campus publications including Flux, The Daily Emerald and Ethos have public relations related positions that are fantastic practical experience. Attaining writing, marketing, multimedia and other journalism-related positions in these publications can be a great way to broaden your skills set and diversify your portfolio.
5.) Volunteer your public relations services
Sometimes the best way to get involved on campus is to find an activity that you are passionate about, even if it is unrelated to your professional objectives. You can obtain public relations experience by helping your club or activity gain exposure on campus. This is a mutually beneficial option. You develop your public relations skills, while serving the needs of other students on campus.
Campus involvement is key to getting the most out of your four years here. These are just a few options; however, there are more than 180 student programs at the University of Oregon. Browse through all the student groups at orgsync.uoregon.edu to find the perfect fit for your interests.
Post by Katie Keene, University of Oregon PRSSA member.
Can the content you post on social media affect your job and internship applications? Possibly. CareerBuilder surveyed 2,000 hiring managers and found that 2 in every 5 managers used social media to screen applicants. The managers searched profiles to determine whether candidates fit in with company culture and appeared professional.
Many students rely on privacy settings to keep certain content from potential employers but having a completely private profile can be a red flag. Employers are using social media to get an idea of who you are. Using your profile to make a brand for yourself is more beneficial than hiding inappropriate content.
In public relations, understanding your audience and effectively using social media is a key skill. As students, our audience includes potential employers. The content you post does not always need to be relevant to the field you wish to work in, but should remain appropriate at all times.
Using social media as a tool reflects who you are to employers and differentiates yourself from other job applicants. Including a statement about yourself on each of your profiles is also helpful. This statement should identify who you are and your unique characteristics and strengths.
As public relations students, we are expected to be familiar with the latest technology in social media. Knowledge of each platform can be shown through effective profiles. Posting content that conveys a strong understanding that anyone can view your content on social media is advantageous.
Post by Hannah Williams, University of Oregon PRSSA member.
As public relations students, we are meant to be prepared as we possibly can before entering the real world. While earning a degree in the field is a great start, your skills and portfolio are important factors to post-grad success. Potential employers look for certain areas of expertise in recent graduates and potential hires. Here are several skills that public relations students should sharpen before entering the workforce:
• How to tell a story: When most students hear this word they think that it only applies to reporters and journalists, but as PR practitioners we need to be able to communicate to our audiences in a creative and clear manner. Crafting a strong story and message is an essential skill for any in the communication field.
• How to listen: Good communication skills mean the ability to deliver a message, as well as the ability to listen. Active listening will help you understand exactly what your clients and bosses are expecting, and help you avoid mistakes later. Pay attention in conversations, write down what is being said and be able to relay the information back.
• How to do social media: Advanced understanding of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wordpress and Instagram will be extremely beneficial, as most businesses have a digital strategy component to their public relations efforts. Additionally, students should also be aware of their own online presence. Potential employers and clients may look at your social media channels for a better understanding of you as a potential employee.
Understanding and using these skills will prepare any public relations student for the world beyond graduation. The ability to communicate in-person and online, as well as thinking critically and creatively will help you to stand out in the crowd.
Not many people can say a post-grad vacation led them to their dream job… Except for Portland-native Allie Hawes. In the summer of 2012, Hawes ventures to Palm Springs shortly after graduation for some well deserved post-grad relaxation but made the life-changing decision to stay in Los Angeles for her dream job.
Hawes now works as a Project Manager at the world’s leading entertainment marketing agency Trailer Park. The company is headquartered in Hollywood, along with regional offices in New York and London.
Before accepting the position in L.A., Hawes was a student University of Oregon. She returned to her retail position in Portland directly after graduation, but Hawes did not plan to stay there for long.
In need of a reprieve from college and returning to life in Portland, Hawes drove to Palm Springs in California. The young professional planned to interview with an agency in San Diego on July 10th. But on the day before of her interview, she woke to an unexpected surprise: the chance to interview with Trailer Park. Hawes received word from a friend of an opening at Trailer Park. Her interview took place on July 16, and she started work the next morning.
“The interview was drilling,” recalls Hawes. Three interviewers peppered Hawes with demanding questions at the same time, but she passed the tests.
Hawes was assigned to freelance for three weeks, but she worked for only a week before she was offered the position. According to Hawes’ supervisor, she was selected for the job thanks to her “spitfire” personality. She now works in the marketing department of ArtMachine. Her work has introduced her to world-famous clients, including Warner Bros., Paramount, Lionsgate, and more recently, Disney and Universal. Hawes is the youngest professional in her office.
“I am the middle person between the studio and my team of eight designers,” said Hawes. Her team designs the packaging of movies released on DVD/Blue Ray, Netflix, and iTunes.
“It didn’t set in for about a month…it all happened so fast for it to feel real,” Hawes recalls about the quick decision that changed her career. But Hawes adjusted quickly to life in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Santa Monica, about a mile from the beach. Hawes’ success story proves that amazing opportunities can present themselves at the most unexpected times. According to Hawes, “Things come up and you never know how they are going to turn out.” But this former PRSSA member turned PR professional is proof that things really do happen for a reason.
Post by Audree Nethercott, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Audree through our blog editor: firstname.lastname@example.org!
On Thursday, Feb. 21, thirteen University of Oregon PRSSA chapter members and I had the exciting opportunity to visit a few of Portland’s most intriguing PR agencies. With an urban, colorful setting like Portland, our visit was anything but ordinary!
We began our day with a warm welcome from AM:PM PR (with scones courtesy of their friendly neighbors at the Compote Café & Bakery). The small, yet deep-rooted agency in southeast Portland, invited all of our questions to the table to discuss their mission and our interests.
We discovered that this agency is serious about relationships, and they value each of their clients in tailored-to-fit ways. The passion AM:PM holds is clear to see. They see their clients as their partners and strive to focus on the small picture in big ways in order to produce the best work possible. Overall, our visit with AM:PM PR was refreshing, laid back and got our creative juices flowing for the remainder of the day!
After a delicious (and very Portlandesque) pizza date at Sizzle Pie, our next stop was R/West. Located in the midst of the industrial district, this all-creative agency resulted in 14 jaws dropping as we stood behind opening elevator doors. The agency was immaculate to say the least. We were led on a tour by former UO PRSSA alum, Ashley Aronson, as we marveled at the work they’ve produced.
The PR, marketing, multimedia, planning-savvy crew at R/West (needless to say, they’re just about good at everything), proved to be a hit with our group. Upon leaving, the biggest question on my mind was, “When can I apply?”
As the day grew longer, the journalism student coffee aficionados in us emerged (as if it ever went away). We did what one must do while in Portland and went on a quick coffee run before making our last stop at one eye-opening agency: CMD Portland. The integrated marketing services agency was much larger than our last two visits and it had a lot to show!
Once again, we were greeted by another UO PRSSA alum, Jesse Davis, and were taken on a tour of the highly modernized building. There we feasted our eyes on the great work that they produce. With mega-clients like Microsoft and Intel, the power held at CMD was unique and inspiring. We had the opportunity to ask questions and hear advice from relatable individuals who understand what it’s like to freshly enter the PR field. Our visit to CMD was definitely valuable!
It didn’t take me long to soak everything in and think about all of the information I took away from our tours. After the trip, I found that learning to think of each case, client and project as a clean slate is key. As AM:PM PR demonstrated so well, the importance of taking the time to build and maintain customized, tailored-to-fit relationships with clients is the path to success.
After all, having that bug to network and seek relationships is what makes the PR major so appealing! Going on the agency tours trip gave me a glimpse of my career path in a “real world” setting, and it has given me even more motivation to keep working toward an exciting, versatile, and fast paced future in PR!
Post by Sofia Webster, University of Oregon PRSSA member. Photo by Callie Gisler.
Love is in the air! UO PRSSA had a festive Valentine’s Day on Feb. 13 and 14 at the Erb Memorial Union and Duckstore respectively. UO PRSSA members sold flowers – both beautiful carnations and red roses – for pick-up and delivery to students on campus. For an additional fee, customers wrote a time and classroom for the flowers to be delivered.
These lovely bouquets came from Rhythm and Blooms, a popular local Eugene florist. Profits from the flower sales benefit the UO PRSSA chapter.
Our chapter also partnered with the Oregon Daily Emerald to host in a spirited Valentine’s Day themed photo booth for students to enjoy. Surrounded by friends and red balloons, students were able to get their pictures taken at the Emerald’s special photo booth on Feb. 13 at the student union.
Participants had a series of artsy props at their disposal, including gold glittery mustaches, red suspenders and a giant picture frame. Pictures were then uploaded onto the newspaper’s Facebook page. The picture with the most likes won two free tickets to Passion Pit’s concert in Eugene on March 4.
A fun holiday for everybody involved, UO PRSSA and the Daily Emerald successfully celebrated Valentine’s Day all while raising funds for the chapter. Thank you to everyone to helped make the event a huge success!
This post was originally published May 3, 2012 on Bianca Bernath’s personal blog, Public Relations Savvy. The 2013 Portland Paddle event will be held in Portland, Ore. during spring term. Please stay tuned for event details.
On Friday, April 27, I had the opportunity to participate in the Portland Paddle with 16 public relations students. When I told people what I was doing that Friday they thought I was crazy for wanting to go boating at this time of the season.
The Portland Paddle is an annual event organized by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Each year the Portland Paddle provides the opportunity to meet with public relations professionals. During the short practice interview, students receive tips on how to present their portfolios, how to give an effective interview, and how to write resumes and cover letters that stand out.
Public relations professionals from Edelman Worldwide, Lane PR, AM: PM PR, Public Relations Institute Inc., CFM Strategic Communications, DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, MacKenzie Marketing, Nokes Communications Inc., and Kimball Brand Marketing were all present at the event.
Along with the insights I have gained from speaking with Pat McCormic and Deston Nokes, I learned four essential tips for success in the public relations industry.
1. Have an online platform, whether it is a blog, portfolio or both.
“Keeping a blog is important; it is an exercise of writing for value.” – Pat McCormic.
A blog allows the reader to have a digital relationship with someone on a human level. It serves as a good tool that captures an audience and allows the blogger to receive feedback.
Maintaining a blog and online portfolio gives employers a sense of who a person is. These online platforms also effectively measure passion by showing online involvement through participating in discussions and engaging in current topics.
2. Have strong writing skills.
People who write well are assets to the public relations world because they know how to write strategically. The ability to sort subjects from the most significant to the least is a valuable skill to develop as a public relations professional.
3. Use the cover letter as a way to tell a story.
Cover letters should be written in a way that escapes what is conventional. The cover letter should emphasize why you should be considered and should show what makes you different.
Be sure to mention skills that increase your return on investment (ROI), but don’t restate everything on your resume. The cover letter is a piece of information that makes the employer want to read your resume.
4. Employers have values that they expect you to follow through with.
After you are hired for a company, you are expected to meet the standards of your employer. Some values that companies may have are
It’s that time of year again: PRSSA registration and dues time. In the spirit of the season, I’d like to take a moment to remind current and potential members about the wealth of benefits that PRSSA membership has to offer. PRSSA membership will allow you to develop professional skills, learn from current public relations professionals and create industry contacts while you’re still in college.
But don’t just take it from me. Learn from current account supervisors and public relations specialists from around the country what PRSSA did for them and what it can do for you.
“Without a doubt, PRSSA was the most valuable networking opportunity for me in college and the connections I made with professionals and fellow students remain to this day, ultimately leading to my first job in the field. This didn’t happen on its own, but rather through active involvement and a consistent presence at local, regional and national events throughout my collegiate career. Anyone studying public relations without joining PRSSA is doing themselves a disservice, and they may wind up answering questions from interviewers like me who really value what the organization does for students.”
– Kevin Saghy, Public Relations & Marketing Specialist, Chicago Cubs.
“My PRSSA membership without a doubt is the most impactful decision I’ve made in my life. It has determined the city I live in, the friends I keep up with, the job I go to every day and even the woman I am going to marry. Professional development that PRSSA offers helps separate members from their peers. Most importantly, networking opportunities with industry practitioners, educators and other members will provide members with a mosaic of best practices to utilize and job leads to explore.”
– Ryan McShane, Senior Account Executive, Taylor.
“PRSSA was the key to unlocking many doors for me during my time studying PR in school and onto the first few years on the job. PRSSA helped me to identify mentors, expand my network as well as land my first few internships, which eventually turned into a full time job at a PR agency. I strongly encourage students who are interested in working in the PR field to join PRSSA to get a head start on the competition and level the playing field when it comes to job searching. When I interview potential intern candidates and I see that they actively participated in PRSSA, they jump to the top of the list.”
– Joseph Tateoka, Account Supervisor, Corporate Technology, Edelman (Chicago).
“When you’re in college, the one thing you work toward is getting a job. PRSSA prepares you in college to get a job through personal and professional development at conferences, workshops, meetings and other fun activities. When you graduate college as a PRSSA member, you can transition in to PRSA anywhere you choose — this is the network you want to join to meet people in any area and the network you want to join to help get you a job.”
– Lauren K. Gray, National President, PRSSA, 2012-2013
“Being an active member of PRSSA is the your gateway of opportunity to pursuing a career and landing a job in public relations. Given my participation on the Chapter and national level of PRSSA, I was able to secure my first job post-graduation through relationships I made with professionals while being a PRSSA member. My PRSSA membership, activities, involvement and accomplishments within the Society gave me a competitive advantage allowing me to stand out from other candidates. Paying your monthly dues is simply not enough to leverage all the benefits PRSSA membership offers. Taking advantage of every leadership opportunity within your Chapter and PRSSA national, attending local, regional and national events and staying engaged in your Chapter is the key to effectively landing your first job after graduation.”
– Brandi Boatner, Digital Experience Manager, IBM.
“PRSSA has ensured me that this is the career I need to be in. With all of the opportunities i have come about through events, workshops, networking with industry leaders, etc., I was able to grasp specific knowledge and guidance within the specific path I wanted to take in the industry. PRSSA serves as a full service organization and always produces nothing but the best.”
– Hilary Jurinak, National Vice President of Internships and Job Services, PRSSA.
Want to become a dues-paying PRSSA member? Shoot me an email (email@example.com) to get the details.
Special thanks Kevin Saghy for inspiring me to write this post, and a big thank you to all those who shared their PRSSA experiences with me so that I could create the post.