As the finance director for UO PRSSA, I am often asked, “Why should I become a dues paying member?” Well, of course, I’m going to do my best to encourage you to pay the membership due and become a part of what I see as one of the best organizations on campus. But you deserve the facts. So here are my top three reasons why you should become a dues paying member of the PRSSA National Chapter:
Enhance your education.
Events, competitions, leadership opportunities, scholarship and awards, writing practice, and current news are all provided once a member of the National PRSSA chapter. All of these opportunities provide members with the chance to network and interact with other public relations students around the country. Experience is one of the best ways to enhance your education so use these PRSSA benefits to your advantage.
Broaden your network.
The National PRSSA organization provides students with many ways to network and meet new people. They organize events, start discussions via social media platforms and provide students with access to the Champions for PRSSA directory, which gives students access to a network of dedicated professionals.
Launch your career.
Ultimately, we all hope to graduate from college with the security of a job position. The National PRSSA organization provides students with three databases to help launch their career. Once a member, students have access to the PRSA Online Job Center, an internship database and the PRSA Associate members’ list.
Interested in becoming a member of the national PRSSA organization and beginning to work towards your public relations career? Membership dues are $80 per student annually and are due by February 18. You are welcome to pay with cash or check – please make checks out to ‘University of Oregon Foundation.’
Sophie Lair, Finance Director, manages and prepares the chapter’s budget for the academic school year and collects annual dues from members. Sophie is currently majoring in public relations with a minor in French. Follow her on Twitter at @sophielair.
Winter term in college is difficult anywhere – it’s in between summer-just-ended and when-will-summer-get-here. At the University of Oregon, it’s cold, wet, and grey, the homework is piling up and there’s no sunshine for our necessary dosage of Vitamin D. Sometimes it’s especially difficult to get past the bleak grey abyss, so I’ve compiled a few helpful tips to get you through to spring break.
Enjoy the rain’s simplicity and stay inside.
Sometimes listening to the rain and reading a good book is a great way to spend a cold day. Make some tea, organize your workload, research something you’ve always wanted to know more about, bake a new dessert, or plan a movie night in with friends.
Take advantage of the new recreation center.
The newly renovated Rec Center offers multiple options to get your endorphins going including rock climbing, swimming, weight lifting, and organized sports.
End your week with On The Rocks.
The university’s male a cappella performs every Friday at 4pm in the EMU Amphitheater.
Take advantage of the Outdoor Program on the weekends.
During the winter, you can take the Berg’s bus to Mt. Hood, Mt. Bachelor, Willamette Pass, or Hoodoo for the day to ski or snowboard at a discounted price.
Stay organized and improve your time management skills.
Consider buying a planner and arrange your week to allow time for homework, extracurricular activities, and exercise. However, don’t forget to pencil in time for relaxation too. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Focus on the end goal.
The halfway mark is already here, and spring will be here before you know it. Keep up with your schoolwork, and use these tips to get you through the rainy Oregon winter.
What do you do to get through winter term?
Brooke Adams, external relations committee member, 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. Contact her at email@example.com.
Didn’t make it to our meeting last Wednesday? We heard resume and job search tips from Dean Mundy. Here are six things we learned:
There is no one correct way to do a resume. You’ll get lots of conflicting advice as you seek feedback from instructors, professors and career advisors. The most important thing is to make it your own and do what works for you in order to create a resume that best reflects your personal brand.
Not sure where to start? Put your education either at the beginning or the end, depending on whether it’s the most important part of your life right now. If you have extra space on your resume, use it to create a summary of your qualifications or a short bio rather than an objective. Create a “Community Engagement & Leadership” section for the organization you are involved in, including sororities and fraternities, volunteer experiences and PRSSA membership. Under “Skills,” include any applicable experience acquired through coursework with the most unique first.
The style of your resume should be unique and reflect your personal brand. That being said, make sure the style isn’t overdone. Use a bold typeface to lead the reader’s eye through the resume. Make sure your cover letter matches the look and feel of your resume.
Tailor your resume to each position. Identify the key terms in the job posting and use similar words to describe yourself. Use this list from the Career Center to find active and powerful verbs to replace the overused and dull verbs on your resume.
Keep in mind: Employers only look at your resume for an average of 15 seconds. Remember that this is the only thing they know about you so brand yourself. Ask yourself: what sets you apart?
Create timelines for yourself. Start with the date you need a job by and work backwards through the application process, giving yourself about four months to create your application materials and start applying for jobs.
Questions? Connect with Dr. Dean Mundy on Twitter or by email.
Join us for our next meeting on February 11 for our Winter Workshop on interview tips and networking with professionals!
Didn’t make it to our last meeting? We heard from marketing professor Jessyca Lewis on marketing yourself on Twitter.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when creating your personal brand:
Use a Professional Name for Your Twitter Handle. We know that first impressions are important, and on Twitter, your name and handle are two of the first things people will look at. You want to make sure that they convey the same kind of professionalism that you would have when meeting a potential employer in person. Also, using your real name – or as close to it as you can get – makes it much easier for people to search for you.
Provide a Professional Photo. As with your Twitter handle, the photo you use for your profile is most likely the first photo people on Twitter will see of you. Make sure it represents you in a way you are proud of and communicates professionalism.
Write a Succinct and Appropriate Bio. Your bio can include your professional and personal interests as well as a link to a blog or website if you have one.
Don’t Tweet Excessively, But Do Keep It Consistent. Posting too many tweets in a short period of time can create a negative impression, but you do want to stay consistent and current on Twitter. Jessyca Lewis suggested making a personal social media calendar so you have a schedule of what and when you will tweet.
Who to Follow: To get the most out of Twitter, follow a lot of people and a variety of people. This can include companies you’re interested in working for, UO professors, fellow students, industry experts, brands you like or organizations you’re involved in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on Twitter; the worst that can happen is that they don’t reply.
What Makes a Good Tweet? Tweet what you know and tweet what you love. Tell people about what you’re interested in, share interesting articles you find and try to strike a balance between being personal and professional.
Do you have any tips on how to market yourself on Twitter?
Nicola Hyland, external relations committee member, is a junior pursuing a degree in public relations and a minor in business administration. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolaMorgan_.
As PR majors, we’re instructed to read just about everything and to read constantly. However, these broad parameters can leave students a little lost what they really should be looking at to prepare for a future career in PR. This Recommended Reading series will give you insight to what other students and PR professionals are reading.
Wondering what a senior in the PR program is reading? Here’s some of the articles and books catching my attention right now:
Coffee and Cardigans: Former UO PRSSA president, Callie Gisler, offers insight into post-grad life and a career at a PR agency.
Likeable Social Media: A must-read for PR students interested in social media, this book teaches you how to translate the power of word-of-mouth marketing to social media platforms.
Your Coffee Break: This site has a little of everything, but is an excellent resource for internship and career advice. This article on blogger relations is a great overview of a topic that’s rarely covered in PR classes.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World: This bestselling book from social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk is another must-read for anyone interested in social media. His boxing analogy is a genius way to think about the value of communicating on social media.
What have you been reading lately?
Hannah Osborn, Public Relations Director, is a senior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. She manages all UO PRSSA social and digital media platforms. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
Whether you’re new to the PR major or about to graduate, PR Boot Camp is a great opportunity for you to gain insight in areas like social media branding, brand management, and internship advice by attending 30-45 minute information sessions with professionals. You’ll learn about social media branding and brand management, gain insight into crisis communication, receive valuable internship advice and network with industry professionals.
Saturday, January 31
Allen Hall First Floor
Free for dues-paying PRSSA members
$5 for all non-PRSSA members
Social Media Branding
Callie Gisler, former PRSSA President and a recent graduate from the SOJC, is now an account coordinator at The Hoffman Agency. As an avid blogger and social media enthusiast, Callie will provide her insight on social media branding.
From Portland-based agency Grady Britton, Becky Engel will talk about brand management and how to maintain a brand’s reputation.
Dianne Danowski-Smith from Publix Northwest PR & PA will be touching base on crisis communication and how to better handle a crisis situation.
Lastly we will be hosting Kylee Plummer, former PRSSA Events Director and recent grad, from Edelman Portland to provide internship advice.
Click here to register for PR Boot Camp.
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.
Didn’t make it to our last meeting? We heard from Heaven Lampshire, former UO PRSSA Exec Board member and current assistant account executive at Edelman Seatle. Here are six things we learned from her about internships, tech PR and more:
On going into tech PR after working in food and beverage: Food and beverage PR is intuitive because you can relate to it so easily. Going into tech PR, there’s a lot to learn about how the companies work and what they do.
The difference between being an intern and an AAE: As an intern, Heaven says she worked on one-off projects for eight different accounts and wasn’t able to deeply understand the client’s work. As an AAE, she is able to work on projects from start to finish.
Time management is critical. When asked to do something, it’s better to be honest and say you can get to it later than say you can do it now and not get it done.
Want to stand out as an intern? With every assignment you work on, ask yourself “What are two thing I can add to make it better?”
Think strategically and have a reason for everything. You need to be able to counsel your client on decisions and explain why your solution would work.
Take advantage of in-class assignments. Do things that are interesting to you, and you’ll not only enjoy your classes more, but have things you’re proud of to add to your portfolio.
Join us for our next meeting on January 28 to kick off our Workshop Wednesday series!
Hannah Osborn, Public Relations Director, is a senior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. She manages all UO PRSSA social and digital media platforms. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
With fall term coming to a close, winter break is a great opportunity to schedule an informational interview. Sitting down with someone in the company or position of your dreams allows you to gain knowledge that you can’t find on a company’s website. However, finding the right way to ask for an informational interview can seem intimidating at first.
Here are a few tips on how to contact someone for an informational interview:
Research: Before reaching out to anybody, look into a specific company and find out what that company does, what they supported, and recent projects they’ve done. Then think of related questions you might want to ask. This will help to narrow down where it is you want to contact.
Reaching Out: Once you find the person you want to talk with, study up on them. Find out where he/she has worked, went to school, and other work related information. Then think about the best way to contact that person. Some interviewees prefer to call the person directly. This can be done by calling the main number for the company and asking to be transferred. If your phone call is not answered, hang-up. Leaving a message is not best, as the person you are trying to reach does not know you. If they do answer, make sure you have a 30-45 second speech prepared on why you are interested in getting in contact. Also sending an email is a safe bet and allows you to craft your message to make a good impression. As with a phone call, make it clear why you would like to talk with them.
Be Direct: When you finally get in contact with the person and are working to set up an interview, be direct. PR professionals are busy and don’t want to deal with college students who are beating around the bush. Tell them right away that you are calling or emailing about finding a time to schedule an informational interview. Next, explain why you chose the company and that particular person. Maybe you found out that he or she started as an intern and is now working as a manger. Flattery can help you catch their attention and make them more willing to schedule the interview you’ve been chasing.
Although contacting people for informational interviews can seem intimidating at first, just remember that most people are more than willing to tell you about themselves and exactly what their jobs entail. Make sure you have thoroughly researched the company and arrive at the interview prepared with a list of questions. Don’t assume the interviewee will lead the conversation for you, this is your interview and you must take charge.
Have you done an informational interview before? Share your experience with me and other readers in the comments.
Photo credit: Daniel Foster
Austin is a senior public relations student graduating in fall 2014. Austin is interested in pursuing a career in investor relations and financial communication. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Nguyen is the Communications Coordinator at Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington Affiliate. He earned his Design and Visual Communications degree from Western Oregon University. During his college career, he also participated in a study abroad program at the Florence University of Arts where he studied art history and photography.
Q: What are some of your responsibilities in the organization?
A: My responsibilities entail graphic design, web design, photography and social media. Essentially my role here is heavily visual communication design.
Q: What does an “average day in the office” look like for you?
A: An average day at the office has me checking my emails in the morning and responding to any questions or projects that I am currently working on. Various projects that I work on routinely would be maintaining care of the website, updating any information, managing what content goes on the front page and checking for trends through Google Analytics which show me statistics of all traffic coming to our site. Likewise, I go through our social media accounts as well to check on any messages or comments as well as to periodically post content and information about upcoming events and activities. Bigger projects that I work on depend on the time of the year. Currently we are going through our Year End Appeal. I have designed and sent out over 9,000 letters to our constituents as well as to our email database and I’m posting social ads through media outlets for maximum exposure.
Q: How did you land your position at Susan G. Komen?
A: I began as a graphic design intern working for Komen under the Director of Marketing, creating visual content for use on web, social and email. After several months I was then brought on part time as the Communications Coordinator eventually working with the Director of Development and Communications where I was then brought up to a full-time position.
Have confidence, be assertive, and make sure that if you make a mistake own up to it.
Q: What tips do you have for students coming into the professional world of public relations and communications?
A: Education is the foundation from which you start your journey. However, experience is ultimately what is required to push you forward not only in your career, but also in your skills. If you can start early and become involved in any organization, internship, company, or opportunity that allows you to practice real life applications while you are still in school, then you will have an edge over other candidates your age looking for similar jobs. That experience early on will easily translate over to similar encounters in your future career.
Additionally, work on your people skills! Practice mock interviews, if you find yourself stumbling on words or having a hard time answering a question, then you know what you must focus on in improving. This can be crucial in future negotiations, job interviews (negotiating salary can cause people to stumble and become tongue-tied), or communicating confidently at work with your supervisors or clients. With that also is networking: no matter how skilled you are, knowing the right people can take you very far. They can provide opportunities and connect you with potential job prospects or clients. Final tips would be to have confidence, be assertive, and make sure that if you make a mistake own up to it.
Lastly, take a look at this Ted Talk on body language that Michael recommended!
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.
The first term of the year has come to an end and the heavy stress of finals no longer weighs on your shoulders. The plans are set, flights booked, and your mom has called to confirm almost ten times. You start to remember what it’s like to sleep in, eat home-cooked meals, and do that thing time never allows for anymore – relax. However, most college students fail to realize all that free time is a gateway to opportunity, productivity, and success. Here are a few ways you can be proactive with your college career over break:
Hunt for summer internships.
It’s never too early to plan out your summer. In fact, for many popular internships the applications are due before the end of winter. It’s better to start now with no homework to do, than in January when the chaos of midterms is in full swing. Also, don’t forget to reach out and make a memorable impression so you’ll stick out when they’re making their selections.
Not exactly sure what field you want to get into? The only way to find out if you will truly enjoy it is through experience. Make a list of three possible careers choices and find out if there’s anything similar near where you’ll be over break. Call and ask if there’s any chance you could job shadow just for the day, and don’t forget to ask whoever you’re shadowing questions. After all, it’s possible you’ll be in their shoes one day.
Start applying for scholarships, now.
Regardless of where you’re at in your college career, scholarships are always beneficial. Not only do they help you financially by taking some of that future stress of student debt away, but they can ease your checking account too. Plus, they’re always a great addition to the “awards” section of your resume.
Create something beneficial to add to your portfolio.
Take on your passion and just let it flow with this one. Videography? Make a video combining your love for shooting and editing with your love for your local animal shelter. Writing? Write freelance stories about things that interest you and see if anyone will publish them. Designing? Collaborate with that girl from high school who just started her own business and design her logo. Be creative and expand your experience.
Learn something new.
This can be a tricky one to do in just a month, but even just skimming the surface of broadening your knowledge can get you closer to where you want to be. For example, my goal is learning how to build a website through Wordpress over break.
And lastly, relax.
Go to the cheesy holiday festival with your family. Watch movies. See your friends and make travel plans to visit them in the spring. Read a book in your favorite hometown coffee shop. Do all the things that aren’t possible or realistic when you’re staying up till 2 a.m. writing that history paper that’s due tomorrow, because after all, the month will go by quickly and you’ll once again be swamped.
What are your goals for winter break?
Brooke Adams, External Relations Committee Member, 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. Contact her at email@example.com.