As exciting as a new school year may seem in the weeks leading up to it, that can quickly fade to resentment without the proper preparation. Use these tips to manage your assignments and commitments while making the most out of your year:
Get organized. Whether you love old-school paper and pen or swear by your iPhone calendar app, make sure to have a plan in place before showing up to the first day of class. A planner with plenty of room to write or a multi-functioning app such as Fantastical is key.
Start early. Keep track of important due dates right from the beginning. Professors generally give out due dates with the class syllabus (which is often available on Blackboard before the first day of class). Take advantage of this by outlining your calendar early. That way you’ll know ahead of time when you can take on extra responsibilities or have time to plan something with friends.
Freshen up your online presence. Between sunny vacations and demanding internships, it can be easy to let your social media accounts go dormant during the summer. Take the week before school to bring them up-to-date. Add that summer job or internship to your LinkedIn profile, send out a few professional tweets, and remove the bikini pic from your Facebook profile. Now you’re all set to begin networking with professors, peers and professionals.
Join a new campus organization. Make this the year you go above and beyond by getting involved on campus. Before you head back to school, do some research on the organizations you can join. Whether that’s applying to be part of Allen Hall Public Relations, attending the first PRSSA meeting, or lending your skills to a campus cause, be sure to try something new. You’ll never know what passion or career path you may discover until you do.
How are you preparing for the new term?
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.
You landed the internship position, worked hard for months to gain valuable work experience and built up your resume. The hard part is over, right? Actually, there’s a lot you can do even after your internship ends to make the most of the experience. From maintaining your professional network to including your new experience on your resume, here are the post-internship dos and don’ts.
Do send a thank you note
As your internship comes to a close, make sure to send each person you worked with a handwritten thank you note. Recognizing the people you worked with is the first step in maintaining a relationship after the internship is over. Be sure to tell each person exactly what you appreciated about him or her. From the person who helped you complete a certain project to the person who made you feel included ¾ who doesn’t love getting a thank you note?
Do keep in touch
The people you work with at an internship are valuable contacts to have. They can become references and even mentors, letting you know of job opportunities and putting in a good word for you. Stay in touch with fellow interns, coworkers and managers by connecting with them on social media, especially on LinkedIn. Check in with your old coworkers every few months to see how things have been going since you left. Keep informed on what the company has been up to and congratulate former colleagues when they launch a new program or win an award. Your former manager is rooting for you to succeed so let him or her know what you’ve accomplished since you left. If you come across an article you think a former coworker or manager would be interested in, don’t be afraid to pass it along!
Do ask for a letter of recommendation
You never know what personnel changes might happen after you finish your internship. The last thing you would want is to need a letter of recommendation and not be able to get in touch. Asking now will save both of you time and stress. Plus, it’s always better to have them write about your contributions while your time there is still fresh in their minds. By asking for a letter of recommendation, even if you don’t need it right away, you’re setting the stage to call for a reference later.
Don’t burn any bridges
Not all internship experiences are positive ones. If you are disappointed with your experience for whatever reason ¾ maybe your supervisor took you for granted or your duties lacked educational value ¾ refrain from sharing your feelings on social media or in another job interview. Give your honest feedback in an exit interview or send an email to your internship manager, but keep it constructive. You never know when you might need a reference, so be sure not to leave on a negative note.
On the other hand, maybe you had a fabulous internship experience and think your supervisor is your new best friend. It may seem like once the internship is over, you can be free to let your walls down, but be careful to keep any relationships you’ve formed professional. Don’t go to a bar with coworkers and get drunk. Don’t friend your former employer on Facebook if you’re going to be posting scandalous party pictures. Don’t publicly engage in an inappropriate conversation on social media.
Don’t lie about your experience
When you’re including your internship in your resume, it can be tempting to exaggerate your roles here and there. Although you want to put your experience in a positive light, even if you spent most of your time fetching coffee or filing papers, make sure you’re still being honest about what you did. Focus on results you achieved, rather than your day-to-day tasks in order to better convey your value.
What have you done to make the most of an internship even after it’s over? Let us know by leaving a comment.
I asked five professionals for tips on landing internships. Here is what they had to say:
Focus on the value you bring. The company you are interested in needs to understand how you can add value. Show you have initiative. Companies want to hire individuals who are independent and can hit the ground running. In an interview, it is important to communicate what you can achieve. Understand your strengths and accomplishments and have an example for each. When discussing your previous experiences, share what you accomplished and how you added value (hint: quantify your results).Linda Williams Favero, program director of alumni career services at UO Career Center and Student Affairs
Stand out. Show your passion for public relations and for the company you are applying to. Companies are looking to hire someone who works hard and has previous experience. Think about how you use your time outside of school to work towards your career goals. Keep in mind that the work that you do for various clubs might be relevant – figure out how to leverage the experience you have. And don’t forget to follow up! Be persistent but not desperate. To do so, send a handwritten thank you card reiterating why you’re interested in the company.
Caitlin Albaugh, public relations manager at adidas America
Engage with the company on social media. If you continuously interact with the company, someone will likely notice. This does not mean favoriting every tweet the company posts. Treat the company like it is someone you want to be friends with. If the company tweets out a question, respond with an answer! And don’t hesitate to tweet your own questions to the company. Also, make sure to follow the company on each of your social media profiles (as long as your profiles are professional).
Samantha Luthra, senior account executive at Bread & Butter PR
Learn to code. The more you understand how information travels and how the Internet works, the easier it will be to conceptualize how things operate. Aside from the professional benefits, learning to code offers a host of personal benefits as well. Learning to think “algorithmically” will help you stand out in the job market, and allow you to think and solve problems creatively.
John Gillooly, lead data strategist at MSLGROUP
Become a well-rounded candidate. Over time, try to gain experience through a wide variety of internships. You don’t want three internal communication or media relations internships. You want multiple internships that offer a range of experience – from media relations and social media to investor relations and marketing. The broader skill set and range of work samples you can provide, the more attractive you are to potential employers.
Josh Netzer, administrative program director and Portland Senior Experience program director
Do you have any additional tips to secure an internship? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Kaitlyn Chock is a PRSSA project manager for the 2013-14 school year. You can contact Kaitlyn at email@example.com.
Landing an interview is the most exciting and nerve racking experience in a new graduate’s life. In this day and age, we face extreme competition not only from our classmates but also from kids across the country. This is why it is important to do your homework before heading into an interview. Here are a few tips to impress an employer at your next interview:
Research. You should never underestimate the importance of research. Your insight will show your employer that you have come to the interview prepared. Most importantly, it will demonstrate your ability to problem solve and give them confidence that you can complete assigned tasks.
Bring Questions. Have at least five questions written down that you can refer to in case they slip your mind. Make sure your questions show you looked into the company and you have a good understanding of how the company operates. Something you might ask is, “I see that your company’s motto is … can you explain to me how that is seen in day to day operations?” This will show that you have done your research and that you are assessing whether or not this company is right for you.
Take a deep breath. Everyone knows that interviews are scary and stressful, but you want to appear calm and collected. Deep breaths help to calm you down so you can think more clearly, and a calm demeanor will show confidence in your abilities.
Send a thank you note. It may sound old school, but it is always good to follow up with a hand written thank you note after the interview. Thank you notes show you appreciate the opportunity to interview and handwritten notes will set you apart from other candidates. Start off your letter by thanking the employer for taking time to meet with you. Then in the body talk about things you learned from the interview and referring to your relevant skills. Conclude by thanking them again and encouraging them to contact you if any questions arise.
The job market is full of stiff competition and you need stand out. If you enter an interview with a solid understanding of the company and bring good questions, you will be sure to make a good impression. What are some of your interview tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments.
Austin Zerbach is a senior majoring in public relations. Austin plans to pursue a career in event management post graduation. You can contact Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A career in public relations is like a roller coaster: the ups and downs are almost always unpredictable and sudden. Aside from the dinners, parties and exclusive events, there are many other perks to working in the industry.
You hear news first. Public relations professionals are responsible for monitoring and disseminating news about their clients to the media, meaning you would be the first to hear breaking news about your client or organization.
Your hard work is visible. Whether you win a bid on a campaign or successfully implement one, as a public relations practitioner you can “see” your hard work.
Your job is never static. You won’t be writing or looking at the same material day-in and day-out. Even when you’re working with only one client, the work is guaranteed to change drastically and rapidly throughout the job.
Now let’s get to the worst aspects of PR.
Your relationship with the media is unpredictable. Even if you have connections with the media, there is no way to ensure your event or client will make the news. Additionally, media coverage is not always positive.
You’re always tuned in. With the advent of the Internet, news operates on a 24-hour cycle. Therefore, you must stay connected to your phone or laptop outside of the standard eight-hour workday. The work doesn’t stop when you leave the office, but if you love your job this won’t be a downside!
You will be stressed. Forbes ranked the public relations executive the sixth most stressful job of 2014. The nature of the media, news cycle and clients means public relations practitioners must stay on their toes at all times.
If you find yourself loving the best aspects and embracing the worst, a career in public relations might be for you!
Do you have any good or bad aspects to PR that you’d add to the list?
Photo credit: NYC PR Girls
Heather Yount, external relations committee member, is a senior studying public relations. Follow her on Twitter at @yountstr_monstr.
As PR majors, we’re often told about the importance of personal branding while looking for a job or internship. While telling an interviewer what they want to hear may land you the job, it won’t land you the right job. Here are few tips to branding yourself before you start the job hunt:
Be consistent. Branding yourself is about more than a neat heading at the top of your resume. It’s about being consistent across multiple platforms. This means employers can draw the same conclusions about you from looking at your Twitter or your LinkedIn. It’s about showing not telling. One great way to show an employer your passion is to consistently show off your niche. And on that note…
Embrace your niche. The truth is, you produce better work when you’re passionate about the work you’re doing. So, if you’re into technology or the environment or health care, don’t be afraid of letting employers know that. It will not only set you apart from other applicants but also open doors for which clients you work with at an agency.
Know what excites you. Yes, flexibility and a willingness to try new things can look great in a job candidate, but knowing exactly what you like does too! Don’t lie and say you love social media if you could really care less about Twitter. Instead, focus on what does excite you and why that makes you a great hire. Plus, if you are hired, you will be able to do something you actually enjoy!
Remember, everything you do reflects on your personal brand. So, keep it clean, consistent and authentic.
Have any other tips on how to stay genuine when starting off? We’d love to hear them! Comment below to keep the conversation going.
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.
For many of us, graduation is around the corner. That final day in spring is full of excitement, happiness and fear. The monumental transition into the real world can seem daunting, so, here are tips to help you along the way:
Make goals. As public relations professionals, we know a lot about the importance of planning. Pretend that you work for an agency and the client is yourself. Make a plan with long-term and short-term goals. Ask yourself reflective questions to help you plan your future, but always leave room for change and opportunities you don’t expect.
Land that first internship or job. Landing a job right out of college can be overwhelming and discouraging, especially when you don’t get a job you thought you were qualified for. The trick is to stay optimistic and keep your options open. Apply for jobs that could lead to your dream position. As a young professional, you have time to try out plenty of options and you never know which experience could lead your ultimate goal.
Manage your money. Now that you have a new job with a real salary and expenses, you need create a budget and stick to it. iReconcile, Expenditure, MoneyBook and Mint are great apps to help you track your budget.
Continue to network. Building a strong network is about surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and will vouch for your character. A professional network will help propel your career forward and strengthen your resume. Personally, networking can connect you to your new community and help build a balanced life.
Keep learning. College may be over, but knowledge is still out there. Ask questions, this will demonstrate passion and commitment to your employer. Seek out new experiences to bring more to the table – personally and professionally.
Hopefully these tips will help ease your anxiety. Just remember that every executive started out as a scared recent graduate just like you.
Continue this list of tips or comment with your own concerns for the transition from student to professional.
Ruby Hillcraig, external relations committee member, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. Ruby hopes to pursue a career in fashion and beauty PR when she graduates in spring 2014. You can reach Ruby at email@example.com.
Although writing a cover letter can often be frustrating, it is the first and most important thing a potential employer sees. The right cover letter can get you one step closer to an interview. Here are a few tips to make the writing process easier and your cover letters more successful:
Keep your cover letter well organized and easy to read. Use the first paragraph to explain why you are contacting the organization. Be sure to include any mutual acquaintances and mention your interest in the company or a specific position. In two to three concise body paragraphs, elaborate on your relevant skills, experience, knowledge and expertise. Conclude the cover letter by reiterating your interest in the company and mentioning a call to action, such as “I look forward to hearing from you.”
Tailor your descriptions of skills and experiences to fit the position. Use the job posting as a guide to identify two or three key skills that the employer is looking for. Then, brainstorm the ways in which your skills or experiences illustrate those reoccurring themes. By using key terms from the job posting, you can show that you not only understand what the job entails, but that you’re the right fit for the position.
Remember, they want to know what you can do for them. The more clearly you illustrate how you can benefit the organization, the more likely they call you for an interview. Consider concluding each of your body paragraphs with a sentence summarizing how the skill or experience you mention is relevant and how it will impact the employer.
For more advice on writing a standout cover letter, read this post on the seven-step resume makeover and this article on the mind trick that will help you write a more creative and passion-filled cover letter.
What has been your most successful trick to writing a unique cover letter? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Hannah Osborn, external relations committee member, is a junior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
The public relations major sequence is rooted in skills such as critical thinking, strategic writing, business management and creativity. At the School of Journalism and Communications, we take classes, which cover the multiple facets of public relations. Here are three different areas you should consider taking courses in before you graduate.
Digital Arts: If you are interested in design, you should consider the introduction into digital arts sequence, ARTD 250, 251 and 252, which covers print media, time-based and interactive digital arts. You will learn multimedia design by using Final Cut Pro X, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. If you want to pursue a minor in multimedia, you will need to take four classes in addition to the three mentioned above.
Literature: Literature classes are required for all journalism students – take advantage of the courses that directly correlate with writing skills. For example, ENG 380 Film Media & History or ENG 381 Film, Media & Culture focus on the intersections between cinema and media texts with a topic of the professor’s choice, such as global environment changes or the LGBTQ community. These courses will teach you to think critically about the relationship between human perception, media, and world issues. Comparative literature classes are also useful for fine-tuning skills such as close reading and analyzing passages.
Business: An understanding of business management is important for anyone considering public relations as a profession. The introduction to business class, BA 101, can further your knowledge of the subject. You might consider the business minor, which consists of six courses. Business is a foundation for public relations and if you’re accustomed to business operations then you will be better able to assist in the decision-making processes of any company you will represent.
Overall, public relations is a highly competitive career path. To standout to employers, you need to be well rounded, so, take classes that spark your interest and inspire you to think critically and creatively.
Have you taken any of these classes? Which courses did you benefit from? Which courses would you add to the list?
Sacha Anderson, external relations committee member, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. Sacha hopes to pursue a career in entertainment PR. You can reach Sacha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An extensive personal network is a valuable tool for any budding public relations professional, and agency tours are a great way to build these relationships. UO PRSSA recently visited three agencies in Seattle: Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Porter Novelli. Here are a few tips on how to follow up after agency tours to build your personal network:
Connect with the professionals on social media. Reach out to the professionals you spoke to and request a connection on LinkedIn. Personalize each request by mentioning something that specific person said. Also, follow the professionals on Twitter, tweet a thank you and engage with their tweets.
Send a thank you email. Did any particular people stand out? Thank them for their time and note an aspect of the agency that you enjoyed. If any conversations or tips reminded you of an article, include the article in the email. Be specific but concise, and keep the email under two paragraphs. Aim to send the email within a week of the agency tour. Also, don’t send a resume unless you were asked to – you don’t want to be pushy, you want to show your gratitude.
Want to go the extra mile? Send a handwritten thank you card instead. Be sure to send your card as soon as possible. Like the email, the handwritten thank you note should be personalized.
Cultivate a sustainable relationship. Don’t send one email and never reach out again. Check in every six months or so by sharing a relevant article or engaging on LinkedIn. But remember, networking is about mutuality. Don’t reach out to people to get something out of them – try to make every relationship mutually beneficial.
These tips also work for informational interviews! The key is to stay personal, engaged and courteous. Networking is about cultivating relationships; you have to give value to receive value.
What’s your take on networking? Share your tips for following up after agency tours in the comments below.
Kaitlyn Chock is a PRSSA project manager for the 2013-14 school year. You can contact Kaitlyn at email@example.com.