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.
Any student in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications (UO SOJC) has heard the word “portfolio” a million times. Let’s face it… we all know how important a strong portfolio is to post-grad career success. But building a portfolio from the ground up can be overwhelming. Before you get started, here are a few ways create a solid foundation for your portfolio:
These are just a few of the many ways to jump into building a portfolio. Find a subject you’re interested in and let it inspire your portfolio content. But remember: a portfolio isn’t static. Plan to revisit your portfolio often to add new material and refine old content, since staying up to date in this fast paced market is key!
Post by Samantha Hanlin, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Samantha through our blog editor: firstname.lastname@example.org!
A new year is almost here and so are the promises to lose that holiday weight, finally clean out your closet, or clock x-amount of volunteer hours. I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe this time of year is a great opportunity to set attainable, realistic goals for the next 12 months. Especially as a college student preparing for the future. Not sure where to start? Here are four ideas to add to your to-do list as a PR student:
This year, I did a great job of setting up my LinkedIn account and then forgetting about it. But with graduation and job searches around the corner, this is a tool that I plan to utilize more often. Make it a habit to log into your LinkedIn account at least once a month to add new connections, update your experiences, and search for job opportunities with your favorite companies. Or consider creating a LinkedIn profile if you have yet to do so.
Whether you’ve considered starting a blog or already have one, this is the year to commit. I started my own lifestyle blog last February as a creative outlet and showcase my writing, promotion, and design abilities. Establishing a blog – and updating it often – is a great way to expand your online presence, connect with other bloggers and peers, and give future employers a taste of your talents and ideas.
If you have yet to connect with a professor or faculty member in your department, make it happen this year! These will be the relationships you will need for job references and letters of recommendation after graduation. Whether you’ve taken a class with them or just connected over social media, reach out to your favorite professor over email and ask to set up a meeting. Most faculty members are more than happy to answer questions, offer advice, and point you in the right direction.
Getting involved with my University’s chapter of PRSSA was one of the most beneficial choices I made last year. It expanded my resume, built my portfolio, connected me with fellow PR students, and introduced me to friends I will have for years to come. Research opportunities with your own school’s PRSSA chapter or student-run PR firm. Or check with your department’s advising office for a list of other student organizations that might interest you.
What goals and resolutions are you adding to your to-do list for 2013?
On Nov. 7, 2012, local PR professional Ali AAsum visited UO PRSSA to share the secrets of her professional post-grad success. AAsum graduated from the University of Oregon in 2009. While in school, AAsum garnished incredible professional and public relation experience at various internships, including The Ulum Group, City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation Services, and MR Magazine as an editorial intern in New York City. She currently works as an account executive at Bell+Funk in Eugene, Oregon.
In her presentation, AAsum discussed the hard work required get to where she is today. AAsum’s hard work and internship experience was a key part of securing her dream PR job post graduation. The young professional offered several key pieces of advice for current PR students looking to turn an internship into a job:
Interning – and doing it well – is an essential part to success in the professional world. AAsum’s presentation offered a realistic view into her profession, and the post-graduation path that many UO PRSSA students will soon face. You can follow Ali AAsum on Linked In.
Post by Andrea Feehan, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. She is currently a student at the University of Oregon. You can contact Andrea through our blog editor: email@example.com!
It’s no secret that SOJC students are required to take a wide variety of classes — 116 non-journalism credits to be exact. These classes include literature, history, economics and a variety of other topics from the College of Arts and Sciences. As SOJC advisor Kelsey Parker explains, “Journalism majors need to be well-versed in a variety of areas.”
Have you ever wondered what classes to take in order to fulfill those pesky non-journalism credits? We asked current SOJC students what they have taken to meet these requirements. Junior Eri Mizobe recommends the world cultures anthropology class and psychology 202. “Psych and anthropology really tie in with PR and [the] understanding of how people react and think,” said Mizobe.
These classes can be used to satisfy the required additional blocks within the College of Arts and Sciences. If you are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or if you are simply interested in learning a new language, American Sign Language (ASL) might be the way to go. Those pursuing a Bachelor of Science can also use ASL classes to count for one of their additional blocks within the College of Arts and Sciences.
Current student Matea Merriman is happy with her choice to take ASL. “It’s awesome to learn about a new culture outside of the normal.”
A class in computer programming may be beneficial for your future in PR. Programming and web design skills are in high demand these days. Computer programming classes like CIS 110 or 111 offer a great introduction to the topic.
In a social media lecture taught by SOJC faculty member Kelli Matthews, she stressed the importance of having an understanding of programming. You can better communicate with a company’s IT and web department with a basic knowledge of what they do.
The SOJC offers a variety workshops that are great for gaining experience and earning elective credit. Event planning, Final Cut Pro, and professional speaking are just a few of the topics these workshops cover.
Alternatively, PE classes are great stress relievers. A multitude of dance classes are offered, but Mizobe highly recommends Jazz. The UO also offers a wide variety of PE courses, including scuba, rock climbing, flag football and ultimate frisbee.
Don’t all the non-journalism credits needed for graduation intimidate you, there is a wide variety of interesting classes offered at the University of Oregon. Branch out and do not be afraid to try something different. Who knows, you might even pick up another major or minor.
Post by Kaitlyn Chock, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. She is currently a student at the University of Oregon. You can contact Kaitlyn through our blog editor: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Every college student knows how hard it can be to balance a busy life. Between classes, a part-time job, a social life and activities, it’s important to keep organized. Here are five favorite tips from UO PRSSA members on keeping yourself organized during the hectic times:
1. Have a calendar and keep it current. It’s easy to be organized in the beginning of the term, but as the weeks drag on your system can unravels. Professors generally give out due dates with the class syllabus. Take advantage of this by outlining your calendar early. Plan for big assignments and exams, but leave yourself time for a social life too.
2. Reminders are helpful. Whether you place reminders for yourself in your calendar, or use an app on your phone, it’s important to know your next exam date or what’s due next week. Reminders keep you from having to write those awkward “my printer broke” apology emails the morning your essay is due.
3. Have a work area. You need a dedicated space to do all the homework and studying you’ve planned for in your calendar. Make sure your study area is somewhere quiet and free of clutter. Avoid your bed, your couch, or anywhere else you tend to feel lazy.
4. Taking notes is only the first step. Many lectures build off material presented in the last class. Looking over your notes before class helps refresh yourself on the last lecture and prepares you for the next one. Reviewing notes also promotes balanced studying.
5. Buy your books early. Waiting until the end of the first week to buy your books can be problematic. You don’t want to play catch-up during the second week and you run the risk of having to order your books. Remember, rush shipping fees are expensive!
Keeping yourself organized, and doing it early, helps to minimize stress and keep you a happier person during the school year. So buy that planner, download that calendar app and get in the habit of writing everything down. It might save your life during Dead Week.
Post by Katie Keene, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. She is currently a student at the University of Oregon. You can contact Katie through our blog editor: email@example.com!
Each year the PRSSA National Conference offers the opportunity to network with professionals from a variety of industries, giving members a better perspective of how to excel in today’s competitive work environment.
Overall, the goals of the conference is to help students develop the knowledge of public relations and to prepare passionate public relations practitioners for the competitive field. Many different lectures are offered throughout conference to cater to personal interests and goals of each person.
On Sunday, October 14, I had the opportunity to engage in a presentation given by Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, at the 2012 PRSSA National Conference.
An interesting concept that Stone emphasized throughout his presentation was that any one can be successful in humanity efforts with the help of technology. After listening to him speak, I took away seven main points that can be applicable to the public relations field.
Over the years many students have raised questions about the true benefits of becoming a PRSSA member. This question arises because students can still participate in PRSSA activities and events, even if they aren’t due-paying members. However, there are a multitude of benefits from becoming members that can help students with professional development. According to PRSSA National there are three major benefits for becoming members:
Changes we are making this year:
There are certain changes that we are making this year that give PRSSA members more benefits. We are planning on taking agency tours to Portland and possibly Seattle this year and we are only allowing members to take these trips. Agency tours are a great way for members to see the professional environment, network and talk to professionals in our industry.
There are numerous benefits that come from becoming PRSSA members. It not only gives students more opportunities for professional growth and development within public relations, but also gives them the opportunity to gain more professional experience.
Helping students receive jobs:
Many professionals say that nowadays having the words “PRSSA membership” on a resume makes a big difference. It shows that students can commit to a club that is related to their industry. It also shows that students are making a greater effort outside of internship opportunities and classes to gain more professional experience and network.
To all members, supporters and followers of UO PRSSA, welcome back! I am excited to serve as president in the upcoming year and have big goals for our growing Chapter. The executive board has been hard at work over the summer planning some fantastic professional development opportunities, of which I hope you will take full advantage. Below I’ve listed some ways you can hone your PR skills as well as get further involved in PRSSA.
Join a committee
This year we will be accepting applications for four different committees: Events Committee, Membership Committee, External Relations Committee and NODAC Committee. Joining a committee is a great way to get involved because you will get to know other PRSSA members, while gaining experience in an area of communications that you are interested in. Go to our website for more information on each committee.
Participate in Intern-for-a-Day
UO PRSSA’s main focus this year is to provide you with professional development opportunities. Intern for a Day, a UO PRSSA fundraiser, is just the chance to get involved with local Eugene organizations and public relations professionals. Here is how it will work: UO PRSSA will select a pool of qualified student members to be auctioned as interns in silent auction style. Local organization’s will then bid on a student that would be a good fit for their public relations needs.
Once you have been matched with an organization, you will work on a public relations task that requires approximately eight hours of work. This is an opportunity to design a brochure, staff an event, research a client, draft tweets, and make vital connections within the community. Although we have not set a date for the event yet, we are working to make it happen at the end of fall term. Look forward to more details about Intern for a Day on the UO PRSSA blog and contact me for if you need more information.
Get involved in a national PRSSA competition
PRSSA Chapters across the nation compete each year in national PRSSA competitions such as Bateman, Contiki and NODAC. This year, UO PRSSA will be participating in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition, also known as NODAC, during which you will create a public relations campaign to promote awareness and knowledge of organ donation among college students.
We will be accepting applications for participation on the NODAC Committee just like we will for the other committees. However, if you become part of the NODAC Committee the real work will begin winter term because the public relations campaign must be completed and submitted for the competition by May 2013. For more information on NODAC visit our website.
These are a small sampling of opportunities UO PRSSA is offering this year. Our ultimate goal is to serve you, the aspiring PR professional and help you gain a better understanding of the industry and your place within it. I encourage you to bookmark our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye out for our announcements on campus.
Successful involvement in PRSSA is much like the old adage, “you get out of life what you put in.” If you want to get all that PRSSA has to offer it is up to you to attend events, meetings, workshops and otherwise be an active member! I hope to see you all at our first general interest Chapter meeting that will be held on Wednesday, October 3 at 7 p.m. in Peterson 103!