By Kate Templeton
As a junior in college, I am very focused on learning how to prepare myself for a future career as a public relations professional. I imagine many of you are also pondering and planning what steps you should be taking while you are still a student to best set yourself up for success after graduation. Fortunately, as journalism and communication students, we have access to many outstanding resources for guidance. For this week’s blog, I decided to ask an expert. I reached out to the SOJC Dean, Juan-Carlos Molleda, to hear his perspective and recommendations on what to do to be a successful public relations student. He provided me with some incredible insight and advice. Below are some highlights of our discussion.
How can students make the most out of their time as a UO PR student?
Dean Molleda explained that actively participating in classes is extremely important. Students who ask questions, engage in class discussions and interact with faculty are able to gain more than those who just show up to lectures. He also went on to explain that getting involved in extracurricular activities outside of a student’s major is essential, too. He feels that in our ever-changing world, it is important to be knowledgeable about global issues and to be up-to-date on current events in the news. Dean Molleda suggests getting involved in a variety of activities on and around campus to become a more informed citizen.
What are some things PR students can do to set them up for success while in college?
While students are still in school, Dean Molleda recommends actively networking. He explained that networking is a necessity when trying to maintain relationships and establish solid connections. He also emphasizes that one should not be solely focused on getting multiple internships while in college, but the importance of doing high-quality work and having successes while at these internships. This will help students create real world networks that will help them post-graduation. Dean Molleda also suggested utilizing the many resources that Allen Hall offers. For example, guest speakers that come and speak to student groups are a great way to learn about a field of interest, and a way to network with a professional who is actually in that field.
What are must haves when looking at resumes of PR students?
A student’s resume can completely make or break them when applying for jobs. Dean Molleda stresses the importance of having a clean and clear resume, with absolutely no typos. He also reiterates the importance of having unique experiences on the resume. Having solid work experience is a must, but having additional and diverse skills is equally as crucial. Employers want to hire people with skills; they want to see if PR students have the capability to work with various software programs, social media, analytics, etc. Dean Molleda states that “Internships are important, but students need additional skills, experiences and expertise to really make their resume and portfolio stand out amongst the rest.”
What are some things all PR students should know about the field?
In a workplace, the term ‘public relations’ isn’t always used. Dean Molleda explains that there are an array of different titles other than PR used in the real world. The job title could possibly be called public affairs, corporate communication, communication specialist, project manager, etc. He explained that because of the many career possibilities for PR students, it is imperative to be familiar with the variety of jobs students can apply for and obtain. Dean Molleda explains that “We are in a golden age of PR because of technology, so it is extremely important to understand technology and all of its uses.” The basics are still needed in PR: writing, speaking, presentation, critical thinking, etc. But being proficient with technology is now a necessity in the field. To close the interview, Dean Molleda gave one last great piece of advice. He said there is one specific word he likes to use when explaining what a PR professional needs to have in order to be successful in the field, and that word is ‘resilience.’ Having resilience is a valuable skill because it shows that a person will work hard and use all their abilities to get the job done, no matter the obstacles they may face.
By Kate Templeton
Do you stress out before an interview? Don’t worry- you’re not alone! For me, interviews are the most nerve-racking part of the job process. Demonstrating to prospective employers that you are the most qualified person for the job while being asked questions on the spot can be very stressful. However, with preparation and practice anyone can become a pro interviewee! Here are five tips that will help you nail your next PR interview and alleviate some of that stress:
First impressions matter! When going into an interview, it is always a good move to dress professionally. Have you ever heard the expression, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Dressing up for an interview can show prospective employers that you care about the job and are taking the interview seriously. You want them to be able to picture you doing the job you are applying for. Plus, when you dress well it can help you feel more confident!
When conducting an interview, people are looking for specific responses. They are seeing if you possess the skills needed to work well with their organization. Why not show up extra prepared? As PR students and PR professionals we should be able to think on our feet and effectively promote ourselves. There are certain questions that are consistently asked at interviews (ex: strengths, weaknesses, why do you want to work here, etc.). Practice answers to questions you think you may be asked so that you feel more prepared and confident for the actual interview!
It’s easy to tell people that you have a full public relations portfolio with a variety of creative work pieces through multiple clients. However, actually being able to show off your skills during an interview is even better. Make sure to show your PR portfolio and sample work to an interviewer, whether it be a hard copy or online. This will help differentiate you from other candidates.
Few things are as impressive in an interview as showing how prepared and knowledgeable you really are about what you are applying for. Especially if it’s a job related to PR, you want to know all of the ins and outs of the organization and role. Being able to demonstrate that you have done your research tells employers that you spent time learning about the company and position, and that you genuinely want the job.
After the interview is over and you begin the process of waiting for a response, it is important to follow-up with the person/people who interviewed you. Sending a thank-you note or e-mail is always a great idea. This is an additional way to reiterate how much you want this position and help them specifically remember you when they are picking from a large pool of applicants.
By Erica Freeze
I am graduating in less than two weeks. As I continue to process this, I thought that I should end my UO PRSSA blog contributions with some advice for those who get to enjoy college for a bit longer.
The last few weeks of my senior year have felt like the series finale of a sitcom; you say tearful goodbyes to the dear friends you have made and start to reminisce on all of the good times throughout your college career. Your character development over time suddenly becomes apparent and you realize that this development in this environment is ending.
For those of you lucky enough to still be in college, or who are about to start, I remind you to keep your college friends close before they start their new lives elsewhere. Enjoy the fact that you are only a few blocks away from some of the greatest people you will ever meet. Take a class you enjoy and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Make a bucket list and go on adventures with your friends all over the state. Don’t be afraid to overuse the excuse, “I’m in college” while you can. And when you do have some free time, don’t be afraid to utilize the connections you have made to pursue a future career that interests and excites you.
The job search is a long and strenuous one. I am still on my search and rejection is not easy. But something that I am constantly reminded of is that everyone has a different path and you cannot compare yours to your peers. Being in the SOJC, this is extremely difficult as I compare myself to those who have had jobs lined up since the beginning of the year. I feel behind and as if I will never find a job. But at the end of the day, there is, believe it or not, some positivity to the job search. This search has helped me learn more about my passions and exactly what I want to do. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish as you embark on the post-grad job search and journey. I have not had an easy spring term and have dealt with a lot of anxiety and stress about my future. But the thing is that it is MY future, no one else’s. Remember that it is your life, and if you want to move to New York and work long hours to survive, then go for it! Yes, I know that some parents may have reservations about where their children go, but a conversation about your future with them can be beneficial when you present them with all of the wonderful opportunities that there are for young college graduates. Don’t move to a big city just because all of your friends are. Don’t go to grad school because it’s what your parents want. Do what makes YOU happy and strive for that!
With all of that being said, in the craziness of senior year, make sure you take at least one moment to realize how beautiful and special life is at this moment in time. Sit back and smile when you have little responsibilities and time to grab brunch with your friends on a Friday morning or gather around a TV with a pizza on a Tuesday night. Take this moment to appreciate the life you are living. Although next year will be different, keep these memories close to get you through your post-grad years. Life is filled with ups and downs, but there are many great years ahead to look forward to.
To those of you graduating, congratulations to the Class of 2017. We did it! Good luck to you all, and to those still embarking on the wonderful journey that is college.
Have you considered a profession in the healthcare industry? Public relations is vital to promoting and improving the reputations of organizations in this sector. What makes healthcare unique is that it is constantly changing and evolving. Think you are ready for the challenge? Keep reading to learn more about this unique sector of public relations.
In a fast-paced industry such as healthcare, organizations need to have a voice in the marketplace. Healthcare is constantly evolving as new science and technology emerges, and it is important that organizations stand out. Healthcare companies can invest in a public relations partner, such as an agency, to create a communication strategy that positions the organization as an innovative leader while increasing demand. Healthcare providers may also have an in-house staff which manages communication between patients and the hospital itself.
Public relations practitioners in the healthcare field are responsible for managing many relationships ranging between the hospital, its clients, visitors and stakeholders. In-house practitioners may work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), psychiatric facilities and community health centers, according to the Health Careers Center. Those who work in an agency may take on a variety of clients who are in these fields. Practitioners in both fields act as guides for an organization and help in making important decisions regarding an organization’s communication strategy. Especially within the healthcare industry, there are many rules and regulations that constantly change and practitioners must communicate any changes with the client. They are also vital in providing recommendations and advice to the client.
Whether in house or at an agency, public relations professionals in the healthcare industry help tell the stories of groundbreaking research and new innovations to help put their clients name out. Healthcare providers create technology and medicines that can potentially improve quality of life all over the world. Healthcare public relations practitioners have many target audiences to remember, and must reach beyond communication between the organization and the client. Suppliers are very important because they must also have a desire to positively impact the health care system and wish to partner with your organization. Because of this, public relations employees in the healthcare industry must approach each target public differently.
Public relations is important in health care, where both patients and clients can feel vulnerable. As a practitioner in this sector, you will be working with your coworkers to ultimately develop communication to help your publics feel safe and as though their time and money are being used to better society overall. Think this is interesting? Check out healthcare agencies or providers in areas that you want to work and start networking!
As a college student, you need your sleep – there’s simply no other way to put it. You stay up late finishing homework, wake up early to go to class, work during normal business hours, and sometimes decide to go out on the weekends which, yes, takes away from time you could be sleeping. Almost any student can relate to their morning going a little something like this…
It’s 8 a.m., your alarm is buzzing, and you went to bed at 3 a.m. the night before. You drag yourself to the kitchen for coffee and leftover cold pizza, you shower, throw on whatever clothes are nearest, and head to your first class of the day.
As a young adult still in school, you’re allowed to have a messed up sleep schedule and a morning like the one listed above. However, when you’re entering the professional world it’s time to change up the cold pizza for a hearty breakfast and the sweats for a suit. Waking up fifteen minutes before you need to leave isn’t going to cut it anymore. If you’re a senior looking forward to graduating, it’s time to start transitioning to your new professional morning routine:
Check the news, social media, and your emails.
Start your day with making yourself aware of what’s going on in the world today. You don’t want to be the only one who shows up to work and doesn’t know about the latest news, scandals, and tragedies. Especially make sure to check your email; it decreases the likelihood of surprises when you walk into your office.
Eat a well-balanced breakfast!
It’s cliché, but definitely makes a difference. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism and provides you with energy and nutrients that help you concentrate throughout the day.
Whether it’s a simple jog, a brisk walk, laps in the pool, yoga, or an intense CrossFit workout, you need to get moving. Working out in the morning boosts your endorphins, which results in a better mood for the day. It also relieves stress, keeps your metabolism elevated, and helps keep you focused.
Writing out your plans for the day can really increase productivity. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Making a to-do list, writing out your meetings and phone calls, and writing down deadlines will help you remember them. Seeing your day on paper or a computer calendar helps mentally prepare you for what’s to come.
Get your hardest task for the day out of the way.
Putting off the most difficult job can sometimes seem like the better path to take, but it’s not. Often you’ll end up procrastinating too much and it’ll hang over your head, daunting you. If you make it priority number one, tackle the job and get it out of the way, the rest of your tasks for the day will seem small and easy in comparison.
Brooke Adams 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. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeIAdams.
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 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.
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.
Life after graduation can be daunting, but Kylee Plummer has navigated it like a pro. Kylee is a recent graduate from the UO public relations program. During her time in the SOJC, she was actively involved with PRSSA, serving as the 2013-2014 Event Director. She’s now living and working in Portland and took the time out of her busy schedule to share about life after college and her tips for seniors.
Where are you currently working and what are some of the projects you are working on?
I am currently working at Edelman Portland as an Assistant Account Executive working on a mix of consumer and tech clients. Right now, I’m my clients include HP and Travel Portland. Some upcoming projects will possibly include Emerald Nuts and Starbucks. It’s really a large variety! My job involves a heavy amount of media monitoring, measurements, analytics and a lot of writing – which I love.
It’s exactly what they say; you’re never doing the same thing and you never know what you’re going to be working on. It’s very exciting.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day includes monitoring the different social platforms for brands I’m working with, pulling reports for them on a weekly basis and performing a lot of research. In a typical day (I think at most agencies), there are a lot of meetings. I would say about 70 percent of each day consists of meetings, and I think that’s why with PR you have such flexible hours. You’re always on and fitting different tasks, brainstorms and planning into each day. You could have a somewhat easy day head home at 6 p.m. or you could have meetings most of the day, as well as a few deadlines that require you to work pretty late – but that doesn’t happen all the time! This is just a great example of how varied your days can be in an agency setting. Always busy and always learning new things – but always exciting and challenging!
What has been your greatest obstacle in your new job?
This may sound a bit cliché, but my biggest obstacle has been trying to find a good balance for using my time wisely. This job requires you to really prioritize and manage your time. Going straight into agencies from graduation has forced me to get a lot better at this – so has my planner.
Which classes at UO prepared you the most?
I absolutely respect Kathryn Kuttis, and I loved her portfolio class. She really gets imprints it in your mind that you need to work extremely hard and have interesting, clean materials in your portfolio that help you to stand out or you’re not going to be able to land the dream job that you want. That class taught me a lot; even though it was for a weekend, it really helped to put everything into perspective and I’ll never forget it. The workshop forced me to start working toward a pristine, beautiful collection of work that would eventually help me land a real job out of college. Apparently it worked! Overall, Kathryn is super inspiring and her class helped immensely.
Stay involved until the end because you never know what will make the difference in landing you the job you want.
When did you start the job search your senior year?
I was in the spring 2014 cohort for the Portland Senior Experience so I actually left Eugene in early April to jump in right away before graduation. I started my internship at Urban Airship, a tech startup in Portland, and I was actively job searching while I was there. I knew that I wanted to get into an agency and desperately dreamed of going to Edelman! With that, I started looking into smaller agencies. To recap, it was probably three months before graduation that I really started looking for jobs. Starting early is always a good thing!
Do you have any advice for senior PR majors?Get involved!
Do something! Get an internship and/or get involved in PRSSA and AHPR. It really makes a huge difference. Also, make sure you network like crazy. Networking is honestly one of the main reasons I landed where I am now. Go to events like Portland Paddle; it’s so much fun and you end up meeting the most inspiring, smart, wonderful people. Get involved, brand yourself in a positive way, network, network, network and the rest will fall into place. Honestly, if you work hard and have an end goal, you can do it all. Go for it.
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.
It can often be nerve-racking or even intimidating to go on PR agency tours in different cities. You are meeting PR professionals who could potentially hire you one day for your dream job. However, when going on an agency tour, there are a few things to remember that can help you get the most out of it and have an experience that will benefit your future.
Do your research.
Before going on an agency tour do your own research on the agency or agencies you are visiting. Find out what type of PR they focus on, who their clients are and the size of the agency. After some basic research on the agency itself, read over their employee bios to find out more about the people who work at the agency. This will give you a better picture of what the agency culture is really like.
While you are researching, brainstorm potential questions you would like to ask. Think beyond the generic questions you can answer yourself by looking at their website and ask questions that will make you stand out. Also, ask questions that show you have done your research. Mention specific clients you know they have worked with based on the research you have done, not just what they are telling you on the tour itself.
Be professional and courteous.
Remember, the agency you are visiting is taking time out of their busy schedules to educate you on what their agency does. Be respectful of that and engage with the professionals who are conducting the tour. Say, “Thank you for your time, I really appreciated learning more about your agency.” When it comes to networking after a general presentation, remember not to jump the gun by giving them your resume or business card. Unless the moment is right, this will give the wrong impression.
Dress to impress.
It is very important when going on any agency tour to dress appropriately and in business professional attire. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Slacks, pencil skirts, appropriate blouses, blazers and closed toed pumps or flats are appropriate for women. Men should wear slacks with a dress shirt and dress shoes. Blazers and ties are also appropriate.