Strong writing is one of the most critical skills a PR student can acquire, and yet it’s easy to overlook in favor of more flashy skills like event planning and social media strategy. That’s why we invited PR professor Courtney Munther to lead a writing workshop for chapter members.
Couldn’t make it to Wednesday’s meeting? Here is a recap of Munther’s advice for writing like a pro:
Frame Your Story. By focusing on one aspect of your story it helps to hone in on what you want to address. This gives your readers a sense of direction.
Be Sure to Be a Storyteller. Being a storyteller gives life to your story. Writing is about the human connection and engaging your readers on a deeper level than the surface fluff.
What Are Your Key Messages? Make sure you have your key messages created throughout your story. A key message could make or break the concept of the story you are creating.
Have Compelling Quotes. People will respond if you are using emotion in your writing. While stating the facts works well to inform different publics emotional quotes will cause these publics to respond and act to your cause.
Use Active Voice; Not Passive. In PR it is so important to be concise and get to the point. Cut through the clutter by using an active voice instead of a passive voice. This simplifies your writing into a clear and direct voice. If you have trouble with active voice start with using the subject in the beginning of the sentence instead of the ending with it.
Struggle with Writing? Practice, practice, practice! The best way to get better at your craft is to practice. Be sure to try to write in active voice while practice!
What are some of the best pieces of advice you have received about writing? Is there any work you have read that has stuck with you? Comment below and share your experiences!
Karly Tarsia is currently a junior majoring in Public Relations. She is also the internal events project manager for UOPRSSA. Feel free to follow Karly on Twitter at @karlytarsia
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_.
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.
Join UO PRSSA at its first meeting of the year! Learn about our upcoming events as well as how to get involved and gain PR experience.
We’ll also be starting our series: “The Basics of PR.” Hear from a few professionals talk about the difference between in-house and agency life, ethics and leadership, advocacy PR, healthcare, and non-profit. Whether this is your first year on campus or you’re a seasoned senior, there’s something for everyone to take away.
Lastly, make sure to join us after the meeting at Pegasus Pizza! We hope to see you there!
Say hello to a new “generation” of PRSSA leadership. The 2013 PRSSA National Assembly was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from April 4 to April 7. The event marks an important time for the organization, as delegates vote on bylaws and leadership for the coming school year. Current UO PRSSA chapter president Ellie Boggs was elected to serve as the National Vice President of Career Services for the 2013-2014 term. UO PRSSA is incredibly excited and proud for Boggs as she moves forward into her new role! Here is what she had to say about her new position and her thoughts on leadership:
Q: What inspired you to apply for a position with the National Committee?
A: I first started thinking about applying to the National Committee during the National Assembly last year where I was the UO PRSSA delegate. The National Committee is a group of students who are so passionate about the PRSSA organization and the overarching ideas and plans that make the society run; I wanted to be a part of implementing those big plans. Leadership is also something that I enjoy immensely, so the decision to take the next step and apply for a national leadership position was an easy one.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as the vice president of career services?
A: My No. 1 goal is to increase the number of PRSSA students who are given the opportunity to complete an internship. Every student deserves the chance to practice and improve their learned skills through internships, and serving as vice president of career services puts me in the position to help more PRSSA students get that practical experience.
Q: What is your definition of a successful leader?
A: I think a good leader is someone who knows how to listen, as well as act. Balancing these two qualities is essential but quite difficult. If the team you’re leading knows that you will listen and care about their concerns, they are more likely to work hard on your behalf. On the other hand, a good leader also should know when to take action and get things done.
Q: How do you think this experience will shape your future as a professional?
A: This is a really exciting position, because I get to interact with chapters and students, as well as businesses and professionals. Essentially this position is all about making connections in order to expand the PRSSA Internship Center, so it will help me develop the skills to interact on a professional level, instead of just a student level.
Q: Why is it important for students to seek out and apply for leadership positions while in college?
A: Leadership pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I’d venture to say it does that for most students. Learning to lead effectively takes practice and hard work. In your professional career, you most likely won’t have the opportunity to lead and manage people for several years, so learning to lead while in college will put you a step ahead.
Q: What advice do you have for other PRSSA members who might be interested in applying for a similar leadership position?
A: Start leading on a small level. Like I said before, learning how to lead effectively takes time and practice; it doesn’t happen overnight. Try seeking out a leadership position in your university or local PRSSA chapter. Then, once you’ve taken on several smaller leadership roles, you can begin researching leadership positions that allow you to take on larger responsibilities, such as the PRSSA National Committee. Be sure to do thorough research when applying to these positions. I prepared my application for several months before submitting it, and the time spent preparing was definitely paid off.
On Thursday, Feb. 21, thirteen University of Oregon PRSSA chapter members and I had the exciting opportunity to visit a few of Portland’s most intriguing PR agencies. With an urban, colorful setting like Portland, our visit was anything but ordinary!
We began our day with a warm welcome from AM:PM PR (with scones courtesy of their friendly neighbors at the Compote Café & Bakery). The small, yet deep-rooted agency in southeast Portland, invited all of our questions to the table to discuss their mission and our interests.
We discovered that this agency is serious about relationships, and they value each of their clients in tailored-to-fit ways. The passion AM:PM holds is clear to see. They see their clients as their partners and strive to focus on the small picture in big ways in order to produce the best work possible. Overall, our visit with AM:PM PR was refreshing, laid back and got our creative juices flowing for the remainder of the day!
After a delicious (and very Portlandesque) pizza date at Sizzle Pie, our next stop was R/West. Located in the midst of the industrial district, this all-creative agency resulted in 14 jaws dropping as we stood behind opening elevator doors. The agency was immaculate to say the least. We were led on a tour by former UO PRSSA alum, Ashley Aronson, as we marveled at the work they’ve produced.
The PR, marketing, multimedia, planning-savvy crew at R/West (needless to say, they’re just about good at everything), proved to be a hit with our group. Upon leaving, the biggest question on my mind was, “When can I apply?”
As the day grew longer, the journalism student coffee aficionados in us emerged (as if it ever went away). We did what one must do while in Portland and went on a quick coffee run before making our last stop at one eye-opening agency: CMD Portland. The integrated marketing services agency was much larger than our last two visits and it had a lot to show!
Once again, we were greeted by another UO PRSSA alum, Jesse Davis, and were taken on a tour of the highly modernized building. There we feasted our eyes on the great work that they produce. With mega-clients like Microsoft and Intel, the power held at CMD was unique and inspiring. We had the opportunity to ask questions and hear advice from relatable individuals who understand what it’s like to freshly enter the PR field. Our visit to CMD was definitely valuable!
It didn’t take me long to soak everything in and think about all of the information I took away from our tours. After the trip, I found that learning to think of each case, client and project as a clean slate is key. As AM:PM PR demonstrated so well, the importance of taking the time to build and maintain customized, tailored-to-fit relationships with clients is the path to success.
After all, having that bug to network and seek relationships is what makes the PR major so appealing! Going on the agency tours trip gave me a glimpse of my career path in a “real world” setting, and it has given me even more motivation to keep working toward an exciting, versatile, and fast paced future in PR!
Post by Sofia Webster, University of Oregon PRSSA member. Photo by Callie Gisler.
Love is in the air! UO PRSSA had a festive Valentine’s Day on Feb. 13 and 14 at the Erb Memorial Union and Duckstore respectively. UO PRSSA members sold flowers – both beautiful carnations and red roses – for pick-up and delivery to students on campus. For an additional fee, customers wrote a time and classroom for the flowers to be delivered.
These lovely bouquets came from Rhythm and Blooms, a popular local Eugene florist. Profits from the flower sales benefit the UO PRSSA chapter.
Our chapter also partnered with the Oregon Daily Emerald to host in a spirited Valentine’s Day themed photo booth for students to enjoy. Surrounded by friends and red balloons, students were able to get their pictures taken at the Emerald’s special photo booth on Feb. 13 at the student union.
Participants had a series of artsy props at their disposal, including gold glittery mustaches, red suspenders and a giant picture frame. Pictures were then uploaded onto the newspaper’s Facebook page. The picture with the most likes won two free tickets to Passion Pit’s concert in Eugene on March 4.
A fun holiday for everybody involved, UO PRSSA and the Daily Emerald successfully celebrated Valentine’s Day all while raising funds for the chapter. Thank you to everyone to helped make the event a huge success!
It’s that time of year again: PRSSA registration and dues time. In the spirit of the season, I’d like to take a moment to remind current and potential members about the wealth of benefits that PRSSA membership has to offer. PRSSA membership will allow you to develop professional skills, learn from current public relations professionals and create industry contacts while you’re still in college.
But don’t just take it from me. Learn from current account supervisors and public relations specialists from around the country what PRSSA did for them and what it can do for you.
“Without a doubt, PRSSA was the most valuable networking opportunity for me in college and the connections I made with professionals and fellow students remain to this day, ultimately leading to my first job in the field. This didn’t happen on its own, but rather through active involvement and a consistent presence at local, regional and national events throughout my collegiate career. Anyone studying public relations without joining PRSSA is doing themselves a disservice, and they may wind up answering questions from interviewers like me who really value what the organization does for students.”
– Kevin Saghy, Public Relations & Marketing Specialist, Chicago Cubs.
“My PRSSA membership without a doubt is the most impactful decision I’ve made in my life. It has determined the city I live in, the friends I keep up with, the job I go to every day and even the woman I am going to marry. Professional development that PRSSA offers helps separate members from their peers. Most importantly, networking opportunities with industry practitioners, educators and other members will provide members with a mosaic of best practices to utilize and job leads to explore.”
– Ryan McShane, Senior Account Executive, Taylor.
“PRSSA was the key to unlocking many doors for me during my time studying PR in school and onto the first few years on the job. PRSSA helped me to identify mentors, expand my network as well as land my first few internships, which eventually turned into a full time job at a PR agency. I strongly encourage students who are interested in working in the PR field to join PRSSA to get a head start on the competition and level the playing field when it comes to job searching. When I interview potential intern candidates and I see that they actively participated in PRSSA, they jump to the top of the list.”
– Joseph Tateoka, Account Supervisor, Corporate Technology, Edelman (Chicago).
“When you’re in college, the one thing you work toward is getting a job. PRSSA prepares you in college to get a job through personal and professional development at conferences, workshops, meetings and other fun activities. When you graduate college as a PRSSA member, you can transition in to PRSA anywhere you choose — this is the network you want to join to meet people in any area and the network you want to join to help get you a job.”
– Lauren K. Gray, National President, PRSSA, 2012-2013
“Being an active member of PRSSA is the your gateway of opportunity to pursuing a career and landing a job in public relations. Given my participation on the Chapter and national level of PRSSA, I was able to secure my first job post-graduation through relationships I made with professionals while being a PRSSA member. My PRSSA membership, activities, involvement and accomplishments within the Society gave me a competitive advantage allowing me to stand out from other candidates. Paying your monthly dues is simply not enough to leverage all the benefits PRSSA membership offers. Taking advantage of every leadership opportunity within your Chapter and PRSSA national, attending local, regional and national events and staying engaged in your Chapter is the key to effectively landing your first job after graduation.”
– Brandi Boatner, Digital Experience Manager, IBM.
“PRSSA has ensured me that this is the career I need to be in. With all of the opportunities i have come about through events, workshops, networking with industry leaders, etc., I was able to grasp specific knowledge and guidance within the specific path I wanted to take in the industry. PRSSA serves as a full service organization and always produces nothing but the best.”
– Hilary Jurinak, National Vice President of Internships and Job Services, PRSSA.
Want to become a dues-paying PRSSA member? Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get the details.
Special thanks Kevin Saghy for inspiring me to write this post, and a big thank you to all those who shared their PRSSA experiences with me so that I could create the post.