Time spent studying and sometimes even doing public relations at the School of Journalism and Communication isn’t time wasted, and your portfolio should show that.
At the end of the PR sequence there comes a time where you present a variety of work you’ve done to present your story. For some, this “final” assignment can be daunting, terrifying, and can make you feel anxious as the day for Portfolio Reviews swiftly approaches. To help ease your terror, PRSSA has a run down of what to expect and how to prepare.
Here’s a short and sweet run down of how the review will go the day of:
Note that you might want to bring something to take these notes down. A phone may not be the best device to do this.
Prepping for the review doesn’t mean just practicing your presentation or putting together your portfolio. There are a few other things you should keep in mind and probably execute before.
Do your homework. Think of Portfolio Reviews as a job interview ⎯ in this case an interview to graduate. The week before you have access to the review schedule. Take the opportunity to learn more about your panel. This helps put into context what each professional’s takeaways will be during your presentation.
Conduct a social media audit on yourself. If you haven’t Google searched yourself, now is the time to. You can bet that the folks who are chosen to be your reviewers will most certainly Google search you before your review session. Don’t forget to use the “grandma” rule. If you think your grandma wouldn’t appreciate a photo, post, or tweet get rid of it.
Double and triple check your e-portfolio. Attention to detail is a known attribute for any public relations professional. Make sure your first impression made online isn’t a bad one before the review.
Dress professionally and appropriately. Many students struggle when it comes to dressing professionally. It doesn’t mean wear four-inch heels you bought the day before or a suit jacket you had passed down because it’s the only “formal” thing you have in your closet. You want to look and feel the part. Reviewers know when you swung things together last minute. Follow these dress rules from Ann Taylor for women and GQ for men. Note for women: keep in mind the demographic of your reviewers. When wearing dresses, err on the side of caution.
Present your work as it pertains to your story and these three major points: the problem, solution, and impact. Each piece of your portfolio shouldn’t be there just to be there. It has to tell your story. Figure out how that piece of work relates to your overall theme or has shaped the way you perceive public relations. Remember that your materials have to tell your story without you in the room.
After your review, send them an email an hour to two hours later. Within 24-72 hours, send them a personalized thank you card. These folks are here because they care about how well you thrive in the industry. Take the time to tell them thank you for gaining valuable advice.
Abbie Mulligan, President, serves as the chapter’s resource and mentor, for our members and the executive board. When she’s not in Allen Hall, you can find her helping to strengthen the university’s relationship within the community. Follow her on Twitter at @abbsmulligan.
Summer is just around the corner. You know what that means? It’s time to start making those summer vacation plans. Summer is also a good time to advance your skills and take advantage of networking connections and opportunities. Whether you are working at home, backpacking through Europe, or interning for a public relations firm, here are some simple tips from PR professionals on how to have a productive summer as a PR major.
1. Write, write, and write
Writing is arguably the most important skill a PR professional can have. It is important to keep writing skills polished, even when school is not in session. Try starting a blog about your summer adventures, writing in a journal, or creating something as a portfolio piece.
2. Learn a new skill
Without the stress of deadlines and assignments that come with being in school, summer makes the perfect opportunity to learn something new. There are plenty of fun skills that you could learn or improve on this coming summer. Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, and photography can all make valuable additions to your skills toolbox. Personally, I am hoping to improve my InDesign skills this summer.
Volunteering is a great way to get involved and start networking. These experiences can reveal jobs, expand professional networks, help make new friends, provide career experience, and teach valuable skills- all while working for a greater cause.
4. Schedule Informational Interviews
Informational interviews are a great way to learn applicable information firsthand within a specific field. You might also find out about career paths you were unaware of before, and it can provide great tips on how to fix up your résumé and land an interview.
5. Get an Internship
Last, but not least, having an internship over the summer can lead to exciting things. Not only do internships give you an edge in the PR job market, they also provide valuable experience, networking opportunities, and could potentially transition into a full time job.
These are just a few tips on how to have a productive summer as a PR major. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond this list! Try new things, learn something new about yourself, and most importantly This is an exciting time in our lives and the future holds many opportunities and possibilities, especially in the increasing prosperity of the public relations field. How are you planning to have a productive summer?
Post by Claire Ion, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Claire through our blog editor: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Post by Audree Nethercott, University of Oregon PRSSA Member.
Congratulations to the students who recently (and successfully) made it through Gateway I and II. The UO SOJC Gateway to Media series can be a few of the most rewarding classes you will take in college or it can be the longest two terms of your life.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was staying up until 4 a.m. in Agate Hall editing the “ums” and “buts” out of my audio to meet the 90-second project requirement. For many students, the Gateway series consists of long, lonely nights in computer labs and shamelessly asking everyone you know to participate in multimedia projects. Need some help? Here are a few ways to avoid the Gateway gloom.
1. Go to every class
Sounds obvious, right? Some students think that the lectures can be skipped occasionally. Wrong. Every single class is extremely important to your success in the series. By skipping class, you risk missing a quiz or class project, which can both affect your final grade, as well as your development of essential skills.
2. Attend the workshops
The workshops are where you learn the basics of Final Cut X and InDesign step by step. In my opinion, these workshops are more valuable than any other aspect of the class. Your instructor will guide you through mini projects that teach you the details of each program, resulting in higher quality work.
3. Use the Gateway instructors as resources
The Gateway instructors are there to help you. If week three has rolled around and your interviewee hasn’t replied back to your email, it is probably an indicator to move on to something else; this is a great opportunity to use your instructors as resources for alternate options. Visit them in office hours. They will give you ideas for a new topic and refer you to interesting people in the area. As an added bonus, you will have a chance to hear their amazing experiences, such as Dan Morrison’s stories of being embedded in Afghanistan.
4. Have a backup audio recorder
Sometimes your technology fails during an interview. Most interview subjects are busy and won’t be able to reschedule to another time. To avoid this problem, always have a backup recording device. It can be an audio recorder from the J-Cage or your iPhone.
5. Do not procrastinate
This is an obvious one, but a few graduates have told me they graduated with two degrees; the first a Bachelors of Arts and the second a “Bachelors of Procrastination.” Creative work is not something that should be rushed through the night before a deadline. Pulling an all-nighter will negatively impact your work and your grade. Plus, your instructor can tell the difference between work that is well-done and work that is rushed through.
The Gateway to Media series is supposed to teach you what is expected in the world of journalism, not inhibit your excitement for the journalism industry. Follow these tips and stay organized. It might surprise you how fun the classes really are, if you take the time to do them right.
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.
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: email@example.com!