As the finance director for UO PRSSA, I am often asked, “Why should I become a dues paying member?” Well, of course, I’m going to do my best to encourage you to pay the membership due and become a part of what I see as one of the best organizations on campus. But you deserve the facts. So here are my top three reasons why you should become a dues paying member of the PRSSA National Chapter:
Enhance your education.
Events, competitions, leadership opportunities, scholarship and awards, writing practice, and current news are all provided once a member of the National PRSSA chapter. All of these opportunities provide members with the chance to network and interact with other public relations students around the country. Experience is one of the best ways to enhance your education so use these PRSSA benefits to your advantage.
Broaden your network.
The National PRSSA organization provides students with many ways to network and meet new people. They organize events, start discussions via social media platforms and provide students with access to the Champions for PRSSA directory, which gives students access to a network of dedicated professionals.
Launch your career.
Ultimately, we all hope to graduate from college with the security of a job position. The National PRSSA organization provides students with three databases to help launch their career. Once a member, students have access to the PRSA Online Job Center, an internship database and the PRSA Associate members’ list.
Interested in becoming a member of the national PRSSA organization and beginning to work towards your public relations career? Membership dues are $80 per student annually and are due by February 18. You are welcome to pay with cash or check – please make checks out to ‘University of Oregon Foundation.’
Sophie Lair, Finance Director, manages and prepares the chapter’s budget for the academic school year and collects annual dues from members. Sophie is currently majoring in public relations with a minor in French. Follow her on Twitter at @sophielair.
Getting involved with the School Of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) is one of the most important things you can do as an undergraduate. Joining clubs and organizations in the SOJC will not only build your resume but also give you experience in your areas of interest.
You’re probably thinking, “How do I decide which club is right for me?” I struggled with the same question when I first got involved. Here are a few tips that helped me find the right organizations:
Finding the right club and organization for you can be a time consuming task, but in the end it is well worth the effort and will help you start your professional career in your field of interest. So, get out there and get involved.
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.
There are many pieces of the job search process that are out of your control: job availability, who else is applying, how organizations find candidates, etc. Therefore, focus on what you can control. One of the earliest career development theories proposed, Planned Happenstance, suggests that one must acknowledge the presence of chance in the career planning process, but also work to increase the likelihood of chance opportunities. For example, if you have an extensive professional network, the likelihood of you hearing about an unadvertised job position will be higher. In order to be a successful job/internship seeker, you must facilitate opportunity by building your network and taking advantage of opportunities that you create.
According to a 2012 study conducted by the US Department of Labor, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of networking in finding media jobs is even more essential, as students often encounter professional opportunities through an industry professional or well-connected professor. In the media industry, word-of-mouth and networking are critical.
Follow these steps to utilize and expand your network:
1. Start with who you know. Your instructors, who are also industry professionals, have great connections. Friends who have already participated in internships may be able to make appropriate referrals as well. If you have family working in the media industry, approach them too.
2. Spread the word. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job or internship. Provide some details on your professional goals so they know which connections are relevant. Your best friend’s mom may work for Edelman.
3. Conduct informational interviews. Once you make new connections, ask if these industry professionals will engage in informational interviews—an interview where you ask questions about a job, profession and industry. You can gather information about a job/organization and expand your network. Who knows, if you make a good impression, it could lead to an internship.
4. Follow up. When people graciously donate their time to help you, be sure to say thank you with an email or a hand-written note. Also remember that networking is reciprocal. Maintain the relationship by checking in or referring your new connection to a recent article of interest.
5. Take advantage of the opportunities you create. As you meet more people, introduce yourself, identify a mutual professional connection and offer to have a conversation over coffee or lunch. You can also attend networking events such as the PRSA New Pros Agency Tours. While putting yourself out there professionally can be intimidating, staying on the sidelines won’t get you anywhere.
While chance plays a role in the search process, you must create opportunities by engaging in the most effective search strategies. Databases are a great place to start and can give you a sense of available opportunities, but they put you in a passive role and are incomplete. Instead, actively work to expand your network; you will create more opportunities for yourself. Put yourself out there.
Guest post by Miranda Atkinson, a current Career & Academic Adviser for the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon.
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: email@example.com!
You know the “six degrees of separation” theory? In Eugene, I think everyone is three-degrees apart, at most. The connectedness of a small market has some advantages and some disadvantages, depending on how you look at it and what you’re looking for.
In the world of agency PR, a small market has some major pluses:
I can think of two drawbacks of working in Eugene. But with time and learning, I’ve overcome them, so that may null my findings:
I found a few organizations that offered professional and personal connections in my playing field – the Eugene Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network and the Eugene Active 20-30 Club. The former hosts monthly networking events and the latter is a community service organization. By participating in both, I now have many new friends and see familiar faces at almost any community event.
I would imagine, however, that a larger city offers a more thriving young professional scene. Even co-workers could be of similar age and interests as recent grads.
But, in my opinion, here’s the catch: You might be working on accounts like Apple, Subway or L’Oreal, but you could be on the fifth or sixth rung of the ladder – a place where upper management may not remember your name and you’ll rarely get to talk with a client face to face.
My “Pros” and “Cons” list shows five-to-two. That’s a win for small markets.
From my perspective, starting your career in a small market is the perfect training ground to develop skills and experience you’ll need if and when you decide to launch into a larger market. But I’m biased because I haven’t experienced professional life elsewhere.
Eugene is indeed a small world after all. But it’s made a big impact on my personal and professional growth.
Post by Aimee Gregg, University of Oregon PRSSA member. Photo by Callie Gisler.
University of Oregon students have countless avenues to get involved on campus; unfortunately, there is no way to take advantage of every opportunity, which can make the decision of what organization to get involved in overwhelming. A good way to get the most out of your time is to find activities that allow you to combine your professional goals with your campus involvement. Here are five ways for public relations students to get involved on campus:
Though we are somewhat biased, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will provide you with the opportunity to network with fellow public relations students and professionals, and learn more about all facets of public relations through professional guest lecturers.
Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR) is an entirely student-run professional public relations firm that takes on real clients. It helps public relations students network with each other, as well as with small businesses and nonprofits in the area. It also gives students valuable hands-on experience, while maintaining high professional standards. The work that students produce is the perfect addition to any portfolio.
3.) Marketing or advertising groups
Both marketing and advertising are closely related with public relations. Learning more about these professional areas is a great way to expand your skills set to become a more marketable professional. You might also uncover an entirely new interest or passion. Examples of marketing and advertising groups on the University of Oregon campus include American Marketing Association, Allen Hall Advertising, Ad Society and more.
4.) Campus publications
Many campus publications including Flux, The Daily Emerald and Ethos have public relations related positions that are fantastic practical experience. Attaining writing, marketing, multimedia and other journalism-related positions in these publications can be a great way to broaden your skills set and diversify your portfolio.
5.) Volunteer your public relations services
Sometimes the best way to get involved on campus is to find an activity that you are passionate about, even if it is unrelated to your professional objectives. You can obtain public relations experience by helping your club or activity gain exposure on campus. This is a mutually beneficial option. You develop your public relations skills, while serving the needs of other students on campus.
Campus involvement is key to getting the most out of your four years here. These are just a few options; however, there are more than 180 student programs at the University of Oregon. Browse through all the student groups at orgsync.uoregon.edu to find the perfect fit for your interests.
Post by Katie Keene, University of Oregon PRSSA member.
Can the content you post on social media affect your job and internship applications? Possibly. CareerBuilder surveyed 2,000 hiring managers and found that 2 in every 5 managers used social media to screen applicants. The managers searched profiles to determine whether candidates fit in with company culture and appeared professional.
Many students rely on privacy settings to keep certain content from potential employers but having a completely private profile can be a red flag. Employers are using social media to get an idea of who you are. Using your profile to make a brand for yourself is more beneficial than hiding inappropriate content.
In public relations, understanding your audience and effectively using social media is a key skill. As students, our audience includes potential employers. The content you post does not always need to be relevant to the field you wish to work in, but should remain appropriate at all times.
Using social media as a tool reflects who you are to employers and differentiates yourself from other job applicants. Including a statement about yourself on each of your profiles is also helpful. This statement should identify who you are and your unique characteristics and strengths.
As public relations students, we are expected to be familiar with the latest technology in social media. Knowledge of each platform can be shown through effective profiles. Posting content that conveys a strong understanding that anyone can view your content on social media is advantageous.
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.
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!