No public relations education would be complete without hearing about the word “portfolio” at least a million times. A strong portfolio and positive online presence are two important tools for PR students after graduation. But one more way important to catch the eye of potential employers is a blog.
I started my own blog, Coffee and Cardigans, in February 2012. Since then, I have learned important lessons in writing, editing, marketing, business tactics and brand management. I also have a work sample that I can share with employers. As a result, my blog presents a strong example of my interests, my expertise and my personality.
Managing a blog can demonstrate your writing skills, along with any design, photography and editing skills. It also builds upon them if you make blogging a habit. Updating your blog with fresh content on a regular basis also shows your ability to organize and dedicate time to a project.
Blogging is also a great way to expand and enrich your online presence. Add your name to a professional, polished and relevant blog that will be at the top of a Google search when employers search for your online presence.
Blogging can introduce you to the industry where you eventually want to work. Whether you want to focus on public relations in the tech industry or explore financial and investor relations, consider blogging in your area of interest! You can position yourself as an “expert” early, and the research will build your industry knowledge.
A blog also connects you to an online community. The blogosphere is a social place and it isn’t rare to strike up a few friendships while you are there. Networking online can be an effective tactic that can lead to connections in the real world as well. Once you find a niche, research other bloggers who write about your favorite topics.
As a PR student, managing my own blog has been an enormous learning opportunity. I honed my writing skills and voice, developed an editorial calendar, and learned to build and market a brand online. According to PR Daily, writing skills and strong work samples are a must in the post-grad job search. The easiest way for a PR student to earn those skills now? Get blogging.
Post by Samantha Hanlin, University of Oregon PRSSA Member.
While the Gateway to Media series attempts to equip journalism students with the basic skills they need, learning the in-depth function of computer programs like the Adobe Creative Suite are useful skills. Here is a list of some of the most important programs PR majors should add to their resumes:
As intimidating as this program may seem, you need to know the basics. For many internships and positions, this layout and design program is highly desired – if not required. Think of it as a sophisticated Microsoft Word document with 10 times the amount of opportunity. This program can transform a dreary poster into a professional and impressive advertisement.
Many people have dabbled in Photoshop. This program opens the door to flawless photos and sharp graphics . Photoshop plays into InDesign with any type of photo placement. Though sometimes an overwhelming program, Photoshop skills are incredibly useful to creating high quality images.
Public relations is all about communication. When communicating with a large group, as many will have to do, visuals are key; and sometimes you have to go beyond PowerPoints presentations. Instead of persuading more yawns, try adding interest and flair with Prezi, an online presentation builder. Completely free and easy to use, Prezi gives every presentation edge, movement and easy access to embedded videos or graphics.
4) Final Cut Pro
Even if you don’t think video editing is essential, Final Cut Pro offers some perspective to what goes into a production piece, which starts with patience. The Gateway to Media series focuses on this program because you can learn vital skills about interviewing, and the importance of good audio and footage. Beware perfectionists, you can easily get addicted!
Success in the public relations industry means being a Jack (or Jill) of all trades. Take the time to explore popular computer programs like Adobe Creative Suite. Visit your professor for a quick tutorial, pick up a book or Google tutorials to teach yourself the basics. Adding these basic skills to your resume will make for a much stronger resume.
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.
Not many people can say a post-grad vacation led them to their dream job… Except for Portland-native Allie Hawes. In the summer of 2012, Hawes ventures to Palm Springs shortly after graduation for some well deserved post-grad relaxation but made the life-changing decision to stay in Los Angeles for her dream job.
Hawes now works as a Project Manager at the world’s leading entertainment marketing agency Trailer Park. The company is headquartered in Hollywood, along with regional offices in New York and London.
Before accepting the position in L.A., Hawes was a student University of Oregon. She returned to her retail position in Portland directly after graduation, but Hawes did not plan to stay there for long.
In need of a reprieve from college and returning to life in Portland, Hawes drove to Palm Springs in California. The young professional planned to interview with an agency in San Diego on July 10th. But on the day before of her interview, she woke to an unexpected surprise: the chance to interview with Trailer Park. Hawes received word from a friend of an opening at Trailer Park. Her interview took place on July 16, and she started work the next morning.
“The interview was drilling,” recalls Hawes. Three interviewers peppered Hawes with demanding questions at the same time, but she passed the tests.
Hawes was assigned to freelance for three weeks, but she worked for only a week before she was offered the position. According to Hawes’ supervisor, she was selected for the job thanks to her “spitfire” personality. She now works in the marketing department of ArtMachine. Her work has introduced her to world-famous clients, including Warner Bros., Paramount, Lionsgate, and more recently, Disney and Universal. Hawes is the youngest professional in her office.
“I am the middle person between the studio and my team of eight designers,” said Hawes. Her team designs the packaging of movies released on DVD/Blue Ray, Netflix, and iTunes.
“It didn’t set in for about a month…it all happened so fast for it to feel real,” Hawes recalls about the quick decision that changed her career. But Hawes adjusted quickly to life in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Santa Monica, about a mile from the beach. Hawes’ success story proves that amazing opportunities can present themselves at the most unexpected times. According to Hawes, “Things come up and you never know how they are going to turn out.” But this former PRSSA member turned PR professional is proof that things really do happen for a reason.
Post by Audree Nethercott, PRSSA member for the 2012-2013 school year. You can contact Audree through our blog editor: email@example.com!
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.
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: email@example.com!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org!
On Nov. 16th, UO PRSSA ventured to Portland, Ore. to tour the local offices of Edelman Portland and Liaison PR. The city of Portland is home to several well-known PR agencies – Edelman, Liaison, and Waggener Edstrom included. The day was full of insightful information and inspiration, helping to establish a clear idea of the life of a PR professional after graduation.
The day began with a tour and information session with Edelman Portland, one of many company offices throughout the world. Edelman Portland is home to approximately 50 employees and overlooks Pioneer Courthouse Square from the 8th floor of a spacious, modern office. Members discussed life at a PR agency with five current professionals of the Edelman team, followed by an office tour and look into daily life there.
After, UO PRSSA visited Liaison PR in the Portland Pearl District for a tour of their urban office. Liaison is home to a small staff and a specialized focus on technology and consumer PR. An informational session with Liaison’s talented team offered insight to working in a niche agency. Part of the presentation included hearing from Liaison’s founder Heidi Lowell, who was visiting the office from her home in London.
So why should you consider touring a local PR agency before graduation?
UO PRSSA would like to thank Edelman Portland and Liaison PR for the insightful, inspiring day of tours! Our Chapter plans multiple PR agency tour opportunities each year. Stay tuned for more information on the trips planned for winter and spring 2013 at upcoming Chapter meetings. Have you ever toured a local PR agency? What was your favorite part of the experience?
Post by Callie Gisler, public relations director for the 2012-2013 school year. She is a junior at the UO, studying public relations and magazine journalism. You can reach Callie at email@example.com!