By Pablo Lopez
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism, gives us her top-three reasons to build relationships with our instructors on campus.
Networking. Networking. Networking.
This word gets thrown around at us in college classrooms like our parents reminding us to eat our vegetables at the dinner table. But like our vegetables, why is it important?
More importantly, why should we network with instructors that we have to deal with for 10 weeks? Ten weeks should be more than enough time, right? Wrong.
Personally, I rather call it “building relationships.” It doesn’t sound as professional, but as students, I think we’re here to look at instructors as our friends and not as an associate that we’re competing with, dreading to ask them for help and cringing at the thought that they’ll embarrass you in front of the boss.
It’s true, we have a lot on our plate. It is almost impossible to meet with instructors when you’re trying to balance the workload of four or five classes while working a daily job that requires countless hours of physical labor.
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) agrees. Chandler says, “Students are busy. And going to office hours, if you feel like you have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in the class, may seem like it’s too much to add to your schedule. But I think that the other part that students need to think about is that the instructors in the program that you’re in –in this case PR – really care about where you end up.”
These are Chandler’s three reasons to build a relationship with instructors.
1. Connection: We are here to learn from instructors.
It’s obvious that books cannot teach us everything. We can go to class twice a week, ace the course, and still be oblivious to what’s going on in the work place. Chandler says one of the best reasons to build a relationship with instructors is not only because they ‘have great deal of knowledge on the skills we are learning,’ but because they have ‘a fair amount of practical experience in the work place that you want to go into using those skills.’ They’re here to help; use them.
2. Good Practice: Instructors welcome “cold emails”
It’s an awkward, and sometimes intimidating introduction that you have no idea how to approach. As hard as it sounds, it’s not that bad. Instructors know that we have questions, and sure we might sound a little nervous, but don’t be hesitant and just do it.
Chandler explains that it’s as easy as sending an email. “Most instructors in, for example, the PR sequence, would be open to even just an email that says: ‘I’m a student in the public relations program and I know you are an instructor in the program with a special interest in leadership – for example like Dave Remund has – and I’d like to sit and talk with you. Can we do that sometime?’”
If you have a relationship with an instructor already, she recommends you simply ask to be introduced either virtually or in person with another instructor in the department that they think would be a good person for you to sit and talk with.
3. Access to Opportunities: Guidance into the right path
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely in the same boat as I am. We need a well-trained sailor to help us get to the destination we’re trying to reach. Which is exactly where the instructors come in to play. Chandler shares, “part of helping you get to that place is certainly the skills that you’re learning in the classrooms, but it’s also in getting to understand what you’re specifically interested in as an individual and helping in anyway that we can to guide you toward the path that you really want to take.” An exceptional staff surrounds us in the SOJC, and ultimately, they are here to help.
Every term UO PRSSA plans a trip to a different city to visit public relations and communications agencies. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Eugene, and soon to be Santa Monica, are a few of the cities PRSSA has visited and will be visiting in the future. Attending an agency tour has numerous benefits, however, you may still be unsure about what those are. If so, here are five reasons why you should go on an agency tour.
Attending an agency tour allows you to make face-to-face connections with professionals in cities you may not have other opportunities to visit. By attending an agency tour, you are able to create connections with professionals that may lead to internships or jobs. By making these connections in person, your professional relationships become stronger and you’re likely to make a lasting impression.
Professional Q&A sessions take up a large quantity of time on agency tours. During these sessions, you are able to practice asking questions you may ask in an informational interview at an agency. You are also able to network with the professionals in the offices and are able to practice your elevator pitch. The agencies we visit want to get to know you and help hone your skills.
We visit many different kinds of PR, communications and marketing agencies on our tours. The agencies we visit focus on industries ranging from tech, lifestyle, food & beverage, fashion, hospitality, consumer, business-to-business, and more. We also visit agencies that are small and boutique, or large and global sized. If you are unsure about what areas of PR you might be interested in, this is a great way to explore and learn more.
Attending an agency tour also means you get to know fellow PRSSA members. It is always great to make new friends (especially those who share your major) and attending an agency tour is a perfect way to bond!
Visiting a new city with PRSSA will open your eyes to new places. Going on an agency tour provides you with the opportunity to enjoy an awesome city for a few days. By the end of the tour you may even find your new home post graduation. Either way, you are guaranteed to have amazing new experiences and connections after attending a PRSSA agency tour.
Tatiana Skomski is a junior studying public relations. She is originally from San Diego, California, and loves spending time with her dog. After she graduates, she hopes to relocate to Souther California and begin her career working at an agency. Tatiana specifically wants to work in lifestyle and consumer branding public relations.
Have you ever contemplated double majoring? How about double majoring in the journalism school? Majoring in journalism and public relations was one of the best decisions I made during my college career. I started off my academic journey in Allen Hall as a “super j” major. But last June, I decided to add public relations to my degree audit. At the time, I was not sure why I wanted to do this, but now I am glad that I did. Here are my reasons why I believe you should consider adding a second major in the journalism school.
1. You will make DOUBLE the connections
One of the best parts about double majoring is the amount of connections you will make. From the day I decided to add a second major, I connected with more professionals than I ever imagined possible. I also made strong relationships with my public relations and journalism professors, who helped with me with numerous opportunities.
2. You will know AP Style like the back of your hand
Associated Press style. Whether you are in the public relations sequence or in the super j program, you must know AP style. It’s easy to say that if you are going through both of these programs simultaneously, you will learn to love your AP stylebook because you’ll know almost every rule.
3. Multimedia? You have it down pat
Have you ever thought about adding a multimedia piece to a campaign you’re working on? No problem. After going through the super j pathway courses and the PR sequence, your multimedia skills are on point and can make a solid project, dynamic.
4. Your writing skills will go through the roof
If you decide to add another major, you can expect to do a great deal of writing. If you’re looking to become an even stronger and skilled writer, double majoring is for you. After taking multiple writing-based courses, I am beyond confident in my writing. This skill had aided me in all different areas in public relations and journalism.
5. Multitasking and time management are a breeze
Multitasking and time management can sometimes feel like two daunting skills. But after going through these academic programs, that becomes a much simpler task. Juggling my assignments, office hours’ appointments and internships are apart of my everyday routine. Multitasking and time management seem effortless after you become familiar with your ongoing schedule.
Olivia Gonzalez is a senior, majoring in public relations and journalism. She hopes to work in the sports marketing and public relations field, specializing in reputation and brand management. She hopes to move back to the Los Angeles area after graduation and she is excited to begin her professional career.
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.
Didn’t make it to our meeting last night? We talked with a panel of professionals, including Ian Bragg of CMD and PRSA New Pros and Matt Hollander and Taylor Robertson from Vox PR. Here are six things we learned from them:
Pitching is a big deal. Taylor Robertson said that was the thing that shocked him the most when he started his first job out of college. His advice? You just have to pick up the phone and do it. Be direct and target the reporter who fits the story best rather than “blanketing” the pitch by contacting every reporter you can think of.
Knowing how to use social media isn’t enough. You have to be comfortable talking about the analytics behind your efforts on social media in order to show the value of what you’re doing.
Network constantly – it really is all about who you know. Companies hire internally first, followed by the people they know. Job postings are always a last resort and they’d rather not comb through a trillion resumes. Graduating in the spring? Start doing informational interviews now.
Network even while you have a job. One of the fastest ways of advancing is hopping from agency to agency. Most people only stay in an agency for 2-3 years.
Between an unpaid internship and no internship, take the unpaid one. You’ll be able to parlay that into work soon enough and the experience will be worth it. However, you should never stay in an unpaid internship for more than three months.
The working at a small, local agency: At smaller agencies, you can get your hands on a lot of different projects in your first year. By having to wear multiple different hats, you can find out what you ultimately want to do.
Make sure to join us for our next meeting on November 5 where we’ll be talking with Funk/Levis’ digital strategist Trevor Steele about integrating digital new media into campaigns.
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.
You landed the internship position, worked hard for months to gain valuable work experience and built up your resume. The hard part is over, right? Actually, there’s a lot you can do even after your internship ends to make the most of the experience. From maintaining your professional network to including your new experience on your resume, here are the post-internship dos and don’ts.
Do send a thank you note
As your internship comes to a close, make sure to send each person you worked with a handwritten thank you note. Recognizing the people you worked with is the first step in maintaining a relationship after the internship is over. Be sure to tell each person exactly what you appreciated about him or her. From the person who helped you complete a certain project to the person who made you feel included ¾ who doesn’t love getting a thank you note?
Do keep in touch
The people you work with at an internship are valuable contacts to have. They can become references and even mentors, letting you know of job opportunities and putting in a good word for you. Stay in touch with fellow interns, coworkers and managers by connecting with them on social media, especially on LinkedIn. Check in with your old coworkers every few months to see how things have been going since you left. Keep informed on what the company has been up to and congratulate former colleagues when they launch a new program or win an award. Your former manager is rooting for you to succeed so let him or her know what you’ve accomplished since you left. If you come across an article you think a former coworker or manager would be interested in, don’t be afraid to pass it along!
Do ask for a letter of recommendation
You never know what personnel changes might happen after you finish your internship. The last thing you would want is to need a letter of recommendation and not be able to get in touch. Asking now will save both of you time and stress. Plus, it’s always better to have them write about your contributions while your time there is still fresh in their minds. By asking for a letter of recommendation, even if you don’t need it right away, you’re setting the stage to call for a reference later.
Don’t burn any bridges
Not all internship experiences are positive ones. If you are disappointed with your experience for whatever reason ¾ maybe your supervisor took you for granted or your duties lacked educational value ¾ refrain from sharing your feelings on social media or in another job interview. Give your honest feedback in an exit interview or send an email to your internship manager, but keep it constructive. You never know when you might need a reference, so be sure not to leave on a negative note.
On the other hand, maybe you had a fabulous internship experience and think your supervisor is your new best friend. It may seem like once the internship is over, you can be free to let your walls down, but be careful to keep any relationships you’ve formed professional. Don’t go to a bar with coworkers and get drunk. Don’t friend your former employer on Facebook if you’re going to be posting scandalous party pictures. Don’t publicly engage in an inappropriate conversation on social media.
Don’t lie about your experience
When you’re including your internship in your resume, it can be tempting to exaggerate your roles here and there. Although you want to put your experience in a positive light, even if you spent most of your time fetching coffee or filing papers, make sure you’re still being honest about what you did. Focus on results you achieved, rather than your day-to-day tasks in order to better convey your value.
What have you done to make the most of an internship even after it’s over? Let us know by leaving a comment.
A career in public relations is like a roller coaster: the ups and downs are almost always unpredictable and sudden. Aside from the dinners, parties and exclusive events, there are many other perks to working in the industry.
You hear news first. Public relations professionals are responsible for monitoring and disseminating news about their clients to the media, meaning you would be the first to hear breaking news about your client or organization.
Your hard work is visible. Whether you win a bid on a campaign or successfully implement one, as a public relations practitioner you can “see” your hard work.
Your job is never static. You won’t be writing or looking at the same material day-in and day-out. Even when you’re working with only one client, the work is guaranteed to change drastically and rapidly throughout the job.
Now let’s get to the worst aspects of PR.
Your relationship with the media is unpredictable. Even if you have connections with the media, there is no way to ensure your event or client will make the news. Additionally, media coverage is not always positive.
You’re always tuned in. With the advent of the Internet, news operates on a 24-hour cycle. Therefore, you must stay connected to your phone or laptop outside of the standard eight-hour workday. The work doesn’t stop when you leave the office, but if you love your job this won’t be a downside!
You will be stressed. Forbes ranked the public relations executive the sixth most stressful job of 2014. The nature of the media, news cycle and clients means public relations practitioners must stay on their toes at all times.
If you find yourself loving the best aspects and embracing the worst, a career in public relations might be for you!
Do you have any good or bad aspects to PR that you’d add to the list?
Photo credit: NYC PR Girls
Heather Yount, external relations committee member, is a senior studying public relations. Follow her on Twitter at @yountstr_monstr.
Although writing a cover letter can often be frustrating, it is the first and most important thing a potential employer sees. The right cover letter can get you one step closer to an interview. Here are a few tips to make the writing process easier and your cover letters more successful:
Keep your cover letter well organized and easy to read. Use the first paragraph to explain why you are contacting the organization. Be sure to include any mutual acquaintances and mention your interest in the company or a specific position. In two to three concise body paragraphs, elaborate on your relevant skills, experience, knowledge and expertise. Conclude the cover letter by reiterating your interest in the company and mentioning a call to action, such as “I look forward to hearing from you.”
Tailor your descriptions of skills and experiences to fit the position. Use the job posting as a guide to identify two or three key skills that the employer is looking for. Then, brainstorm the ways in which your skills or experiences illustrate those reoccurring themes. By using key terms from the job posting, you can show that you not only understand what the job entails, but that you’re the right fit for the position.
Remember, they want to know what you can do for them. The more clearly you illustrate how you can benefit the organization, the more likely they call you for an interview. Consider concluding each of your body paragraphs with a sentence summarizing how the skill or experience you mention is relevant and how it will impact the employer.
For more advice on writing a standout cover letter, read this post on the seven-step resume makeover and this article on the mind trick that will help you write a more creative and passion-filled cover letter.
What has been your most successful trick to writing a unique cover letter? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Hannah Osborn, external relations committee member, is a junior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
The public relations major sequence is rooted in skills such as critical thinking, strategic writing, business management and creativity. At the School of Journalism and Communications, we take classes, which cover the multiple facets of public relations. Here are three different areas you should consider taking courses in before you graduate.
Digital Arts: If you are interested in design, you should consider the introduction into digital arts sequence, ARTD 250, 251 and 252, which covers print media, time-based and interactive digital arts. You will learn multimedia design by using Final Cut Pro X, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. If you want to pursue a minor in multimedia, you will need to take four classes in addition to the three mentioned above.
Literature: Literature classes are required for all journalism students – take advantage of the courses that directly correlate with writing skills. For example, ENG 380 Film Media & History or ENG 381 Film, Media & Culture focus on the intersections between cinema and media texts with a topic of the professor’s choice, such as global environment changes or the LGBTQ community. These courses will teach you to think critically about the relationship between human perception, media, and world issues. Comparative literature classes are also useful for fine-tuning skills such as close reading and analyzing passages.
Business: An understanding of business management is important for anyone considering public relations as a profession. The introduction to business class, BA 101, can further your knowledge of the subject. You might consider the business minor, which consists of six courses. Business is a foundation for public relations and if you’re accustomed to business operations then you will be better able to assist in the decision-making processes of any company you will represent.
Overall, public relations is a highly competitive career path. To standout to employers, you need to be well rounded, so, take classes that spark your interest and inspire you to think critically and creatively.
Have you taken any of these classes? Which courses did you benefit from? Which courses would you add to the list?
Sacha Anderson, external relations committee member, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. Sacha hopes to pursue a career in entertainment PR. You can reach Sacha at email@example.com.
An extensive personal network is a valuable tool for any budding public relations professional, and agency tours are a great way to build these relationships. UO PRSSA recently visited three agencies in Seattle: Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Porter Novelli. Here are a few tips on how to follow up after agency tours to build your personal network:
Connect with the professionals on social media. Reach out to the professionals you spoke to and request a connection on LinkedIn. Personalize each request by mentioning something that specific person said. Also, follow the professionals on Twitter, tweet a thank you and engage with their tweets.
Send a thank you email. Did any particular people stand out? Thank them for their time and note an aspect of the agency that you enjoyed. If any conversations or tips reminded you of an article, include the article in the email. Be specific but concise, and keep the email under two paragraphs. Aim to send the email within a week of the agency tour. Also, don’t send a resume unless you were asked to – you don’t want to be pushy, you want to show your gratitude.
Want to go the extra mile? Send a handwritten thank you card instead. Be sure to send your card as soon as possible. Like the email, the handwritten thank you note should be personalized.
Cultivate a sustainable relationship. Don’t send one email and never reach out again. Check in every six months or so by sharing a relevant article or engaging on LinkedIn. But remember, networking is about mutuality. Don’t reach out to people to get something out of them – try to make every relationship mutually beneficial.
These tips also work for informational interviews! The key is to stay personal, engaged and courteous. Networking is about cultivating relationships; you have to give value to receive value.
What’s your take on networking? Share your tips for following up after agency tours in the comments below.
Kaitlyn Chock is a PRSSA project manager for the 2013-14 school year. You can contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.