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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
So you have finally landed the interview. Now what? Here are 10 tips to help you overcome anxiety and land any internship or job with ease:
1. Come prepared. Do your research about the company or the person interviewing you. When they ask you why you want to work for them, you can talk about work they have done for clients or campaigns that inspired you. Also, bring a pen, paper and a copy your resume.
2. Know your resume like the back of your hand. Chances are, your interviewer is not going to read through your entire resume before the interview. They will be glancing over it throughout your conversation and asking you to speak more directly about experience that intrigues them. Practice elaborating on key points on your resume the night before your interview.
3. Come with three great questions. When your interviewer asks you if you have any questions at the end of your interview, you have a chance to ask more about what really interests you about their company. Try to avoid sticking to questions about the internship position itself.
4. Arrive early, but not too early. Try to walk into the lobby about five minutes early.
5. Map out your route the night before. Know how to get to the company that you’re interviewing at and how long it will take to get there.
6. Prepare an interesting elevator pitch. If you only had 30 seconds to tell someone about yourself, would you just parrot information that they could get from your resume? Be creative but strategic.
7. Dress to impress, but keep company culture in mind. Even if the company you are interviewing at is casual, you should show in your attire that you take the interview seriously. Typically for a casual company, you don’t have to wear your nicest suit or heels. Find one formal piece, such as a blazer, and balance all of your less formal items around it.
8. Be confidant. You have to believe in your abilities before anyone else will.
9. Smile. Show that you want the job and that you are happy to be there. An interview is really just a conversation between professionals – not a hostage interrogation session.
10. Say thank you. Write a hand-written card thanking your interviewer for considering you for the position the day after your interview. It shows that you’re detail oriented and makes you stand out.
Amelea Renshaw is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA operations director. She is currently a junior double majoring in advertising and public relations. You can contact Amelea at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @amelearenshaw.
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 email@example.com.
Why does branding matter?
As public relations students, we are aware of the importance of company branding but often overlook our own personal brand. This post will explore personal branding, discuss value proposition and key publics, and how to market your brand.
Determine your brand
SWOT Analysis: A personal SWOT analysis can help you determine your capabilities and interests, which will help you figure out where you should be heading professionally.
Identify your value proposition
Value proposition identifies who you are. What image do you want people to associate with you? Use your SWOT analysis to help you identify what makes you unique. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help determine your value proposition:
Once you have identified your value proposition, think about how to translate that into a 60-second, a 30-second and a 10-second elevator pitch to tell potential employers.
Have a targeted approach
You need to be strategic with your brand and identify your target audience. Consider factors like:
Social media profiles are a great way to get your name out there and to connect with others. Do not try to be on every social media platform because you cannot devote enough time and effort to each account.
Branding yourself is a continuous process. Everything that you do reflects on your personal brand. Think about how your online interactions reflect on your brand.
How do you market yourself online? Please tell us about your personal branding efforts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Oliver Beattie
Kaitlyn is the PRSSA External Relations Project Manager for the 2012-2013 school year. She is a senior studying public relations at the University of Oregon. You connect with Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thtwhtkatiesaid.
Agency life can be exciting yet intimidating. As public relations students, we are often told that starting off in an agency is a great way to launch our careers in “the real world.” The big question that always seems to come up is “what does a PR agency even do?” To answer that question, our Chapter hosts agency tours every term in a different city. Agency tours give students a taste of what it’s like to work at an agency and see if its a right fit for them.
If you’re looking for insight on agency life, a UO PRSSA agency tour is the first step in the right direction. Agency tours are not only an opportunity to see the office space and surrounding city but also an opportunity to embrace the agencies’ culture. To understand the agencies’ culture, ask professionals who work there. Ask questions like:
It’s important to remember that professionals are taking time out of their day to meet and provide insight. Do not waste their time – research the company and its clients, and prepare to ask questions. Most importantly, absorb as much as you can!
If you have questions regarding upcoming agency tours, feel free to contact Abigaelle Mulligan at email@example.com.
Abigaelle Mulligan is 2013-2014 chapter liaison. She is passionate for booming culture within the realms of music, entertainment, and fashion. She hopes to pursue a career in corporate PR upon graduation. You can reach Abigaelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on twitter at @abbsmulligan.