In case you haven’t noticed, the University of Oregon (UO) is pretty big – and I’m not only talking about nearly 300-acres of campus. With more than 20,000 undergrads, the university is a little intimidating, but the trick is to make this big school feel small. How do you go about doing that? By getting involved, of course.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the SOJC – PRSSA, Allen Hall PR and DuckTV, to name a few. College is the perfect place to try new things. These four years are meant for a little trial and error, so take advantage of that. Venture outside your comfort zone. Take a new class. Try an intramural sport. Join a club. Find where you fit in on campus, be that in PRSSA or elsewhere.
Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the student organization directory (http://bit.ly/164QKRt), talk to an advisor or swing by the EMU. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
UO Outdoor Program (outdoorprogram.uoregon.edu) – If you’re a fan of Mother Nature or looking for an adventure, the Outdoor Program is a great place to travel, network and have a great time.
Ethos Magazine (ethosmagonline.com) – While its sometimes overshadowed by its big brother Flux Magazine, Ethos is an award-winning, not-for-profit publication where you can not only meet other journalism students but also help create a reputable product.
College Democrats or College Republicans – If you’re interested in politics or campaigns, this may be the right place for you to harness the skills to break into the field.
American Marketing Association (ama.uoregon.edu) – Want to stay a little closer to the PR realm? Check out AMA for another opportunity to gain real world experience and connect with professionals.
Nothing look quite right? Start your own club or organization! Or make the right opportunity happen for you. College is what you make of it.
I’m going to let you in a little secret: everybody needs good PR… this includes all the clubs on campus. Take advantage of that need! Find a group or organization that shares your passions, whether it’s fashion, the environment, or a sport, and offer your PR skills. Whether it’s running Twitter, designing posters, or making classroom announcements, you’re helping them and they’re helping you.
Campus involvement will not only provide you valuable experience but also enable you to contribute to something you’re passionate about. Stuffy resume boosters will only get you so far after graduation; future employers look for initiative, persistence, and “spark.” Getting involved, in and out of PRSSA, is a great way to display your skills and drive!
Mandy Shold is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA chapter vice president. She is currently a senior double majoring in public relations and environmental studies. Follow her on Twitter at @WayToRepresent or check out her portfolio at mandyshold.wix.com/portfolio.
The secret to a standout resume is to measure your results, and you’ll need to plan ahead to do this. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Identify the ultimate goal of your efforts. Why are you about to engage in this public relations endeavor? What is the purpose?
2. Set objectives. Your objectives are how you measure whether you’ve achieved your goal, so each objective must be measurable. To set objectives, you’ll want to find out what your past performance was. You want to do better than last time, but you don’t want to set objectives that are tough to reach. Make sure to set your objectives with your manager.
Ideally, you’ll have access to the organization’s prior performance, so you can report the difference you have made (e.g., increased museum memberships by 5 percent).
If you cannot get information about the organization’s prior performance, you can at least report on your resume whether you met your objectives, and you can potentially report that you exceeded your objectives by a particular percentage (e.g., exceeded attendance objective by 20 percent).
If you will manage your organization’s social media, make sure to use tools to measure your organization’s performance before you take the helm. You can find these tools through an Internet search for “[name of tool] measurement.”
Some of my favorite measurement tools are Edelman’s TweetLevel and BlogLevel, Statigram, and PinPuff. There are plenty of other good tools, as well. Facebook has built-in metrics you can use through Facebook Insights, which you can access as soon as you’re an account administrator. Make sure to record the “before” scores, so you can measure the percentage of improvement at the end of your internship. You might also take some screenshots of the before and after measurements, which would be good visual illustrations for the professional portfolio you’ll prepare during J454.
Another important online tool is bitly, which you can use to measure the number of times people have clicked on a link you share.
3. Measure your results. To figure out the percentage change between your performance and the prior performance, follow this simple formula:
A. Subtraction: Your performance – prior performance = X
B. Division: X divided by the prior performance
Then move your decimal to the right by two numbers, and you have your percentage change.
Guest post by Professor Tiffany Gallicano, public relations faculty member for the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Visit her blog The PR Post.
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.