Networking is an important career tool, but it’s one that some undergraduates overlook. According to a 2011 survey from Adecco Staffing US, 29 percent of recent college graduates wished they had better prepared for the job market by spending more time networking while in college. Networking is a time-consuming endeavor, but it can increase your chances of employment, connect you with experts in your field, and open up new opportunities. Here are four tips to help you network effectively:
1. Make yourself visible. You can’t network from behind your computer screen. Email and social media are great ways to maintain relationships, but don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face contact. Set yourself apart from the constant barrage of emails and tweets.
2. Cultivate real relationships. Meaningful relationships require a lot of energy. You need to invest time and build a rapport with your contacts before you can ask for a favor or referral. Learn about them, try to find common areas of interest, and, most importantly, remember that relationships need to be mutually beneficial. Successful networkers give as much as they receive.
3. Diversify your network. Networking is about more than employment opportunities and collecting business cards, so develop a variety of relationships. Through networking you can build a reputation in your industry, find a mentor, learn about workshops and seminars, and meet new people with similar goals. Professional organizations, peer groups, and online networks are a wonderful source of information, support, and advice.
4. Maintain your network. Your network will require maintenance, which means you need to be proactive about reaching out. You can do this in a variety of ways, but here are a few ideas to get you started: send thank-you notes, extend invitations to industry events, share relevant articles, or arrange meetings.
Networking can help you grow within your industry and give you a competitive edge after you graduate, so start developing professional relationships now. PRSSA and the SOJC provide opportunities to network throughout the year. How have networking events had an impact on your career? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Chloe Loveall is a writer, an artist, and a slave to the creative process. After spending two years traversing the globe, she has temporarily settled down to study journalism and advertising at the University of Oregon. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloeLoveall.
As a young public relations professional, it’s important to stay current on everything happening in the industry. Reading PR blogs will aid you in this goal and teach you many invaluable tools along the way. You will:
When it comes to PR blogs there are so many to choose from, so you may wonder how to limit the scope. Find PR blogs that focus on what you’re passionate about. Search for PR blogs that write it a voice you connect with, such as humor or numbers. Here’s a list of top rated PR blogs to get you started:
Once you’ve found PR blogs that speak to you, it’s important to read blogs in your daily routine. Maybe you’ll read while you’re drinking your morning cup of coffee or during your awkward 20-minute break between classes. If you stay informed on PR news it will only add to the knowledge you can bring to a future internship or job.
Use apps and programs that organize all the sites on one page to make blog reading easier! Bloglovin’ is a great site to keep track of the blogs you follow and let you know when new posts have been added.
The PR world is full of knowledge that you can access at any stage in your career. Take advantage of PR blogs and tap into the insights that surround you.
Ruby Hillcraig, external relations committee member, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. Ruby hopes to pursue a career in fashion and beauty PR when she graduates in spring 2014. You can reach Ruby at email@example.com.
Internship experience is a must for any public relations student. Whether it’s working for a local agency over the summer or assisting with outreach efforts for a student organization, the experience is vital for building your resume and portfolio before graduation. Any internship offers the chance to put your best effort forward and make the most of your newest position. But how exactly can you shine in your next PR internship?
Present the problem, but also a solution. When things go wrong, be prepared to present the problem in a clear and effective away. But you should also be prepared to present a solution! Explain to your internship supervisor that the news story you pitched to a reporter went astray and he might not be interested in the story anymore. After you explain the problem, follow up with a potential solution or two that you brainstormed beforehand. You can offer to follow up with the reporter over the phone to discuss the story. Presenting a thought-out solution to a problem shows the ability to problem solve, think strategically, and take initiative – all vital skills for a fast-paced industry like PR.
Look for opportunities to go the extra mile. Even in the early stages of an internship, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Is there a pressing deadline right around the corner? Offer to work an extra hour on the project from home. Going beyond expectation not only highlights you as a reliable and helpful team member, but as a young professional who can take the lead and meet deadlines. Plus, these are the type of attributes you want to stand out for any recommendation letters after your internship is over.
Your last impression counts too. After all the hard work you’ve put in, use the end of an internship to leave one lasting impression. No matter what the experience, finish up with a sincere thank you note. It’s worth the effort to handwrite and personalize a note for everyone you worked closely with other the summer – even the secretary, if he or she was important in helping you achieve your goals over the summer. Better yet, consider setting up a final meeting with your internship supervisor to discuss the experience, any letters of recommendation, and the work samples you might want to use in your portfolio later!
PR students might find themselves in a variety of internship positions. But no matter where you might end up dedicating your time, make the most of it! If you aren’t sure where to start, simply showing up each day with a smile and the willingness to learn can make all the difference. What advice do you have for making a great impression as an intern?
Callie Gisler is the 2013-2014 University of Oregon PRSSA chapter president. She is currently a senior in the SOJC, pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @CallieGisler.
As membership dues quickly approach, students frequently ask about the benefits of becoming a PRSSA member. While students don’t need to be dues-paying members to participate in PRSSA meetings or activities, there are a number of benefits to paying dues! According to PRSSA National, here are a few reasons why you should become a member:
Once you become a member, you have access to:
In addition to these benefits, you are eligible to join PRSA as an associate member for $60 – compared to $225 for non-members – up to five months before or two years after you graduate.
Membership dues are $80 per student annually and are due Monday, Oct. 21 by 5 p.m. in the UO PRSSA mailbox on the second floor of Allen Hall. You are welcome to pay with cash or check – please make checks out to ‘University of Oregon PRSSA.’
If you have any questions, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Kathleen Nguyen, finance director for the 2013-2013 school year, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. You can reach Kathleen at email@example.com.
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.