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Informational PR Interview

Going into the professional world of public relations, it was our assignment for class that we interview a PR professional. From this, we were to hopefully gain some insight about life in the field, and how the professional’s background helped get them where they need to be today.

I was so fortunate to interview the lovely Patty Cooper who works in the Communications Department for the American Cancer Society. I was connected to Ms. Cooper by my cousin, Ashley Haseltine, who volunteers in a separate department of ACS. Ms. Cooper actually started out in another division of the ACS, but was offered a different position that has opened new doors for her.

When I first asked her about a typical week at work she told me it depended on the event. Daffodil days, their most recent project, they sent out a couple of photos saying that the volunteers have come and helped them out. With any event they usually send out photos, advisories, press releases, and media kits. Everyday, you’re checking to see if there is any coverage, or picked up a story.

The event she’s most proud of:

The Volunteer Award Dinner. Created certificates, honored the children with goody bags, and introduced those who participant. The event was brand new last year. “That’s what it’s all about, and they have a lot of young people that raise a lot of money, in memory of their grandparents.” They were commemorating their hard work.

To keep current, look at the papers every morning. They have a database for ACS, where anything related to ACS and cancer related comes through. It makes Ms. Cooper’s job a little easier.

She wishes she would have taken more photography courses. You can’t just go and start snapping pictures, you have to wait for the right moment, that right look on someone’s face.

Writing is very important, and luckily it is something she likes to do. you have to know how to express yourself. A lot of coworkers come to her for editing.

Two tips she finds beneficial in the PR/Communications field: Be hands-on as much as you can. Also, internship, get out there and scatter yourself. The experience is key.

I asked Ms. Cooper what she likes most about her company. After short hesitation, she explained she likes how they help people in whatever way they want. In a specific example, she shared with me about her two volunteers. She requested help with the busy season and a lot on her plate. One was an extremely shy young man. When he was asked to make phone calls, he was so shy he needed to be in a secluded room with the door shut. After about a month of being a round such a great group of people with the biggest hearts and welcoming arms, he is no longer as secluded. He even mentioned to Patty how the ACS has helped him open up.

I find it so great that there are companies out there that not only spend their time volunteering to those externally, but want to bring things to those internally. This interview has reinforced my desires to work in the PR field. I know that helping people for the greater good is what I am supposed to do. And since I love working with people, meeting new people, and helping them, public relations is the right path for me!

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Internship Advice

It is about that time in my major where all the kids in classes relative to my own are preparing for their internships. This is a big step for any college student, because it is a taste of what is to come in the future. It is a chance for them to get a feel of what they will be doing (hopefully, if the economy changes and jobs are easier to find) on a daily basis. As for me, I have a little less than a year until I’ll be applying for my internship, but I want to make sure that I get the most out of my experiences as an intern. I am looking to be very prepared for whatever job I get, after all I would probably want to keep it.

According to the Cornell Business School, the five best piece of job/internship advice are, “Know what you are getting into and speak up from the start, be proactive, do your homework, it’s the little things that count, and network, network, network.”

Students need to look at internships as a way to gain knowledge, not just to be the person who gets coffee for everyone. While you may have to run some errands, you may get the opportunity to work under someone that does exactly what you want to do years down the road. More often than not, they will want your help with the important stuff, because how else will you learn? Like Groove Job says, “Just think, no more classes, no more papers to write, no more tests to study for. This is it, how exciting! Look at this as an opportunity to work with a full-time after the completion of the internship.” The internship is the final step before being throw into the real world and living the nine to five, or for most people at least.

There are different types of internships that a person can be involved in. According to Wet Feet, the main six are, cooperative education, field experience, practicum, service learning, externship, and apprenticeship. Visit the pervious link to learn more about the different types offered.

When applying for your internship, make sure you are fully prepared. Treat this like the job it is! You need to have a prepared cover letter and resume, prepare some questions so that the interviewer knows that you have done your research about the company, and of course your wardrobe. An internship is your gateway to the real world. By succeeding in an internship, you have the ability to network, which helps get you a career. You may even be fortunate enough to be asked to stay with the company. Regardless, be positive, attentive, responsible, dependable, and reliable. Show the company your intern with that you did not just spend the last few years of your life wasting away in the classroom, but that you do have something to offer the field. Don’t be afraid to speak up, but try not to step on any toes. And finally, prove that you have what it takes to make it!

My Trade Book Review: “Twitterville”

I have fallen in love with Twitter, and here is proof:

These are the actual slides from my presentation. To see the full notes, go HERE. (Slideshare.net)

What Not To Wear: The Interview Edition

When it comes that time a a student’s college career for that person to begin attending career fairs and aspiring for interviews, the professional look is the ticket. A college grad needs to show those hopeful future employers that they should be taken seriously because they take themselves seriously. There are certain ways in which an individual seeking a career can dress for success, but this wardrobe should continue on into the workplace.

This video is beneficial for men and women. It is best when going to an interview to keep it conservative, and choose the suit. Make sure you are fully groomed, meaning a shower would be your best bet. Men, you don’t want to have your hair being too messy, so a good clean cut would help. Ladies, too much perfume can also give the interviewer a headache.

Bright colors should be avoided. There are other ways to address your personality through your outfit, but flashy colors are not a good idea. For women, keep accessories simple because they can be distracting. After all, you don’t want your wardrobe to be all you have to say for yourself. Let your accomplishments and attributes shine through in your interview. Also for women, be aware of how much skin is being shown. As my tenth grade geometry told us for his class, no bellies, boobs, or butts please. If you choose to wear a skirt, make sure it a conservative length.

Good colors to wear to an interview are black, brown, navy, or beige. For guys, the tie should not be bright, flashy, or have a crazy pattern. Also the solid, thick “millionaire” tie is a negative because it gives off an arrogant vibe. Go for a tie that has subtle pattern with a mute color. A basic white, french, or baby blue button down with the suit will also go well.

Ladies, make sure your shoes are the ones you would wear out with your friends on a Saturday night. The heel does not need to be too high, and all the straps can be distracting.

You outfit in an interview should accent you, not be your selling point. After all, the clothes are not going to do the job for you. Make sure to keep it tasteful, keep it classy, and keep it professional.

The Ups and Downs of Social Media

Social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and even blogs like mine play a major factor in today’s graduating college students. Because we spend a good portion of our time on these social medias, it was only a matter of time until our prospective employers checked them out. Only in recent years has this social media frenzy affected the way in which aspiring graduates are critiqued for the job position in which they are applying for. There are definitely several pros and cons as to why employers should or should not consider that particular person for a position in that company. In a sense, a person’s social media profile is a good insight into their lifestyle, personality, and personal choices. It was only a matter of time until the employers figured it out.

The Ups

The way to get your name out there these days before even looking or applying for jobs is definitely social media, and of course social networking. One thing that is great about Twitter is that a hopeful employee can “follow” or be “followed” by a company that he or she shows interest in. Not only are they able to see things about the company, but that company can maybe get a glimpse at their profile. LinkedIn, which is a social media that I recently join, I think is the best social media when it comes to looking for a job. It is like an online resume, or at least a resume in a casual sense. These two networks, I have seen so far be the best for college grads. One of my friends, and former sorority sister, was able to get help on her resume, find a hopeful employer, and snag an interview, all by using her Twitter account.

The Downs

I will be the first to admit, I am addicted to Facebook. However, I do not think that my account will help me when it comes time to get a job. Here are a few reasons why: I use it to keep in touch with friends and family, and most of the time they like to write inappropriate things on my wall. I also get tagged in tons of pictures from nights out with my friends, pictures that I probably would not want my hopeful employer to see. Before I begin applying for a job, I know I need to go through my account and do a clean sweep. There is something about Facebook that takes some or the professionalism out. While I do enjoy for my personal life, I am aware that those hiring will look at my profile, and will judge me by it. I think Myspace takes t to a whole new level of low. Not only can you customize your page with crazy designs, but it is way more graphic than Facebook. I would think that a smart individual looking for a career would be smart enough to erase their account with Myspace completely.

Overall, I think it is important that people keep up with the times and join the social media workforce. While I am not a huge fan of blogging, I know that this is another outlet that will benefit me in the long run. My blog is also clean, and serves a good purpose especially with my Public Relations major.

Don’t forget to clean up those wild Saturday night pictures on your Facebook!

All I really need…I learned in PRCA 2330

1. I learned that staying connected in social medias is so very important. It keeps you updated as a pr professional. 

2. Staying ahead of the of the crowd is a plus. When the class all registered for Twitter, it was before the big trend hit worldwide. It was interesting to watch it get so big!

3. Blogging is actually beneficial. Through this wordpress assignment, I have learned so much about navigating the blogging scene.

4. Make sure to do your own pr. When going to a job interview, the employer could Google your name, and the higher your name appears on the list, the better. This is as long as it is for good reasons.

5. I learned how to better my resume. It should really be kept to one page, and to have experience is something better than fluff on it. 

6. From the guest speakers from Three, I learned that I need to be prepared for whatever pr can throw at me. Even when I may have to try to make flooring sexy, I’ll always have to be on my toes with fresh ideas and a positive spin. 

7. Press releases will be my new best friend in the public relations world. It has been made in my journalism and pr class that they are common in the field, so I’ll be learning to love them. 

8. When it comes to the press release, be sure to get all the major facts. Editors don’t have time to read other excess information. Keep it to what’s necessary. 

9. This class has showed me the many sides of public relations. Though pr professionals want to put a positive spin on things, getting it there may be a rocky road. 

10. PRCA 2330 has been a great first step in taking when deciding what I want to do with pr. As of now, the goal is for fashion pr. However, there is corporate, agency, or even event planning. We shall see what the future holds!

Twitter…the second time around

So we had the assignment to take on Twitter for a 48 hour period, to see it we could learn anything. Some people in the class have been hooked on Twitter since we began it earlier in the semester. After we finished the Twitter “chapter” I wasn’t very frequent. I did sign on a few times, just to check out some of the things about Michael Phelps, and what Ashton Kutcher had to say, but nothing to in depth. But this time, it was interesting how much easier it was for me to navigate the Twitter website. A big group of people were waiting in line to follow me, including my step mom and childhood friend which I thought was the coolest thing. Since last using Twitter, I could now understand how to send direct messages, and finally understood how to read messages from one person to another. 

I think that now I will definitely be a more frequent “tweeter”. I don’t know how but this time it naturally clicked. Maybe it was because before it was an assignment, where this time I could take it into my own account. I like the simplicity Twitter’s site has to offer. If you pay close attention, the new Facebook layout follows a similar design to the way Twitter displays tweets. Now that Twitter has become also a big phenomenon in the PR world, I think I would benefit by using it more often.