Informational Interview

March 28, 2010 at 11:11 PM (PRCA 3711)

I recently did an interview with someone in the PR field. I interviewed Holly West who is a Georgia Southern 2009 Alum. She now works at Superior Staffing Inc. in St. Simon Island. Superior Staffing is a leading provider of diversified staffing services to businesses, professional organizations and government agencies. Superior Staffing is a full-service staffing firm providing temporary, contract, temp-to-hire, outsourcing and subcontractor services throughout the Brunswick, St. Simons, Sea Island and surrounding areas. They are committed to providing a higher quality and more personalized level of service to our clients and specialize in recruiting and placing qualified personnel.

I conducted the interview over the phone. With travelling and separate work/school schedules a meeting time was almost impossible for this interview. Holly really answered my questions with great enthusiasm and honesty. I definitely felt as though I will take what she said with me and try to hold on to it for my future in the world of PR. None of her answers made me rethink my decision to get into public relations. They just made me want to do the necessary research and gain the right experience so that I can hopefully one day have a “dream job”.

I did ask a good many questions, but I bolded the questions so that you will be able to skim through and read the responses you are interested in.

Below are the questions and answers:

  • What is your title at work? Office Administrator/ Secretary
  • What type of education background did you have for this field? If any, where? 2009 Bachelor’s in Public Relations at Georgia Southern University
  • Did you gain experience through internships, etc. If so what were they and did they help you? I gained a great deal of experience through my internship at The Butin Group. This public relations/marketing and communications firm provided me an opportunity to figure out what aspects of public relations I enjoyed most by putting my education to use. After learning that public relations could focus on different areas, it’s easier to narrow down what areas work best for you or what areas you can improve on by getting a ‘hands on’ experience. I was also able to understand more fully how each area of public relations works full circle to achieve a specific goal, rather than focusing on a specific area in the classroom.
  • What’s a typical work week like? I have designated tasks throughout the week, however as with most jobs, I have to be prepared for a kink in the schedule. I am responsible for all incoming calls, filing, payroll, work scheduling for employees, entering data, sales calls, writing proposals, monthly newsletter, updating website information, and interviewing potential employees.
  • Have you worked on a project that you are especially proud of? If so, tell me about it.  I recently reorganized a database to make printing and searching specific fields easier and more efficient. I also compiled information and formatted my first two monthly newsletters. Both the database organization and the newsletter made me feel like I had accomplished a task that I was actually educated in performing, and not necessarily a basic skill.
  • What do you do to keep current in the PR industry? I read two PR blogs, the PRSA website, and stay up on aspects that pertain to my job such as sales techniques though magazine publications. I also try to maintain my knowledge and continue learning about social media.
  • What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR? No one aspect of public relations is any less important than another. Even though I am not practicing all things concerning PR, it is important to store all PR knowledge and continue researching new trends. I may not enjoy certain areas of public relations, but ignoring my weaknesses or dislikes will only prevent you from being a better professional practitioner.
  • How important is writing in your career? I really enjoy writing, and I believe it is very important in my career. It is a form of communication, and in my job it involves communicating to our employees and potential clients through the distribution of company information and proposals. If I fail to communicate a written message properly, it could result in conflicts or the loss of employees and clients.
  •  What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR? 1.) Absorb all the information you can in the classroom, no matter how relevant you think it might be to your career 2.) Take your internship seriously. It may result in a job offer or the chance to better your skills to impress your first boss. 3.) Never stop researching. One of the first things you’ll learn about PR is that it’s always changing, and your failure to keep up with trends may prevent you from bettering your potential for moving up in your career.
  •  Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How? I hate to admit that I regret not taking my education more seriously, but I do. However, when I chose to learn a thing or two, I have definitely found my education to be very useful. In some instances, I wish my professors would have spent more time focusing on certain aspects of public relations, but each and every public relations class taught me something that I have used in my career. Before entering PR classes, I suppose I originally thought that the PR process just consisted of concentrated areas, and that no one thing was related to another. But even if you are working in a concentrated area, every aspect of public relations is related. Each part concerns communication, research, writing, and a goal. And understanding every aspect is essential. If you pick and chose what you like and focus on that, you won’t understand the full circle. Thankfully your degree requires you to take a certain number of classes from each area, otherwise, I would have been up the creek without a paddle.
  • What has surprised you the most about working in PR? Communication comes in many forms, but keeping a clear and consistent message is key. Everything related to a campaign, company message, marketing plan, etc. must be consistent. If not, the public will pick up on mixed messages. I have seen this work so well when the message is communicated properly, but when inconsistent, clients or employees have complaints or conflicts.
  • How does technology affect your daily work? Social media in some form has been implemented in almost every company in the world. Statistics for multi-usage of social media for businesses is rising every day as well. I am at a computer entering data, information, emailing and updating our website for the majority of my work day. The more you know about technology, the more appealing and helpful you will be at your job. Having previous experience with certain computer programs gave me a much better advantage when applying for my current job. Like PR, technology is rapidly changing, and it is extremely important for students to learn as much about technology as possible.
  • When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?Computer skills are a stand out feature. I would consider learning about media search programs, design programs, website design, and developing good internet research skills. PR positions want you to be everything in one. Especially in today’s economy, you want to have multiple stand out features to fit multiple job positions. Before applying for my current job, I was on the rejection end for several positions because I didn’t have enough experience or knowledge for some of the requirements. Organizational skills are an important feature, not just physically and visually, but rather in the planning sense. Being able to organize a proposal and list specific steps and stages looks really good to companies who need a PR practitioner to fix their current problems. For instance, be able to interview with confidence when they request that you provide a short, yet detailed plan to implement over the course of a year. While it may seem difficult to think about, if you do the research of the company, know their clients and have an idea of what they do, then being able to explain a plan of action would highly impress a big executive or human resource director.

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Internships…Info, Advice, Tips

March 25, 2010 at 10:19 PM (PRCA 3711)

When you think of an internship, for the most part, you think of working at a job for no wage. While that sounds horrible you are gaining something from the job. You are gaining experience! Experience that you will need in the future for a job that pays. Experience that will set you apart from other potential employees. You can also gain references. If you work as an intern for a company and they see how hard you work they can put in a good word for you in the future. Employers like someone that is a hard worker and if you work just as hard at a job that doesn’t pay you for your work then that looks really good for you.

An internship is any period of time during which a beginner acquires experience in an occupation, profession, or pursuit. You always hear of people not getting jobs because of lack of experience, but how are you supposed to gain experience when you can’t even get your foot in the door. In that situation a person should really consider finding an internship. While they may have had all A’s in school and won homecoming king/queen, an employer wants someone that knows what is going on. They want someone that is familiar with the profession/business. They want someone with, here comes the dredded word again, experience.

For some in college internships are required as part of their curiculum for their degree. I know for me as a Public Relations major at Georgia Southern University it is a required. It counts towards are credits. I really like the idea of making it a mandatory thing, while yes it may be hard to find places willing to hire people, even interns, in this economic time. I really think that it  can help students get their foot in the door, gain some out-of-the-classroom knowledge of their chosen field, and make sure they are on the right track for their future.

Of course you won’t want to forget the other tips that I have mentioned in previous blogs. You need to remember to preview your resume with a cover letter. Keep in mind that your skills are not the only thing that employee notices, your non-verbal language and body language can say a lot about you too. Looking the part is a good thing to remember to. You need to wear the appropriate clothing to an interview.

I recently talked to two friends of mine that have been through an internship and asked them their best tip/advice that they could give someone on internships.

Logan Moses– senior PR major at UGA; interned at Dolce and Gabbana in New York. Her tip was: “Okay so I think the best advice I could give someone on getting an internship would be-NETWORK. Everywhere you go if you meet someone in the field your interested in..have a conversation with them, get their contact info, follow up with them, etc. Even if they can’t give you an internship they may know someone that can. Networking is definitely one of the most important things when it comes to getting an internship because it is not just about what is on your resume but also about who you know.”

Holly WestPR major Georgia Southern Alum; interned at The Butin Group in St. Simons Island. Her tip was: “You really need to research possible internship sites. Don’t just pick one based on convenience. You want to get the most out of your internship that you possibly can, so make sure you’re choosing a company to work for that you think will benefit you most.”

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Interview Attire

March 6, 2010 at 1:54 AM (PRCA 3711)

Looking professional is a good starting point for an interview. At least on first impression the employer thinks that you look like you are professional. Let’s think of your clothing as a supporting role. It may not be the thing that gets you hired, but it is important for an interview to look nice. A person that comes in for an interview with the appropriate clothing is taken serious because they look the part. Not everyone gets lucky like Chris Gardner, which you may have knowledge of from the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”.

You do hear a lot to not judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately in the job market that does happen. People in the workplace are victims of being judged by their appearance. Especially when the job you are going after has a lot of customer contact. I don’t want to say that image is everything, but it always helps to look nice. There are times that appearance means a lot, and interviewing is one of those times.

As a potential employee you want to be taken seriously when you go in for an interview so you need to dress that way. A basic two piece suit is always a good choice. You can never go wrong with a classic. First impressions are everything. You out off the impression that you want the job when you look like you put an effort into your appearance. If you look like you took the time and put effort into your appearance people notice that and they take it into account. If someone walked in with jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes, and a hat an employer is not going to look at them and think, “Now that’s someone with some professionalism”.

WOMEN ATTIRE

  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

MEN ATTIRE

  • Suit (solid color – navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

TIPS FOR MEN AND WOMEN

  • Keep it simple (don’t go overboard…you want the employer to remember you, not your clothing)
  • Stick with neutrals (there aren’t many employees looking to hire Rainbow Bright)
  • Look put together and clean (no lunch stains on the shirt or wrinkled clothing; look like you care)
  • Tailor if necessary (make sure everything fits right)

Just remember that first impressions are extremely important. You want the employer to take you seriously as a potential employee, so you need to look as though you cared enough to look professional. A person in a suit looks much more qualified than someone in jeans and a t-shirt.

Women and men’s attire list found @ http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewattire/a/interviewdress.htm

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Trade Book Review

March 3, 2010 at 12:04 AM (Assignments, PRCA 3711)

REMINDER: There are notes for most of the slides on slideshare.

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Pros and Cons of Social Media

February 8, 2010 at 6:41 PM (PRCA 3711)

As we all know social media has become extremely popular these last few years. It seems to really be taking over, especially in the communication and marketing world. There are not many people now-a-days that do no have a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter account, or blogs. These are all different types of social media networks.

For me Facebook was my first adventure into the social media world. I started my profile there about four years ago. When I started then, I had no idea that it would boom into what it is now. Facebook is now used for advertisement for many different companies and campaigns. If you would have asked me when I started if I would be “friends” with some of the companies that I am now I would have never believed it, but it has happened.

The social media boom has made it possible for people to connect with customers or employers on a one-on-one basis. It has provided the option for opinions and critiques of products and services to be heard. Social media is also a way to market yourself. You can use your Twitter account or blog to connect with professionals. You can ask questions, build relationships, make connections, and gain experiences with people you would have never thought possible.

Before you decide to join to world of social media you should read my list of pros and cons of social media.

PROS:

  • This is where society is moving– according to socialmediau 80% of young adults use social networks and each day there are approximately 500,000 new members on social networks. Social networking is the “now” thing and I don’t think that it is just a fad. This is something that has really opened the doors of communication to people who would have thought before would never be heard.
  • Open to anyone, anywhere– as long as you have access to the internet you have access to a social network. You don’t have to be of a certain age, race, ethnicity, or place to become apart of the world of social media. There is no discrimination. Everyone has the opportunity to join in and have their voice be heard.
  •  Cost efficient– most networks are free to join and are cheaper than other marketing methods such as radio/television commercials . The only cost for most would if a company decided to hire a team to handle the site.
  • Build relationships– with social networks you can build relationships with people or companies that you would have never thought possible. You can use these networks to put out information about you or to research info about others. Blog comments, wall posts, tweets are all ways of connecting with others and building a relationship.
  • Free feedback– this is especially helpful for companies. They are able to join a network and have customers be able to visit their site or page and leave comments and feedback about certain products or services. It is also much faster and easier for the customer to leave their feedback.

CONS:

  • Time consuming– managing a social networking site does take up a lot of time. You have to be sure to have the info out in a timely fashion and make sure that it is edited appropriately. There needs to be time set aside to read and respond to comments or feedback.
  • Spam– this will always be a problem I think. When there is a site that is pretty much open to anyone it makes it that much easier for your site to receive spam.
  • Creativity– it does become hard to keep your site creative and standing out from the rest especially when chances are there are thousands and thousands of other sites just like that one.

This is a powerpoint I found on Slideshare that has some interesting facts about social media and what it has become today.

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PRCA 3711 Blog Comments

February 4, 2010 at 7:58 PM (Blog Comments, PRCA 3711)

Meshae Hankerson

Candice Hall

Phillip Edwards

Micaela Carter

Jeff Carter

Jessica Cameron

Meghan Callahan

Kristen Bixby

Danielle Barrett

Meghan Beytagh
Allison Allmond

Jacqueline Henry

Shannon McCloud

Marie Walker

Allison Allmond

Micaela Carter

Sarah Monahan

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Body Language & Nonverbal Comm.: PRCA 3711

January 28, 2010 at 7:33 PM (PRCA 3711)

You always know to prepare for an interview. You know to research the company and put down your best skills for that job. Make up some questions that your potential employer could ask and practice your best possible answer. Unfortunately physical communication may not be the only thing that you should remember to perfect. Nonverbal communication and body language are another thing that employers pay attention to during an interview. They are things that can potentially hurt or help you. It is really all about first impressions. Clothing, posture, and facial expressions are all included in nonverbal communication and these are things that an employer notices and takes into consideration during an interview. These types of things can serve as clues as to who you are in the workplace. It’s just like the dating world, someone may look perfect on paper, but that is not the only thing that someone wants. An employer  wants someone that looks good on paper and portrays those skills and characteristics in person as well.

Here are some helpful hints and explanations:

  1. Make sure you appear to be professional. (A good first impression is always a good thing to have; you don’t want to walk into an interview looking unkempt; unless you just happen to get lucky like Chris Gardner (“Prusuit of Happyness”))
  2. Be polite. (I know we have heard that so much during our lives, but politeness can be key. An employer looks for someone that can be able to work well with others whether they be customers, clients, or co-workers; PR has a lot of teamwork invovled)
  3. Posture. (Don’t slouch! You need to appear to be engaged in the interview so sit up straight and look professional. Bad posture can make you look lazy or too relaxed for the moment. An employer wants someone that is ready to work and someone that is alert. They don’t want someone that looks as though they will need a break every 10 minutes)
  4. Bring a pen and paper. (This can make you seem as though you are willing to learn and it helps you from twiddling your thumbs or something that makes you look like you aren’t paying attention; it can also help you with other interviews if you happen to not get that one; it’s always good to know what employers are looking for so that you make the best impression you can to get the job you are aiming for)
  5. Eye contact (Make eye contact with the person who greets you and interviews you; looking down or away the whole time can make you look nervous or not confident in yourself, but be sure not to stare that can make someone uncomfortable. I think Mrs. Nixon has a good example of that, if you have ever been in her classes)
  6. Be aware of your facial expressions. (This can really put an employer off if someone looks bored, scared, or extremely confused; you really want to look interested in what the employer is saying so that you look as if you are really wanting the job)
  • More tips on:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewsnetworking/a/nonverbalcomm.htm

http://www.forbes.com/2006/02/15/employment-careers-interviews-cx_sr_0216bizbasics.html

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Cover Letter: PRCA 3711

January 27, 2010 at 11:06 PM (PRCA 3711)

A cover letter can put you on the map. It can bring attention to you so that hopefully you will stand out among the other applicants. It can also serve as the first impression of you that the potential empolyer can get. A cover letter is like the introduction to the rest of your resume and hopefully to an interview! Let’s just call a cover letter your sales pitch for yourself. You want to provide the employer with the best information about you so that you make the “sale”.

A cover letter is something that you can use to show off your good qualities, skills, and accomplishments. Be careful not to go over board. No one wants to read a cover letter that is too long. Try to keep it at one page and focus on the things about you that would make you stand out for that certain position. You want to try to keep the employer interested. You want to keep them wanting to know more about you. Make the employer excited to learn more about you and hopefully have you in for an interview to speak with you in person.

Also making sure that your cover letter has good grammar and punctuation is a great tip. Proof-read!!! You want it to be easy to read and understandable so make sure that it is written well. Bad puncuation and misspelled words does not scream “HIRE ME!”. Your cover letter should have perfect grammar. Use spell check, proof-read, even have friends or family members read it for you as well.

You want to sell yourself to the employer and really let them know that you are the perfect person for that position and a good cover letter can definitely help you to do just that. While a cover letter may not be long you still need to know how to write one. There are guidelines that can help you create the perfect cover letter for you. Unsure of how to write a cover letter? There are plenty of examples online to help you get started.

Your cover letter needs to be to the point and concise. You want to show off your talents and make sure that they relate to the position you are applying for. A cover letter should be directed towards a specific position. You should not use the same cover letter for multiple resumes. You want to make it unique for that job and company. This also means addressing it to the right person. You may have to do a little research for that, but it makes you look as though you are really putting in some effort for the job.

REMEMBER:  Sell yourself. You want to give the employer just enough important information about you that gets their attention so that hopefully you will get an interview, call back, or possibly even a job. Keep it short, simple, and to the point. Highlight your best aspects within one page. Proof-read your letter before sending it in.

More Examples/Helpful Tips:

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/career/guides/cover_ltr.shtml

http://www.myfuture.com/toolbox/coverletter_all.html

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Hello world!

January 20, 2009 at 10:30 PM (Just for fun!, PRCA 3711)

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley, a junior at Georgia Southern University and a public relations major. This blog got started a little over a year ago when I began taking my major classes. The blog was a requirement for the class and later became a requirement for many others. My blog is mainly focused on public relations topics that we discuss in class, read in our texts and so forth. I have now gotten to the point where my main focus is gaining experience for the work-field. Right now I am getting into how to write the perfect resume, interview tips, and things to put in my portfolio. Any tips that anyone has on that topic, feel free to comment on this post with tips!!! A big thing that I am wanting to do is get an internship, preferably this summer. I feel as if that will really help me gain true working expereince and perhaps help me to decide what aspect of PR that I like the best. Well that’s all for now. Keep your fingers crossed for me on the internship and remember to comment with tips!!!

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