Tag Archives: PR practitioner

Putting the “relations” in public relations job searching

by Hope Peterson

I can think of few things more nerve-racking than entering the real world. It’s frightening to think of a place without the cushion of our parents’ security blanket, familiar faces and the excuse, “I’m only young once.”

However, entering that place should be a little less intimidating for PR students like us. The scary black hole of the real world should seem a little less unsettling.

Now, it’s a given that grades are important, but the key to obtaining the interview and holding the job is delivering greatness in person. You can’t get that from a transcript.

PR teaches communication, which places its students ahead of their competition. Through effective communication practices, PR students are familiar with the “how-to’s” of networking and interviewing.

First, the more people you know, the easier it is to do your job as a PR professional. Logically, networking before and after obtaining an interview is crucial.

This is not to say that “sucking up” is beneficial, because often that can lead to more name calling than job offers. But rather, it’s the art of knowing how to establish connections that will get you the phone call for an interview.

An article on the PRSSA website defines networking as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.”

There are two types of networking: “social and real world.”

PR professional Derek Devries said on his blog that is it important to create social media pages such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to establish your online identity the way you wish to be perceived. Devries said, “In your spare time you need to be blogging, tweeting, posting, liking, creating, and sharing content with the goal of creating a big footprint for people to find when they’re searching the web.”

As Devries put it, “just do something” to force yourself to be seen by others.

Next, real world networking includes most social interactions dealt with in every day life. Everyone you meet is important; every party you attend, after-class talk with your teacher, dinner with your friends’ parents or lunch with your sorority adviser could lead to something more.

Devries advised in his blog to “take these opportunities: they can be the difference between starting a new career OR moving back home with mom & dad when you graduate.”

But it takes a little more than a smile and a “how are you?” to establish a connection. You need to separate yourself from the crowd. Devries said that PR students are ahead because they never enter “blindly.” He said to always be prepared for social situations with a professional and online presence, business cards, notes and information for small talk.

After ensuring plenty of successful connections, the interview is next.

It should go without saying that PR students should be able to communicate and carry on conversations; putting the relations in public relations comes with the degree, right?

An article on PR Daily advises students who are interviewing to do their homework about the company, practice common manners, maintain appropriate work-related conversation and follow up without stalking.

Basically the tips can be summed up through one over-arching statement — learn how to connect with people to establish a relationship.

Graduating with a PR degree might just make that jump into that real work a little less scary. PR doesn’t just tell us to make an impression, but teaches us how. Effective communication is key.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Career, The Industry

Safe landing with good customer service

by Sarah Shea

For many, travel is a necessary evil. Business people travel several times a week, normally going through the motions like zombies. While I love to travel, I find myself loathing the “getting there” part.

I’d rather not spend $10 on a sub-par sandwich or banter with grumpy airline attendees. However, the destination is usually worth it.

As my obsession with ABC’s new show, “Pan Am,” grows, so does my envy of its display of travel. I crave the glamour of 1960s travel each and every time I watch it.

In a Los Angeles Times review, Robert Lloyd said, “The show says, yes this is as good as it looks, and it looks very good — though anyone who has flown anywhere in the last, oh, 30 years, may find it difficult to believe, or to remember, that air travel ever was this gracious, customer-friendly, or fun.”

Now, with the pain of airport security and countless cancelations, I can hardly believe that flying was ever as enjoyable as the show makes it seem.

But what if it was?

If airlines placed a little more emphasis on building these types of relationships, the pay-off would be worth it.

Having flown continentally and abroad, I’ve had a wide variety of travel experiences. I’ve flown on airlines like RyanAir, paying less than $10 for a ticket and more than $200 in overweight baggage fees. Conversely, I have traveled with airlines that have been more than willing to find extra space for my behemoth of a backpack.

Regardless, I have never gotten off a plane wishing I could spend a little more time with the crew. Sure, I’ve had good experiences, but never anything to write home about.

If airlines go back to the premise of customer service in their business, maybe I would. If nothing else, the air around airports would be lifted.

Maybe airlines have something to learn from TV.

 

7 Comments

Filed under Career, The Industry

For the PR practitioner, no news is bad news

by Dorothy Griffith

As public relations students, it’s easy to get bogged down with writing news releases and frantically editing our work for AP style errors. But what happens when we get too immersed in the world of public relations and neglect to observe what is going on in the world around us?

In her article “How to get the most out of a PR major” from Ragan’s PR Daily, Alexis Morgan stressed the importance of keeping up with current events. “It’s vital to know what’s going on around you,” she said. She suggested turning to Internet news stories to stay up to date with newsworthy events of all varieties.

“Money, local, crime, national, international, travel, politics, entertainment, sports, health — read it all,” she said.

An article by the Carolina PRSSA also listed “Keeping up with current events” as the number one way to ensure a well-rounded public relations experience.

Being cognizant of a variety of topics will also set you apart from your competitors. Stay interested in many different things and you’ll be surprised how it can benefit you in the future.

Morgan’s advice to PR students is to “be familiar with multiple areas of expertise.”

“The most effective way to begin your career is to set yourself apart from everyone else,” she said. “You can do this by becoming familiar in areas apart from public relations.”

Knowing about the intricacies in the current state of the economy, for example, will help you create a better budget for your organization; being familiar with journalistic principles will make it easier for you to pitch ideas to news outlets.

Much of the role of the PR practitioner is reacting to and anticipating local and national events and how they may affect the organization that you are working with. Neglecting this responsibility could be detrimental not only to your organization, but to your career as well.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Career, The Industry

The New and Improved PR Practitioner

by: Alex Reichenbach

PR practitioners have always been expected to have impressive writing and communication skills to show on their résumés. Although these skills are important, they are only the beginning of what is expected of PR practitioners during these technologically savvy days.

Recent changes in the World Wide Web have forced a new professional standard — healthy online presence. For some of you, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. While social media has become an essential component in creating online presence, it is a very small part.

There are certain criteria PR practitioners should follow that go beyond the simplicity of creating a Facebook or Twitter page. Following these steps will ultimately change you from the average PR practitioner to a professional who has mastered the new standards of public relations.

LinkedIn: Claiming Your Professional Name

LinkedIn can be considered the professional spin off from Facebook. Instead of using this social media outlet to converse with friends and family, LinkedIn is used to establish connections with thousands of companies and to find potential clients or jobs.

In the article, “The Anti-Social Enterprise” by Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint, provider of cloud-based security software, the rising popularity of LinkedIn is proven through statistics:

Sixty-nine percent of Fortune 100 companies have company profiles on LinkedIn, compared to 54 percent with Facebook fan pages and 65 percent with Twitter accounts.

Many believe Twitter serves as a great way to become familiar with various PR practitioners, but this statistic shows that the rise of LinkedIn may make it more essential in the professional world. Although Twitter is still used, LinkedIn gives PR practitioners more opportunities than simply following other professionals; it establishes your professional status through a detailed explanation of your experiences, as well as a brief professional summary about yourself.

Taking advantage of this professional database as a PR practitioner is a vital part of becoming involved in the online “networking” that is ultimately finding thousands of people jobs.

Electronic Résumé: Show Off

A few years ago, simply having a written résumé was enough to qualify for a job. With the recent boom of technology, however, the résumé qualifications have changed. PR practitioners need to upload their résumés online to allow easy access to their credentials. This may seem like a fairly minor task, but the results are huge.

According to the article “The Top Ten Things You Need To Know About E-resumes and Posting Your Resume Online,” 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post jobs on their websites and expect potential employees to respond electronically. This statistic alone reveals the benefits that come from this simple download.

Your résumé is your chance to show off your skills and qualifications. What better way to do this than having it online for thousands of professionals to see?  This simple uploading process can be done through a résumé builder such as Résumé Improved or through a process offered at job sites like Monster.

Blogging: Voice Your Opinion

There are a variety of ways PR practitioners can become involved in the blogging aspect of personal online presence. The most effective way is for PR practitioners to express their own opinions through their personal blogs.

Peter Shankman, social media entrepreneur, has utilized this form of communication to effectively voice his opinion on a wide range of issues. PR practitioners worldwide refer to his blog, “P.S. Peter Shankman” to keep up with the current trends in public relations.

If the idea of creating a personal blog does not seem appealing, your online presence can improve simply by following and commenting on other PR practitioners’ blogs. Blogs were created to establish an informal two-way conversation between individuals. Therefore, anyone can publish a comment on a blog at any time they choose, according to the article, “Website Traffic Series Part 3: Leaving Comments on Other Blogs.”

PR practitioners need to take advantage of this free publishing to voice their opinions on current public relations issues. This is what sets blogging apart from the other criteria for online presence. Unlike LinkedIn and online résumés where professional status is key, blogging is a PR practitioner’s chance to express how they feel.

Wrap up: Establishing Your Official Online Title

PR practitioners who have successfully completed the above criteria have achieved the new standard of online presence. But there is one last step for those who wish to go above and beyond to set themselves apart from others – create an online portfolio.

Take all that you have accomplished and turn it into an online personal showcase that includes previous work collateral, blogs and professional experience.

By creating this portfolio alongside your LinkedIn profile and personal blog, you are showing the world that you are ahead in the PR field, and that you can make a difference.

1 Comment

Filed under Career, The Industry, Trends, Uncategorized