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February #PRSSA Twitter Chat Recap

February 21, 2013

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway


Writing is a skill that many struggle with, especially as students. However, good writing skills are crucial to success as a PR professional. Personally, I agree with Hemmingway; writing is a skill that can always be improved.

Last week PRSSA held a #PRSSA chat focused on writing skills. It highlighted several key points about writing for an audience and sticking to style guide outlines.

Blogging Tips-

Many of the tips from professionals and students alike, urged bloggers to make sure their blog writing had personality. Amy Bishop (@AmyL_Bishop), Digital Marketing Manager at Cru Global, stressed the importance of making sure that your writing style reflects the way you want to be perceived. If you are writing a professional blog, make sure that all content is spell-checked and doesn’t have any glaring grammar mistakes. However, your professional blog doesn’t have to be boring! Write about what you love, but do it in a way that shows the reader your skills and strengths.

PRSSA Style Guide-

Did you know there was a PRSSA Style Guide? It is full of tips and tricks for PRSSA chapters to use in their communication with members and national. It will come in handy when we have to send news releases and RWU communication for Jolly Roger Public Relations.

Want to add to your portfolio by writing for PRSSA’s Progressions blog? First, make sure to check the style guide for special PRSSA punctuation and titles.

In addition to those topics, many insightful comments were shared on the importance of editing and creativity. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks from the chat:

To learn more and participate in the next chat follow @PRSSANational.


Non-Profit Public Relations: A Feel Good Field

December 3, 2012


Even though working in non-profit Public Relations is known for its low pay, I still chose to intern for these types of organizations because the work is rewarding not to mention that it can be entertaining as well. Working for a nonprofit company meshes well with my first inclination to major in Psychology.  After some investigation and some course work, I changed my mind about being a psychologist; the emotional strain of working closely with “hurt and damaged” people was overwhelming. I knew I wouldn’t be able to separate work and my personal life; I would be taking my work home with me. When I explored Public Relations and found that there are many avenues to pursue, I was thrilled to find the area of nonprofit organizations.  Working for such an organization has the philanthropic “feel” of psychology without its emotional demands. In my heart, I’ve always known that I wanted a job where I could help others because I am compassionate and kind-hearted. I might be wearing rose-colored glasses, but I truly believe I can make the world a better place. To me, money does matter but helping others is far more important.

I have had the pleasure to intern for two exceptionally beautiful non-profit organizations.  This past summer, I worked for Together We Rise (TWR), which is a non-profit that helps raise money for foster children.  This organization puts on special events for foster children and also helps find homes for foster children. Raising funds for a charitable cause like TWR is truly a selfless effort.  I work hard to put on my own fundraiser to raise money for Together We Rise. It was extremely exciting especially since it was my first fundraiser. After exploring several options, I picked my own destination and came up with a “Girl’s Night Out” themed fundraiser at a local jewelry, clothing, and accessory shop in Milford, Connecticut.  Using social media to advertise the event, many friends and family joined me for an eventful night of free margaritas and food, raffle prizes, and reasonably priced items.  The relaxed atmosphere allowed everyone to shop around knowing that 15% of the proceeds were going to Together We Rise.  I also advertised a silver and gold jewelry trade which netted a decent amount for TWR.  All said and done, I ended up raising a little under $500 for Together We Rise. Not only was the event a lot of fun, but I felt good about myself because I helped raise money for foster children who are aging out of the foster care system or who are in need of essentials.  After finishing my summer internship with Together We Rise, I decided to continue with the non-profit field because I enjoyed my time with Together We Rise so immensely.  I began an internship with Special Olympics Rhode Island this fall semester. Special Olympics Rhode Island is a non-profit organization that puts on over 1,400 sports training and athletic competitions for intellectually disabled individuals. Working for this organization has been a blessing. I continue to be inspired by the dedicated workers at this organization and I’m having a “blast” working at all the different types of events that Special Olympics Rhode Island puts on. One of my favorite events so far has been the annual Benefest. At the annual Benefest, I had the chance to work at a silent auction, live auction and raffle at this Las Vegas themed party. There was also a mini casino, formal dinner, dancing, open bar, and more! I met so many great people who believed in this charitable mission, and I had the chance to interact with some of the physically challenged athletes.

If I could give any advice to Pubic Relation students or alumni, it would be take the chance and work for a nonprofit organization. You may not leave with a lot of money in your pocket, but you will leave with a smile and a good feeling in your heart knowing that you made a difference in the world. Not only will you have a feeling of reward, but you will also have so much fun at the varied events that directly help the disadvantaged population.

How to Turn Your Internship Into a Job

December 3, 2012


Every summer New Yorkers hear a steady thwack of rubber slapping pavement as flip-flop-wearing interns pour out of subways and into offices across the city. There, the very best ones change into real shoes, put their heads down and land a real full-time job offer three months later.

Internships are a great opportunity to test out a company and determine whether you’d want to work there full-time. The most successful interns view their short-term opportunities as more than just a summer gig. “They treat an internship as a 10- to 12-week job interview,” says Alex Taylor, a senior vice president and human resources manager at Bank of America.

How do you pull that off? First, act the part. Adhere to your company’s dress code and office hours. Model your wardrobe after those of senior-level colleagues. Never wear flip-flops, show cleavage or wear anything that’s ripped or torn. Treat everyone you meet with respect and professionalism, and don’t badmouth co-workers. Leave your personal life at home.

Within the first week of starting your internship, make an appointment with your manager to establish goals. Discuss projects you’d like to tackle and specific skills you hope to gain over the summer. Always have a positive attitude about the work, however menial it may seem. “Not every task you’re going to do is something you’ll enjoy, but have the attitude that these are building blocks to your career,” says Tom Musbach, a former producer at Yahoo. “Once you show you can be trusted with small tasks, managers will give you more responsibility.”

Don’t be shy about asking questions, especially if you need clarification on an assignment. Carry a notebook with you at all times. “While it’s important to treat your internship as a job interview, it’s also important to make it a learning experience coupled with self-exploration,” says Holly Stroupe Vestal, a human resources consultant for Bank of America’s Banking Center Channel, who was hired full time after her own internship. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a great way to show your level of engagement and connect the dots. It also will help you obtain a rounded, realistic preview of a prospective employer and job, so you can make an educated decision about your career options down the road.”

Be assertive. Don’t overextend yourself, but raise your hand when a manager asks for help. Don’t just stick to your department, either; volunteer to work in other areas of the company so you get an overview of as many as possible. Prove that you can meet the responsibilities of holding a full-time job.

To avoid spinning your wheels and wasting time, make sure you’re on the same page as your manager. After you’ve met with him or her to discuss a particular project, take the time to carefully think through the problem before racing ahead on the work. “Then go back to your manager the following morning and check your understanding of the challenge and how to best approach it,” says Chris Bierly, the head of North American associate consultant recruiting at Bain & Co. “It’s important to get out of the blocks fast, but first you want to make sure you’re holding the baton.”

Use your internship as an opportunity to network with senior leaders and your fellow interns. They are all vital contacts who can serve as references, recommend you for a job, and alert you to positions at other companies. Most businesses host intern events throughout the summer to encourage networking. Attend all of them. If the company has a softball team, join it. Talk to your colleagues to find out all you can about the company and what they like and don’t like about working there.

Throughout the summer, keep a record of the new skills you’ve acquired and the assignments you’ve completed. “They’ll be great building blocks for your résumé,” says Musbach. Save any complimentary e-mails or notes, too, to get ideas for potential references.

Before the summer ends, get your colleagues’ contact information and send thank-you notes. Network with them throughout the year by sending casual e-mails asking them about their work. If you performed well over the summer, they’ll think of you when a job opens up. As Chris Bierly observes, “Applying for a job is a mutual courtship.”

This story is an update of a piece written by Helen Coster. via @Forbes

Chapter Presidents’ Leadership Workshop

December 2, 2012


At this year’s PRSSA National Confrence in San Francisco, I attended the Chapter Presidents’ Leadership Workshop, lead by Kevin Saghy, who is a public relations and marketing specialist for the Chicago Cubs. His duties consists of promoting the team’s marketing and ticketing efforts, community involvement and other off-the-field endeavors through various communications channels, while also leading the club’s overall social media efforts. Saghy serves as a spokesperson to local and national media, including outlets such as The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business and SportsBusiness Journal.

Honesty and Transparency: Saghy provided the room of young chapter presidents with valuable leadership advise. The most important thing to have when communicating with your audience according to Saghy, is honesty and transparency. This took me back to a pretty recent day in Case Studies where we viewed a PowerPoint presentation about different brands and how they are perceived in the public eye and we must not forget that perception is reality. Interesting Fact: Amazon is the #1 trusted brand in the U.S. whereas ebay and McDonalds fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. But National Brands are not the only leaders who need to ensure they are being perceived as honest. If your public does not have trust in you, you will be unsuccessful in gaining respect as any type of leader, big or small.

Listen: Another helpful tip Saghy supplied us with is to set a strategy and corresponding goals and help members understand how their work fits into the big picture. An excellent way to get members active is to find out what motivates them and then use it to your advantage. Survey your members and ask them what they have liked so far, what they haven’t liked and what they want to see happen by the end of the year. People like to be heard. Saghy explained to us, “Have you guys ever had a conversation with someone who went on and on about themselves without asking you anything about your life? You’re thinking that that was just a terrible conversation, but they thought it was great! But we all do it too. I’m sure there have been many times where someone asked you how you were and you just blurred out everything great going on with you and then walked away thinking wow I nailed that conversation!” Make sure you listen to your members, cast your ego aside and learn from others around you.

Don’t Forget: Own up to your mistakes as a leader and do not forget that the two most important words that cannot be said enough: Thank you.

How to Be Productive Over Your Winter Break

November 29, 2012


Don’t have an internship or a job over winter break? Not to worry! This doesn’t mean you are subjected to lying on your couch watching re-runs of Jersey Shore and Teen Mom (no matter how appealing that may sound). I’ve got eight simple tips and tricks that will help you return to campus feeling not only refreshed and relaxed, but accomplished and motivated, too.

  1. Start a blog. This is one of the greatest decisions I ever made. Blogging is one of the most relaxing and exhilarating feeling to express yourself through words. It can be a blog about anything that you are passionate about: Do you write poetry? Love to cook? Have a fashion obsession? Make it into a blog. People love reading them, and I guarantee you will love to write them. It will encourage you to do something you don’t always have time to do at school, and you can use it as extra writing samples at an interview (and they will be totally impressed you started a blog!).
  1. Practice your elevator pitch, with everyone. Selling yourself is the most important skill you can learn, in my opinion. You never know where you’re going to meet your next potential employer (or random person you want to impress). Try and bundle up your skills, knowledge, and experiences into a 15-20 second elevator pitch and practice it. Practice it with your friends, your family, and even a random stranger you meet (opportunities are everywhere!). Know the material enough so that it doesn’t sound like a speech, and I guarantee you’ll get a business card out of it.
  1. Read, read, read. Read the news, read popular blogs, read interesting articles, and follow relevant people on Twitter. Read books you’ve wanted to read, read books that are buzzing in the media (yes, even 50 Shades of Grey). Why? So you have an opinion. So you have something to talk about. So you have a conversation starter. Again, you never know when or where you’re going to meet a potential employer, and you want to have relevant things to chitchat about that make you look sophisticated, intelligent, and well rounded. If you say you love fashion, prove it: read up on fashion news, read fashion blogs, watch every runway show, study designer collections, and do it faithfully, every day.
  1. Do that one thing you’ve always wanted to do. Want to learn Spanish? Teach yourself how to sew? Take up jogging? Now is the time to do it! This will get you motivated to do other things, and you’ll feel totally accomplished once you get back to school.
  1. Research future jobs/internships. Get yourself ahead of the game and start researching places you’d like to intern or work at in the future. Study the website, read job descriptions, call and inquire about a contact person, and craft your cover letters around the information you receive. That way, when it comes time to actually apply (and you’ve got 100 other things on your plate), all you’ll have to do is click send.
  1. Conduct mock interviews. Your best critics are your friends and family; they have no problem telling the truth to your face. So use it to your advantage, research some typical interview questions, and voluntarily sit your butt in the hot seat. Record yourself to watch for your mannerisms, eye contact, and random fidgeting. Count how many times you say “um” or “like” and keep practicing until you are confident in your answers and your ability to convey them when you really are in a hot seat.
  1. Find a part-time job. For those with no work or internship experience, I strongly suggest getting a part-time job. Employers are always looking for extra help over the holidays, so they are fairly easy to score. Not only will you gain independence and work experience (resume line!), you’ll score some extra cash as well. (Who doesn’t love that?) It doesn’t matter if it’s at a fast-food restaurant or clothing store, internship/job employers like to see that you are responsible, independent, take initiative, and have experience in a real work environment.
  1. Perfect your portfolio. Actually take the time and make your resume unique and interesting to look at. Choose a design that highlights what you’ve done best, not just the same design your friend has. Finally finish your LinkedIn profile, work on your cover letter, and design yourself a killer business card. Choose your best work for writing samples, and then create yourself an online portfolio to really wow your potential employers.

Do I Need Google+?

November 28, 2012

“There are three things in this world: Things that matter, things that don’t matter and things you think matter but really don’t. Google+ helps you sort through all those things; it’s a new kind of internet.” – Timothy Jordan


At the 2012 PRSSA National Conference, one of the keynote presentations was from Timothy Jordan of Google+. He told the PR hopefuls that 57% of people talk more online than they do in real life—a rather depressing statistic. As future public relations professionals, we need to learn how to engage with people and make connections online.

Google+ is a social networking tool that helps its users sort through the noise to find content that matters most to them. The network allows its users to personalize their online experience to bring people together around them, or in the working world, around their brand. (Google+ is definitely a great tool to suggest to your internship advisor if the organization doesn’t already have an account.) I uses the latest trends to help people connect by providing a human connection, face to face conversations, mobile, and cross media.

Jordan gave us some tips on how to run a successful “hangout,” one of the cool features that is literally face to face (or screen-to-screen) communication.

  1. Plan your program: Pick a host and make outlines of how you want your show to run. Promote the show, broadcast or live stream it and try to make those “magic moments” by planning your story and messages in advance
  2. Be a techie: Check the lighting, practice muting and blocking and other “tech geek” stuff before going live!

Another selling point of Google+ is that it allows you to consistently evaluate your online efforts:

  • Measure impact in AdWords
  • Find the value of social with Google Analytics
  • Track engagement on posts with (+1) and re-shares
  • Use ripples to identify influencers and watch posts in real-time

When your organization’s brand is established, it is important to grow your audience by

  • Improving the discoverability on search with a complete profile and by being presen
  • Add a Google+ badge to your organization’s website
  • Promote the page through other channels like offline marketing, other social media and newsletters
  • Share exclusive content with “circles”
  • Post content people want to read and want to share
    • Rich posts with pictures and video
    • Personalize your posts with a signature

Finally, Jordan left us with some food for thought: “There are two things you should always do: Tell a story and connect with people … but make sure you tell a story that helps people connect with each other.” What does that quote mean to you as a PR person? Do you think you will use Google+?

Online Media Internship

October 14, 2012

Why intern at Overdrive Interactive?
An internship at Overdrive Interactive is a foot in the door. We train our interns to become expert interactive marketers so they can work for our company. In fact, Overdrive Interactive has hired 70% of its interns. So, while getting in the door might be a little harder, once you’re in, you are viewed as a critical team member and an integral part of the agency’s future.

About Overdrive Interactive
Overdrive Interactive is a full-service online marketing agency based in Boston that helps clients grow their businesses with engaging and measurable online media, social media and search engine marketing campaigns and services. Overdrive media clients include Bright Horizons, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, AAA Southern New England, and Samsonite, among others. For more information, please visit

Internship Responsibilities:
– Provide reporting and daily media management support
– Research relevant online media sites for current and prospective clients
– Assist media planners in developing media plans
– Manage day to day reporting and campaign optimization
– Assist online media department in new business pitches
– Upload and traffic creatives using third party serving software
– Conduct industry research, provide relevant articles, online media resources, etc
– Assist in developing quarterly company media newsletter
– Assist in development and editorial content for media white papers
– Expand existing Overdrive Online Media Glossary
– Coordinate with the media planners to keep the online media vendor list up to date
– Help develop client success posters

Internship Requirements:
– Senior undergraduate, recent graduate or graduate student with a minimum GPA of 3.0
– Have taken/are taking advertising and marketing courses
– Highly proficient in Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint
– Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and exceptional phone etiquette
– Ability to work independently and efficiently
– Ability to work well in team environments
– Great time management and organizational skills
– Able to devote 15-20 hours per week at Overdrive

Hours can be flexible to work around a school schedule for the ideal individual. This is an unpaid internship for college credit and experience to transition onboard full-time.

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