How to enhance your internship experience

By: Danita Tatum

Source: mynorthwest.com

Source: mynorthwest.com

I recently completed my very first internship. I interned at United Way of Washtenaw County. It was stressful, but I learned a lot. I feel like going into my internship, I thought I’d be making copies and getting people coffee.

That was not the case. I wrote press releases, conducted interviews, designed fliers and so much more. There is no doubt in my mind that my internship prepared me for a career in PR. With all that being said, here are two things that I think really enhanced my internship experience.

1. Discussing what I was interested in learning.

At the beginning of my internship, I sat down with my supervisor and discussed my interests. Although everything I did wasn’t related to my interests, the majority of my work was based on what I told her I was interested in. I think that talking about what I was interested in doing really helped my supervisor give me relevant projects and it also helped me develop the skills that I thought were important. If you’re interested in very specific aspects of PR, then make sure your supervisors knows what your interests are so that you can develop skills in those areas as well.

2. Giving project suggestions.

At some point during my internship, there was a lull in projects, so I came up with my own. Coming up with a project made me look good and I worked really hard. The project really helped me gain experience pitching stories to bloggers. Instead of constantly looking to your supervisor for your next project, come up with a few ideas of your own. If you think something could be helpful for an organization, talk about it with your supervisor. It could lead to something great, such as media coverage, free promotion or just gaining experience doing something new.

Danita Tatum is a senior in the public relations program.

The importance of an internship

Source: emergingprairie.com

Source: emergingprairie.com

By: Irene Pool

Going through college, you constantly have people encouraging you to get an internship, get your feet wet, grow with experience. But do we really understand how important an internship truly is right when we start college?

We want to explore, expand our minds and see what interests us the most. But before you know it, your third year comes around and you still haven’t landed an internship. You scramble and try to find one last minute. When that acceptance phone call arrives, you sigh with relief knowing that you will graduate with an internship under your belt.

Internships are commonly looked at as a job in your field that you most likely won’t get paid for. That may be true but you need to look at the positives.

Experience

Not only are you working with professionals, but you’re also getting experience in your field. Why go through college and sit through lectures, not putting what you learn into use? Make your college years more exciting by getting into the field and learning new techniques that you can’t learn in the classroom.

Future Employers

In this day and age, opening positions are becoming more cutthroat than ever; you have more people competing for one position. When employers are skimming through resumes, they look for how many internships you have and what type of internships they were. They want to see how much experience you have in the field before hiring anyone.

Networking

Internships are jobs in the real world; they give you a glance of what you could be doing in your career. Working with professionals can be very beneficial to your future. You may not realize, but internships can lead to future references or simply even jobs if you work hard enough. But if you don’t get offered a job in the company you’re currently at, your employer can be very beneficial in helping you find another job.

Test Drive

College is all about exploring new opportunities and seeing what you enjoy the most. With an internship, it can help you test out the career and see if it’s a job that you want to do. Even if you decided not to stick with that career, it’s a great resume builder. The more experience you have, the better.

Irene Pool
Vice President of Public Relations
EMU PRSSA

Five life lessons I’ve learned as a PR student

Source: ASDA

Source: ASDA

By: Leah Rodriguez

For the past three years as a public relations student, I’ve learned a lot from my peers, professors, and mentors. Most of their lessons and lectures have prepared me for the “real world” after graduation, and I’ve gained the skills necessary to hopefully obtain a career after I cross the stage. Looking back on my years as a college student, it has come to my attention that I’ve taken away much more from the endless nights studying, cramming to get that paper finished, and attending conferences. My life as a PR student has taught me valuable life lessons that I’ll take with me from this point forward.

Life lesson #1: Time is money

If someone had told me that I’d be early to my 8:00 a.m. writing intensive class every Monday and Wednesday for 15 weeks, I’d call them a liar. It took one class period of tardiness to realize the value of time. My professor told me to think of it like this: “If I was your boss and you showed up to a meeting 15 minutes late, do you think that would fly? No, and you’re paying me to be here.” She was right. I was paying to be there, my future employer would be paying ME to be there, so be on time! There is nothing worse than having an employee who is unreliable.

Life lesson #2: What happens online DOESN’T stay online

There’s that saying, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and here that rule does not apply. In my Fundamentals of Social Media course I learned the hard truths about becoming too comfortable with what I share online. When you create a profile on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you’re inviting the world to view your personal thoughts, beliefs, and interests. Just because you set your privacy settings to “private” doesn’t mean people do not have access to your content. Be cautious about what you say and always conduct yourself in a professional manner, you never know who is watching.

 Life lesson #3: First impressions are everything

After attending my fair share of conferences, workshops, and meetings with professionals around the area, I learned that a first impression is not only important, but it’s your golden ticket into potential job opportunities. If you know you are going to be meeting someone who has a job you would like to have, dress professionally, bring business cards and a resume, and always smile. Oftentimes people will remember you by the way you hold yourself in a public setting, so make sure you stand out.

Life lesson #4: You can never have too much knowledge

During an internship my superior told me something that shocked me, but I found to be comforting at the same time. She said “I do not know everything, I’m still learning, and truth be told I am going to learn just as much from you as you are from me.” This really put things into perspective. At first I was confused because I thought at her stage in her career she WOULD know everything, right? Wrong! There is no such thing as a “know it all” and in the real world people are constantly changing and adapting to new principles and techniques. Be humble and know that it is okay to admit when you do not have all of the answers.

Life lesson #5: Balance is key

While it may seem like having a life while you’re in college is impossible, graduation isn’t the gateway into having a “normal life” either. College has taught me how to balance my work life, schoolwork, and personal life. Once it’s all over there will become a need for balancing work and personal life. If anything my experience as a PR student has prepared me for this need for balance. If I’m able to concentrate on school and get a good GPA all four years, and still keep in touch with my best friends, I must be doing something right. Finding this balance is key to happiness and self-fulfillment. Without people in your life to share your success with there may be no pleasure in what you’re doing.

Leah Rodriguez is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. This is her second year on EMU PRSSA’s executive board, having served as VP of PR and VP of Special Events and Programs in 2014-2015. She is the social media intern for EMU’s College of Arts & Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

EMU Social Media Student Assistant/Intern

Description

Forward-thinking, fast-paced EMU Office of University Marketing looking to hire social media student assistants/interns with strong knowledge and understanding of the digital media landscape, including various social media platforms. The students hired will manage and grow the social media presence for one of EMU’s five colleges.

Required Skills

  •  Strong social/people skills
  • Solid work ethic and ability to work independently off site
  • Nose for news/good stories
  • Passion for social media, people and EMU
  • Keen ability to find and promote content daily

 Responsibilities

  •  Promote valuable college news, events, activities and other relevant information on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Grow Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers
  • Create and promote interesting weekly features: Throwback Thursdays, Fast Fact Fridays, etc.
  • Develop relationships with college faculty, staff, department heads, students and alumni
  • Encourage others to create blogs for blogemu.com

Preferred Majors

  •  Communications
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations

Contact

Ted Coutilish, Associate Vice President, University Marketing, tcoutili@emich.edu, 734.487.2483

3 tips to minimize interviewing stress

By: Katie Gerweck

Interviewing can be a stressful experience, but preparing for an interview can help you get there on time and feel more confident about the process. Here are three simple tips to save you time and cut back on stress.

1. Figure out where you are going

Navigating to the company you are interviewing at can be stressful if you aren’t familiar with the area. Before the day of your interview, enter the address online or into a GPS. This will help you determine what time you need to leave, and familiarizes you with your route. If you are thinking about it, it can also be useful to ask about parking options when you set up your interview, so you know what to expect and can allow yourself time if you have to park a block away.

 2. Take out your clothes the night before

 Not only will your outfit already be assembled in the morning, saving you time, but it will also prevent last-minute panic when you realize you don’t have any clean dress pants.

3. Prep yourself for the interview questions

There’s no way of knowing what you will be asked, but typing “common interview questions” into a search engine can send you in the right direction. Go through the questions yourself or have a friend play the role of the interviewer to practice what you will say. Remember to research the company beforehand so you can be specific in your answers.

Interviewing can be stressful, but preparing ahead of time can help you feel more confident. Although you can’t anticipate every question or traffic jam, these tips can help you prevent a last-minute problem.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA, and also works as a copy editor for the Eastern Echo. She was the copy chief for the Echo during the summer of 2015.

 

Journalism experience can be valuable to PR students

By: Katie Gerweck

As students, we are always looking for opportunities to sharpen our skills and better prepare ourselves for our future careers. Although we get experience through our public relations classes, there are other ways to improve as well. Students looking to strengthen their writing and other skills should consider taking a journalism class or working for the school paper. This experience gives students valuable practice with some of the same skills we use in public relations. For example:

 Writing quickly

As public relations professionals we will be expected to write high quality pieces in a short period of time, and journalists face similar time limits. It is not uncommon for a student journalist to attend an event on a Tuesday night, and to have the story due Wednesday morning. Covering events for a school newspaper is a good way to improve your writing speed, and get you in the habit of writing under pressure.

 AP style

Journalists and public relations professionals both use the Associated Press stylebook when writing, so journalistic writing is a good way to exercise your AP style knowledge. Copy editing for a paper, or taking a copy editing class, is another way to familiarize yourself with AP style. It can help with your grammar knowledge as well.

 Understanding what is newsworthy

We are taught as public relations students to ask ourselves “So what?” and “Who cares?” when writing press releases and other materials. It is important that we understand what is newsworthy so we can grab our readers’ attention. Journalists work in the same way, especially when they write hard news stories, which are written in the inverted pyramid style. Writing hard news stories can get students accustomed to quickly discerning what is newsworthy in their story, and organizing the information accordingly. Writing hard news is also a great way to learn more about quotes and proper attribution, which lend credibility to the story.

Overall, taking a journalism class or working for a school newspaper are good options for students looking to strengthen their writing in a different environment.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA, and also works as a copy editor for the Eastern Echo. She is the copy chief for the Echo during the summer of 2015.

 

Congratulations to the new 2015-2016 EMU PRSSA’s e-board

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President: Leah Rodriguez
VP of Professional Development: Danita Tatum
VP of  Communications: Scott Mullen
VP of Member Relations: Rachel Dwornick
Editor-in-Chief: Katie Gerweck
VP of Special Events: Andrea Mellendorf
VP of Public Relations: Irene Pool
Chief Financial Officer: Natalie Burns