3 tips for writing thank-you cards after a job interview

By: Anissa Gabbara

thank you card

Source: Pixabay.com

It’s post-graduation, and many of us already have several job interviews lined up. One of the most important things you can do besides NAIL the interview is to let the interviewer know that you appreciate his or her time and consideration by sending a thank-you card. Not only is sending a thank-you card a thoughtful gesture, but it makes you stand out from other candidates. Believe it or not, your competition may not be writing thank-you cards. Plus, it gives you another opportunity to express why you’d be the perfect fit for the position.

Here are three tips on writing a great thank-you card:

  1. Keep it short and sweet.

One or two paragraphs is all you need to make a great impression on the employer. Always thank the employer in the first line, and let him or her know you enjoyed the interview and still have interest in joining the team. Additionally, you should reiterate what makes you the perfect person for the job by emphasizing your strongest skills. Wrap up the card by thanking the employer once again, and leave the door open by letting the person know how you look forward to hearing from him or her.

  1. Personalize each card for each interviewer.

Panel interviews are quite common, and if you happen to have one, be sure to write a personalized card for each person who interviewed you. Once everyone on the panel receives your cards, it’s likely they will compare what you’ve written for each person and trust me, you don’t want each card to be identical. To personalize a thank-you card, point out something each person said during the interview that sparked your interest, or just a particular moment in the conversation you enjoyed. This shows you were genuinely engaged in the conversation and employers remember that.

  1. Send it out promptly.

Mail out your thank-you cards within 24 hours of the interview to ensure the employer receives it before making a final selection. With lots of competition out there, you can be easily forgotten, so it’s crucial that you send out your thank-you card ASAP to keep yourself at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind.

Anissa Gabbara is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a double minor in communications and marketing. She currently serves as the vice president of public relations on EMU PRSSA’s E-board. She has an interest in celebrity PR and hopes to one day work with some of the biggest names and corporations in the entertainment world. She plans to hone her craft while becoming a valuable source of information to others. You can follow her on Twitter @AnissaGabbara.  

 

 

 

Trend alert: Live streaming

By: Nikki Mikolon

Social media streaming is increasingly popular. At first, users and businesses alike weren’t sure how to use it. Facebook used Facebook Live as an opportunity to launch its first ad campaign with the help of its users. According to an Ad Age article, “the social media platform has used content created by its own community in a series of quirky vignettes designed to show others what the product is about.” Facebook tried to advertise its uses in public areas such as malls, park, and bus stops. This was its way of showing people what to do. In addition to the exposure portion of this advertising campaign, Facebook wanted to have a second segment to show people how to use it. “The education segment consists of a series of tutorials that demonstrates how simple it is to go “live,” centered around themes such as showing off a hidden talent or getting something off your chest.”

Facebook vs. Everybody

After all of the random videos of users and other businesses, we are finally seeing some real content. Companies, brands, and even our friends are actually starting to post videos of what they are doing live, which is different from other social media sites with streaming abilities. Snapchat and Instagram both have a feature similar to this, but Facebook has the advantage. Many know that Snapchat is not live, but it does have sharing ability for users and brands alike that lasts only 24 hours. Instagram has also recently tried to get in on the live streaming action. The negative to Instagram’s live streaming feature is that after the video is over, it goes away. Instagram can surely use this to their advantage, but it’s not ideal for all. Facebook live streaming is the best in my opinion right now. They are able to notify users when you are live, and the best thing about Facebook’s version is the video does not disappear after the broadcast and anyone that missed it can still view the content.

Benefiting the companies.

The possibilities of live streaming for businesses and personal brands are endless. This is an outlet to allow businesses like newspapers and other informational sources to reach their older audiences in the spaces they are now “living” and consuming media in. This is an easy way to insert themselves back into the lives of consumers. Companies can get creative and schedule a live broadcast tied to their social media platforms, driving their viewers or followers to tune into their live broadcast at a certain time or date. The convenience this offers followers is incredible because they don’t need a special app. According to Zephoria.com, 1.28 billion people log onto Facebook daily. The audience that newspapers and television stations are losing already use this platform. They can tune in from wherever they are, and watch later if they missed it. This could also be crucial for new broadcasters for breaking news and alerts that need to be spread quickly.

Benefiting the employees.

Live streaming abilities can be increasingly important to the employees of these companies. The fact is that live streaming can be 24/7 or whenever they want, needing constant content creation. Companies can develop these types of live broadcasting on their social pages, keeping viewers, but also keeping employees working on something every day.

Social media is forever growing. There is no need for companies to go out of business. They need to adapt and stay ahead of the trends, such as live streaming. Yes, social media platforms are designed for the consumers, but if done right, consumers don’t mind sharing the space.

Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

Why you should write for PRSSA

By: Josie Bobeck

why you should write for prssa

Image created by Josie Bobeck using Canva

The PRSSA blog features a wide array of topics, from recaps of events to current events to what’s new in the world of social media and PR. Did you know you can be featured on the PRSSA blog, too? It’s super easy, so why wouldn’t you? Here are the top three reasons why you should write for the PRSSA blog:

  1. It gives you practice writing. The more you write, the better you become at it. Figuring out a topic and writing about it, and potentially rewriting it until you’re happy with it, only improves your writing skills. Writing is a huge part of PR, so it’s best to start now.
  2. It gives you a taste of what a part of PR is. Not sure what you want to do? Maybe you’re thinking of media relations or social media strategy, but chances are you might have to write a blog post at some point in your career. The more blogs you write, the more comfortable you are with AP style, formatting and brainstorming, so why not?
  3. You’ll get to say you’re published. Yep, we’re official! Writing for our blog is an awesome resume builder, and it can help you build your writing portfolio for when you apply for jobs.

Are you interested in writing for the PRSSA blog? Send your post and graphic, plus a 75-word bio to our VP of Public Relations to be featured! Posts should be anything PR, social media, communications, journalism, business, and professional development related.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in communications with a minor in marketing. This is her first year serving on PRSSA E-Board as VP of Member Relations. Josie likes music, writing, traveling and people.

Beer, crisis and design: Regional Conference part three

By: Abby Cousineau

A recap of the last few sessions of PRSSA’s Regional Conference.

Being on the executive board of PRSSA has been a great experience this year. I have learned so much, gained lifelong friends and have gotten the chance to network with many professionals. However, as the end of my first year on E-Board was nearing, I realized I hadn’t attended any conferences, something I had wanted to do since initially joining PRSSA. Luckily for me, our Regional Conference was coming up in Grand Rapids and I decided there was no reason not to attend.

If you have kept up with our blog, you already read about Friday’s events from Hope Salyer, and the first part of Saturday from Nicole Raymond. The last few sessions of Saturday covered beer, crisis communications, and the importance of visual design in PR. So let’s jump in!

The first session after lunch was all about beer, and since we were in Beer City, USA (aka Grand Rapids) this was such an appropriate topic. We got to hear from marketing representatives from Founders (Grand Rapids’ OG brewery), Perrin and Brewery Vivant. Each marketer was coming from a different place, with Founders being a national brand, and Perrin and Brewery Vivant being fairly new to the game. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • Marketing beer is different than promoting other products because it’s a more personal relationship. Craft beer companies aim to provide an individual experience for each customer.
  • Marketers focus on beer reviews, social media influencers, one-on-one conversations with customers, samplings, beer festivals, and local media engagement to garner attention for their brands and products.

During the second session, we heard from local healthcare professionals from Mercy Health, Mary Free Bed and Spectrum Health about how to handle crisis situations. One thing our PR professors tell us over and over again is that it’s not whether a crisis will happen, but when one will happen. In other words, we must prepare for a crisis to happen. Some crisis communication tips the speakers mentioned were:

  • Having relationships with the media prior to a crisis is extremely helpful.
  • Be prepared in advance: have standby statements crafted, which can be used when information is being gathered. Have a crisis communication plan prepared in advance.
  • Utilize intranet systems to notify employees when a crisis occurs. Use texts, emails, printed materials, overhead intercom systems…whatever will get the word out the fastest.
  • Have a cellphone charger handy! In a crisis, things happen fast while the media, employees, and higher-ups are blowing up your phone looking for answers.

During the last session of the day, we got to hear from creative directors and designers from 834 Integrated Communications, BoxBoom Creative, and Visualhero Design Company about the importance of visual design in PR. The speakers discussed the creative process, overcoming creative block, and creative advice for PR students. This is what I took away from the conversation:

  • One of the most important parts of the creative process is research. Learn everything you can about your client, customers, and the message the client wants to convey.
  • Some of the best ways to get out of a creative rut are to: change your physical surroundings; don’t force yourself to be creative, just take a break and come back to the project; seclude yourself so you can focus; create a journey map and reference it frequently; use your team, bring in other people to brainstorm and get opinions; and look at many different visuals to get inspiration.
  • Some creative advice to PR students is to be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and suspend judgement.

Attending Regional Conference was a great experience, and I would definitely recommend everyone go to at least one before graduating college!

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as social media director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Twitter @abcattt.

#PRinGR: Generation Grand Friday recap

By: Hope Salyer

You hear it all the time, “You need to network.” As college students juggling about one million and two things at a time, networking isn’t always at the top of our list. We think we’re “too busy” or we just don’t know where to start. Well, I’m here to let you know that your PRSSA Regional Conference is a great place to start.

I attended the Grand Rapids PRSSA Regional Conference this year with two of my fellow EMU PRSSA E-board members. We’ve decided to do a three-part series as a recap of the event, and I’m here to share my experience at the conference on Friday.

Hope and Nicole

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Friday morning started out with a road trip to Grand Rapids with Nicole. PRSSA conferences are a great way to connect with your fellow PRSSA members, and it all starts with the traveling experience. Just another reason to join your local PRSSA Chapter.

Once we arrived at the DeVos Center, we headed straight to our first stop on our tour of Grand Rapids: Wolverine Worldwide. When we got to Wolverine, we were greeted by friendly staff members, and taken to a large conference room where we had the chance to hear from Corporate Communications Manager Ainslee Neitzel.

Speaker 1

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Neitzel talked to the group about her perspective on corporate communications. One of the biggest questions PR majors have to face as they near graduation is what type of PR they want to go into. Typically, the top three choices are agency, corporate or nonprofit. Most PR students, however, focus on the differences between agency and corporate and this group was no different.

After Neitzel gave a brief background on herself and what her day-to-day job looks like (hint: no two days are the same), Neitzel offered to do a question and answer session. It’s no surprise then that most of the questions focused on what corporate communication is like.

Most students typically go on agency tours and learn a lot about what agency life is like, but the corporate side is kind of like that shadowy area in the Lion King: it’s just unknown and off limits.

Lion King Meme

Created using IMGflip

Following the Q&A at Wolverine Worldwide, the group traveled down the street to Seyforth PR. The agency gave us an interactive tour of the facility and allowed us to see the projects the teams are working on. There was also a brief presentation on the team’s work with McDonald’s, which of course included some free T-shirts and coupons!

The night ended with a networking mixer at Lambert Edwards & Associate’s Grand Rapids office.

For more information on Saturday’s events and sessions, check out Nicole and Abby’s posts on our blog!

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

#PRinGR: Doing the right thing

By: Nicole Raymond

Conferences are a great way to build a network in your related field, but they also provide information to help you succeed and better yourself as a professional in your career. The Generation Grand Regional Public Relations Student Society of America Conference was full of networking and learning opportunities for students from across the region. The weekend-long event consisted of tours, networking opportunities, sessions, and panels on several different facets of public relations.

While there were several sessions with amazing learning opportunities throughout the weekend, I decided to focus on the Saturday morning sessions, which were titled “PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” and “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility.”

panel

Photo Credit: GVSU Twitter

“PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” was moderated by Adam Russo from COM 161 and was filled with professionals from organizations that were serious about sustainability. This session focused on how organizations can make an impact in their community and in their world by rooting the idea of sustainability in their business culture and the effects of sustainable practices on an organization’s bottom line. Sharon Darby from Cascade Engineering stated that if you do what is good for the environment and the people, it will be good for business. However, another panelist Josh Leffingwell from Well Design Studio says that it is no longer newsworthy when organizations do good, rather it is a baseline that an organization must go above and beyond to be recognized by the media. People want sustainable products made by sustainable companies and many consumers will search for these sustainable practices and buy from organizations that have a sustainable commitment. When it comes to sustainability, there is always more that can be done and there is always room for improvement. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in a society that votes with their money on the most sustainable organizations and products. When an organization commits to a culture of sustainable practices it will bring in customers and build a business.

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The second session was “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility” moderated by Dino Baskovic from Vincena and was paneled by Stacie Behler from Meijer, Michelle Meulendyk from Amway, Audra Hartges from Steelcase, and Kelley Freridge from Wolverine World Wide. This session outlined why corporate responsibility is important for organizations and how those organizations can choose the corporate responsibility initiative that is right for them and the communities in which they reside. Community development is the footprint that is left behind. One of the first questions was “Why should corporate social responsibility be a priority of organizations?” Meulendyk answered by stating if we don’t, then who will?

Another ‘why’ factor of corporate responsibility is it’s the right thing and organizations should always be willing to do what is right. Consumers are creating a culture where corporate responsibility matters and not just talking, but doing and seeing the impact through the bottom line, social and feedback. Each community is different and Behler explained the importance of doing good in the community by matching community needs to the acts of service or donations provided to the community by businesses. Panelists were also asked how to help employees think of corporate social responsibility and the desire to make the community a better place by their employees. They explained that it was important to instill a culture of service within the work community and hire those who already have that culture instilled in them.

The earth and the community are important to our society and can play an important role in the money making ability of an organization. As more consumers care about how their products were made, it has become more important for businesses to practice green thinking and corporate responsibility.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

Dear PRSSA: Thank you!

By: Andrea Mellendorf

Dear PRSSA,

I’m not sure how to properly thank or say goodbye to an organization that’s given me so much in four years, but here we go.

Thank you for the years or professional development. For the professionals you have introduced me to who have contributed so much to my public relations success. Thank you for the agency tours, the workshops, the conferences, and more. For all of the things that have helped me grow in the profession outside of the classroom.

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Thank you for the mentorship. For introducing me to the people who are some of my most impactful mentors now. For providing relationships that will last a lifetime. For creating a support system to help me navigate this crazy college life and the PR career that will eventually follow.

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Thank you for the countless adventures. From Atlanta to Indianapolis to Austin to Seattle, this has been an adventure even greater than I could have imagined when I first came to a meeting four years ago. I’ve learned so much about myself just through fully immersing myself in this society in all corners of the country.

Andrea pic 3

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Thank you for the challenges. I’ve learned the true art of resiliency and mastered the art of problem solving thanks to you. These have been some of the greatest life lessons and I wouldn’t trade any of the challenges for the world.

Thank you for the scholarship opportunities. Seriously, college is so expensive, so enough said here.

Thank you for the leadership opportunities. Serving this society as Chapter President for the past year+ has been one of my greatest honors. Working with some of the most brilliant student leaders I know has helped me to become a stronger leader, better collaborator, and all around team player.

Thank you for the friendships. For the lifelong PRSSbAes who I know will always be there for me no matter where I go. I can’t wait to watch them thrive in this field and change the world through strategic communication. I know they will do incredible things.

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Thank you for being such a major part of my four years at Eastern Michigan University. For helping me to grow into a better person, stronger leader, and more prepared member of the public relations profession. My PRSSA career may be coming to an end, but I’ll forever and always be a PRSSbAE in my heart.

Sincerely,

Andrea

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!