Category Archives: College Life

12 Tips Every Graduating College Senior Needs To Know

By: Abriel Cousineau

Kill that interview with your dream PR agency with these 12 tricks up your sleeve.

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Source: Abby Cousineau

As graduation quickly approaches, the anxiety of job searching becomes more real day after day. Job searching is stressful, no doubt, but with proper preparation, you can nail that interview and land the job of your dreams. Here are a few interview tips to keep handy while you embark on your search for the perfect post-grad job.

  1. Know the details beforehand

Research the company, know their history, what they do, what products or clients they work with and any other interesting details you can dig up. Also, try to find out who you will be interviewing with, find them on LinkedIn if you can get their name. Also, try to find out if you will be in a one-on-one or a group setting and research everyone you will be meeting with.

  1. Practice in Front of a Mirror

Practicing in front of the mirror will help you see yourself from the interviewer’s perspective. Pay attention to your facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures and any nervous ticks that may be distracting. Practicing also helps you be prepared for the hard questions you are sure to be asked.

  1. Check Your Social Media

This is a no-brainer. Double and triple check your social media and make sure there is nothing incriminating for interviewers to stumble upon. The last thing you want is for their image of you to be you drunk in a revealing club outfit.

  1. Get Directions

The night before make sure you look up the address and figure out how long it will take you to get there. Consider traffic and weather. Save the address and print out directions in case your phone malfunctions the morning of.

  1. Early. Like. Seriously.

You will seriously set a bad impression if you arrive late to your interview. Plan to be in the office lobby at least 15 minutes before your interview. Not only will you seem prepared in the eyes of your interviewers, but the extra few minutes will allow you to ensure everything is organized.

  1. Turn Off Your Phone

Don’t let a text from your BFF ruin the flow of your interview. Even a buzz in your pocket can throw you off, so just turn your phone off to make sure you have zero distractions.

  1. Dress to Impress

Wear something that makes you feel confident, but also be sure it is business appropriate and fits the job you are applying for. You did your homework already, so you should know what the work environment vibe is.

  1. Be Friendly to Everyone You Meet

You never know who you may run into during the interview. Be friendly to everyone, even the secretary or custodian. People will definitely notice if you are approachable and kind.

  1. Bring Hard Copies

Print out copies of your resume and sample work that your interviewers can look at during and keep after you leave. Bringing hard copies not only makes you look prepared but also gives you specific points to reference.

Ask Good Questions

At the end of the interview, don’t just let it fizz out. Be prepared with questions and make sure they are GOOD. Salary and time off are no-nos. Consider questions such as: How would you describe the ideal candidate? What have you enjoyed the most about working here? How would you describe the company culture here? Here is a great list of other questions you could ask.

  1. Send a Personal Note

Nothing stands out more than a personalized thank you note in this digital age. Don’t just write a generic one beforehand, wait until after the interview and reference specific things you talked about. Send it as soon as you can after the interview ends, preferably the same day so they get it within a couple business days. An email can be sent as well since mail does take a bit longer.

  1. Be Yourself!

Preparing for interviews can seem draining and make you feel like a cardboard cutout of yourself. It is important to let your personality shine through. At the end of the day, you can have all the qualifications in the job description, but you still have to seem like a person they want to work alongside every day.

Did you find these tips helpful? What else would you add to this list?

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.
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3 Tips to Get Into Grad School

By: Madison Harmon

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Source: gradschool.duke.edu

Applying to graduate school can often be a very stressful time. Much like going to college for your undergrad degree, there are several steps you have to take to make sure you’re going to the get the most out of your college experience. Note that what you might have looked for in a college for your Bachelor’s most likely won’t be the same when you go to get your Master’s.

Here are three simple and easy tips for applying to grad schools!

  1. Excel Spreadsheets are your friend! It’s a great way to stay organized. Use it to keep track of dates, requirements, and to use as a checklist (I use color coding for priority items!)
  2. Visit! Just like undergrad, you’re going to be spending some time at this place so make sure it’s something you like! I’m personally sick and tired of Michigan winters, so I’m looking at schools in the Southwest to make a transition!
  3. GRE! Take advantage of the summer to study for the GRE – even though that’s not really what summers are for… But that extra preparation could pay off if you have a dream school in mind with stern requirements for the GRE score.

Madison is a student and loves learning no matter what she’s doing. She is both an optimist and a realist, which gets a bit hard to maintain! She is independent and self-assured, both in her personal and professional potential, and in her ability to find the bottom of those supposedly bottomless chips and salsa. Petter of dog bellies, ruler of quips, Madison is sure to make you laugh whenever you’re around her (or cry, but don’t take it personally). Ask her for brutally honest opinions, but never for directions. Madison can be reached at mharmon3@emich.edu.

Straight from the Recruiters Part 1: Resume Writing

By: NinaMaria Badalamenti

writing-computer

Source: lilpickmeupdotcom.wordpress.com

I recently attended Global Team Blue’s “The Dirt”. This was an inside scoop of what GTB is and what they do. We got to listen to many members of the agency speak and also got to ask them some questions of our own. For one of the sessions we got to hear from the recruiters of GTB. We got to hear what they look for directly from them. We all know the general do’s and don’ts of resumes and interviews but the recruiters gave some insightful tips that you don’t hear every day. To summarize the highlights of this insightful session here are 3 tips to follow when writing your resume to get an interview straight from the recruiters of GTB.

  • Include additional skills that may or may not specifically pertain to the job description.

Adding in your hidden or not so hidden talents can give you just the boost you need to stand out. Things like being well rounded in Excel, Photoshop, or Google analytics, or even having experience in photography or graphic design can be helpful working in this field even when it doesn’t apply to the position your trying to get. Having these other skills is always useful and recruiters will note that you have useful skills that others might not. This doesn’t mean you need to study up in these programs if you don’t know how to use them but if you have the skills, flaunt them.

  • Don’t be afraid to give your resume a splash of color.

Adding some color to your resume will make it physically stand out and be more memorable to recruiters. Sticking to the traditional black and white is safe but bland. This doesn’t mean be flashy but just adding some simple, tasteful color on the sides or maybe an elegant design can do just the trick to give you some edge.

  • List ALL of your experience.

Even if you don’t have any experience in the field that doesn’t mean you don’t have any experience at all. The experience you have in life counts! Experience from previous jobs, schoolwork and volunteering count. Include it! Just because you don’t think your experience applies to the position doesn’t mean the recruiters won’t. They may see something you don’t. Also, be sure to use projects from class that might be relevant to the position. Don’t forget volunteering is great experience. Just make sure you explain how the tasks you did apply.

Bonus tip: Cut out the objectives section of your resume. This isn’t an important part of the resume and takes up space. The exception to this is if your degree doesn’t match the position you are applying for. In this case, it is helpful to show that you are dedicated to the new field. In addition to this, a cover letter is very crucial to explain your passion for the new position.

NinaMaria Badalamenti is a senior studying Communications. This is her first semester serving as VP of External Relations for EMU PRSSA.

 

 

What a great ride it’s been!

By: Jordan Ross

Coming into college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life.

I started college as a computer engineering technology major, before switching to computer science, and then making the drastic leap over to journalism. If that sounded like a whirlwind reading, I can assure you that’s what it felt like living it as well. There were aspects of all of those majors that I really enjoyed, but none of them seemed to have that “it” factor.

Stuck and not knowing exactly what to do, I went to McKenny Hall to talk to an advisor at the University Advising and Career Development Center. While in the lobby waiting for my appointment, I noticed a rack of small handouts that had information about what career paths you could take with different majors. Next to the handout for journalism was a handout for public relations.

At the time, I had only heard sparingly what public relations actually was, but going into the meeting I knew I wanted to learn more about it. That conversation ended up changing my life, and here I am today getting ready to get my degree in public relations.

Four years ago, if you would have told me that I would be graduating college with a degree in public relations, the first thing I would’ve asked was “what the heck is public relations?” But now, I feel like the education I’ve received has prepared me for my next chapter in life.

That education not only applies to within the classroom, thanks to the professors who I could tell truly cared about my education, but also outside of the classroom, thanks to experiences like being in PRSSA.

From being a member who couldn’t even make it to all the meetings due to having a busy work schedule, to being elected the vice president of professional development, my college experience has shown me that anything is possible.

I’ll be continuing my education this upcoming fall semester as a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, and I can truly say that everything I’ve learned and experienced during my time as an undergrad has prepared me for all that is to come next in my journey.

As you may have heard people say, college isn’t easy. There may be some days where you feel like you can’t do it anymore and you just want to give up. But take my advice: DON’T. My parents once told me before I started my first day of classes, that college is a marathon, not a race. Over the years, I couldn’t help but to remember that advice and understand how true those words are.

There’s been a lot of twists and turns along the way to get to where I am now. There’s been great times, and there’s been not so great times. But no matter what, I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. Everything that we go through shapes us to become the people we are, and after looking back, it truly has been a great ride.

Thank you PRSSA, and to those I’ve had the opportunity to meet due to being in it. It’s an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Jordan PRSSA

Source: EMU PRSSA Facebook

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the vice president of professional development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the president of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss

 

                                                                                               

 

A college career in review

By: Anissa Gabbara

College is one big ol’ emotional roller coaster, and as a senior, I can testify to that. I can probably speak for all seniors when I say that the past four years have been a combination of excitement for the future and fear of the unknown. But despite the emotional roller coaster, I’m happy to say that I’ve had a successful college career, even when there were a few bumps in the road.

Before transferring to Eastern Michigan University, I started my college journey at Schoolcraft College. I decided to major in business, with no particular reason or goal in mind. I knew what I loved at heart, which was music and entertainment, but at the time, I didn’t know what major would best suit those passions. Business seemed like the “safe choice.” I thought, “Maybe I can just start my own music business.”

One business class later, I knew it wasn’t for me. Being the creative person I am, I couldn’t stand to sit through another business class, but little did I know, my future career was right in front of me. At the time, I worked in the Communication Arts Department as the Department Head Dr. Taylor’s assistant. Dr. Taylor’s personality was larger than life. She was quite the opposite of me, as I am more introverted, and she could talk to anyone she walked passed without hesitation. She was the epitome of professional. She taught me the skills to become a better communicator, professional and leader. She was my first mentor and it was because of her that I started to gain an interest in the world of communications.

This newfound interest led me to my ultimate decision to major in public relations. It was my love for the arts, strong writing and communication skills and creative heart that led me to believe PR was the right choice.

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Photo Credit: EMU PRSSA Facebook

My journey in the PR program was not perfect, though. There were times when I questioned whether I had made the right choice, like when I was unable to get into the introduction course and thrown into an advanced course without having any prior knowledge or experience in the field. However, that didn’t stop me. I worked harder than ever to get through that course and my grade reflected it. I knew I was going to be OK.

undergraduate symposium

Courtesy Photo

My confidence and self-belief led me to priceless opportunities, and I started to take more risks and get more involved on campus. Toward the end of my junior year, I ran for the PRSSA E-board and became vice president of public relations. The experience I gained as an E-board member was invaluable, as I gained leadership skills and valuable connections with professionals within the field. I also had the pleasure of presenting research with my peers at EMU’s 36th Annual Undergraduate Symposium. On that same day, I received an email from the promotions manager at Fox 2 News for an interview and eventually secured my first internship as their creative services intern. This past November, I was honored to have received the most prestigious and highly competitive award that a PR student could earn in the state of Michigan, and that is the Donald P. Durocher Memorial Scholarship. This was a major accomplishment and I am very proud of myself for it. These are just a few of the many memories I will take with me upon graduation.

fox 2 pic

Courtesy Photo

prsa detroit meeting

Photo Credit: PRSA Detroit

College can be a nightmare at times, but one day you’ll reminisce about some of the good things, like when you won that big scholarship, or when you secured your dream internship. College is bittersweet to say the least and while I look forward to moving on, I’ll never forget the amazing opportunities that college has granted me. Now it’s on to the next phase.

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.  

Making the most out of your college experience

By: Anissa Gabbara

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Source: Pixabay.com

College is a time for you to build your professional persona, and one way to do that is by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, while gaining skills that you can show off to future employers. Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of your college experience.

  1. Join organizations.

One way to ensure that you get the most out of your college experience is by joining an organization that is geared toward your interests. Last year, I took it upon myself to start getting involved, so I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), initially as a member. Not too long after, I was ready to take on a leadership position, so I ran for E-board and eventually became vice president of public relations. Leadership positions look excellent on your resume, but it also gives you experience with working in a team. Employers will appreciate this!

  1. Find an internship.

If there’s anything that truly prepares you for a professional career after college, it’s a good internship! Over the summer, I completed my first internship at Fox 2 News as a creative services intern. I walked away with so many new skills that I can take with me in my career. It’s also a wonderful addition to my resume. Nothing can prepare you more for the professional arena than an internship, but that doesn’t mean what you learn in class is not equally as important.

  1. Take your classes seriously.

Yes, internships are invaluable, but what you learn in class will prepare you for the work you will be doing during your internship, so don’t slack off! It’s important to do well in class so you can build an impressive portfolio to show off to your potential employers. Of course, internships are much more exciting and you get hands-on experience in the field, but don’t underestimate the value of your classes!

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 in EMU’s PRSSA Chapter. 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.  

“Being a leader, and how she inspired me to be one too.”

By: Natalie Burns

What truly makes an effective leader? Is it about power? Control? Or is it about creating a vision?

Catey Hill, a staff writer at the NY Daily News, said, “effective leadership is much more than simply giving assignments and direction. It requires vision, planning, and practice” (source).

It isn’t always easy to make friends in today’s society. As college students, we are busy with the pressures of everyday life. We may work and go to school full time. We may be mothers and fathers. We may be commuters, writers, and entrepreneurs. We are busy, and sometimes that makes it difficult to find long-lasting friendships.

In an article by Dr. Randy Kamen, a psychologist, educator, and author, she stated, “when life becomes challenging, women seek out friendships with other women as a means of regulating stress levels. A common female stress response is to ‘tend and befriend.’ That is, when women become stressed, their inclination is to nurture those around them and reach out to others” (source).

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Leah Rodriguez (left) and Natalie Burns (right).

When I first met Leah, I knew we would eventually be friends. She was personable, friendly, and always assertive in class (she also has really great hair). After we attended the summer Michigan PRSSA Leadership Summit together, we created a friendship and bond that allows us to continuously complement one another. Her positive and vibrant attitude gives me the ambition to want to excel in my own life. Our life is challenging enough, and we sought out a friendship together in order to have each other to lean on and take some of that pressure off.

A good leader is hard to find. A great friend is even harder. Someone that makes you want to be a better person, that challenges you to do great things, and a person that will go to any length to make sure you’re okay, is both a friend and leader that deserves recognition for their hard work, ambition, and reliability.

Not only has Leah been a loyal friend, but she has also allowed me to see the strengths and skills that I would like to see in a PR professional. She is assertive without being arrogant or condescending. She is able to delegate, while being kind and understanding. Leah also knows how to handle responsibility without getting stressed out with her personal life and hardships. These charismatic qualities spell out public relations, and they are key leadership skills that I believe are vital for the industry.

I am proud to have gained such an amazing friend. Although she has moved on to a new and exciting chapter in her life, her inspiration stays with me, and I know that her drive to keep me moving will stay with me.

Thank you Leah Rodriguez for being a part of this awesome journey called life!

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at natalierb.wordpress.com.