Category Archives: Tips

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.  

 

 

 

5 tips for updating your resume

By: Abby Cousineau

resume 5 tips

Don’t let a bland resume hold you back from landing your dream job.

Resume is defined as a brief summary of one’s education, qualifications, and previous experience. In other words, that single piece of paper pretty much determines whether you get called for a job interview.

The thought of sitting down and updating your resume can be downright terrifying. The reason why it feels like this is probably because you assume it’s going to take hours to get it right. But what if I told you that fixing your resume really isn’t that hard?

Make substantial strides in updating your resume by following these five quick, HR-approved tips that will make your piece of paper stand out.

  1. Highlight accomplishments.

Yes, employers need to know what you did, when you did it and where you did it, but one thing people tend to leave out is what they are truly proud of in a past job. Instead of just outlining the basic job responsibilities and leaving it at that, try adding a “key accomplishments” section where you lay out the achievements you are proudest of.

It may look something like this:

  1. Eliminate clichés.

Refrain from including popular clichés like “detail oriented” or “out-of-the-box thinker” in your resume. Employers see these phrases so often that meaning is pretty much entirely stripped away from them. Instead, locate these clichés and replace them with less popular synonyms. A great tool for finding alternative words is Power Thesaurus.

  1. Replace the objective with a summary.

The top of your resume is the first place recruiters look, so don’t waste it describing your objective. Recruiters know what your objective is: to get the job. Instead, use this key spot on your resume to introduce yourself and outline what valuable skills you will bring to the company.

  1. Include key words.

If you are applying to jobs online, there is a good chance your resume will not be initially viewed by a human. Likely your resume will be scanned for key words by a computer and then either be discarded or end up on someone’s desk.

Thus, it is important that you highlight key words from the job description in your resume and weave them throughout your resume.

  1. Make your previous job experience work.

If you are a student or a recent graduate with little relevant work history, be inventive and make other job responsibilities work. For example, if you worked at a coffee shop while in school, yes, you probably gained little traditional PR-related experience, however, you may have learned skills in customer service, time management, interpersonal communication, team work, upselling, etc.

All of these abilities are valuable and can be applied to many fields of work. Additionally, you can include relevant courses and class projects and experience from internships as well.

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.

Combating fake news: 4 tips for successful messaging

By: Abby Cousineau

How public relations professionals can ensure their message is heard accurately.

fake-news

Source: Mediaite.com

We’ve all heard about fake news, and I’m not just talking about President Donald Trump’s statements here. There seems to be fake news everywhere we look, and sometimes it is really hard to decipher what is real and what is not. According to a Gallup poll published last year, American’s confidence in the media hit an all time low at 32 percent. This certainly is not the best news for public relations professionals who use earned media to communicate their messages. So what is a PR pro to do in this era of fake news?

Well, I stumbled across an article posted on Airfoil’s blog, which answered this question precisely! Here are four tips marketing and PR professionals should use to ensure their message is being heard accurately.

  1. Develop a content marketing strategy.

People are getting most of their information online now, so it only makes sense for businesses to develop an online presence. According to the article, “not only does this give your business the ability to better control the message, but developing and publishing content on owned sites allows for greater authority.”

  1. Don’t forget your target audience.

If your business exists in a highly specialized space, try pitching to trade publications. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story in a relatively safe space.

  1. Speaking opportunities.

“Securing speaking opportunities at events where your target audience is already assembled is a great way to engage with a captive audience and present a strong message without relying too heavily on more traditional media outlets.”

  1. Social media is key.

Keep all channels updated, establish clear goals for each platform and engage with your audience. You can also reach out to influencers who can help validate your message.

Fake news won’t likely go away, so finding ways to combat it is key for public relations professionals. The field of public relations is always changing, and although this is an exciting aspect of our work, it is also important to be smart and stay updated on evolving trends.

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.

 

 

 

5 PR lessons learned from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

By: Nicole Raymond

Public relations lessons can be found in the strangest of places, if one only remembers to look for them. The Harry Potter universe is expanding once again as J.K. Rowling has created another segment to entice her audience who keeps coming back for more. While “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a movie filled with action and adventure, it is also filled with advice for PR practitioner. Here are five quotes from the movie that can help you in the PR field:

fantastic-beasts-2

Source: cineworld.ie

“I ask all of you, who does this protect? Us or them?” — Graves

Sometimes it’s important to ask this question. Although Graves was referring to the secrecy and laws protecting the no-majs (non-magical people) from the knowledge of wizards and magic, PR professionals need to protect both “us” the organization and “them” the public. It is a practitioner’s job to act in the best interest of the public while also helping the organization. If you’re concerned about the organization’s actions, it’s best to reference this question and decide who the actions are protecting. If the public isn’t one of the answers, you should reevaluate the actions.

fantastic-beasts-3

Source: inverse.com

“We’ve lived in the shadows for too long.” — Graves

The lesson to be learned from this quote is to not live in the shadows for too long. People will forget you or your brand if you stay silent. This doesn’t mean you should send out a press release for everything your organization does, but you should keep in contact with your public, reporters and other connections to ensure you remain at the forefront of their minds. Engage the public on social media, send reporters things they may be interested in and write notes to connections about the work you’ve been doing. This will ensure you live in the light rather than the shadows.

“Contain this, or it’ll mean war.” — Seraphina

This quote made by Seraphina, president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, referenced the crisis situation unfolding in New York, stating if they didn’t get the situation under control, a war would break out between the wizards and the no-majs. Like any PR professional in a crisis, Seraphina wanted to take care of the issue as efficiently and effectively as possible to avoid further conflict. Most PR crisis won’t mean literal war, however, it can mean more problems for an organization, so containing the crisis is imperative.

“No, I’m the only one like me.” — Jacob

Jacob is everyone’s favorite no-maj and for good reasons. He’s hilariously enthralled with the magical world. Wizards and no-majs aren’t supposed to interact in America, but a budding romance soon arises between Queenie, a witch, and Jacob, a no-maj. She asks him, “Are all no-majs like you?” Just like Jacob, you are unique and have qualities others don’t. PR practitioners should use their uniqueness as an advantage and shouldn’t be afraid to use their own style. Be true to yourself and the organization you represent. After all, you’re the only one like you.

“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” — Newt

Take a note from Newt: Worrying is the worst and it does no good. Like the quote says, “worrying means you suffer twice” because you add unnecessary stress to a situation and it does nothing to improve the situation. PR practitioners are often faced with stressful situations, but instead of worrying, they should think, plan or act to resolve the situation. If nothing can be done, don’t create stress by dwelling on the situation, move on and learn from the mistake.

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.

9 things PR practitioners can learn from baseball

By: Hope Salyer

baseball-3

Source: pixabay.com

You stayed up to watch the World Series and you saw the Cubs win for the first time in 108 years. What you might not have realized is that you actually learned some vital PR tips as well. Here are nine things that public relations practitioners can learn from baseball.

1. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Don’t report to your client on the successes or failures of your campaign until it has ended. Just as anything can happen in the bottom of the ninth inning of a Detroit Tigers verses Kansas City Royals game, anything can happen in the last few hours of your PR or Social Media campaign. You don’t want to report an early success or failure, only to have something shake that information up an hour after your report. Like Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

2. Practice makes perfect.

Major League Baseball players take batting practice before every game because practice makes perfect, and PR practitioners need to do the same. PR professionals have to constantly work to strengthen their skills, but this is something that can easily be forgotten. Volunteer for a nonprofit organization, participate in a Twitter chat with other professionals (#PRStudChat is a great resource for professionals and students), or find a mentor to help you hone your skills. There are many opportunities for practitioners to practice their skills; they just need to remember to do it!

3. Quality over quantity.

Baseball teams can’t buy World Series rings, and PR practitioners can’t buy successful campaigns. Teams spend millions of dollars in salaries each year to have the best chances at a World Series championship, yet only one team can win. PR campaigns are in the same boat. You can spend as much money as you want on a campaign, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be a success. You can’t simply focus on the numbers of retweets, comments and shares your campaign is getting. You also have to focus on the sentiment surrounding the campaign. Just because you are trending on Twitter, doesn’t mean it is for something positive.

4. Don’t dwell on strikeouts.

You haven’t lost until your competition is celebrating with champagne. Any PR campaign is going to have bumps in the road, so it is important to take a step back from the situation, analyze what went wrong and how to fix it, and then focus on how to prevent it from happening in the future.

5. Watch for the curve ball.

Anything can happen in PR, so practitioners have to be able to think fast. When something unexpected happens during your campaign or to your client’s reputation, you have to be able to think fast and come up with a solution to minimize the damage.

6. Be prepared to perform in clutch.

PR practitioners must always have a plan in place for a crisis situation. Crises can happen at any time, so when you get a call at 2 a.m. that your client is being dragged into a damaging front-page news story, you need to have a plan set in place that you and your team can implement on instinct, without having to start from scratch.

7. You can’t always swing for the fences.

Just as Bryce Harper can’t hit a home run every at bat, your client’s happenings isn’t going to be front-page news every day. It is so easy to get caught up in seeing your client in the news, but if you continuously pitch stories to journalists that aren’t relevant, you will hurt your relationship with them and your ability to get a story covered when you actually need it.

8. Don’t throw your arm out.

Baseball is a long game, and so are PR campaigns. You can’t use up all of your creativity and resources in the first six months of a year-long campaign. Make sure that you spread out your resources to ensure that you have enough coverage for your entire campaign.

9. Be prepared to come off the bench.

In a crisis situation, when everyone has been working around the clock and exhausted, you never know who will be able to step up to the plate and be the go-ahead run. It is important to train everyone on how to act during a crisis—even your interns.

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.

10 takeaways from September’s social media workshop

By: Andrea Mellendorf

social-media-workshop

Source: EMU PRSSA Instagram

Are you interested in a career in social media? Maybe you work in social media already. Or perhaps it’s just something you are really interested in. Either way, social media is an important player in the public relations game. Matthew Altruda from Bank of Ann Arbor joined us last month to discuss social media, and the ways that social media influence PR, and how we can use it to advance ourselves as professionals and influencers. Here are 10 takeaways from Matthew’s presentation:

  1. Have a title that people can invest in. Matthew’s title is social technologist, and he encouraged the group to make sure that when you start a job, your position has an innovative title—one that future employers and clients view as a worthwhile investment.
  2. Define your vision. When you start a project, a job or a new endeavor, define your vision to yourself. Make sure you know what your ultimate goal in the role is. Can that vision change? Absolutely! Just make sure you know where you’re headed and why you do what you do.
  3. Help your own vision. After you define your vision, make sure the things that you’re doing are helping you advance your vision. Take steps forward, not backward.
  4. Everything evolves. Snapchat has evolved from being a simple picture-sending platform to being one of the largest communication platforms ever. Live streams have evolved to suddenly become one of the biggest things Facebook has to offer. Everything evolves, so make sure you’re keeping up with the latest trends.
  5. Build your social media now. Use the time that you have in college to build your social media and help yourself stand out in your future job.
  6. Social media eliminates the need for websites. When is the last time you went to a company’s website? Or are you more apt to go to their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? As up-and-coming practitioners, it’s important to remember that social media is a go-to place for many consumers.
  7. Make your passion known. During interviews and on the job, make it known that the company and its mission is your passion. Don’t be afraid to be passionate about something!
  8. Social media is the timeline of our lives. Future generations can look to social media to see what was important to us, what we promoted, or even what we ate for breakfast in the year 2011. Make sure that your social media pages tell a story that you’re proud of.
  9. Social media can be dangerous. Social media is often used as an escape from reality. How is this impacting relationships? Do we need more of a balance between real life and social media? These are important questions for practitioners to be asking themselves.
  10. Everyone needs social media. People, businesses, causes—they all need social media. Without an online presence, you miss out on community building, sales and reaching the right people at the right time.

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!

The importance of an internship in PR

By: Hope Salyer

 

Ask any public relations practitioner what advice he or she would give to PR majors, and the answer is going to be to complete at least one internship. In a day and age where companies like the McTigue Financial Group in Chicago are receiving over 1,000 resumes a year for a mere 40 positions, an internship has never been more important.

With so many people competing for one job, it often comes down to a well-selected internship. Securing an internship provides you with real-world experience that is so valuable in today’s PR workforce. Companies and clients want someone with experience. They want to know they can count on a PR practitioner who is creative, innovative, has experience dealing with problems when they arise, and can lead their brand in a constantly-changing environment. There is no better way to prove you are that person than by completing an internship.

Internships are becoming so important and popular now that many companies pride themselves in having a successful internship program, oftentimes hiring interns for full-time positions. According to PR Daily, interns are 70 percent more likely to be hired as full-time employees with a company.

Internships also help to provide you with a portfolio of work for future employers. According to Webershandwickseattle.com, an internship provides you with great examples of professional and quality work that you’ve done. You can then create a blog of your own using a site like WordPress.com, and publish all of your work and writing samples in one easy place for future employers to find.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a college internship is the opportunity it provides for you to discover what you like and what you dislike. By completing multiple internships during college, you get to experience the reality of working in an agency, corporate, and nonprofit setting or any others you would like to learn about. Internships allow you to explore what you want to do in the field, whether it’s the event planning aspect of PR, or crisis management—without the pressure of being stuck in a position you hate.

The importance and benefits of an internship increase each year. With so many opportunities out there for PR students around the country, an internship is a great start to your career!

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.