Category Archives: Tips

6 Things Incoming PR Majors Should Know

By Heather Pruitt

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the opportunity to become a Group Leader as a part of Eastern Michigan University’s Orientation program. As someone who loves interacting with people, and has a passion for Eastern, working this job has become one of my favorite things to do.

However, my favorite part about being an Orientation Group Leader is getting to know the incoming students. I am excited for them to find their place at Eastern, just as I have found mine, and to start writing their own story while they’re at college.

I enjoy talking with all students at FastTrack (the segment of orientation where students register for classes) but nothing gets me more excited than meeting a future PR major. Even though I have only encountered a handful, I am incredibly excited for everything that they are about to experience when they start PR at EMU.

While I am excited to see the students start their journey at Eastern, there is nothing that I want to do more than to tell them everything I wish I had known when I started. But with one short day, it can be a little intense for incoming students to register for classes, get their first taste of college, and be bombarded with advice about their program all in one day. So I decided to create a list of the six things I wish I knew about PR as an incoming freshman.

Learn to love writing.

When I started the program, I expected to exclusively be planning events, posting on social media, and standing up in front of my class giving presentations about the future of Facebook. While these aspects are apart of the Public Relations program, I was in the dark about how important writing is in the world of PR. Press releases, feature articles, crafting newsletters, and blog posts, are all incredibly important parts of PR. So learn to love writing, learn to love your writing, because it will become an important part of your life.

Start networking from the beginning

Within the first few weeks of starting my freshman year, I decided to join PRSSA. I’ll be honest- joining PRSSA freaked me out because I had to learn to network and get acclimated to college life. How was I, an 18-year-old, who was stressed about finding new friends, supposed to network with professionals for a career that was years away? I found that having someone in the program who I felt comfortable asking questions to, and getting help from, was reassuring. They can help ease any worries you have about entering the world of PR. Additionally, the earlier your start networking, the more people you come in contact with, which can benefit you in the long run.

Join PRSSA

Joining PRSSA is great way to start networking and to learn about PR. It allows you to learn how to network, as well as give you information about subjects that are relevant to the PR world. Joining PRSSA also gives you the chance for great leadership opportunities in and out of the organization.

Invest in a ‘professional outfit’

When I started college, I had no idea what clothes would identify as ‘business casual’. I didn’t even know when or why I would need them! I found that it is important to invest in clothing that is appropriate for the occasion. While it may not be frequent when you start college, there will be occasions that require you to dress in business casual and possibly business professional. Make sure that you are prepared and have outfits that fit criteria. Having the wrong outfit can leave the wrong impression! However, if you are unsure about what outfits are business casual or business professional, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest!

Make time to do a little PR everyday.

Make an investment to look at a PR blog a few times a week to stay updated with the ever changing world of PR. There are some professors who like to use current events as teaching points for their classes. When you are up to date, it gives you an advantage to speak up in class, and really helps fuel class discussions. Additionally, if you don’t have a lot of time I recommend subscribing to Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is an online database that helps journalists with upcoming stories. They send you emails several times a day with topics that are relevant. This is a great way to stay updated on current trends.

Set out a timeline of how you want things to go.

It is one thing to know that there are goals you want to accomplish in college, however, it is another thing to achieve those goals. Create a timeline of what you want to do in your college career, and set dates to accomplish those goals by.

Heather Pruitt is a junior majoring in Public Relations. This is her first year serving as VP of Member Relations.

Walkouts at the New York Times

By Josie Bobeck

Image result for the new york times

Source: deadline.com

The New York Times is one of the most well known newspapers in the world, if not the number one. And if you know anything about how newspapers work, you know that it takes a village from start to finish to get a newspaper to the public.

Earlier this week the New York Times announces plans to cut back on the news paper’s copy editors. Copy editors are super important in the world of journalism – without them, publications would be filled with typos, grammar mistakes, and missed punctuation.

Image result for copy editing

Source: lynettenoni.com

Executive editors said in a statement that by laying off editors, the newspaper would be able to hire as many as 100 journalists with the money.

Copy editors aren’t the only people in fear of losing their job – the role of public editor, around since 2003, is also said to be eliminated.

So why is this relevant to public relations?

PR professionals work very closely with journalists, and it is crucial that publications are well-written and clean. A simple typo could be very bad for a company. Copyediting is more than just proofreading – it’s a valuable skill that could help give you an advantage in the world of media.

Eastern Michigan University offers a Copy Editing class (JRNL 307). In this class you will learn more about AP style, grammar, and how to improve stories overall.

Josie Bobeck is a senior majoring in written communication and minoring in communication. She is currently the VP of Public Relations, previously serving as VP of Member Relations. Josie hopes to one day work in a creative environment in a big city or for a record label doing publicity. Connect with Josie on Twitter at @Josephine3laine or by email at jbobeck@emich.edu.

 

3 Tips to Get Into Grad School

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 9.19.28 AM

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.

How to make amazing blog graphics (for free)

By: Abby Cousineau

Do you want to make your blog posts pop off the screen and grab people’s attention? This article will explain how to create amazing, FREE graphics for blogs, social media and so much more.

blog post

Source: Abby Cousineau

We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” and although I agree with this statement, I think we all know that living by this saying is actually super hard! We are visual creatures and whether we like it or not, having good graphics for blogs, social media posts, books, etc. can make a huge difference.

If you currently have a blog, just started one or even if you are strictly a connoisseur of other people’s blogs, you probably realize the importance of an eye-catching image. Having a unique graphic is a major factor in getting people to click on your posts.

Creating amazing images for your blog is actually a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t have to cost you any money either!

So, how do you make an amazing blog graphic with no money or graphic design experience?

Here are my three tips:

bp1.png

Source: Abby Cousineau

Tip 1. Utilize online tools

Canva and Picmonkey are both online sites that make creating graphics a breeze. You can play around with templates and designs like the image above and make it fit your needs by changing colors, text and pictures. You can also create unique designs by utilizing tools like text boxes, frames, shapes, illustrations, charts and more. The best part? Both of these tools are totally free and simple to use.

Tip 2. Design with Adobe Programs

Adobe programs like Illustrator and InDesign are made for graphic design purposes. There are a lot more functions and options on these programs, and there are millions of free YouTube videos that explain how to use them. Although these programs do cost money, if you are a student, most campus computers have Adobe creative suites installed on them, AKA they should be free to use! Additionally, Adobe offers student packages which make getting these programs affordable.

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Source: Abby Cousineau

Tip 3. Get Stock Images for Free

One of the challenges of making graphics for blogs and social media is finding high-quality, relevant photos. Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or the equipment to take photos for their blog posts. Websites like Kaboompics, Pixabay and Pexels make getting stock photos easy and free. Just search for what you want, download and use.

So, there you have it! My tips for how to create professional, eye-catching designs for free.

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.

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.