Tag Archives: advice

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.  

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Becoming a better writer

By: Josie Bobeck

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Photo created by Josie Bobeck using Canva

I love writing, and I love that I’ve found a career path that will allow me to do something I enjoy doing and be creative. Writer’s block is a real thing, though, and it can really suck sometimes. For instance, I had absolutely no idea what to write for this blog post. It takes a certain spark of motivation for me to get it into gear. Over time, I’ve found that there are tips and tricks to become a better writer.

Write down all your ideas. It doesn’t matter what they are, but just do it. That way you can go back and reflect. You might overhear a snippet of a conversation or hear a song lyric or quote that inspires you, and that can really help later on.

Read more. Back in high school, I took AP Literature and Composition, and that class forced me to read some classic pieces of literature that stayed with me. The more you read, the more you’re introduced to different styles of writing. The more you know about the different styles, and the more cultured you are, the better your chances are of finding your own voice.

Write, and write often. You won’t get any better at something if you don’t do it often. The more you write and revise your work, the more likely you are to catch your mistakes and be confident in your work.

Right click. Your thesaurus is your best friend when it comes to expanding your vocabulary. Keep a list of words in your documents so you can refer back to them later.

Don’t be afraid of criticism. If you want to become a better writer, part of that process includes making mistakes. That’s OK. You’re supposed to. You’re not going to be a perfect writer overnight.

Don’t put it off. Even writing essays for class can improve your writing. Don’t wait until the last minute to write that three page paper. Put 100 percent into it and your effort will show.

It’s possible to become a better writer and to enjoy it. All it takes is some practice. It may not come easy, but in the end it will be worth it.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. This is her first semester serving as vice president of member relations. She hopes to one day work in nonprofit PR. Josie enjoys spending time with her two dogs, her cat, and her family. Josie can be reached on Twitter @josephine3laine or via email.

 

 

5 things I learned from my PR internship

By: Jordan Ross

This past semester, I was grateful for the opportunity to undertake my first public relations internship. Now that the semester has wrapped up and things have finally started to slow down a bit, I’ve had the chance to think about all the things I’ve learned throughout these past four months. After narrowing my list down, I was able to come up with five of the most important things I learned from my internship that could prove beneficial for others as they partake in their own internships in the future.

Utilize the people around you.

When I first started my internship, I wasn’t exactly sure who I’d be working with, or if I’d even be working with anyone at all. On my first day, my fears were calmed as I had at least one person I knew that I’d be able to confide in. I had already known this person before I started my internship from working together at another job, so we already had a sense for each other and how we worked, which helped me feel more comfortable moving forward in the internship.

As I continued to move forward, I got to know a lot more people along the way. Many of those people I never expected to talk to, let alone get to know so well. You never know who will cross your path in life and help you accomplish your goals. No matter how intimidating someone may seem, most people who are around you want to see you succeed. The people you work with every day can be used as tools to help you learn, you just have to be willing to take advantage of using those tools.

Be open to trying new things.

Most of the time, people don’t like to do things that are new to them because they aren’t used to it. When you aren’t used to something, it isn’t very comfortable. It’s why a lot of people get into certain routines and don’t get out of them. Comfort doesn’t always come right away. If you’re willing to give something a chance, then the outcome may be better than you expected.

By the time someone is ready for an  internship position, they’ve probably had their share of life experiences. When starting a new position, you don’t want to forget all that you’ve learned in the past, but a new internship is a new experience, and you may learn some new best practices that you can incorporate into your life. As I progressed in my internship, there were times when I was asked to do something that I was unfamiliar with, but I gave it a shot. Now, I can add those things to my own toolkit in life and take them with me to future jobs.

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Source: BankNXT

Stay up to date with things happening daily.

In this world, things can change at any given moment. People have their own opinions about things that are going on in the world they live in, and social media is increasingly becoming the outlet that people use to express their views.

While social media may seem overwhelming to keep up with at times, it can also be really  fun. The immediacy of social media allows you to obtain quick information right as it’s happening, and in a way it allows you to be wherever the news is, even if you’re not there. The more you know about what is happening in the world, the easier it is to provide timely and relevant information to your audience. Being relevant really does a lot to help engage and build the relationship with your audience, which should be one of the main goals of a business’s social media efforts.

Take feedback and don’t be afraid to give it.

Everybody wants to do the best they can when they are trusted with a given task. Whether it be your job, classwork, or life in general, people typically want to succeed because it feels good to know that people are happy with your performance. The way you know whether you’re doing a good job is by receiving feedback from those you work with. Now, don’t get me wrong, depending on whether the feedback is good or bad, sometimes receiving that feedback can feel better than other times. Regardless of the type of feedback you receive, it’s essential to growing as a person and improving your strengths and weaknesses.

While it’s beneficial to receive feedback to help you progress in life, it’s also good to do the same for others. If you have good intentions and are providing productive feedback to others, then you shouldn’t worry as much. I’ve found that people find it refreshing to hear another person’s point of view, however, you never want to bash anyone. If you can help someone by providing them with productive feedback, it can go a long way.

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Source: LikeSuccess

Remember to have fun!

Being an intern is a lot of hard work, but no matter what, remembering to have fun is one of, if not the most important thing you can do. Throughout my internship, I worked hard and learned a lot from my team, and in the process, I had fun doing it. All of that combined will make for an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

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.

And the countdown begins…

By: Anissa Gabbara

It’s 2017! If you’re a senior, this year symbolizes one thing and one thing only…graduation! Many of us will soon be walking alongside our peers, making one of the biggest milestones in our lives. Until then, we’re longing to checkout early. Although our minds have been consumed with the thought of receiving a diploma, it’s important that we’re putting just as much thought into what we’re going to do after we throw our caps and gowns into our closets to collect dust, and place our diplomas in a nice frame. Here are my words of advice to graduating seniors:

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Source: Pixabay.com

Keep your eyes on the prize.

The workload during the final semester of college can get quite intense, and it’s normal to feel stressed out or anxious for graduation to hurry up and get here, but know that each day brings you one step closer to receiving your degree! Remember, you didn’t come this far for nothing!

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Source: Pixabay.com

Enjoy being a student.

Enjoy the convenience of being a student while it lasts. I like to think of college as being our final “safe place” before stepping into the “real world.” College is a place where we still have time to find ourselves, make mistakes, and discover new interests. You may not realize it now, especially if you’re drowning in debt and hours of classes and work, but there are luxuries of being a student. For example, people tend to be more forgiving because they know you’re still learning. Out there in the real world, people will no longer hold your hand, as you’re expected to know everything.

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Source: Pixabay.com

Chase your dreams.

Corny, right? Call it what you want, but the last thing you want to do is wake up one day saying, “I wish I would’ve done that.” Life after college is the kind of freedom we thought we had when we graduated from high school. Take that freedom and run with it. Our possibilities are endless and our potential goes far beyond a degree. In other words, if you’re a public relations major, but have dreams of winning the Super Bowl, becoming America’s next top model, or even the next Beyoncé, go for it! We just might see you at the Grammys.

Use the next four months to think about where you want to see yourself in the next year. Set goals, reach them, and repeat. It’s all up to you, but take it easy. This time in a college career is bittersweet, so please cherish it while you still can.

Cheers to 2017!

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.  

Knowing your stuff: Why it’s so important

By: Anissa Gabbara

knowing-your-stuff

Source: pixabay.com

Being well read is crucial in public relations and your professors have probably preached this to you countless times, but it’s true. In an ever-changing industry, you must stay informed. If you’re an aspiring PR practitioner, but you don’t really care about the latest trends in the field or what’s going on in the world, pick a different major or get with the program. Here’s why:

  1. It’s good for your clients.

A well-read PR practitioner is a credible one. If you know your stuff, it will reflect in your work and your client will notice. If you’re staying up to date on current events and the latest innovations in PR, social media and marketing, it will serve as a benefit to your client. Using your knowledge as a tool only provides reassurance to your client that he or she is getting the best of the best.

  1. It makes you a valuable employee.

Not only is knowing your stuff great for your client, but it’s also beneficial to your company. More so than ever, companies are seeking employees who are knowledgeable, reliable, and guaranteed to deliver the best results. The more up to date you are on what’s going on in the PR industry and the world around it, the more you can effectively contribute to the success of the company.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

As I mentioned earlier, if the latest news in the PR industry or the world in general sparks none of your interests, learn to love it, because once you leave college and enter the real world, people are going to want to talk about it. Current events will probably make up the majority of your morning conversations with your co-workers, so don’t be left out! Better yet, don’t make yourself look foolish by being completely clueless about what’s going on in the world. It’s that important!

It’s understandable if your schedule doesn’t allow you to be as well read as you’d like, but try to set aside at least five minutes of your day to scroll through your news feed or visit your favorite news site to get a general rundown of what’s happening that day. You won’t regret it!

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.  

9 things PR practitioners can learn from baseball

By: Hope Salyer

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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.

Defining the dress code: Business casual

By: Abby Cousineau

Check out this list of business casual essentials to help guide you in building your professional wardrobe.

As a junior in college, I have been thinking a lot about the future. Pretty soon, I will be graduating and hopefully moving on to a professional job in public relations or a related field. Because I have been so focused on the future, I have also taken a hard look at my closet. I noticed I don’t have much of a professional wardrobe, something I will definitely need as I enter the workforce after graduation. I know I need to start looking into getting more professional clothing, and it is my personal opinion that doing this gradually over the next couple of years is better than going on one huge shopping spree a year from now. So, how do I go about doing this? What am I supposed to look for when I go shopping? What are employers going to expect of me in terms of my dress?

Well, let me start out by saying it is my own observation that many offices require a business casual wardrobe. According to Oxford Dictionaries, business casual is defined as “relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.” After some Pinterest browsing, I have put together this list of business casual essentials that may help guide you in building your own professional wardrobe.

So, without further ado, here is my list of business casual essentials:

A variety of dress pants.

Black, navy and gray are vital, but try to mix it up by adding a colored or simple-printed pant like stripes or gingham. A combination of fitted and flowy bottoms is ideal, but go with what fits your body best.

Blazers

A black blazer is a necessary element of your business casual closet. Cream, gray or tan blazers are also versatile and can be worn with nearly any color.

Blouses and button-down shirts.

A white button-down shirt is a classic must-have, but try to mix in brighter colors and patterns with your shirts. Colors or patterns can easily be subdued by adding a neutral blazer or sweater and solid bottoms. Pinstriped and neutral-colored tops are also good to have on hand.

Sweaters and cardigans.

Especially with Michigan’s unpredictable weather, sweaters and cardigans are a necessity for any work wardrobe. Neutral is the way to go when it comes to top additions. A black or cream sweater can be worn any day and paired with a colored bottom or accessory for a bit more interest. With that being said, a colored sweater or cardigan is never out of the question, just make sure your outfit as a whole is not overflowing with colors, patterns and textures.

Skirts and dresses.

Make an impression by trying colored or simple-patterned skirts and dresses. Avoid neon colors and complex patterns in the workplace, as they might be more of a distraction than an upbeat statement.

Accessories

A watch is a staple that can be worn every day if it is the right style. Go for a classic gold watch or try more of a minimalistic look. As a general rule, jewelry should be kept to a minimum. If your outfit doesn’t have much texture to it, add a bit with a staple necklace. But if your outfit has bright colors, layers, patterns or multiple textures, keep your accessories to a minimum. Try stud earrings or a simple necklace or bracelet.

Shoes

Stand out with your shoes! Bright colors and leopard print can actually be classy and work appropriate when subtle. Neutral-colored heels and flats, however, are the base of any good shoe collection. Black and tan shoes can be worn with pretty much any outfit. If you like wearing heels, one thing to keep in mind is to make sure they are not too high or gaudy.

Pro Tip: Pops of color! Try to incorporate some color into your work wardrobe. A drab, gray and black closet will not cut it in a PR agency.

Of course, these are just some suggestions to kick-start your wardrobe-building process. You should always wear what makes you feel confident, to work and beyond.

Check out Harvard Office of Career Services’ Pinterest page for more inspiration.

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 Instagram @abcattt.