PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

Archive for the ‘Internship’ Category

Reaching Your Professional Greatness

In Education, Internship, Lessons Learned, Public Relations, Young Professionals on April 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

The journey to becoming a certified, verified, and vetted public relations professional is a very intricate and arduous process. MY ultimate goal as a professional is to be seen both within and outside my field as a valuable thought-leader on issues that matter to the advancement of the PR practice and it’s practitioners.

What are your goals as a professional? How are you moving toward achieving your ultimate goals?

The journey of a young pro always begins with finding that first job -and being taken seriously as a professional would be nice too, but that usually comes a little later.  The first few years are about you earning your stripes by spending long nights at the office, doing less than appealing client work, and conducting tasks that may make you ask: Am I still an intern? Or where is the intern?

Despite the struggles of being a new PR pro, establishing or at least thinking about your professional legacy is a must.  Therefore I offer the following tips to help you ascend to professional greatness.

Will they work? Hell,I don’t know.

Nevertheless these are the strategies I’m following, so you are more than welcome to apply them to your own goals wherever you see fit. Plus I would never steer myself wrong!

My Steps Toward Professional Greatness (in no particular order):

1. Define your professional legacy early – it’s never too early to think about the mark you want to leave on your field. Be passionate and proactive.

2. Establish your professional philosophies as soon as possible– as a young PR pro you probably haven’t even considered what your professional philosophies are; but after a few years in the field you should have a firm grasp on what you can offer different than anybody else. Don’t be another cookie cutter pro!

3. Connect with the YOU 10 years from now– having a mentor is still the best resource for any professional- no matter the field. Find a pro that embodies everything you want to be when you reach their years in the field. Know their path and take what you need to make your own.

4. Contribute to the conversation– one of the most valuable tips my mother has ever given me is to always have something to say. As a child/teen I never quite understood what she meant, but now as an adult, I know exactly what she means. Always be able to add value to a topic of conversation. Whether it be as small as asking a question in a meeting, commenting on or penning a blog…or as impactful as joining a board or teaching a class…never be a wall flower.

There are several other tips I could offer but I think that’s enough for now. I want to hear your tips. What steps are you taking to reach your professional greatness?

Please share!

You’ve Got The Job….Now What?!

In Internship, Jobs, Public Relations, Social Media, Specialty, Uncategorized, Young Professionals on April 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

So maybe your job search was easy or maybe it was….trying (raises hand). But no matter the time length, you’ve been luckily or savvy enough to land a job in your field. Now what?

Do you stop networking?

Do you stop receiving job postings from Careerbuilder, Paladin, Doostang, etc?

Do you stop reading articles and industry news?

Do you run in the middle of the street and do your happy dance?

Answer: No. No. No. Hell Yeah!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for a job in PR? Here’s where to start!

In Education, Internship, Jobs, Specialty, Young Professionals on April 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Continuing with our guest blogger series, we have recruited another up and coming PR professional that is making some real progress in the field – Sophia Alfred…

Graduated? Have Experience? Looking for a Job in PR? Where to Start!

You may have a Bachelors, a Masters, or maybe just straight experience. In school you may have learned the fundamentals  public relations or you may have learned how to write a research paper. But I don’t remember a single time where I was taught how to look for a job! It has been drilled in us as PR professionals to network, network, and network so more! While that is probably one of the best ways to find a job- it can’t possibly be the only way, right? What if you don’t have connections in the specialty you want to explore? Or there are no openings… anywhere? What do you do, where do you start? Read the rest of this entry »

A Masters Is the New Bachelors

In Education, Internship, Jobs, Public Relations, Specialty on March 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm

In order to keep our content fresh and interesting, we have decided to allow other new and young PRos to serve as guest bloggers in order to share their experience and insight. Enjoy!

This week’s guest blogger is Shannon Smith:

Now more than ever, recent graduates who hold a Bachelors degree are feeling pressured to stay in school to pursue their Masters. Most people feel that a B.A. today is the equivalent of having a high school diploma and more employers are beginning to require a higher degree. The Census Bureau data shows us that typically young adults with Master’s degrees earn about $10,000 more a year than those only having a bachelor’s degree.  At times having a Masters degree is almost essential to ensuring progression on the corporate ladder of success. This may be a lot of pressure and overwhelming for recent graduates, especially those who are eager to get their careers started.

The cost, type of program and school are all issues that can contribute to creating more stress for recent college graduates. Especially those who decide to go straight through without taking a break. I believe if you create a sound and realistic plan for entering graduate school, your anxiety levels will be greatly minimized.

5 Important P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Q. How can I pay for graduate school?

The grants and scholarships at the graduate level are not always as plentiful as they are in the undergraduate level. Student loans aren’t always readily available at the graduate level; however loans are not always the desired options, especially for those that have an outstanding debt from undergraduate school.  For those not interested in loans may find it beneficial to research graduate assistantships or fellowships. Most schools have them and many are willing to cover majority  if not all tuition fees. On occasion stipends may also be available.

Q. How do I know what school is right for me?

It is imperative to pick a college that provides the program you are interested in. Try not to pick a college based off convenience because you may find that they do not offer the program you REALLY want. You will only hurt yourself in the long run. Most people pick programs that will concentrate on a specific component that is included within the discipline of their Bachelors degree. However this is also an opportunity for those who are interested in another area to shift their focus.

The best way to avoid a burn out during graduate school is to continue to make short term and long term goals while constantly engaging in small projects that will help you achieve those goals. Do not let temporary situations overwhelm you and make you lose focus on lifetime achievements. While in school you should continue to follow up on all internship, job, and networking opportunities available to you. It is crucial to incorporate your education with real world experience because that is ultimately what employers looking for. Not only do they want you to have knowledge, they also want to see you use the information in action. Your ability to  apply your knowledge will make you a stand-out candidate for any position.

Obtaining your Masters Degree will seem less overwhelming once payment arrangements and a school has been chosen. Try following these steps and staying focused on your future goals to lessen your anxiety about graduate school. Remember: Planning is crucial!

Shannon Smith has a strong foundation in the communication field. A graduate from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications.She has completed an internship at WFLD/Fox Chicago in the production department for the Fox New in the Morning Show as well as an Online Marketing internship with Urbanwire.tv. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Media Studies which she will complete in August 2010. She currently serves as the proud and dedicated co-owner of Howard Smith & Associates PR which keeps her pretty busy. Feel free to contact her at ssmith@howardsmithpr.com.

Young PRos and The Recession: It’s Our Time To Shine!

In Freelance, Internship, Jobs, Public Relations, Specialty, Uncategorized, Young Professionals on March 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

As a young PR professional most of us know someone who is unemployed or you may be out of work yourself. It is an unfortunate situation to say the least but this may be the best time to hone your skills. When you graduated college, you probably thought “I am going to go on a few interviews, get a great PR job, and rule the world.” Fooled You! Mister Economy said “You are going to graduate from school and interview until your tongue falls out and then get so fed up that you leave good ole PR behind and venture off into no mans land.” Don’t listen to him; don’t listen to all the unemployment rates on television. Keep moving forward!

During this trying period of unemployment, it is very important that you stay relevant, especially as a young PRo because we don’t have as much professional experience on our resume as the average seasoned PRo. Therefore, you will need to stay more active than ever. Soon you will begin to feel as if you actually have a full time job but without the perks.

I’m sure everyone has said network, network, network; it’s true we do have to network but what is networking when you have done absolutely nothing to build your skills during your job search? Most companies say they want a self starter, not only does that mean be a self starter in the workplace but you also have to be proactive with your everyday life. Look around you… Ask yourself, “How can I make use of my skills?” Below are a few pointers that will help you to build your professional portfolio:

  • PR  Job Descriptions

What do 98 percent of PR jobs ask of a future employee? Writing, writing is always key. Write an opinion editorial for your local newspaper to see if you can get published, keep trying until you do get published. Start a blog, not only are you creating your own personal brand but you are also getting that creative writing practice. Also, don’t forget about those books you spent a million dollars on in college, use those books to support whatever you write.

  • Your Inner Circle

Look at the people around you. Maybe someone in your circle is trying to start a business or build their personal brand, offer your PR services to them. You will be surprised at how many people don’t, for example, have a Facebook page but are trying to push themselves as an accomplished author. Create an initial strategic communications plan for your project, believe me they will be grateful to receive these free services and it also gives you an opportunity to prove yourself; you never know who others know.

  • Professional Development

Look for ways to gain professional development that would normally be paid for by an employer.  If you have experience in search engine marketing or you are looking to get a job that has a SEM component then it doesn’t hurt to get a Google Certification. You can also take if upon yourself to take a writing or HTML class or workshop at your local community college.

These are only a few ways to stay relevant while waiting to lock down that dream job. You will find that you have actually contributed to the work experience you already have on your resume.  When asked that question, “So, what have you been doing while you have been searching for jobs?” You can actually say you have been doing something to build your PR expertise and not just the typical. “I have been waiting tables,” you are able to say “I have been developing my PR skills by doing… along with my recession job.”

In my previous blog posting, I said “The great recession has made me greater,” always strive for greatness in whatever you do and be confident at what you do.

Do what you can, where you are, and with what you have!

Teddy Roosevelt

Finding Your PRofessional Niche

In Internship, Jobs, Public Relations, Social Media, Specialty, Young Professionals on February 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

One of the hardest things for me as a young professional has been trying to identify my professional niche. Entertainment, health care, technology, education, …. So many to choose from.

The weird thing is, I’ve never had a specific specialty that I wanted to focus on within public relations. As a student in college I was simply enamored by the concept of PR. After realizing how powerful public relations could be, I immersed myself in learning as much as I could.  In regard to identifying a specialty, I assumed it would come with time and experience.

During my time in the profession, I have encountered several fellow  practitioners who also share my “generalist” approach to identifying a specialty. Most PRofessionals are satisfied with this approach because it doesn’t limit them in their field. The “well-rounded” strategy is the best, and it is the road I’ve taken in securing my status as a truly dedicated practitioner.

But there are several professionals who feel lost without having a specialty to focus on. But if you MUST, here are some things you may want to consider while on your search:

1. Various Internships: Prior to obtaining  full-time employment try doing as many internships  as you can in different areas of PR (at least three) to get a variety of experiences. Hopefully you will be able to identify one or more areas you find most interesting.

2. Agency Job: If you aren’t able to get as many internships as you would like while in school, then try seeking employment at an agency where they have a variety of practices. Working at an agency generally gives you an opportunity to work with  different clients and teams, allowing you to have your hand in various projects.

3.  Your Passion: What are you passionate about?  If you have always been interested and knowledgeable in the music or fashion industry, try collaborating your professional passion with your personal passion. Work will never feel like work again.

If you apply these 3 little tips I am confident you will be on the right path to identifying your PRofessional specialty.  Yet I insist that you don’t stress yourself about finding one specific area.  You will be more marketable to employers if you’ve had a variety of experiences, thus not limiting yourself professionally.

One of my favorite quotes:

To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.

Mark Sullivan(1874 – 1952)