PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

It’s NOT a Hobby, It’s Freelance!

In Freelance, Jobs, Lessons Learned, Public Relations on August 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

 

In my previous posting I discussed how freelance work contributes to your ability to strengthen your skills and credibility while on the job hunt. Now the question becomes, “How do I put this on a resume?” This issue can be overwhelming for applicants. While you don’t want it to seem like the job you are applying for isn’t your main focus, you also don’t want to underestimate your experience in your field. From my experience it is important to let employers know that you are driven and dedicated to your field. Many employers will be impressed by your proactive approach to stay connected to the field. Here are a few tips on how to list your experience.

List infrequent projects cautiously

If you pick up freelance projects infrequently and do not intend to make freelancing a full time career, omit them from your resume. The only time you would list occasional freelance work is if it allows you to fill any gaps in your professional experience.

If you freelance regularly, have worked as a contractor for a period longer than three months, or have ever owned your own business, indicate that experience on your resume. Highlight those attributes of the job experience that qualify you as a perfect candidate for the job that you are seeking.

List your job responsibilities in the same way that you would for any other full-time job you’ve held; focus on those responsibilities which best meet your career objective and quantify your achievements when possible. Exemplify your self-starter attitude under the Qualifications section of your resume. Make sure to list any employable skills you have acquired or strengthened while you were self employed.

Be prepared for the following questions

Even after you have listed the details of your employment on your resume, you may still get several questions from your potential employer about them. Questions may be along the following lines:

  • Were you self-employed because you were in between jobs, or because you wanted to start your own business?
  • Are you still working on your own, as a freelancer or a consultant? If so, do you intent to continue this work in addition to your full time job?
  • Is your self-employment presenting a conflict of interest for the company?
  • Are you working as a freelancer or a contractor on part-time basis, and never intend to have this replace full-time employment?
  • Does your long-term career goal include owning your own business?

You can see that all of these questions are valid from your potential employer’s point of view. Companies don’t want to spend the time and resources to hire you, train you and provide you with benefits only to have you quit after a year to start your own business.

Show your commitment to the job

As a final indication of your commitment to the job you are seeking. Make sure that your cover letter or email addresses anticipated concerns of your potential employer. Make references to anything on your resume that may raise questions. If you still own your own business, but are looking for full-time work, for example, make sure to let your employer know what your long-term professional goals are and how you intend to balance your roles at both businesses.

Avoid apologizing for how you make an income. Your resume and cover letter should present you as a credible and passionate professional. Focus on the positive experiences and skills you have acquired as a freelancer, and make sure to let the employer know how these will benefit the company if you are their chosen candidate.

 

Creating Job Experience For The Resume…Without a Job!

In Freelance, Jobs, Lessons Learned, Public Relations, Social Media, Young Professionals on August 5, 2011 at 1:34 am

You have the degree or degrees, but you are still unable to find a job. It’s like a Catch 22: “ How do I get the job experience, if I can’t get the job?” These few tips will help you stay connected to your field even though you aren’t currently working in your field.

Accepting a job outside the field

No matter what type of degree you have you, can pretty much apply it to any industry and it will get you a job. Since we are not in a perfect world, you must be willing to accept a job outside your field, temporarily of course, if you want to sustain your lifestyle.  Employers are looking for actual work experience in addition to education, so if you cannot get it in your desired career field then it is time to get some experience, somewhere. To avoid going too far off base, limit the jobs you’re applying to so that they still meet job duties that are applicable to your career choice. In the communications field you have to know how to adapt and recognize how job descriptions often overlap. Most times, accepting a job anywhere in the field of communications can be used to your advantage when revising your resume to the jobs that are relevant to your career. Whatever you do, do not lose the steam to keep applying or you WILL stay at that job and will never make advances in your passion of choice.

Freelance work

If you say you have a passion  now is the time to show and prove!  There are a lot of up and coming businesses that may or may not have the budget and are unaware of their need for Public Relations or Marketing or Social Media. Go out and make them aware! It is ok to accept a lower pay because at this point your main objective is to continue to stay active in your field so that you can continue to fuel your passion and show those jobs your tenacity and experience.

Social Media

Social Network relationships don’t cultivate themselves. It takes some work on your part, as would any other relationship. Continue to use social networking sites to reach out to potential employers; but don’t forget the most important thing of all…NETWORK!!! Do not network with the  intention of simply  getting a job, but rather, build meaningful relationships with the intentions to connect and offer  information. Posting relevant information about your field or engaging in discussion about topics related to your field can accomplish this.

Reading Materials

So you have you Bachelors and maybe even you Masters. Does that mean you can get away from educational reading? NEVER! Not if you want to be successful. Things are always changing so it is in your best interest to keep abreast with everything that is going on in your field.  Since you aren’t learning these things in the workplace, and you don’t plan on continuing your education in the classroom, then you need to make sure you are being proactive in your attempts to staying to date with information.

So take a moment to ask yourself — Are you being proactive or reactive in pursuing your career? What other tips have you tried to build your work experience and credibility in your field? Do you have any tips for ways to expand the tips that were given? Please share below.

Social Media PR Strategies

In Corporate Social Responsibility, Education, Lessons Learned, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I’d like to explore a brief outline of how you can effectively use social media to accomplish your PR objectives. The social web is as flexible as you want it to be, and there is no single “right answer”. The following short outline will guide you for how to approach a social media PR strategy.

 

Developing your Platform

Social media is more than just Twitter

Everyone is buzzing about Twitter and it is without question one of the most influential networks among PR and marketing professionals. And while we’re fond of Twitter as well, (follow us @HowardSmithPR ) social media is far more than just Twitter. If Twitter is the extent of your participation you’re missing out. To truly be effective at using social media for PR, treat Twitter as a feeder to something larger – as one piece to a much larger and elegant puzzle.

Making the connection

Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket or network, focus on owning your niche across web platforms. There is little value in being a brand or person who is popular in network X or Y. There is far more value in being thought of as a leader of a niche. In other words:  your positioning should make you known as the definitive source for an industry. Putting a focus on a larger strategy that has nothing to do with any single web platform in particular is how you can accomplish this.

Be ready for a long term commitment

Tactics = fast, strategy = slow

If you’re able to execute on something that resonates, engaging in the social web with the goal of generating PR can see results fast. But don’t make the mistake of thinking a single tactical success is all it takes to see sustainable growth. You need to engage in continued tactics over a long period of time – and the truth is as many of them will fail as will succeed. But if your strategy is sound, in time, it will pay off and provide increasing returns.

Become referential

A social media PR strategy needs to be designed to position the company a referential brand. When the brand or company identity becomes referential, your work  will get easier.  As you contribute more, people will start to notice and your content will spawn discussions. Find a way to become referential and your efforts will multiply themselves.

How are you activating social media for PR objectives?

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!

HAPPO CHICAGO – February 24th

In Jobs, Public Relations on February 24, 2011 at 12:53 am

HAPPO or also known as “Help a PR Pro Out”  is coming to Chicago for a live interactive event.  Every young pro that is out there looking for a job in PR must participate. Last year this blog was used as a vessel for my self and several other PR professionals who participated in first ever HAPPO event online.

Fortunately the HAPPO movement is still pushing forward! And tomorrow Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich, along with other HAPPO champions will host a live HAPPO event tomorrow Feb. 24th, 2010  5-7pm, at the Arment Dietrich office. The event will be part panel discussion and part networking.

This should a very useful event for all young and new PRos.

Check out Spin Sucks for more details!!


Video: PR and the Online Community

In Public Relations, Social Media, Specialty, Uncategorized on February 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Sticking with theme of our previous blog post where the Do’s and Dont’s of  building personal and professional relationships via social media were discussed – Do you agree with the proposed method offered in this video? What is the best way to engage stakeholders  throughout the various online communities as a PR professional? Please share your thoughts.

We’re Back!!!

In Public Relations, Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Yes, after a 5 month hiatus, New Kids on the Block is BACK!!

We promise our lack of presence hasn’t been been in vain. We’re introducing brand new writers, fresh content, and so much more.

We invite you to join the conversation and become a part of the New Kids on the Block community.

If you’re a ‘New Kid on the Block’ practicing PR, marketing, social media, or any other communications discipline, who would be interested in contributing a post,  just let us know! We’d be happy to have you!

Stay tuned for more great posts!

Peace, NKOB

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 »

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