PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

Posts Tagged ‘pr’

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.

 

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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?

Video: Social Media Revolution

In Lessons Learned, Social Media, Uncategorized on March 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm

If you haven’t seen this video, now is the time! What do you think of these stats? Is Social Media a fad? Yeah Right!!!

Or what about Social Media ROI? How do YOU measure the success of your social media campaigns?

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

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 »

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)

Najja Howard #HAPPO Chicago

In Jobs, Public Relations, Social Media on February 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Why You Shouldn’t Hire Me…

Let me just start by saying, I am not your average practitioner. I acquire several traits, personally and professionally that may classify me as a “risk” or “hazard” to the status quo.  For example:

  1. I  Am A Critical Thinker (I challenge ideas constantly)
  2. I Don’t Practice “One Size Fits All” PR
  3. I  Respect and Honor the Power of Words and Relationships
  4. I Refuse to Set Creative Boundaries
  5. I Encourage the Open Exchange of Ideas
  6. I Truly Believe that Social Media Is the Best thing Since Sliced Bread (and I tell clients that everyday)
  7. I  Easily Adapt To Situations That Are Beyond My Control (what economic downturn?)

If your company has zero interest in someone with these traits, but instead  is looking for a candidate  who is meek, bland, “yes” men and women, unchallenged ,uninspired and unmotivated- Please don’t hire me!

However if you are looking for someone with these traits and so much more then please continue reading.

In May of 2009 I received my master’s degree in Public Relations/Corporate Communications from Georgetown University in Washington DC. During my graduate career I had the great fortune to intern at some of the most respected agencies and companies in Washington DC. While searching for full-time employment, I have remained resilient and current in the field by contributing my skills and talents as a freelance Public Relations Specialist. To question my passion and dedication to this profession would be both baffling and devoid of reality.

In the past I’ve had the opportunity to work as an integral member of integrated marketing campaigns, social media strategy sessions, media relations, social marketing, event coordination, community relations initiatives, crisis communications, etc. My experience ranges the spectrum in areas of, entertainment, education, nonprofit, political, healthcare, corporate, green sustainability, lifestyle, etc. Some of the companies I’ve worked with include: AARP, Bridgestone Firestone, Sirius XM Radio, Georgetown University, Green Technology and Training Center, Pfizer, and the Law and Civics Reading and Writing Institute for Urban Males,  just to name a few.

The tremendous skills and knowledge I have received from these experiences are bursting at the seams for a dynamic company dedicated to excellence and success.

I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully building a wonderfully productive relationship.

Twitter: @NajjabeePR

YPN Chicago PRSA January Featured Pro of the Month —>Click here to read profile

Testimonials:

Current  Client

When it comes to organized professionalism I can think of no better two-word phrase than Najja Howard. Najja has worked with the highest sense of duty and determination while serving as my Publicist over the past year.  Najja has brought such a high level of refinement and structure to my business as a Television and Radio personality that I dare stop to think of what I looked like before her arrival, or what I may look like if she ever decides to move on to bigger and better things?  Najja is a pro in every sense of the word, while simultaneously having the ability to maintain a pliable mind that allows her to grow from the moment an opportunity presents itself to the successful realization of her clients best interests.

Current Client

There are three quick observations that I will offer, without a trace of equivocation, regarding how valuable Ms. Howard has been to our Institute. The first is that in a very real sense we owe our very existence to her uncanny thinking abilities, which permit her to find common themes where they did not apparently exist. In other words, she has a professional gift for quieting noise. Secondly, her trademark “30-60-90 day” communication plan definitely placed us on the road to success. Finally, the three words I feel best define Ms. Howard are: hard-working, collegial, and creative.

Former Supervisor

Najja is probably best described as a person with a strong appetite for challenges. Not only does she meet the challenges others set for her, but her personal goals as well. Najja holds herself to the highest standards of professionalism and personal development, always pushing herself to exceed everyone’s expectations. Najja’s strengths are her critical thinking abilities, and quite simply, her ambition. Her critical thinking abilities allow her to anticipate client’s needs, often meeting them before they are articulated. Those skills are a complement to her problem-solving skills. Najja is remarkably good at approaching problems from various angles to reach the most desired, effective and equitable solution to problems.