#TBT: Phone Interviews – Maybe Scary, Totes Worth It

Can you believe I’ve had this blog almost TWO YEARS?!?!??! I can’t believe it either, it literally feels like yesterday I decided to make the leap into PR and decided to simultaneously feed my narcissism and start my own blog. Since then, I’ve got some AMAZING followers, amazing friends, graduated, moved to New York, and got a PAYING job in PR. Pretty good for a girl who stumbled into this career 2 years ago, huh?

So today, I decided to do a #ThrowbackThursday post, on a topic you, my dear readers, may be facing now that you are graduating: Phone interviews.

This time last year, I actually published my 2nd piece on phone interviews, “The Senior Chronicles, Part V: Phone Interview Realness” which was part of my “Senior Chronicles” series. I conducted several phone interviews last year and since then, I’ve thought about the topic a lot, more than I think a normal person should.

I wanted to quickly impart a bit of knowledge that I have gleaned since then:

  • RESEARCH – Yes, research, because even though I’m pretty sure I’ve said it twice before, from what I’ve heard from hiring managers, y’all still aren’t about that research life! Know at least something about the company, please
  • Your voice gives a LOT a way – You might be naturally soft-spoken, or even shy and timid, but NOW is not the time. The interviewer can’t see you, and furthermore, they don’t know you, so how would they know that your shaky voice is more about your level of comfort than the fact that they asked you a question you can’t answer? I know it’s easier said than do, but try and fake the confidence, if you don’t already have it. Purposely make yourself one octave lower and fixate on a (HIGH) fixed point, it may steady you, and steady your voice.
  • Treat this like a in-person interview – Would you attend an in person interview lounging in your PJs, playing footsie while SpongeBob is playing in the back? No? Well then, maybe don’t do so while you’re on a phone interview. I’m not saying you have to put on your suit, but at least turn the TV off, get off of Twitter, go off by yourself and really put your ALL into this. Remember, you need to get past the phone interview to get to the in-person interview.

That’s it for me on this #throwbackthursday. Don’t forget Monday is an exciting post in your “Almost Post-Graduate” toolkit!

Until then!

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing

The Almost Post-Graduate Checklist

Happy Monday…or not, I usually feel like this on Monday:

But today? Today I am fired up because I have new post for you and I am so psyched to get your feedback. As many of you are making the final steps towards your last few weeks as a university student, you probably have many emotions: happiness, fear, poverty (which may or may not be a real emotion), hunger and sleep deprivation (once again, maybe not an emotion). BUT never fear, I have some blogging caffeine to send your way!

This is the first post in my “getting you hired after you graduate” series (that name is a work in progress) and it’s a quick, down and dirty checklist of items that YOU need to make sure you have in order for your post-graduate hiring push.

As I came upon the final weeks before my graduation, I had a job in hand (well, a paid internship), but that didn’t stop me from making sure my ducks were in a row – social media, resume & online presence – I wanted to make sure if ANYBODY even thought about hiring me, I would be ready. Below are a few items (and resources) for YOUR “Hire Me NOW! Almost Post-Graduate Checklist”:

  1. Social Media: Are you social media-ready for a snooping hiring manager? According to a 2012 study by CareerBuilder, some 38% of hiring managers said they screened candidates via social media. So please make sure you’re not trashing employers, showing excessive bad behaviour, or saying incendiary things that will make a hiring manager think twice. Good rule of thumb is: “would I say this in front of my nan?” HOWEVER, social media is also a chance to show HOW good of a candidate you are; I am a huge advocate for having a professional Twitter handle and a Linkedin page where you can list accomplishments, past projects, your skills, jobs and showcase thought leadership in your field. As you’re nearing the end, do a Social Media audit and make sure you’re in good shape
  2. Resume: With the host of social media sites and other ways to network, we sometimes forget that the little, modest resume is still your best bet to get hired. Take some time over the next few weeks to really give your resume a hard look. Have a professor, or the career center at your Uni also look it over – you should include ALL relevant experience, including any school projects that were in PR/social media, related job experience (internships to the TOP!) and even communications courses. Hiring managers know that as an entry-level pro, you’re not going to have a TON of experience, but you can still polish it up and make it shine. Check out this great post from NYC PR Girls for more on that winning entry-level PR resume.
  3. Online Presence: I CANNOT stress this enough! In this day and age, in PR and social media, you need to have an online presence. Of course, many will say you don’t have to have one, but I’m here to tell you:

    You NEED to have an online presence. Whether it be centered around social media, an About.me page, an entire blog, an online portfolio or even ONE page with your resume and a few links…well, I think you get it. Plus, having a polished online presence will shoot your light years above the competition – it will show that you can write, are strategically thinking and you understand the importance of image and content curation (three VERY important things in PR). A domain name is less than $20 per year, a WordPress blog is even cheaper…even Tumblr can be a good site to use. Use your online space to advertise yourself, write great content or house your portfolio.

Hopefully, this has been an educational and thought-provoking post and a great way to kick off this little mini-series. Graduation is coming up on you faster than you realize and if you get ready now, you’ll have a better chance to land that dream job.

If you have any questions or just want to pop in and say hello, the comment section (or the contact page or my Twitter) is always open. Until then…

XOXOXO,
Jess_AsPRing

I’m BACK…OR 5 Lessons I’ve Learned as an Account Coordinator

Hey there! Did you miss me? You probs did, it’s ok to admit it. I missed you too. But, we need to get down to business: where have I been? Still working as an AC here in New York (which is freezing, BTW).

So, on to what’s really real about this blog post: what have I learned as Account Coordinator? Well, sit yourself down and I will tell you a thing:

  1. I cannot stress how important ORGANIZATION is: Seriously, you guys, organization is something I struggle with every day and when I was in university or reading blogs and they kept talking about organization I was like, “OMG who cares?” but like, everybody cares. And once you’re on 3 (or more) accounts, juggling agendas, reports, coverage, and pitching and securing opportunities? You’ll care, too.
  2. Take ownership of your tasks: What does this mean? Well, let’s say that you are in charge of ALL client agendas (which you probably will be), make them yours. Let your team know that you’ve got them and rock those agendas. The further up you move, the more you will have to take OWNERSHIP of things, so learn this now.
  3. Volunteer to take on additional projects, but don’t take on more than you can handle: Hey, I get it, you want to show people that you are proactive and up for a challenge. BUT if it gets in the way of doing your assigned duties, it kind of negates the desired effect. Make sure you have your job down and then reach for another project
  4. It is OK to be lost/stuck/overwhelmed/whatever: This is a tough business, and contrary to what Kelli Cutrone says, you can always be tough and not ask for help. ASK FOR HELP. Wait, let me repeat that: ASK FOR HELP. If your day is too packed, you don’t know where to start on a new project or you are just plum on your last string, then ask. Let it be known that you need more support. Because keeping your mouth closed won’t help in the end, trust me
  5. The biggest lesson I learned? Don’t every give up! Can I be honest with you? December was a very rough month for me; lots of client expectations, lots of long hours and I honestly felt like I was at the end of my rope. But I was honest with my supervisors and asked for additional support, and at the end of the day I pushed through and did not just throw my hands up. It will get better, I promise!

Well, that’s it in what seems to be the LONGEST post ever -_- Have you learned any lessons in your tenure at your new job? Let me know!

In other exciting news, I am going to sit down and write a few posts on landing your first PR job, because well, I guess I’ve done it and may know a thing or two…look out for it!

XOXO,

Jess_AsPRing

SOOOOO, I start my new job today, in GIFs

Just in case you weren’t aware (which if you follow me on Twitter, you’d know; oh you don’t follow me? Shame on you), last week I got some great news: I was hired as an Account Coordinator at this great agency called Affect, Inc. working in tech, B2B and professional services.

And today I start!!! Very quickly, this is how I feel people…in two GIFs that are kind of amazing:

Well, that’s it. BTW, you’re welcome for that Flynt Flossy GIF, that dance is epic. Wish me luck on my 1st day!

Until Next Time!

XOXOXO, Jess AsPRing

Interview Time: Sports PR publicist, Natasha-Nicole Valley

Happy Tuesday! Have I got a treat for you: I have another interview today with a fantastic young PR entreprenuer, by the name of Natasha-Nicole Valley. Natasha is a sports publicist based out of Miami who works as a solo PR pro.

Fun trivia: Natasha and I went to high school together in England and she was the bomb back then, so you know she’s the bomb now, and let’s get to it:

Name, place of origin, school? My name is Natasha-Nicole “London” Valley, I’m from Cambridge, UK, I went to Florida A&M University and got my BS in political science with a minor in journalism/PR and got my MPA.

How long have you worked in PR? Professionally, 4 years.

1st PR Job? My first PR job was working for Krystle Coleman of Midori Star Media. She taught me so much.

What kind of PR do you work in? What does it entail? What attracted you to it? I’m in sports PR. In a nutshell, it is building not only professional athletes brands, but also sports related brands. I was an athlete from age 4 to 18 and an injury during my first week of college practice ended my athlete days. Most of my childhood memories include either me playing sports–I knew I couldn’t get away from it.

Can you tell me what a typical day looks like for you? In the morning, I scan sports media and social media, while checking my email and google alerts. I also follow up with agents, clients, etc.

Pitching and following up with journalists takes up most of my day, I try & save on the field media training for Fridays and Saturdays. Yes, Saturdays. If a client or rep of brand calls, that takes top priority, but planning media and fielding media requests are also regular occurrences.

If I don’t work through lunch I meet with a client, potential client or manager to pitch ideas or discuss upcoming schedule entries.

On non-game nights I meet with my business coach, (shameless plug: @KatieKortnie). During games and post games, I observe everything and jot down notes. After I’m home and cozy for the night, I scan media again and research, research, research.

What made you go out on your own? I’ve known since I was a kid that I would work for myself. It’s tough being a visionary  executing another visionary’s vision for an extended period of time.

Favourite Part of the job? Photo shoots! I love seeing mood boards come alive as the stylist wheels out racks and clients, who are used to luxurious wardrobes, can hardly contain themselves as they swoon over the options. Working as a team on set with other creatives to complete one brand building goal is also exhilarating. I really love the process of brand development as well.

Least favourite part of the job?  Updating my main media database. I have media info in various organized, but random places. Adding new phone numbers, changing outlet names as journalists move around and creating new entries for new editors in my main media database can be a bit tedious.

Biggest accomplishment (so far) in your career? It sounds simplistic, but developing my own clientele and booking mainstream media such as ESPN, SLAM, BET’s 106&Park is an accomplishment in itself. There are other great things I can name, but the overall idea of that is a blessing to me.

What is one lesson you have learned that you want to share with aspiring PR pros? Develop relationships. Trust in general, is critical in building brands. One more, consistently use a sales funnel for prospecting clients.

In order to succeed in PR, what traits should one have? Persistence is vital in pitching, and organization is a must. Communication skills, both verbal and writing, are obviously the most important trait you need in PR. However, you have to continue to build; if you aren’t motivated to read and keep a notebook, this is going to be a grueling career. Research is also a must.

If you weren’t working in PR, what would you be doing? I would probably be a sports agent, an athletic director, filmmaker or even a neuroscientist who teaches an art class on the weekends.

How can the readers follow you and keep up with you? My website: LondonNicolePR.com  and I’m on Twitter iLondonNicole and Instagram.

Wow, her typical day made me so tired, I had to take a break from reading it take a nap LOL. I hope you enjoyed the interview and can learn something from Natasha’s passion, dedication and plain good common sense.

Until Next time!

XOXO, Jess AsPRing

Lessons Learned. But Mistakes Are Good, Here’s Why

Where do I start? The thing is, lessons are hard to learn; that’s why they’re called lessons and not “cotton candy that teaches you junk” (or something like that). I recently learned a very hard lesson and I want to share it with you all.

I recently ended a work relationship the wrong way. It was abrupt and full of emotion, where it should have been calculated and professional. But it wasn’t and it might damage my future. I was upset and this was one of the few times when I let my emotion get the best of me and it clouded my judgment and I acted out of turn.

I learned ANOTHER valuable (albeit) painful lesson about this industry: you’re only as good as your last. Despite everything leading up to that point, all of the good, that ONE bad outweighed it and it sucks (for lack of a better word). Hindsight is 20/20 and we have ALL got to learn somehow.

The thing is: I’m human. I make TONS of mistakes and from each of those mistakes? I learn, I’ve learned where I want to be, where I don’t want to be, what feeling is okay, what feeling is NOT okay, etc. and I learned for me and you. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes, but if you do, take it from me; you can pick yourself right back up and keep going, just like I am.

So next time you “fail” or make a mistake, remember this: we NEVER learn from constant victory, but we do learn from a slip up or 2. I hope your week is good and I hope you chase your dreams.

Until next time,

XOXOXO,

Jess AsPRing