Category Archives: Agency Life

50 Days Later…post post-graduate intern tips

Hello PR peeps…I know, I know, I moved to New York and got brand new, stopped blogging. You officially have 10 seconds to gripe at me. Go.

Okay, stop, it’s over…stop living in the past.

Anyway, today will be a short post about something I am personally dealing with: the end of a post-grad internship that might not turn into a job…I’m hyperventilating, in case you were wondering. The thing is, I’m worried (I’ve moved across the country to the most expensive city in the world and I might be unemployed…soon), but I’m not…I’ve got an action plan in place and I’m going to share it with you…because I’m cool like that.

This is my “cool like that” move…courtesy of iworkinpr

So…we’re about 2 weeks to a month out of being done with this internship thing, here are a few steps you should be taking:

  1. Have you talked to HR? Have you made it explicitly known that you are interested in a possible extension and any upcoming positions. Take a look at the agency website, they may have posted a position that you are right for. Go in there with some talking points, in your Sunday best and let them know! A closed mouth does NOT get fed
  2. Schedule a sit-down with your immediate supervisor(s), this is a good time to gauge what they think of you and whether or not a recommendation from the will be glowing or worth skipping over. Ask about your strengths and weaknesses; what you did well and what you could have done better.
  3. Try and get AS MUCH facetime with senior people as possible. This could be as simple as asking for a quick meeting to ask for career advice or passing them by in the hallway and “formally” introducing yourself. This has 2 advantages:they can remember you for future opportunities and reccommend you to HR and the 2nd one is, they probably have experience at other agencies and connects.
  4. LOOK FOR A JOB. I cannot stress this enough. Obviously don’t do so during company time, but now is the time to start perusing boards, Linkedin, agencies twitter feeds, etc. It takes 2-4 weeks to get hired, so you have exactly 2-4 weeks to not be unemployed
  5. Soak up these last few weeks and learn as much as possible and maybe save a few pennies as well.

This is what I have been doing…has it been working? Only time will tell! Do you have any post-post-grad internship tips? Let me know!

Until next time!
XOXOXO, Jess AsPRing

Sunday Special: “Do I need agency experience?”

Happy Sunday! How are you? I’m cool, on Spring break, shooting the breeze, in NEW YORK CITY!!!!

Bam.

Anyway, I was recently poking around a few Linkedin groups for entry-level PR pros (way to spend a Spring break, huh?) and I saw a question that really interested me: should I go for agency experience after I graduate? I thought long and hard about this and did a lot of google searches and I wanted to tip in my 2 cents:

Yes, I think agency experience is a good thing, and here are a few reasons why:

  1. In an agency, you are exposed to a wider variety of clients and accounts, you can get your feet wet across a few industries and see what you like best. Very few of us know where we want to be straight out of college (I know I don’t!) and an agency, while usually sticking to one industry (say lifestyle, tech or health care) will have different segments within that industry. So you work at a healthcare agency; one of your clients may be a hospital, another may be a catheter supplier (I’m sorry one of the adverts just came on) and another may be a health watch-dog group! See? You are really getting exposed to a lot of different clients and exposure is good!
  2. You gain skills and experience. Fast. Like really, really fast. If you have ever stepped foot in an agency, I’m sure you’ve noticed how fast-paced it is, personally, that’s the reason I love PR as much as I do. When you start as an AC (account coordinator) in an agency, you are thrown right in the lion’s den. Accounts need working and you need to hit the ground running. Those first few weeks/months/years are like on the job paid training; you will learn a lot and your writing, skill set, communication skills, etc. will flourish. An agency will really sharpen you into a fine PR weapon…like an AK-47, that writes press releases (and isn’t endorsed by the NRA).
  3. Not very many in-house positions are made for entry-level pros. The fact is, if you look around at in-house position announcements, they ask for 2-3 years of agency experience. So chances are, unless you know somebody or you get a big break, then you’ll need that agency experience before you can start looking for in-house positions. Like the previous point I made, companies are looking for people who have been in the PR “battlefield” AKA the agency, these people are experienced, trained and talented (most of the time) and can get the job done. So if in-house is your ultimate destination, an agency for the 1st year or 2 is probably your best bet.

This isn’t to say we will ALL end up at an agency; some of us will go the non-profit route, or the public affairs route, or the start-up route or one of you will be the one to find the unicorn: an entry-level position at a company for PR. Either way, you’ve got choices, but I think an agency is a good choice to  think about.

Until next time LIVE FROM NEW YORK CITY IT’S SATURDAY NIG–

Just joking….

XOXOXO, Jess AsPRing

Hump Day Help: Let’s Talk Phone Interviews, 5 tips to Ace Them!

Happy Hump Day my fellow PR peeps! I was recently looking over my blog and I said to myself, “I haven’t been helpful in weeks! All I talk about is ME, ME, ME” and I am not that kind of blogger, so it’s time to get back in gear with some advice.

As you may or may not know, I am finishing up the last 6 months of my university career (thank God) and I am moving to New York City in June. Because PR is such a competitive field, I have already started to reach out and get some interviews, but how am I interviewing from 3,000 miles away? Phone Interviews!!!

Even the dog can do a phone interview!!!

Yes, I have been doing a few phone interviews (I’ve done 3, so far) and they are a little nerve-racking, but I have honed in on some great practices that have gotten me some amazing feedback (and some top notch opportunities). I’ve listed my top 5 tips below, take a look:

  1. Have a “script” beforehand: I put script in quotations because I’m not saying a word-for-word, but make sure you have some key points down that you can reference in case you get nervous. You can bet they are going to ask a few all-time faves, like: what made you get into PR (NOTE: DON’T SAY TO GET FREE STUFF), your favourite PR campaigns at the moment, why you want to work there. Having some of these down beforehand will help you from stumbling on yourself.
  2. Research Research Research: I’m serious you guys, don’t be that entry-level/internship candidate who just wants to work “anywhere” (even though you are and you do), but make sure you know something about the firm: who are their clients? Does this particular office have a specialty practice? Being able to add in these little zingers shows that you are passionate about the firm and what they do.
  3. Let the interviewer speak: I am guilty of this big time. I am so eager to get my point across that I sometimes over talk the interviewer. Let them say a whole sentence and then count to 3 and answer. In a confident and slow voice (but not too slow)
  4. Don’t be bringing up irrelevant $h!t: Yea, I cursed. This is my blog. Anyway, if she/he asks about your experience with press releases, then talk about that, not your 3-legged cat named Hobbles. They are asking these specific questions because it pertains to the specific job you are interviewing for. This is where those scripted notes I told you to make come in handy: you already have all of your info in front of you (having a copy of the resume and cover letter you sent in front of you would be a big help, too)
  5. SEND A THANK YOU. You guys, I’m serious. Thank them FOUR times: at the beginning of the interview, at the end of the interview, via a follow-up e-mail AND a snail mail note. You are showing how polite you are AND by sending the e-mail a bit afterwards, you are refreshing your name in the search. Sending the snail mail refreshes you in the memory a few days later (but no later than 4 days later!)

Well, that’s all I have for today. I know this is kind of late in the day (uh, I do work, people), but you can use this info anytime! Remember, a phone interview might be a little more relaxed, but you still want to be prepared; just breathe, speak slowly and make sure your voice is confident.

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

In Honour of Dan Edelman: A True PR Innovator

Dan Edelman, Founder of Edelman PR, 1920-2013

I was going to write my usual post on “humpday help” and silliness and getting you a job and all that business, but then I got devastating news yesterday: Edelman PR founder, Dan Edelman, passed away, aged 92.

Now, as a young PR pro, you might not know exactly who Dan Edelman is, or the huge contributions he made to this industry; and if you don’t, then I’m here to educate you. In 1952, Dan Edelman started a small agency (with just 5 employees and a monthly retainer of $500, just $4,500 in today’s money) that sought to connect the public with brands. Now, if you have ever looked at my “What is PR?” page, then you know public relations itself, isn’t new, but Mr. Edelman had a new idea for PR, one where the firm wouldn’t only launch campaigns for its clients, but it would be with them day in and day out, paving the way for what we now know as “brand recognition” by handling media relations, launching recurring campaigns and positioning the brand within the public’s mind.

By 1960, the small firm had over 20 accounts, including the country of Finland (the entire country!) and Edelman had pioneered many of the practices we still use in the industry today. Edelman wasn’t just a publicist, he was a WWII vet, a former reporter and a true innovator. During WWII, Edelman studied German propaganda to get an idea of just how influential messaging can be, and how he could utilize that knowledge to position brands to the forefront of their industry.

Today, Edelman PR is not only the largest PR firm in the world, it’s also the largest independently-owned firm in the world–because Edelman refused to compromise his beliefs and practices to sell to a larger company, no matter what the offer price. Without the genius of Daniel Edelman, the PR industry would not be where it is today; he paved the way for many independent agencies to make a name for themselves and he positioned many companies that are now household names (Sara Lee, KFC and Wal-Mart…just to name a few). So please, take the time honour this late, great PR innovator and listen to a few of his past lectures, I bet you’ll learn something. RIP Dan Edelman.

For More information, please visit:
Edelman PR: About Us
Chicago Tribune: PR pioneer Daniel Edelman dies
Bloomberg Business: Daniel Edelman, Founder of World’s Largest PR Firm, Dies at 92

My first week in fashion and my final thoughts on Tumblr…

PR Couture’s Crosby Nick’s fantastic book on breaking into Fashion PR

Happy Saturday peeps! I haven’t done a Saturday post in ages, but I promised that I would give you some updates about my foray in fashion, so here I am. Also, I wanted to give you my final “nay” or “say” on Tumblr.

First things first: Fashion PR. I recently moved from a large PR agency in the tech division to a super boutique agency in fashion and accessories and my first week is over and…(drumroll please)…I LOVE IT! There’s a sample room (not like Vogue’s or anything, but still awesome), the girls are fun and I can really tell that with a little push, I can get on some good projects and get some coverage.

Cons: hmm…the biggest con I’ve had so far is that I’m loving fashion so much, I’m starting to sway on my ultimate goal of travel and hospitality PR. I have always had my mind on working in travel in some form (even when I was going to be a barrister, I was going into maritime law because they got to travel!), but fashion people travel and fashion has always been a soft spot for me. Also, boutique agencies mean less amenities, like I don’t get my own MacBook or scheduled training sessions.

Over all, this has been a great experience thusfar and I think I am going to try and intern the last 6 months I’m in the Bay Area and learn as much as possible.

Next item of business, Tumblr. Do you remember this post? I joined Tumblr (at Jessaspring.tumblr.com) and I said in a month or so, I’d report back. Well, we’re at the “or so” part and here’s what I think: Tumblr is fantastic and it’s very good for visual people, such as fashion designers and bloggers, artists, etc. but for little ‘ol PR-lovin’ me? Not so much.

I already have a blog (in case you haven’t noticed) and Tumblr is just another blogging site. I don’t think I’m going to delete the account, because some of fave people have Tumblrs, such as Alexis Rodriguez from the PR Closet and the DKNY PR Girl, but I won’t be updating regularly and I don’t think I want it to represent my overall “brand”. Also, between you and me, there are A LOT of NSFW (Not Suitable for Work) items on Tumblr!

That’s all I’ve got for today, it’s such a gorgeous day, I’m heading outside to enjoy it, ciao bellas!

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

I’m a fashion publicist now…kinda; moving from one type of PR to another.

When you hear the words “fashion publicist” what do you think of? Well-helled, perfectly coiffed waifs running around NYFW?

Or how about kick-ass tell-it-like-it-is Kelly Cutrone, who’s mantra “if you have to cry, go outside” has turned her into a household name & author?

“Kell on Earth”

Chances are, you think of both of these, and in some cases, you’re probably right, but my dear followers, get ready for a NEW fashion PR face: MINES. That’s right, I moved out of the tech PR biz and into fashion and accessories at a boutique PR firm (not that I don’t find gizmos and gadgets awesome) and it’s only my first day, so I don’t know what the heck the future holds, but I’ve been doing some prep work in anticipation & I wanted to pass it along to you, in case YOU wanted to jump PR ship to a new kind of PR (because trust me, there are more tons of different kinds of PR you can do):

  1. Consume, consume, consume media: I cannot say this enough, you should be reading multiple publications in your field, daily. Now that I’m into fashion (lol, I mean professionally), I am following ALL the pubs, top fashion blogs and influencers.
  2. Learn who’s who: Start remembering the names of editors, journalists who wrote a story that might pertain to one of your clients, etc. I am about to start pinning articles I find online so that when I see a good story, I can keep it tucked away and then maybe use it to pitch the same journalist later. PR is all about relationships, knowing what’s up and being ready when it is time to strike, as my dad always says, “if you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready.”
  3. Change the content you share: I share a lot of content via this blog and (more so) my Twitter account, and when I was in tech, I shared a lot of…you guessed it, tech news. Now that I am in fashion (lol…it still sounds weird), I want to start sharing and interacting with fashion industry peeps.
  4. Keep using what you’ve got to get what ya’ need: Tech is a beast, I mean it is really hard. I’m not the only person who thinks so, the best advice I have gotten so far in my career is, “oh you’re in tech? Well, if you can do tech, you can do anything” and I kind of feel like it’s true: tech is a tough field and if you’re not “Google”, “Facebook” or “Apple” it can be an uphill battle. BUT, that has prepared me for fashion. I can take a lick and keep on going, I can tailor a pitch and I can find an angle in any story (thanks to my first boss, Crisel). I know fashion isn’t any easier, but it sure as heck can’t be harder than tech, right?
  5. Become like Spongebob Squarepants: I don’t mean live in a pineapple under the sea (because you would die, and my intern salary won’t be able to handle any wrongful death suits), I mean absorb as much as possible! You’re in a new game, honey and you don’t know all of the rules yet. So keep your eyes and ears open, take notes and ask as many questions as possible. New industry, new rules.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, but expect a post really soon about my initial thoughts on working in fashion PR. As always,

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

p.s. I agree with Kelly Cutrone, if you have to cry, go outside ladies…it makes us all look bad!