Category Archives: Entry-Level

#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

The Entry-level PR Job Hunt…in GIFs

I am feeling rather silly today…and desperate for a job, and so I present to you the entry-level PR job hunt in GIFS:

1. Finding a listing for a job you actually qualify for…that pays:

2. Researching the agency/company for more info…to sound smarter in your cover letter because knowledge is power:

3. The phone interview:

4. When you’re asked in for an in-person interview…and the hiring manager likes you:

5. Waiting to get a call back/email response:

6. If you get the job…and you rock and you’re a superstar and I hate you:

7. If you don’t get the job and…you know, damn:


Okay, I might have went a little OD on the sad GIFs…but it be’s like that some time.

Hope you enjoyed this and don’t give up on the job hunt, we’re in this together!!!

Until next time,

XOXO,

Jess AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles, Part V: Phone Interview Realness

Before you say it, I know I know…where the h*ll have I been? Well, I don’t know; getting ready to graduate (6 more weeks), gearing up for this move to New York City (queue Empire State of Mind) and just trying to stay sane.

Today, I have a short but sweet post continuing the “Senior Chronicles” series: this one is about phone interviews. Lots of agencies and companies are doing phone interviews these days and I think it’s important to have a few tips in your back pocket.

In fact, I am so committed to phone interviews that I already did a post on it (view here), but I decided to go ahead and do another post with 10 more tips from expert resources (like, that aren’t me…)

  1. Remember, this is much like an in-person interview: get dressed and research before-hand (including the agency and your interviewer, if possible)
  2. Pick a quiet place, with good reception
  3. Answer the phone with your name, this way you can straight to it
  4. Prepare a “script” with answers to commonly-asked questions (which I’ll write in another post)
  5. DON’T OVER-TALK, be the listener
  6. Stand up and smile-they can totes hear it in your voice
  7. Have your resume and cover letter in front of you
  8. Make sure you have questions to ask the interviewer (got a post on that for ya ;))
  9. Make sure to ask for a timeframe of when you should be hearing back, and when you can contact the interviewer again
  10. FOLLOW-UP! There are thousands of other hungry entry-level PR pros who are vying for that job, make yourself stand out by writing a follow-up email and maybe even a thank you note via snail mail.

Here are a few links to where I got this expert advice:
Ace Your Phone Interview: 21 Quick & Simple Tips
17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview
The New Trouble on the Line

And that’s all I’ve got people…until next time

XOXO, 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