Category Archives: Intern Tips

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

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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!

When it’s all over…my final impressions of a big agency

Hey all! As you may or may not know, for the past several months, I have been working for a fairly large and well-known agency here in San Francisco, I wrote about my initial impressions in this post and I just wanted to sum up my experiences and give you some advice my supervisor gave me.

big vs little

BTW, the largest and smallest dogs in the world!

So are there really any big advantages of working for a big firm? Yes there are! They have tons of resources and usually “big-name” clients, they also usually have more formal training and a larger talent pool to learn lessons from and take inspiration from

So what are the drawbacks? I think I went over this before, but the drawbacks for me were that I just wasn’t able to work on the variety of projects I wanted to, or jump on all of the accounts I was interested in. This is because in a larger agency, there are a lot more systems in place that are totally necessary to keep that larger wheel spinning. I also felt like I didn’t get very many chances for media outreach, which is really important to me this early in my career.

Would you go back to a large agency? Yes, I would, but maybe not as an intern or an account coordinator, my supervisor gave me some great advice at my exit interview, “start small, my first job was at a firm with three people and I learned so much, as I’ve gotten further in MY career, the firms have gotten bigger, as well” this made TOTAL sense to me because in the beginning, I want to be thrown in the fray and really get my hands dirty doing the things I LOVE. However, if one of the “biggies” reaches out to me, I’m not going to scoff, I guess it’s all up to what opportunities present themselves during my career.

So WHAT about ending my internship?!  I ALREADY showed you that in my awesome post Ending That Internship with Flair! so go check it out and make sure to get your thank you cards out ASAP!

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the firm; I met a lot of really great people and I learned a lot. I am moving back to a boutique agency in January, so I’m sure I will have PLENTY to say about that! Until then, I’m kicking my heels up and patting myself on the back for a job well-done. Enjoy the break, I have something pretty cool in store for you over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that, until then…

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Hump Day Help: The Spring Internship Search

Hey there and Happy Hump Day…can I be honest with you? I’m not sure if this “Hump Day Help” is going to become regular or what, but it was a cute title and I like it, so sue me…

ANYWAY, have you started looking for a Spring internship yet? NO? Well then you get one of these:

…and some advice (which won’t soothe the sting of my slap). I wanted to give you my 5-step plan for internship searches; I know it seems easy to just go to Craigslist or whatever and just randomly send your resume to the faceless HR department, but if you really want to stand out and land a GREAT (not just “good”) internship, keep on reading:

  1. Like all good projects, your internship hunt begins with research: Yes, my good people, research. When I was applying for my Fall internships I spent a good 2 weeks (maybe over-kill) researching firms in my area and getting all the information I could about them. I advise making a Google spreadsheet with your info so that you can keep track and update when necessary.
  2. Look for contacts: This may sound scary (and it is!) but when I found a firm I loved, I went straight to Linkedin and started looking for people who work there, so I can scope them out and get more info. I found HR people, AC’s, AE’s, etc. anybody I could reach out to. If I liked what I saw, I sent a PERSONALIZED request and introduced myself. 85% of the time, they accepted and responded.
  3. Pick up the phone: I know they say it’s best to e-mail, but listen, a voice on the phone (pleasant and courteous and clear), is always more memorable than a random e-mail. Have phone fright? Have a little script ready, something like this: “Good morning, my name is ______ and I wanted to inquire about the availability of any Spring internships, whom should I speak to?” be clear and concise and above all, be extra nice to the receptionist; they are the gatekeepers and can really help you get to the right person.
  4. Follow up any and all communication with a “thank you”: Did someone give you some good information? Drop them a quick “thanks” e-mail, went in for an interview? I always opt for hand-written “thank you” notes that I prepare ahead of time so that I can stop and quickly edit them for content and drop them in the mail that same day. A “thank you” can go a long way in today’s world.
  5. Be diligent: If you’ve sent your e-mails and made your calls and you still haven’t heard back, you can do 2 things: 1, you can just shrug and forget it and move on; but if it’s a firm you really want to work for, keep at it. Be polite and a bit pushy. Also, please remember, interns are hired up to 2 months in advance, so NOW is the time to start looking for a January start date. Hunker down and get to it, it will be worth it in the long run.

Internships are a very competitive business (which is strange that so many people want to work for free lol) and it can be that one tiny thing that pushes you over the top. So be prepared, be courteous, be knowledgable and be enthusiastic, and I promise you, good things will happen. That’s all I have today, see you next time!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Professionalism & 5 tips to quickly attain it and keep it.

This is a special Sunday “Workday Lessons” post because yesterday evening, something happened to me and it had a profound impact on me…but not in a good way. Let me give you the short of it:

A very good friend of mine decided to have a big birthday bash and one of the planned activities was a private group dance class with the ladies & we all paid our money in advance and were organized and ready for a fun experience…but then the day came–we were in the WORST little hole in the wall, the class wasn’t set up, there were strange people there, it was a mess. Long story short, the event coordinator not only did not do due diligence on the venue nor the set-up, but when confronted, she refused to take blame for the mix up! And I’m just like:

Umm…have you ever heard of professionalism?!?! I guess not. Anyway, I had to write this post because as entry-level PR/Social Media pros, we need to be MORE professional than our senior peers and more discerning in our behaviour. Here are a few ways YOU can show your boss you are a true professional:

  1. Dress professionally: Okay okay, you worked ALL winter for that six pack or killer arms, I get it. But the office is NOT the place to show them off. Even if everybody is running around in basketball shorts, you should err on the side of caution and that means NO ripped jeans, flip flops, spaghetti straps or strapless tops, mini skirts (I don’t care how thick the tights are you put under it!) and nothing with offensive language on it.
  2. Speak professionally: Unless you’re Axl Rose, your job probably doesn’t entail saying any of the four-letter words; or anything else offensive. Here’s a good rule of thumb: would you say it in front of your mom/pastor/dad/granny (basically someone you respect and are more formal with)? Then don’t shout it out at work
  3. Communicate professionally. I mean specifically with e-mails or any other type of written communication. Grammar and puncuation are highly scrutinized in our field; if your boss sees that you can’t even spell check a darn inter-office memo, why on earth would he or she let you pitch to a journalist? Hint: They probably won’t. This isn’t a text message, so no: LOLz, OMG, BRB, LOHINNO (I have NO idea what that one even means) and for heaven’s sake, skip the emoticons.
  4. Take criticism professionally: I know it’s hard to take criticism, specially in such a fast-paced field such as PR where we need to hit the ground running and we are given high expectations. But, when your boss sits you down to go over why your report wasn’t up to par or that pitch wasn’t cutting it, please remember they aren’t doing it for fun, but to help you. Stay calm, take notes and learn from the experience. And thank them and say you are taking this is all in consideration and will improve. I even like to ask questions on how I can avoid making the same mistake again–I want to show them that I want to be the best I can be.
  5. Think professionally: This is the most important one; if you sense yourself on the edge of a bad decision or even think you are stepping out of bounds, think, “is this really exuding professionalism?” chances are, if you have to ask, it probably isn’t. Have a little common sense and don’t fall into the stereotype of silly, over-privileged and unprofessional millenials.

Well, those are my little five tips and you may be thinking, “Jess is just an entry-level’er too, what the HECK does she know?” The truth is, I am only new to PR, I worked for corporate America for about 3-4 years before this and had a job 3 years before moving into corporate America, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s professional and what isn’t. Hope you can get a little something out of this post, if so, please comment below and let me know! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

David & Goliath: Moving From a Small Agency to a Large Agency

What’s up? Long time no…read, I guess (awkward). Anyway, the reason I haven’t been blogging is because lot has changed in the past few weeks: I started at a new agency as well as my LAST year of University…so I’ve been super busy and I know that’s not an excuse…but I’m sorry.

So, for 3 months during this summer, I interned at a boutique agency and about 3 weeks ago, I moved to a larger agency; one with over 20 offices world-wide and lots of staff and accounts and such. The transition wasn’t easy, I went from working in a close-knit environment where not only did I know everybody’s name, but we also conversed regularly (even the owner and principle of the agency) to a huge office where I know the names of maybe 20% of the staff. My work load also changed, as did the scope of my work. Before I was doing a lot of pitching and writing, because at a smaller agency, you get more chances. At a larger agency, my work is mostly project and support-based. This isn’t a bad thing; I’m learning a lot of the necessary components of every-day account management and that there is a lot more the media relations than just sending an e-mail and hoping for the best.

Working at a large agency also affords  training opportunities; I have been to trainings on media relations, digital offerings, etc. I’m learning a lot in these trainings. Conversely, at the boutique agency, I did a lot of “on the job” training, which has it’s on merits; it was quicker and more practical-based, with lots of chances to make mistakes, but also lots of chances to get coverage and make relationships with journalists.

While there are many differences, there are also a lot of similarities: being proactive works in both environments, if I hear my manager or others saying they need some information I am always the first to volunteer to do the research. I also don’t mind staying behind a few minutes to help take care of work. It also helps to be mindful of what you say and being pleasant and courteous helps in every environment.

In short, this post is just about the differences I’ve noticed in my transition; I’m not saying a big agency is better or that you’ll enjoy a boutique agency more. There are definitely differences and I just wanted to point them out. What do you think? Do you work/intern at a smaller agency or one of the big ones?

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Workplace Lessons: What to Say & What to NOT Say

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday (aren’t you glad you made it through Monday?!) so, today’s post is the first in a NEW series called “Workplace Lessons” which will have (what I think are) valuable lessons I have learned in the workplace and will hopefully stop you from making mistakes that could cost you your job or worse, your reputation. And since we work in PR, we all KNOW how important reputation is, right? Right.

Today’s topic is one I, myself, sometimes have trouble with: what to say and when to say it in the workplace. Here’s the scenario: you and some co-workers are talking about a client you all have problems with and they are all RIPPING into this client and you join in and you’re all laughing. The next week, however, everyone is avoiding eye contact with you or acting distant and you get an e-mail from your supervisor saying you and him/her need to “talk”. Let me say, it doesn’t end well…but what did you do wrong? Let me break it down for you:

  1. You spoke ill of a client, and while I understand others may be doing it; but that’s their prerogative and they are probably more senior to you anyway. You cannot afford to start your career out with a reputation of a being blabbermouth or a gossip or someone that speaks ill of clients. They DO pay the bills after all.
  2. You forgot where you were and who you were with! It is so easy to want to “fit in” and make friends with your coworkers and while I know coworkers can become friends (I have some friendships that started out in the workplace), it’s important to remember that they are primarily your coworkers and you need to maintain a level of professionalism.

If you haven’t made this mistake yet: congratulations. If you have made this mistake and want to know how to fix it, it’s pretty simple. Apologize to your supervisor and let him/her know that it will NEVER happen again. You can also let each co-worker involved know that you did not mean those comments and they were out of line. I know this sounds embarrassing…BUT being seen as the company blabbermouth & possibly being fired for it is even more embarrassing, right? I thought so.

Your career is based on your talent and drive and passion, but office politics have a lot to do with it and if you don’t put on your best Obama or Romney game face, you could fall flatter than Ralph Nader on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November (which is historically election day, know your history people!).

Hope you like this new series and as always, drop me a line, here, on Linkedin or on Twitter!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing