Category Archives: interviews

#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

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

Check it out: Interview with Jenelle Hamilton, The Publicist

Hello PR peeps, I’m still here! I had a rough week last week and I threw in the towel, but the towel got washed and was thrown right back to me, so I’m here!

Jenelle Hamilton, The Publicist

Today I have a special treat for you! I spoke with Jenelle Hamilton, the Publicist a few days ago and she was nice enough to give me some great advice and an interview that I want to share with my readers!

**INSPIRATION ALERT** If you’re anything like me (young, and determined), you WILL be inspired by Jenelle’s words…so let’s get started:

Where did you go to school? I went to school in the UK, at the University of Greenwich, I studied communications.

How did you get started? My first job out of college was at a non-profit where I learned all the basics of PR—writing press releases, media pitching, etc. Eventually, I wanted to combine my love of PR and fashion (Miss Hamilton worked at Prada on the weekends through school…trés chic) and went to work for Karla Otto, an international fashion PR agency. I worked there for 3 years and wanted to move into beauty, so I moved to New York 7 years ago and got a job!

How did you get into freelancing? I worked in beauty for awhile and then found that I got bored and wanted to do my own thing; so I freelanced on the beauty side, but I returned to an agency after awhile and then I decided go out on my own and have been doing it for two and half to three years.

What is your biggest accomplishment thus far of your career? Landing Bob Mackie as a client—he’s a living legend and a true celebrity designer. They found me to work on a project, but then I was able to stay on as a global PR director. The other accomplishment was being on E! Television’s docuseries, Playing with Fire. I’m not an actress and I don’t want to be famous, but it was great for my brand.

Favourite part of the job? Every single day is different, I have a celebrity charity client, I have Bob Mackie; I also have hair and beauty client, and everything in between. I have so many different things going on; it just depends on what comes through my email that day. I learned a long time ago, I can’t be in a 9-5 job, every single day.

Least favourite part of the job? I hate going to meetings; I like to schedule conference calls as much as possible, especially with the new technology, I think it’s more efficient than having so many face-to-face meetings.

What do you think sets candidates apart in the entry-level job hunt? Show that you are going to work hard; I think this younger generation has shown that it is entitled and that they just want to do the glam side of PR; but I don’t do that every day, most of work is writing and behind the scenes stuff. Show that you are driven and are willing to work hard and being proactive. Even if you aren’t working, keep doing professional things and show that they are willing to work. That will set you apart.

What advice do you have for someone in terms of interning for free? I interned for free and worked 7 days a week; I worked Monday through Saturday and then I worked at an agency 1 day a week, and even had a second job!—if you want something you have to work for it and make sacrifices. Think long term and don’t think about now, think about the big picture. How bad do you want it?

What is one piece of advice you have for aspiring PR professionals? You can’t be shy; you have to be a performer. That’s why I created “Jenelle the publicist” because it’s still me, it’s just a more outgoing me. I think you have to be fun; you have to be high energy and be able to turn it on. Be able to tap into your performer.

What are key lessons you have learned in your career? There are a lot of ups and downs in this business, and some days you are going to want to give u. But if you’re passionate, you have to keep going. People don’t realize ow much work is involved in running their own business, and how much commitment is involved. They look at me and say, “Look at Jenelle, she’s so successful” but they haven’t seen the blood, sweat and tears that went into my business.

Is she amazing or what?! If you want to keep following Jenelle, then you can find her on her website, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter

As you can see, Miss Hamilton had oodles of advice to offer and I can definitely say that speaking with her really lifted me up and got me excited and thinking about MY next steps.

I can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you all and maybe some more interview? We’ll see!

Until next time!

XOXO, Jess AsPRing