Tag Archives: intern

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

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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

Jargon…It’s Important To Know Some!

Happy Thursday people! I am having a particularly stressful week (school started and a whole lot of other stuff, but I don’t want to bore you!) and when I am having these kinds of weeks, I usually turn to my fave blogs and websites to inspire me and make me laugh. One such website is 99 Problems But a Pitch Ain’t One and one thing they usually have is the “Jargon Jar”, a fun feature that gives you quirky phrases that to the outside world make NO sense, but to us PR pros (aspiring and veteran) are like a second language!

Belongs to 99 Problems But a Pitch ain’t One

Don’t know any jargon? That’s okay, I’ll give you some of the basics and then we can revisit it at a later date, so here is the jargon you need to know!

Bio This is short for “biography”, used for CEOs, entertainers, engineers…your clients, basically. If you represent a creative personality, then you will most definitely have a bio for them. Within the corporate, consumer, healthcare and tech industries only the head honchos get bios.
Buzz Buzz is basically creating conversations for your client; this is really the bare bones of PR, you want people talking about your client and their work. PR pros want to keep creating buzz constantly, that’s why we get paid!
Demo This is short for, “demonstration” which happens in all aspects of PR. Companies demo their product to journalists, influencers, select consumers, and members of their target demographic. Demos are good because they give companies the chance to see how their product or service will be received. It is also a way to get coverage, because journalists will more than likely write about their experience and review the product/service
Ed Cal Short for “editorial calendar”, outlets publish these calendars around October-December that give an overview of stories, special issues and what will be in their publication for the entire upcoming year. Lots of publicists use ed cals to help pitch stories, because we know in advance what the journalists will be looking for.
Feature A feature is usually a longer article, a front page or a featured article. It’s more prominent than a “hit” or regular coverage
Hit A hit is anytime your client is covered, same thing as “coverage”
Launch When a product or service is opened, think of a rocket launch, it’s being “launched” into the atmoshphere (lol)
Lead Time Lead time is the amount of time editors need to work on on a story to publication. Lead times can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months! The general rule of thumb is 3-5 months for national publications (long lead), 1-2 months for smaller mags and regionals and weeklies (short lead) and less than a month or a few days for dailies and websites. Lead times are über important because even if you have an amazing story, if you don’t get it to the journalist/editor in enough time, it won’t go anywhere
Pitch The almighty pitch is a story angle or idea that you offer to members of the media in order to secure coverage/hits/features
Pub Short for “publication” and you know what that is…

Well, I hope you enjoyed this short list of jargon that I’ve put together for you. Did it help? Let me know and I can publish another list! Until next time.

XOXOXOX, Jess AsPRing

“Thinking Out Loud” Thursdays: PR Career Discrepancies

Happy (deep breath) “almostfridaysothereforetechnicallyalmostheweekend”. How have you all been? I’ve been fine, just doing a little SOLO PR work…WHAT?! I know,  totes cray, but I have like 2 “clients” I don’t even feel right calling them that. Just 2 people who I am helping get the word out and do some stuff for (more on that later).

Today’s post is about something I’ve been thinking about a LOT lately; as I’ve  been career hunting (like most of you) I have noticed something very strange: while there are a definitely lack of entry-level PR pro positions (say THAT 10 times fast), there seems to be an abundance of upper level/executive positions available…so I’m like hmm…

Think about putting some clothes on dude!

So what happens in the time between the entry-level pro and the senior-level pro? Do people cave under the stress and leave the industry? Do they go in-house? Are PR professionals on some sort of Logan’s Run-type thing where our careers have a time limit (please oh please understand this reference)?

What’s the deal?! What do you think happens? Do we get frustrated and throw the towel in? Or is this all in my head and clearly I am crazy and need to step away from the job boards and put the Espresso down?

Let me know in the comments people! This upcoming Monday, I have a super helpful and super awesome post coming at ya’ about yo resume; so bring yoself back! Until next time…

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles, Pt. II: When Should I Start Looking for a Job?

Happy Monday mi amigos/amigas! With Spring winding down very quickly, so I wanted to make sure we got the “Senior Chronicles” going in full force, so you (and by “you” I mean “WE”) can get ready for graduation!

I hope you remember part I of the Senior Chronicles, in case you didn’t, here it is! Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified. It was basically my fear of the unknown (AKA life after graduation, employment, in particular); so I started thinking: why fear it, when I can conquer it? I can’t sit around and wait for  job to land in my lap, I need to get out there and TAKE IT! So, the Senior Chronicles is all about the job hunt, kiddies, and the 2nd post in this series is a great starting point:

WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR A JOB?!?!?!?!?

PR is a unique field for many reasons, one reason is the industry hiring practices: while a bank or a hospital may have regular hiring intervals, PR agencies, organizations, etc. only hire on an as-needed basis. Meaning, if they have a new account, or somebody leaves, then they need people. This puts us graduating seniors in a sticky situation because traditionally, in the summer, things slow down a bit in the PR world, so chances are, not much hiring is going on. Which is a bummer, because who wants to spend the Summer on your parent’s couch?

Another thing to think about is how quickly a PR agency hires its folks: from posting the job announcement to getting that warm body in the seat, it is only about a 3-5 week process, so if you don’t graduate until May, applying for a great job in February probably isn’t a good idea. I know, at this point, you’re probably saying:

SO WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING FOR A FREAKIN’ JOB JESS?!?!?!

My answer? Yesterday! You should be always keeping your eyes open for announcements and openings; but not JUST announcements, look out for when an agency gets a new client, loses a client, merges or get’s bought. These are all indicators of jobs lost or created. BUT the catch is, don’t start applying just yet. Hiring managers are looking to fill these openings ASAP, and if you can’t start, it will mostly likely just frustrate them.

So what have I been doing? I’m glad you asked.

Starting back in NOVEMBER, I started connecting with agencies, recruiter, HR people and hiring managers on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, on email, via telephone, carrier pigeon…you name it (except the carrier pigeon…they freak me out!) and let them know while I am not graduating for quite some time, that I would like the opportunity to forward my resume and stay in touch. I got a lot of great feedback and it served a few purposes:

  1. It got my resume in front of them; which means they know my name and were able to go over the experience I had thusfar
  2. I was able to give them my blog and social media information; so they could see my work, links, influence level, etc.
  3. It gave me a reason to call them again in a few months, with an updated copy of my resume.

Believe it or not, I got some really great feedback, a few “call us when you graduate!” emails and I even had to turn down TWO interview requests, because I hadn’t yet graduated (which sucked!). The point is, I got my name in their box and let them know that I will be open for business soon.

I am going to follow up with all of them very soon, letting my contacts know that I graduated. BUT first, I am going to spend two months doing a full-time post-graduate internship in NEW YORK CITY!!!! That’s right, I got the job and I am ready to rock it out (more on that later)!!!

Well that’s it for this installment of “The Senior Chronicles” check back next Monday for my take on the “perfect entry-level resume” with a very special guest (oooh…mystery, suspense…) until then…

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