Tag Archives: PR101

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

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

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

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

The Senior Chronicles, Part IV: Cover letter help via #Resuchat

Hey peeps! I’m sorry we had to move The Senior Chronicles back a day, but with everything going on in my life and then the Boston tragedy, I didn’t want to post. But today, I’ve got a treat for you: a little over a week ago, I participated in a TwitterChat hosted by Jackalope Jobs, a social-charged job hunting site (go check it out!!!). The chat was all about nailing your cover letter and asked a very important question: Should entry-level cover letters look different from their more experienced counterparts?

The short answer? No. Well, not really…I can’t explain, so let’s get down to what I learned and what hopefully you can learn to!

  1. Question 1: Should entry-level cover letters differ from other professional cover letters?
    1. @CreativeCLs: Yes and no. You don’t have much work experience, so focus on yr potential. But should still be professional yet conversational #resuchat
    2. @TomBolt : Probably not. I’ll be in a minority on that opinion, but the cover letter won’t fix qualifications that aren’t there. #ResuChat
  2. Question 2: What are some elements that must be included? What can be left out?
    1. @Hourly: Include how you can benefit a company. Exclude any repetitions of your resume. #resuchat
    2. @AllThingsBiz: Your value proposition–what makes you different from the other candidates and how can you make a difference at the company? #resuchat
    3. @MikePetras: Cover letters can smooth over gaps in employment or 2 many job changes. Here is a list of probs: bit.ly/brFZK0 #ResuChat
  3. Question 3: What’s the optimum length of an entry-level cover letter?
    1. @TomBolt: Three paragraphs. Not pages and pages. Middle paragraph can be bulleted to show key matches to specs. #ResuChat
    2. @sparkhire: A paragraph or two short paragraphs. Short and sweet, but make it count. #HR has to read a lot these things. #Resuchat
  4. What are some differences between cover letter and resume content?
    1. @ComeRecommended: Resumes showcase your experience. Cover letters illustrate your accomplishments and why you would be an asset. #ResuChat
    2. @MikePetras: Resume = skills, education, accomplishments. Cover letter = why u r a fit & what makes u diff than any other candidate #ResuChat
  5. What are some creative entry-level cover letters you’ve seen?
    1. @kavita1010: #Vine cover letter (link here!)She just got a job! #ResuChat
    2. @ComeRecommended: Writing the cover letter to fit the lyrics of a popular song. #resuchat

That was pretty much it (okay, there was ALOT more, but these were my favorite) and I learned a lot, such as: my cover letter should be short, it needs to bring the emotion where my resume cannot and it’s a chance for me to qualify my experience and tell them WHY they should hire me. Finally, these were 3 pieces of info I really liked and wanted to leave you with:
@TomBolt : Cover ltrs should be in the “T-Cover” format 1) Intro: Tell em why you are writing 2) tell em how you are qualified 3) closing
@Hourly: Include your personality. Don’t be a robot! #resuchat
@bob_firestone: Unlike resumes, Cover Letters let you build EMOTION then backfill with logic/metrics of success/social proof. #resuchat

#ResuChat runs every other Tuesday at 9 PM, EST…so check it out! It was very informative and I learned a lot from all the participants!

That’s it for me, 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

The Senior Chronicles, Part III: The Perfect Entry-Level Résumé

Hey there peeps, have I got a treat for you! Today we are going to be talking about the one document that can make or break your career: the résumé.  A résumé is the meat of the “career packet sandwich”: it doesn’t matter how great your portfolio is, how well-polished and personalized your cover letter is or how great you interact with the agency on Twitter, if your résumé doesn’t put foreward the best picture of you? It’s a done deal. Luckily for you, I have called in the big guns to give us some help: Jessica H. Hernandez is the founder and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, an online résumé consultancy that delivers brilliant résumés for all industries at all levels, at a very reasonable price. Additionally, Jessica (who has a fantastic name, if I do say so myself) is a nationally-recognized résumé expert, appearing in International Business TimesMSN.comMonster.com, etc. Basically, her advice is golden and I’ve got the exclusive scoop for you in 5…4…3..2…

  1. Should an entry-level resume be in chronological order or in order of most relevant experience? How much of our past experience should we include? It really depends on each job seeker’s job search goals but 99% of the time you always want to include the most relevant information in the top portion of the resume and then follow it with a chronological listing of your previous experience. Additionally, you should include up to ten years of past work experience but most entry level job seekers won’t have that long of a work history. So include what you do have at the time.
  2. Please make or break a myth for us: should our entry-level resume only be one page? Most entry-level resumes are only one page because of limited work history not because of a resume rule that stipulates it should only be one page. There is no rule that your resume has to stick to one page.
  3. What are some good tips for what to put on an entry-level resume that does not have much experience? You can include relevant coursework, internships, volunteer experience, and relevant extracurricular activities if they are professional and would help you in finding a job.
  4. How do we highlight our strengths against more experienced (ie, a few years out of school, etc.) competitors? Always emphasize your relevant experience and expertise. Speak to the needs of the employer. How has your past experience equipped you to successfully tackle the challenges that this employer is facing? If you can prove that you can overcome their obstacles you’ve suddenly positioned yourself as the most desirable candidate.
  5. How will social media and personal branding play into our resumes? How much weight should we, as entry-level job seekers, put into it? If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile you need to get one. It’s the number one way recruiters are finding candidates – even entry level ones! You should always seek to “brand” yourself. Even if you have very little actual work experience you still have gifts, talents, and skills that are marketable to employers and that make you unique and unlike any other candidate. Focus on marketing those.

Well, you heard it hear first people: “one-page résumé only” is a total myth and you need to get on Linkedin, ASAP. Jessica is a great resource and you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. She’s a great resource and regularly publishes great info and articles. I’m known to be pretty helpful, myself 😉 so don’t forget to connect with me!

The next Senior Chronicles will deal with social media and your résumé, how much is too much? Should you put your Twitter on your résumé? We’ll answer all of these q’s and more!

Until next time!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing