Tag Archives: Tips

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

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, 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

What to do, When You’ve Been HACKED.

Hey Vaqueros! that is totally Spanish for cowboys or something, but it’s just reflective of what a good mood I am in. I recently registered for my FINAL college quarter and graduation stuff is getting REAL, as in I am inviting family and about to take some photographs in the next few weeks. Trust me, there will be more on that soon…I promise.

Soooooooo, did you hear that the Burger King twitter account was hacked this past Monday AND the Jeep Twitter account just today (Read about it here and here)? This means a group of rogue computer nerds (think a dude with plastic devil horns wearing a Star Wars teeshirt) cracked their account passwords and then proceeded to post inappropriate, lewd and NSFW tweets and photographs to their 80,000+ followers. It took Burger King a day to have their account suspended and to issue a statement apologizing and explaining.

Getting hacked is a serious problem for us social media lovers; all it takes is someone determined enough and a few tricks (readily published online) and BOOM! You’re hacked. So what now? I’ve got a simple, but life-saving plan to follow when you’ve been hacked:

  1. Immediately contact the support team of the platform you’ve been hacked on. Send an e-mail or go through their system online and alert them to your status
  2. Change your password, and this time, let’s not make it your Maltese Fluffy, OK? Here’s an old, but still very relevant article from LifeHacker, Geek to Live: Choose (and remember) great passwords
  3. Delete and erase all offensive, spammy, NSFW and inappropriate posts, basically anything the hacker posted on your timeline. Immediately.
  4. Send out a tweet, or post, or pin and let people know that you have been hacked. Chances are, whomever hacked you took the time to spam or send out inappropriate information, so take a minute to compose a thoughtful post or tweet (or whatever) letting people know that it wasn’t you and that everything’s back to normal now.

I’ve never been hacked, but I have had my identity stolen and I know if not handled properly, it can damage your entire reputation (the rep you’ve worked so hard to build and maintain). So protect yourself and change your passwords and make them hard to crack. Until next time!

XOXOXO,

Jess_AsPRing

Senioritis: 5 Tips to Get YOU Through the Home Stretch

Hey all, when was the last time I wrote? IDK, I’ve been super busy with the internship and school and being sick (bleh. I know, right?).

Today isn’t about PR, per say…it’s about something A LOT of us are going through at the moment: Senioritis.

Senioritis, a serious condition

Many of us are nearing the end of our college careers; we are entering our last semesters (or quarters, in my case) and applying for graduation and fighting to show up because: we’re almost done. If you’re anything like me, you weren’t too fond of going to class in the first (a little something I called “freshmanitis”) place, so this “light at the end of the tunnel” business isn’t making it any easier. BUT I know that these last 6 months are very important to me: I need to be making contacts and networking and polishing my resume and kicking butt in school AND in my internship. So I’ve listed 5 tips that I have personally been utilizing to help me get through the stretch:

  1. Write it down: I think I really am becoming a senior (as in AARP card senior, not just graduating) because it is getting harder and harder to simply remember information told to me or that I read. I have taken to carrying around small notebooks with my everywhere and making voice notes on my iPhone. I can’t afford to slip up this late in the game, so I have to write everything down just to keep it straight.
  2. Keep a datebook: I am a little old-fashioned, I love the little leather-bound date books, getting a new one at the beginning of every year is heaven; all blank and full of possibility. Until I look over and realize it’s October and the only thing I’ve written down in the book is my mum’s birthday (on the wrong day, no less). I try to have my life planned out a week to 2 weeks in advance these days, because I have a lot of obligations and keeping appointments in my datebook helps me stay on time and prepared.
  3. Know when to take a break: Hey, it’s okay to let off some steam! Now is NOT the time to freak out and shut down, you are about to be thrust into the “real world” buddy and there AIN’T no summer break (sucks, right?), so you need to start teaching yourself to know when you need to take a step back. You are good to no one if you’re burned out and overwhelmed. Chilax a little; take a walk, write in a journal, play ultimate frisbee (eww.)- just whatever it takes to get you centered.
  4. Don’t get lazy: This is not the time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, getting your degree and all. This is the “prime time, grind time” (liked that? I knew you would) because sweetheart, you’re gonna need a job and this is the time to start looking for one. Put out feelers, ask your professors who they know, attend networking events for students and have someone look at your resume. Chances are, this is the resume you’ll go out into the world with, start working on it now and it will be ready later.
  5. Remember, college is just a small part of your life: The average lifespan of an adult (in the US, at least) is 77.1 years old and college was only 4 (maybe 5, or 6…no judgment) years of your life; that’s only 5.18% of your life. TOTAL. So keep in mind that you have the rest of your life, so enjoy these last few months and you won’t regret participating a little more, hanging out with friends, just being a kid. Because after this? It gets real. Trust me.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. For my non-college senior readers: sorry! This was probably really boring and I will get back to more “PR” stuff later. For my seniors (Class of 2013!!!) remember: keep your head down and power through, it will all be over really soon. Until next time!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

My first week in fashion and my final thoughts on Tumblr…

PR Couture’s Crosby Nick’s fantastic book on breaking into Fashion PR

Happy Saturday peeps! I haven’t done a Saturday post in ages, but I promised that I would give you some updates about my foray in fashion, so here I am. Also, I wanted to give you my final “nay” or “say” on Tumblr.

First things first: Fashion PR. I recently moved from a large PR agency in the tech division to a super boutique agency in fashion and accessories and my first week is over and…(drumroll please)…I LOVE IT! There’s a sample room (not like Vogue’s or anything, but still awesome), the girls are fun and I can really tell that with a little push, I can get on some good projects and get some coverage.

Cons: hmm…the biggest con I’ve had so far is that I’m loving fashion so much, I’m starting to sway on my ultimate goal of travel and hospitality PR. I have always had my mind on working in travel in some form (even when I was going to be a barrister, I was going into maritime law because they got to travel!), but fashion people travel and fashion has always been a soft spot for me. Also, boutique agencies mean less amenities, like I don’t get my own MacBook or scheduled training sessions.

Over all, this has been a great experience thusfar and I think I am going to try and intern the last 6 months I’m in the Bay Area and learn as much as possible.

Next item of business, Tumblr. Do you remember this post? I joined Tumblr (at Jessaspring.tumblr.com) and I said in a month or so, I’d report back. Well, we’re at the “or so” part and here’s what I think: Tumblr is fantastic and it’s very good for visual people, such as fashion designers and bloggers, artists, etc. but for little ‘ol PR-lovin’ me? Not so much.

I already have a blog (in case you haven’t noticed) and Tumblr is just another blogging site. I don’t think I’m going to delete the account, because some of fave people have Tumblrs, such as Alexis Rodriguez from the PR Closet and the DKNY PR Girl, but I won’t be updating regularly and I don’t think I want it to represent my overall “brand”. Also, between you and me, there are A LOT of NSFW (Not Suitable for Work) items on Tumblr!

That’s all I’ve got for today, it’s such a gorgeous day, I’m heading outside to enjoy it, ciao bellas!

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing