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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

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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

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

Social Network Saturday: Vine.

Happy Saturday peeps! I have been doing a lot of other stuff lately (graduation is fast approaching and opening my own online boutique http://bigheartcouture.com/ shameless plug people, we open March 1st) and although PR and social media are a part of my daily life, they haven’t been a part of my online life: I haven’t been tweeting like normal, my Linkedin feed looks like freakin’ Roanoke (5 points if you know what I’m referring to!) and this blog has virtual tumbleweeds.

So, today I am bringing you a “Social Network Saturday” post because in the last few weeks, a new social network sprang up and it actually looks like it has a bit of staying power (literally jumped to #14 on the “most downloaded app” list in like 2 weeks), it’s called Vine and it’s from the creators of Twitter. Launched the last week of January this year, Vine is a social video sharing service that let’s users shoot, edit and produce looping 6-second videos (only available on Apple platforms, so you know, the cult can send videos to each other j/k…but not really).

So how will this be helpful to PR pros and marketing peeps? Well, in my opinion, it has the same possibilities Instagram has: it can add a more “human” side to a brand (even your personal brand), here are a few examples:

  • Shoot a behind-the-scenes video (works best if you are in the lifestyle division), showing your clients at work
  • Shoot some employee fun; like a birthday at the office or just employees being silly (make sure it’s tasteful and the company logo makes it in there)
  • Shoot a “getting ready” video if you are in fashion (which I am!) show your fave pieces
  • How about shooting a networking event you recently attended? Show people you are out there and looking

There are a million other ideas you can shoot with Vine. To tell you the truth, I have yet to try it, but with DKNYPRGirl and The Bag Snob on board, I am sure this thing is going to hit (and it already has, kind of). I’m not so much about the PR side, but using it for me fashion accessories boutique sounds like a pretty cool idea, so I am going to give it a go and let you all know how I liked it.

Want some more info on the incredible edible Vine (OK, IDK why I just said that lol)? I’ve put some links down here for ya:
Twitter Blog: Vine: A new way to share video
The Vine Effect: How Twitter’s App Is Impacting Social Video Startups
Social Media Today: Why Your Vine Videos Fall Flat
CisionBlog: Vine: An Analysis of Twitter’s New Toy

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

Hey, I’m on TUMBLR!!!

Tumblr pic

As if begging you to follow Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest AND now also  Instagram weren’t ENOUGH (were they, huh? Huh? Anybody out there!?!?!) I have decided to start a Tumblr because, why not? I like the visuals and some of my most favourite people are on Tumblr like:

  1. DKNY PR Girl
  2. The PR Closet (Alexis Rodriguez)
  3. Oscar PR Girl

And many more (too many to list, go to Tumblr, you’ll find some interesting and insightful character there). So you’re probably asking “Jess, you already have a Blog, why do you need a Tumblr?!” well, I don’t know if I actually need one, but I do know that it’s more visually-driven, quicker to post to and also (bad thing) more time consuming. I am going to give it a month-long trial run, and report back on January 3, 2013 to let you know my experiences.

Until then, you can check my page out here. The simple black and white theme is pretty much the same and the “Jess” is pretty much the same, so we’ll see how it goes…drop me a line and tell me your experiences with Tumblr or what your take on my new social media endeavor is!

Ciao! XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing