PR Agency Work

June 10, 2008 at 12:39 pm (agency, CMU Public Relations & Marketing, internship, learning, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , )

My blog has been hanging around about five to 12 views daily since I don’t post as regularly anymore. But yesterday it jumped to 38! I thought that was pretty interesting.

Agency work sounds so exciting and I’ve really enjoyed reading Time Well Spent, an article in PR Tactics and The Strategist Online written by an intern about her PR firm internship experience.

I really would like to get some agency experience. Ever since my first PRSSA Spring Conference when I heard about Franco Public Relations Group, I have wanted to work at an agency. Then, last fall, I job shadowed two CMU alumna that work there (check out Lauren and Nikki). They were fantastic and really got me excited about agency work. My post about their session relating to agency work at the CMU PRSSA Spring Conference has received more hits than any other post on my blog.

I think that even if I decided I didn’t want to work at an agency for the rest of my career, the experience would be priceless. The experience of multiple clients and projects would teach me a lot.

I do really like my publications internship with CMU Public Relations and Marketing though. I think CMU is a great school and I like the publications area. I do a lot of writing! But ever since I was in junior high, I have been saying I wanted to be the editor of my own magazine. I think my experience with publications might help me with that dream. But I think all the experiences with CMU PRM will help me in the future.

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Resume Critique with Dr. Diane Krider

April 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations, resume) (, , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention


Resume Critique with Dr. Diane Krider

Here are ten resume tips I learned at Dr. Krider’s session:

1. Remember who you’re writing for.
2. Keep it succinct – this is not a tell-all piece.
3. Don’t put anything on your resume that is illegal to ask (race, religion, sex, political party, age, or marital status, disabilities, veteran status, etc.). But, you can mention it if you think it will giev you an advantage. For example, you might want to mention that you are devout Catholic if applying for a job within a Catholic church.
4. Pay attention to what the job ad says. The ad says exactly what they are looking for.
5. Create a resume for each job.
6. Present all materials well. First, they will see the envelope, then the cover letter, then your resume, and last your writing samples. If you have a terrible cover letter (or one with spilled coffee on it), they might never make it to your resume.
7. Have someone in your field look at your resume before sending it out.
8. Don’t put your hobbies in your resume.
9. Balance dark space with white space
10. One page or less for entry-level jobs.

What do you think is important to remember when creating a resume?

If you are a professional, what is one mistake you see often, or what is your biggest resume pet peeve?

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“PR: Case and Point” with Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski

April 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm (agency, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

“PR: Case and Point” with Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski

Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski are associates from Lambert, Edwards & Associates. Both hold a bachelor’s degree in integrative public relations from Central Michigan University.

Lambert, Edwards & Associates is among the top 100 firms in the US. Howe and Kuczinski presented a very interesting session. They presented an issue and students discussed what they would have done. Howe and Kuczinski then described what they did in the situation.

One case was Biggby Coffee (formerly Beaners Coffee). When the company needed a new name, they also needed to do some re-branding. LE&A had to communicate to both internal and external audiences, such as the owners/operators, customers, and the media.

LE&A offers paid internships. One suggestion made by Howe and Kuczinski was to focus on things that make you stand out in your cover letter.

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“The Next Big Thing: Social Media and Public Relations” with Adam Denison

April 10, 2008 at 2:01 pm (conference, new media, PR, PRSSA, public relations, social media) (, , , , , , , )

I know that the conference was a few weeks ago, but I have been too busy to finishing blogging about each session I attended. Finally, I have a little spare time and energy to tell you more.

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Keynote: “The Next Big Thing: Social Media and Public Relations” with Adam Denison

The following is from the conference program:

“Adam Denison is currently a member of General Motors’ Social Media Communication team at the company’s global headquarters in Detroit. Denison shares responsibility for generating posts and coordinating responses to comments on GM’s Fastlane Blog and FYI Blog. Using social networking sites ike Facebook, Flickr, MyRide and CarSpace, Denison has established a firm GM presence and generated two-way dialogue between GM and the public on these sites. He also created and hosted the On Star On Your Side podcast series in 2007. He and his team work on inviting and hosting various social events. He recently initiated GM’s first foray into the world of microblogging with the creation of the “gmblogs” Twitter profile.”

Denison said the GM is involved in social media to change perceptions, to go back to the relationship building aspect of PR, to get straight to the consumer, and to have a two-way dialogue. Denison noted that social media is measured mostly by qualitative data.

He also noted that GM has PR internships. They usually hire about 6 people, but it is very competitive. in order to apply, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA and have at least one previous internship.

Update: Check out Adam’s blog called For Budding Public Relations Professionals. I’ve been following it since I started blogging here, but I didn’t realize that is was his blog until he replied. I strongly suggest checking it out.

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Resumes

April 8, 2008 at 1:38 am (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations, resume) (, , , , , )

Last night I redid my resume. I had attended a resume critique at the CMU PRSSA Spring Conference. Until recently, I haven’t had time to work on the improvements.

Resulting from their tips is a very detailed, one-paged resume that I think looks very nice. Here five tips that helped me redo my resume:

1. Objective first – It needs to be targeted towards how you will help the potential employer. Originally, my generic resume objective said, “To gain experience in public relations, communications, and writing.” What does that do for the employer? Nothing. Wojcik suggested a change: “To apply my knowledge of public relations, communication, and journalism to a company or organization in Isabella County.”

2. Put your work experience next – My original resume had my education, followed by my work experience. Experience is more relevant than my education, especially since I am still in school.

3. Make your margins less than one inch to fit more information on your resume. Dr. Krider suggested that I make the most of my space by adjusting the margins. I was able to fit much more information on my resume this way.

4. If you use “Mt. Pleasant” in the resume, don’t switch to “Mount Pleasant” in another part. In my address, it said “Mount Pleasant” and under work experience, it said “Mt. Pleasant.” A small, but important detail that you should pay attention to.

5. Use action verbs. Instead of saying that I was a member of the professional development committee, Perry suggested that I be more specific. What did I accomplish while I was a member? What did I contribute?

One more tip: Take “pubic” out of your Microsoft Word dictionary, suggested Dr. Krider. Nothing will get your resume thrown away faster than saying you want to work in “pubic relations.” Luckily, I did not make this mistake!

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Public Relations Students & Networking

April 3, 2008 at 4:12 am (college, new media, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , )

I have recently joined PR Open Mic. It is a social networking website for public relations students and faculty. Professionals are also welcomed.

Networking has recently come up within my chapter of PRSSA. I had a meeting Tuesday night with the Professional Development Committee. One member brought up the point that we needed more networking. You never know who might end up knowing of a good job available or have resources you might need. Networking is a very important aspect of PR. Because of this, we have decided to put together a networking book, containing the contact information of our members. We will be selling them for $1 at our annual spring picnic.

I also suggested speed networking. It is actually something I thought of several months ago, but I wasn’t sure what other people would think of the idea. I did mention it at the meeting Tuesday night and the others seemed to like the idea. Basically, it would be like speed dating. You get to sit down and talk to someone you might not have ever had a conversation with. Maybe I’ll talk to someone who, like myself, wants to have their own public relations agency someday.

I hope that PR Open Mic becomes active with many new members. There are forums about many different subjects, gadgets to add to your page, groups (you can also form your own group, PR-related videos, and PR podcasts.

Networking is important in our industry. I might just be the person to tell you about your next job. You might be the person who will have tips to give me in a major PR crisis. You never know…

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PR Central, PRSSA Elections, Battle At The ‘Bin

April 2, 2008 at 4:56 am (eboard, PR, PR Central, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , )

Tonight (technically yesterday on April 1), I was elected for two executive board positions.

I am now the Treasurer for PR Central, CMU’s student-run public relations firm. I am also the Student Government Association Representative/Professional Liaison for PRSSA.

I am looking forward to being more involved with PR Central and PRSSA next year with these two positions.

The reason I am writing at nearly 1 a.m. is because I just got home from our PRSSA fundraiser, the Battle At The ‘Bin. I don’t know how well it went financially, but I enjoyed the last three performers the most. By the end, though, I don’t think people were donating money (the performer that gets the most money in their “bin” wins).

I’ll be posting more from conference soon. I’ve been very busy lately finishing up a marketing project and meeting two scholarship deadlines. Finally, with Battle At The ‘Bin over, I can relax a little.

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“Adventures In Agency PR: Two Young Pros Tell All” with Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan

March 31, 2008 at 9:32 pm (agency, conference, interview, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Session 2: “Adventures In Agency PR: Two Young Pros Tell All” with Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan

Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan are account executives at Franco Public Relations Group in Detroit, Michigan. They both graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and were active in PRSSA and PR Central.

The following are things I learned at their session:

  • Media Tips
    • Get familiar with the reporters
    • Google Alerts – can be used to monitor clients nationally
    • Media lists are important because you can’t send the same release to every report (for example, a sports reporter won’t care about business trends)
    • Pitching – read the reporter’s articles, be clear and concise on the phone, and when pitching to TV, let them know what the visuals could b

To work in an agency, you must be able to: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Juggle multiple clients
  • Be organized
  • Track your time
  • Pay attention to billing issues
  • Be creative, “outside the box” thinker
  • Be a flawless writer

One thing I didn’t know about was tracking time. In order to bill clients, you must keep track of how much time you spend working on their accounts.

How to land the interview: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Watch for spelling, grammar on resume
  • Include work experience before education
  • Get creative with your cover letter
  • Showcase what makes you unique
  • Build portfolio with most relevant work from classes and internships
  • Get involved on campus and take on a PR role

Also, don’t say that you are a “people person.”

On your cover letter, it is important to show that you know the company and that you are interested in their clients. You also should find what makes you unique, include relevant information, and summarize your skills (teamwork skills, thriving in fast-paced environment, etc.)

How to land the job: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Showcase your personality, confidence
  • Show familiarity with company
  • Ask questions
  • Be able to sell yourself without being over the top
  • Be prepared for a writing test and do well on it
  • Write thank you cards

Also, as much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them.

Where to look for jobs: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Company websites
  • PRSA, IABC, Media Bistro websites
  • PR Direcotires
  • Avoid Monster, HotJobs, etc.
  • Talk to your friends
  • Never burn bridges with people
  • Clean up your Facebook and MySpace accounts

Agency Tips: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Every agency is different
  • Remember, culture is key – find a place where you can be happy
  • Dress appropriately
  • Always maintain professionalism
  • Think about the big picture

Also, when getting a job, you should ask about the starting salary, the advancement process, and the room for growth. Benefits and vacation/personal time are also important.

Lauren and Nikki said that the starting salary for agencies in this area is $25,000 to $30,000.

This was definitely my favorite session. Lauren and Nikki have a lot of energy and are very interesting to listen to. I actually job shadowed both of them last semester for IPR 101. There were some tips they gave that I had heard from then before, but this was still a very valuable session because of interview, job, and agency tips. I actually hope to someday work at Franco.

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“Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

March 31, 2008 at 12:34 am (agency, college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Session 1: “Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

Robert Kolt is CEO and president of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation located in Okemos, Michigan. He is a CMU alumni with an undergraduate degree in broadcast & cinematic arts and journalism. He also holds a graduate degree in communications from MSU.

The following is an outline of what I learned in his session called “Agency PR.”

Kolt said that his corporation does a lot of strategic communications. For example, he might do research for a politician and tell them the facts and what they should say.” Another example would be interview rehearsals for Consumers Energy’s CEO.

Kolt Communications, Inc. offers media training, including message development strategies, speaking and presentation skills, and media interview techniques. They stage events that “help make news.” They are licensed as fundrasiers as well. Kolt said that fundraising and grant writing are growing areas in the industry.

One past client Kolt talked to students about was a lottery winner that wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want his face shown because he had a criminal record. His corporation also has staged fires to show crisis communication skills, done ground breakings, and has handled a crisis situation with the United Way. He also does advertising.

Kolt Communications, Inc. usually takes one or two interns that are paid $10 per hour. He said he looks for a good writer. Good interpersonal skills are important. You also need to be a hard worker. Kolt said that employers want to know what you’ve done and see your samples.

Kolt said that he does not actively pitch to businesses. Many clients come to him through referrals or he bids on projects.

One thing to remember, Kolt said, is “it’s not about you, it’s about your client,” Kolt said.

Kolt Communications, Inc. also handles a lot of crisis communications. He gave three steps to crisis management.
1. Prevention
2. Detection
3. Extinguishing

He said that many businesses don’t come to him until they need help with step three.

On starting your own firm, Kolt suggested the following:

1. Create relationships – Never burn any bridge
2. Be honest, knowledgeable, and creative
3. Add value and power to clients
4. Be philanthropic
This session was helpful to me because I would like to start my own firm one day. It was nice to hear from someone that had graduated from CMU with a successful firm.

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CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference

March 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm (college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , )

The Road to Reinvention

That was theme for the CMU PRSSA Spring Conference that I helped plan and attended today. Overall, I believe it was a success. It has given me better direction to map my road to reinvention. The speakers were fabulous and I feel so inspired right now.

I think it is wonderful that I found a career that makes me feel this way. I was just discussing this with some fellow PRSSA members. Many students go to college for a degree. They choose a major that they like and go to classes (that they often complain about). That’s it. They don’t go the extra mile. It seems different for PR students at CMU.

I enjoy PR-related classes. I love my major and career path I’m heading for. I find PR so exciting and I want to be as involved as possible. Sometimes it is overwhelming because I have so many meetings, but I still love it. Some other students I’ve met don’t seem to have that motivation.

It has been a ten hour day for me and I am absolutely exhausted. Therefore, I’m not going to write anything tonight. Look for posts in the near future about what I learned!

By the way, I have had exactly 100 “steps ahead” (aka hits). That is very exciting because I started this blog on February 28. Happy one month anniversary to me. I think I’ll go celebrate.

My goal for next month: 300 “steps ahead”

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