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Our Career Services at Georgia Southern University does a great job, especially Dorsey Baldwin the Assistant Director of Employment at the Office of Career Services. Mrs. Baldwin held a workshop titled: ” Using LinkedIn to Launch Your Career”.

I had recently joined LinkedIn before I went to the  presentation, but I still got a lot of useful information out of it.

Here are some suggestions and information I found useful:

  • Fill out you profile to 100%- including a photo, headline, keyword-rich summary, and any and all experience you have.
  • join relevant groups I found Georgia Southern Universities (GSU)  group, GSU Alumni groups, GSU PR alumni groups, as well as a lot of other PR related groups.
  • claim your custom URL-www.linkedin.com/in/YOURNAME
  • request recommendations
  • keep your profile up-to-date
  • tap into your family tree for connections: extended family, family friends, and family of your friends
  • use it to research companies and find out about a person who may be interviewing you: learn about interest or common topics you could potentially discuss with them during an interview, or just gather information about that person and/or company.

I have been hearing a lot about LinkedIn the closer I get to my graduation date. Going to the workshop helped me see it in action, as well as ask any questions. For anyone still confused about what LinkedIn is, think of it as Facebook for professionals.

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Last time I talked to Stephanie Booker she was on her way to her interview with her current company, Beck Media & Marketing. I was really excited to talk to an up and coming PR person in the California area. Stephanie graduated from the University of Georgia in 2007 making her a fresh face in the PR world.

It is great being able to talk to someone who is just starting out in their career rather than a veteran of the PR profession. After all, it’s not that long ago she was in my shoes.

Stephanie’s resume includes New Media PR at Wolf Kasteler & Associates, Media Relations at “Entertainment Tonight”, “The Insider”, and Consultant for Publicity and Promotions at Fox Atomic.

Now, an Entertainment and Technology team member at Beck Media & Marketing, it was great to catch up with Stephanie. I asked her many of the same questions as I did last year, but it was great to hear about her new job.

Here is our interview:

ME: What’s a typical week like?

Stephanie: Working at an agency brings something new everyday because you have so many different clients.  I try to split up my days in the morning with a to do list of every project I’m working on, then prioritize based on importance and time zone.  Most major magazines and many major broadcast outlets are New York based so you have to keep that in mind when you work on the West Coast.  I spend a lot of my days writing.  I’m always writing a release, a pitch, an email, something.  The good thing about my particular company is we have creative brainstorming sessions.  So we will all get together and bring up different clients and bounce creative ideas off of each other so that we keep ideas fresh to our clients.


Me: Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.
Stephanie: A unique one I worked on in January was for Robbins Brothers.  They are an engagement ring store on the West Coast, and we decided to give a couple shopping at a Robbins Bros store a chance to do a surprise red carpet proposal (video below).


First, we went to Disney with this idea and they loved it because it brought extra publicity to the movie that they didn’t have to do themselves.  We went through “casting” of sorts by interviewing normal looking guys that came in to Robbins Bros shopping for their girlfriends and told them our plan.  We finally decided on this guy named Chad and basically told him that he would be able to surprise his girlfriend with an engagement on the red carpet.  We would tell Audrey (his girlfriend) that he won tickets to walk the carpet from a radio station.  It ended up being a huge success, we got a giant segment on E! News, placement all over the internet, including Entertainment Tonight’s website.

Me: What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
Stephanie: I’m still a huge Twitter fan.  It gives you the chance to browse through headlines from multiple sources you trust without having to go to tons of sites.  I like to keep Twitter lists and separate my news interests into Twitter lists.  Mashable is a GREAT website for social media news and it totally helps out.  PR Week is also a great source.

Me: What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
Stephanie: It is not glamorous most of the time.

Me: How important is writing in your career?
Stephanie: Beyond important.  I spend 75% of my day writing.

Me: What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
Stephanie: Read More:  Start reading your mom’s Family Circle, read Fast Company in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  Seriously, these outlets might seem boring to you, but guaranteed you will need to know what is in these magazines to pitch someone for it in the future.  You have to make yourself versatile.  Can you imagine how many people pitch People magazine everyday?  Reading more also makes you a better writer.   If I were you, I would immediately start following Mashable, NY Times tech blogs, @EW (over celeb gossip because it has industry and celeb news), @HuffingtonPost, and anything else you can get your hands on.
Write More: practice makes perfect.  I’ll be honest, I used to be a really bad writer.  Even the last time we spoke my skills were sub par.  Since then I have written so much, and used the edits my bosses give me as a learning tool.  Read the comments and take them to heart, and apply them to your next assignment
Network, Network, Network:  Seriously, become best friends with everyone.  Contacts are EVERYTHING in PR. I go to lots of after work events with local groups

Me: When you were looking for a job, what did you do to stand out in this scarce job market?
Stephanie: I relentlessly stalked my boss before he hired me.  There were over 700 applicants per day for each job posted on this one website I was targeting.  I found out the company I was applying for, then went to their website to find key executives.  Then, I would search for those executives on LinkedIn and find out if we had any common connections.  In the case of my current job, I had one common connection who I knew through this one project I did at my old job.  I hadn’t talked to him in a year, but I sent him an email telling him how interested I was in the job at Beck Media, and he immediately reach out to my boss with my resume.  I also found the Beck Media mailing address online and mailed a hard copy of my resume, so that I knew my boss had a good chance of physically holding it in his hand instead of just deleting my email.  Long story short, I ended up getting my resume to Todd about 25 times that he knew about.  When he brought me in for an interview, he said that PR is a job of following up until you get what you want sometimes, and he thought if I was driven enough to get my resume in his hands that many times, it showed a lot of persistence and determination, which is a huge part of what you need.
Thanks again Stephanie for your time, help, and the really great advice!

****Internship advice, including comments/tips from at least one GSU and one non-GSU student who has already completed an internship.****

I am currently on the hunt for an internship and was glad to hear some great advice from two people who have done internships.

The first student I talked to was Kristen Kelley. Kristen and I were group members for PR Research. She has a great work ethic and always seemed to be the go-to girl when there was a problem in the group, she is great with problem solving!

Last semester, before I asked Kristen for her advice on internships, she told me about how awesome her internship was.

She strongly recommended CNN as an internship because they were very hands on and she got to do a lot of different things.

This semester Kristen gave me  some tips on how to get the most out of your internship.

  • Take advantage of every opportunity. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. It is what you are supposed to do, because this is a learning experience for you. Show your internship advisor how much you care by getting involved in as much you can.
  • Take initiative. This shows your internship advisor how responsible and driven you are. They do not have time to baby-sit you and tell you what you should do next. It is up to you to figure out what you should do.
  • Build a portfolio. Keep up with everything you do during your internship. Make copies and combine all of your work into an organized portfolio.
  • Treat your internship like a job. You have the potential to get offered a job with the company or organization you are interning with. Consider it as a job interview or potential letter of recommendation.

Another friend of mine offered similar advice for a successful internship experience. Abbey Birsch, is a friend of mine from Virginia Beach that is a soon-to-be a graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design. She did her internship last summer at a small advertising firm in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Here is how Abbey made the best out of her internship that wasn’t always so great:

  • Do what your are told. At first, my duties included more of secretarial duties. I needed to prove myself and earn their trust, this was a smaller ad agency. So, I treated every task with the utmost importance.
  • Be willing to do more. For even the simplest task, I always made sure everything was beyond perfect.
  • Be professional. Both with jobs given you, as well as taking comments and criticism. This is a learning experience, but you are not in college anymore. The company has had to fire interns before for inappropriate behavior.
  • Be engaged, ask questions and always be helpful. Listen to the things people are saying and do ask questions, but there is such a thing as a stupid question.
  • Keep in contact after the internship. I have been to Myrtle Beach since then and I always try to see them.

Thanks for the tips Kristen and Abbey!

Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business

By: Erik Qualman

As my senior year comes closer and closer to an end, I find myself stressing the little things. One of the most important little things I’ve been stressing is what to wear to an interview? As a girl, it is naturally for me to worry about finding the right outfit for the right moment, but an interview outfit could make or break me. The article, Dress for Success: What to Wear to a Media/PR/Marketing interview advises you to be true to yourself and you style, as long as it’s appropriate and won’t “scare” anyone. Here are the tips from that article:

  1. Prepare the night before. Starting with..
  2. Take a bath and relax: exfoliate, lotion, and nail polish
  3. Hydrate: green tea, water, and vitamins
  4. Get a healthy glow: they recommend using a bronzing/instant tan lotion, like L’oreal.
  5. Crest Whitening Strips and floss.
  6. Eat healthy.
  7. Pick your outfit at least the day before: research your company and the weather: is the company more conservative, youthful and casual? They recommend pairing classics with modern fashion, emphasize your best features. Try a solid colored pencil skirt or a dress with a high waisted belt (nothing flashy). Closed-toed shoes are the best idea, and a heel no larger than 1 inch is best. Match accessories with the company, conservative pearls, modern, dangly necklaces. MAKE SURE YOU OUTFIT IS CLEAN< IRONED AND ASSEMBLED THE EVENING BEFORE. In your purse have mints, resume, lipstick, and a mini-mirror.

Jobs DB Career guide stated this “Dressing inappropriately to an interview conveys only one message to the interviewer: the candidate is naïve, and misunderstood the job requirements. Female candidates should be especially careful as a revealing outfit may not be seen as sexy or attractive at all, but may cause your interviewer to make moral judgments, or worse, dismiss you off as lacking in moral values, hence unsuitable for the job.”

I think that sums up pretty well why what you wear to a PR interview matters. They suggest the best candidate is not noticed for the appearance and that ensures they are paying attention to what you are saying, not what your outfit is tell you. They suggest the following for men or women:

FOR MEN

  • A neatly pressed long-sleeved working shirt (avoid colourful shirts, stick to one solid colour)
  • A tie (optional but recommended)
  • A suit or sports coat
  • A pair of neatly pressed dark-coloured slacks
  • Conservative colours (avoid bright, flashy colours e.g. bright orange, fuchsia, etc.)
  • Well polished dark-coloured shoes
  • Neatly groomed or cleanly shaved beard and/or moustache

FOR WOMEN

  • Conservative blouse (steer clear of low cleavage and bare back designs)
  • Business suit
  • Conservative Colours (keep the colours to a maximum of three)
  • Properly fitting, non-revealing clothes. Skirts should not be shorter than an inch above the knees
  • A conservative hairstyle, tied-up long hair or set hair in a neat hairstyle. Avoid colouring your hair in shocking colours if you are job hunting
  • Appropriate closed-toe shoes or pumps. Wear sandles only when matched with long skirts

Haute MIMI dedicated a blog post to a friend who was trying to figure out what to wear to a PR internship interview. Her suggestions were:

“The formality of your outfit depends where you’re interviewing; interviewing for a fashion job allows a bit more creative freedom when it comes to shoes/accessories, but the basic foundation should still be conservative & classic.”

What to Wear:

  • Pair fitted button downs with coordinating dress pants
  • Wear a pencil skirt with a tucked in shirt with a blazer for a trendier look
  • Keep heel heights to a minimum & jewelry classic and minimal think pearls, sterling silver, and rhinestone studs
  • Make-up & hair should be clean & natural looking
  • Invest money in your interview outfit, because all the pieces will work great into any work wardrobe.
  • Dress for the job you want! It’s okay to be a little overdressed rather than sloppy looking.

When meeting with a potential employer it’s imported to be aware of what messages you are sending out. Often, what you are doing can speak louder than what you are saying.

From the other side of the desk, it is important for a hiring manage to pay attention to the nonverbal signs that show information on a person’s attitude, outlook, interest, and approach.

As an interviewee it is an important to know that what you do and what you say will affect you equally. Turn negative body language into positive body language with these tips from Job interview skills:

  • smile often (shows humility, approachability, and friendliness)
  • sit up straight in the chair at all times, and do not lean back (shows proactivity and readiness to respond)
  • maintain strong eye contact with interviewer and keep the chin up (shows confidence)
  • not roll the eyes or shrug the shoulders (candidate lacks humility and may be hard to get along with)
  • not gaze out the window with a blank stare (candidate lacks focus and is easily distracted)
  • use hand gestures to emphasize words and to further communicate what is being said (shows strong communication skills)
  • smile with eyes wide open when describing skills (shows excitement, positivity, and enthusiasm for job role)
  • dress for success with updated outfit that matches the company’s dress code (shows proactivity in fitting in with the team and keeping up with the latest trends)
  • ensure good hygiene including clean and attractive hairstyle, fresh breath, and cologne/perfume (shows that taking care of oneself translates into taking care of the skills and requirements of the position)
  • not become too casual, even if the job interview goes well (candidate may become lazy, lackadaisical, or may not take the job seriously)
  • always exude positivity, humility, enthusiasm, and confidence (serves to convince the employer that if the candidate is this confident and positive about the job, perhaps he or she is indeed a good fit)

Take the University of Kent nonverbal quiz and see what kind of body language expert you are.