Sunday, January 18, 2009

Interview Tips

It should be easy to talk about yourself right? Well, not always. When it comes to interviews, most of us get nervous/anxious/scared/all of the above. However, these tips from CMU Career Services should help you!

  1. Practice makes perfect. This statement is said often because it's true. Go through mock interviews or practice saying answers to potential questions out loud.
  2. Be knowledgable about your employer and industry. Research online or talk to people who have positions at the company already. Make sure you know these general things: name of your employer, parent company and/or subsidiaries, financial situation of the organization, assets, recent mergers, products and/or services, major competitors, career possibilities and growth history (just to get you started).
  3. If you can't find information for some of the things listed above, make it a point to ask your employer questions. It shows you did your homework and are clearly interested in the organization and position you're applying for.
  4. Be able to effectively listen so you can verbalize your thoughts clearly and confidently.
  5. Think of ways to relate your academic program, skills, and prior work/internships to what your employer needs.
  6. General traits an employer is looking for is poise, enthusiasm and ambition. Employers also look for a person who will take responsibility for their actions and fully commit to their work.

If you keep all of these things in mind, your interview should be a breeze. Oh, and remember, just be yourself (unless you're Chandler; then you may want to cut back on the immaturity).

SONG OF THE DAY: The Fray - Look After You
Today's Scripture: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phillipians 4:13)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life after School

It's been one of those nights where I have so much on my mind that I can't sleep. Even though school is over for the semester, I still have a lot of work and things that are going to affect my near future.

For example, tomorrow I'll be working in the Saginaw Spirit office all day. It'll be a taste of a true 8 hour day in the office. I'll be working on my game, which is themed "Bad Gift Exchange." I'll have to work hard finding a solution for the actual gift exchange, I'll have to make some flyers and promo pieces, I'll have to think of actual things that will go on during the game, I'll get my budget and so on and so forth. After all that, I get to write the news release for the Spirit's away game tomorrow night. (I'll make sure to post it later.)

Another example, I have an interview this Thursday for a public relations internship at Habitat for Humanity of Michigan in Lansing. I'm excited and nervous, as expected. The only real interview experience I've had is for Sam's Club. It's experience I suppose and it's not so bad talking about myself. Once I get going I get more comfortable. It seems like a good fit for me and I hope I make a good first impression. I know it'll be great experience for me if I can get it.

But all of this, in some way, when it's lumped together, will affect my future. My experience will affect what kind of job I get after graduation, which by the way is only a year and a half away. Most likely I will have to get a paid internship before I get an actual job. That seems to be the trend. That is, IF I find someone to hire me with the economy.

It'll affect where I live and what kind of apartment/house/whatever I can afford. And of course, we all like to keep this tucked away and not talk about it sometimes, but there are relationship committments. I have a suspicion that it won't be easy to move somewhere totally new without my best friends and boyfriend. I'll have to though. I will be a peice of fluff, floating wherever the wind blows me.

Then I realized that my time will not be restricted by semesters or sports. I will still have a strict schedule, but my time will be more free. It's not a bad thing and I'm not complaining. I just know there are about to be some major changes in my life. I'm not scared, but it's a lot to think about and I just had to write it down somewhere.

SONG OF THE DAY: Britney Spears - Circus
Today's Scripture: ”And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…” (Romans 8:26)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PR Agency Tours

On Dec. 5, some members of the Dr. Diane S. Krider chapter of PRSSA and I went to the Detroit area for two public relations agency tours. We went to Franco Public Relations in Detroit in the Renaissance Center and John Bailey & Associates in Troy, Mich.

I enjoyed these tours a lot and I highly recommend going on agency tours if you're still trying to figure out where you want to go with your PR career.

I definitely liked one better than the other. It wasn't because one agency was better than the other; it is purely my own personal reasons and I have nothing against either agency. They are both respectable and do the best work.

However, the agency I preferred had younger employees. They seemed really into the social media and emphasized it on our tour. The atmosphere was more "homey." The work spaces are open so everyone can collaborate and help each other without having to yell or get up and walk somewhere. Everyone in general seemed nicer too. I also prefer the clients they have to the other agency's clients.

A common trend I noticed was that the employees at both places said they got an internship at the agency before they were hired. I guess this is pure common sense because they want to see if you'll fit in with their company and if you're a good worker. One of them said, "It's the longest interview you'll ever have."

In general, going to both places made me so excited to get a job! I love this work and definitely have a deep passion for it. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm excited for that too.

SONG OF THE DAY: Kanye West - I Wonder
Today's Scripture: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5,8)


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life Tips

I had my last public relations writing class today and my professor left our class with some tips about the real world. I'm certainly glad he did and I've briefly thought of these things before, but it was still an eye opener.

Most PR practitioners right out of college have a starting salary of $25,000. Our teacher used that number and started subtracting from it everything we will need to pay for when we're out on our own. It's not discouraging, but it was sad to see how poor I will be.

Other valuable tips he gave included:

  • Make sure you follow what a possible employer wants when you send a resume and cover letter whether it be copy and pasted into an e-mail or attached as a Word document.

  • If you get hired and the company gives you a cell phone and/or a laptop, it is for WORK PURPOSES only. You don't own that property and if you do inappropriate things with those items, it is grounds to be fired.

  • Employees should only write e-mails that they feel comfortable disclosing to the public. Dow recently fired 30 employees because of a wraunchy e-mail that had been forwarded around the company. E-mails, texts, phone calls, etc. are public records.

  • He highly recommended taking a $25,000 salary with health benefits over a $30,000 salary with no health benefits. You never know when something could happen to you.

  • Rule of thumb is to spend 25 percent of your income for living expenses.

  • Start a deferred income plan as soon as possible

  • Find a reputable financial planner to help you.

  • If you don't care who gets the credit than you'll accomplish a lot. Getting the work done is more important and while it may be hard to let someone else take credit for all the hard work you've done, don't let it consume you. There's more to life.

SONG OF THE DAY: Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

Today's Scripture: “…your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over” (1 Peter 3:1)


Monday, November 24, 2008

Isn't Life Grand?

Have you ever been really interested in something or been really excited, but thought twice about it because there were a few things that could hold you back? Well I do all the time.

For example, I just got an e-mail about a public relations internship opportunity for Michigan's Adventure. The person they're looking for fits me almost to a "T" and I feel like I could complete the tasks they need the inten to do.

However, Muskegon is about three hours away from my hometown. I lived away from home last summer and was miserable. I don't know if I could do it again.

Another thing that is holding me back is the internship goes until September. Our soccer season starts at the beginning of August. I don't know if I would be able to do both.

So as I was thinking of all these negatives, I got an e-mail from Joel Osteen, who is a preacher, and his daily newsletter always gives a passage from the Bible. Well the passage today was absolutely perfect and told me exactly what I should do. (Read "Today's Scripture" below to find out what I'm going to do!)

SONG OF THE DAY: Rascal Flatts - The Day Before You
Today's Scripture: “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close” (Revelation 3:8)


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No such thing as "To-Do" Lists in PR

One thing that has been surprising to me through my public relations studies is there is no such thing as a "to-do" list.

Every piece of advice I've gotten is while you may have a "to-do" list for the day, you probably will not accomplish more than 50 percent of what's on it.

I am an extremely organized person and I like to have my day planned. I am worried I may struggle with this and that it may cause a lot of stress.

However, I'm going to have to come to grips with this. In Robert Kornecki's book How To Thrive in the Public Relations Business: 35 Practical Tips from a 35-Year Veteran, he says, "Despite your best efforts to prioritize projects and accomplish things on that list, don't be surprised if your day becomes a blur of un-planned and unexpected activities, meetings and events. While unsettling to some, those kinds of days are more common than not...In my experience, there has been no typical day. You never know what new challenge may lie around the corner."

In my public relations writing class, we've had two speakers come, Kasey Anderson, Creative Services Specialist at Citizens Bank and Tony Cervone, GM Communications - Global Strategy and Operations. They both mentioned this topic as well and how one of the most frequent questions from students is "What is a typical day?" and their answer is always, "There is no such thing."

SONG OF THE DAY: Taylor Swift - Hey Stephen
Today's Scripture: “Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains” (Colossians 4:3)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Beginning of an End

Our soccer season unfortunately ended Friday. We lost in the semi-finals to Eastern Michigan University 2-0. We played horribly and it was a poor game for us. On paper, we were the best team in the MAC by far. However, we didn't always show it on the field.

It's always sad to end our fall season. Road trips are always a blast. They literally only consist of bus rides, eating, sleeping and soccer. That's it. Occasionally you have to throw homework in the mix, but you always find time to finish it after you get back to Mt. Pleasant.

The season overall is a blast. Practices only concentrate on things you need to do in the upcoming games. There is no fitness or ball work. It's just more fun.

Now our spring season begins. We don't get a break like you probably think. We ended Friday and we had practice this morning. We will practice Monday through Thursday until Christmas break and then we will start up again, beginning with a fitness test (the Gauntlet to be exact). YUCK!

But if you want to read more about some of the things that go on within our team, go to Grand Central's website and read the blog posts I wrote. It's about things that happen off the field and our "inner-workings."

Also, I did come away from the MAC tournament with some good news. I managed to make the All-MAC tournament team with another one of my teammates, Val Prause. FIRE UP CHIPS! :)

SONG OF THE DAY: Nickelback - Gotta Be Somebody
Today's Scripture: "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in the world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." (Corinthians 3:18)