To Those Who Question Communication Majors

By: Hayley Baldzicki, @hayleybaldzicki

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We will admit it. We’re social media & grammar fanatics.

I am a communication major. Yes, that’s right, I am going to school so I can learn how to talk to people- or so that’s what people think. I couldn’t be more excited about the idea of waking up everyday and knowing that I have an impact on public opinion. However, I am not naïve. I realize there are a lot of people who believe majoring in communication is an utter joke and a waste of an education.

To those who say I take the easy classes: I’m sure some of our classes are easier than your physics classes. Want to know why? Because when communication crisis breaks in our agency, we aren’t going to need to know what the quadratic formula is. We learn how to brand in a way that’s best for the client and the public. We learn how to use persuasive tactics to maintain a good name when scandal hits. We learn how to research in order to find out what is best for our client. We learn how to maintain our social media as a good mix of professional and witty. Our major requires multitasking, critical thinking and of course being a people person. We are the social butterflies and boy do we take pride in it.

To those who say I will not make any money: I get this one a lot and I can’t argue compared to some other professions. I know a communication/public relations position is not the number one paying job in this country and it might not even be in the top 10. But if all I cared about was money when choosing what I wanted to with my life, I wouldn’t be going into a field I love and that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’m proud to say I chose a major based on what I am passionate about, not based on the salary.

To those who will join me in the field of communication: This is going to be a whirlwind. Everyday will not be the same and at times, work will be so unpredictable. We’ll be required to think on our toes and roll with the punches. Our job will allow us to be creative and express ourselves through our work. Our degree can get us a job in public relations, event planning, human resources, marketing and social media. Sure, a “communication” degree seems so broad, but look at all the opportunities we have with a BSC. If I have any advice for you when you are questioned on why you chose your major, I’d say: Aim for your passions, work hard and stop caring about what other people think about your career choice. Because it is your life, not theirs.

Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs

 

9 Tips for Impressing Your Interviewer

By Lexie Gentile, @Lex_Gentile

So, you’re in the midst of your job/internship hunt and you get contacted about an interview. Congrats! It’s time to take the next step. Here are some tips to help you rock that interview:

 

  1. Always give a firm handshake

The way you shake someone’s hand contributes to their first impression of you. A weak handshake may tell your interviewer that you are shy or anxious, but a firm handshake shows that you are “open” and confident. Be sure to look them in the eyes when you shake their hand as well.

  1. Maintain good eye contact

Having good eye contact shows respect and that you are interested in what your interviewer is saying.

  1. Repeat their name when introduced, for memory’s sake

This helps you to remember their name and to show that you are paying attention.

  1. Don’t fidget

If you feel anxious during an interview that nervous energy may result in fidgeting, which can be a distraction. It’s totally normal to feel nervous, but try to focus your attention the interviewer and what you are saying. Act natural.

  1. Research the company

This is extremely important when you’re trying to show up prepared. Having well-rounded knowledge of the company you are pursuing can help you dodge any curve balls the interviewer may throw at you. Being well-informed will benefit you throughout the process.

  1. Always have extra resumes

Another way to show up prepared is to bring extra resumes with you to your interview. You can never be too sure how many people will be sitting in on your interview and you don’t want to leave them hanging.

  1. Use the STAR method when answering questions

Situation: Describe a situation you were in

Task: What goal were you working toward? What tasks did you need to complete?

Action: What were the actions you took to resolve any problems & how did you go about completing your tasks

Result: What were the results of your actions and what you learned

  1. Be confident, not cocky

Show up with a positive attitude, the energy you put out is the one you will most likely receive. And be confident in yourself and in your abilities… you made it this far!

  1. Ask questions & follow up

Ask about the company culture- show you did your research.  Then within the next day or two, be sure to send an email or letter thanking your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.

 

The Perks of Being Unwritten

By: Caitlyn Blair, @blairitsoloud

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Unwritten (www. readunwritten.com) is an online media publication that was founded upon being “the number one destination for Generation Y to share their uninhibited opinions.” We do our best to ignite the revolution to encourage Millennials to live their lives unwritten.

For my entire life I have known that writing was what I wanted to do. Naturally, this caused me to major in journalism (with a focus on strategic communications). Over the course of my first semester of college, I hadn’t quite yet found a publication that I could envision myself working for.  It was about halfway through freshman year that I became friends with Rachel Hartwick, a fellow strategic communications major and at the time, an editor for Unwritten. She told me about all the great opportunities the site had to offer and I immediately could not wait to submit a sample piece.

My first article for Unwritten was published in February of 2015. Four months and a few articles later, I was offered the position to be an editor for the website. Of course, I was more than thrilled to accept the internship. While it does require a significant time commitment, roughly a minimum of two hours each day, it has been one of the most  rewarding experiences. An average day as an editor for Unwritten involves a lot of collaboration with my co-editors, six of us total, to choose the perfect titles and featured images for each piece that will run the next day. On top of that, each editor is assigned two or three pieces nightly and is responsible for copy editing, hyperlinking keywords, tagging, working with writers to address their concerns and generally perfecting each piece before they are posted.

As summer ended and sophomore year began, I realized I wanted to gain a little more from my internship. I have always believed that the benefits you reap from an experience are equivalent to the amount of effort you put into it. While I am passionate about editing, the most wonderful articles will go unnoticed without the proper strategies to help promote them. Being that I am a strategic communications major and have experience in the public relations field through my work with ImPRessions, I decided to apply for my second internship with Unwritten, but this time as a social media marketer.

Our social media team consists of myself and five other girls. Each girl on the team is responsible for one of our five accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr. I am in charge of both running and doing analytic research for our Facebook page.  It is my job to figure out when the prime times are to schedule articles to be released that would most likely gain the highest amount of readership traffic.  In addition, each morning the other social media team members and I meet at 10am to formulate catchy and clever caption ideas.

Michelle Naz,  the CEO and founder of Unwritten, works with both our social media team as well as the editing team to help grow the site. I have her to thank for being such a wonderful and committed boss and for having taught me most of what I know about social media strategy. Since writing for Unwritten, I have been published to The Huffington Post three times and received more traffic on my pieces than I would have ever thought possible. Unwritten has given me the opportunity to do what I love every day, and there is nothing better than that. I am eternally grateful for both of my internships and for all that the site has given me. I would recommend Unwritten for any college or post-grad trying to make their way into the world of digital media.
Through everything I have learned during my time as an intern, the most important lesson I have taken away is that opening one small door could lead you to a world of opportunities and has the potential to completely change your life. Take chances, do what you love and live your life Unwritten.

Brand Journalism: Combining My Love of Storytelling and PR

By: Erin McMahon, @emcmahon1

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I was always one of those kids who knew exactly what career they wanted to have. From middle school onward, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded with “journalist.” This was a bit of an odd response, as most other kids I grew up with blurted out answers like teacher, doctor, nurse or veterinarian.

My dad had also wanted to be a journalist, and worked as a reporter for a wire service right out of college. As a kid, my dad would tell me about the stories that he covered, including a prison break in West Virginia and when he got “the interview” with Dan Quayle, the vice president at the time. These stories fascinated me and I thought that journalism would be the perfect career. It would allow me to tell stories, utilize my communication skills and travel all over the world. What could be better?

After a long process deciding on colleges and which programs I’d like to target, I knew that the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University was the place for me. I mean, it even has journalism in the title, for goodness sakes! During the decision process, my parents (although incredibly supportive of me) suggested public relations as a potential major, considering the current struggles of the news media industry. After six years in the journalism industry, my dad had made the shift to PR and thought that I might like it too. However, stubborn me couldn’t think of anything more boring than doing, what I thought would be, the behind-the-scenes work for a company. I wanted my name in a byline, my face behind the news desk. There was no way I was changing my dream…until I took my first strategic communications course.

Upon learning about why consumers make certain product decisions and how to construct a marketing campaign, I knew that the PR and advertising industries were where I needed to be. While I was really happy with my shift in majors, however, I still had a deep love for journalism. I thought that I would have to pick between corporate communications and reporting – that is, until I heard of “brand journalism.”

According to Forbes, brand journalism is “marketers using the tools of digital publishing and social media to speak directly to consumers.” More easily put, it’s using storytelling and reporting to convey a brand’s image, without the messaging looking like an advertisement or PR stunt. For example, if my agency was trying to promote a new product, I could introduce that product through a story told by a consumer who was positively affected by the product. It doesn’t look like an ad – just a heartwarming story that gets all of the necessary information across to the audience.

The inception of brand journalism is shaping and changing the PR landscape, providing yet another new tool for companies to gain visibility. While new digital and social media devices are bombarding the industry and it’s tough to keep up, this is the best time to enter into the job force as a young professional – especially if you have a love for storytelling and journalism.

Once I had learned about the brand journalism industry, I became more excited for my future career than ever before. I can combine my love for storytelling with my creative, promotional side. And, I can still talk to my dad about my career, because even HE knows what brand journalism is. I guess older really is wiser (but as I like to tell him, “not for long!”).

4 Ways to Stay Calm During the Job Search

By: Mallory Laird, @LairdMallory

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While at times the much anticipated job and internship search may seem far off, in just the blink of an eye it will be your senior year spring semester and you’ll be thinking to yourself, where did the time go?  Along with this search comes many ups, and at times, even many more downs.  While this process can be stressful and discouraging, here are a few tips to make the search a little easier!

1.Apply, apply and then apply some more

We all know the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Well, that expression is very relevant to finding a job after college. It’s essential to apply to as many jobs as possible. This way you will have plenty of job options and may find a job sooner than you think. That dream job you’ve always wanted may not be available right away. So it’s important to keep an open mind.

2.Apply and move on….

It’s the same feeling many of us have after sending a risky text. Will they text back? Was what I sent good enough? Why haven’t they texted back yet? After you hit the send button on a job application, move on. Don’t dwell on the fact that you haven’t heard back and it’s been a week. Businesses get hundreds of applications and it takes them time to go through all of them. Dwelling on this matter will only make the application process that much harder.

3.Take breaks

Just like studying for an exam, or doing a hard math problem. Applying for jobs takes time and can be stressful. Research finds that even a small break can increase mental sharpness by an average of 13%.  Even if you close your eyes for 10 minutes, or take a short walk, taking a break will keep your stress level down and your head clear.

4.Stay positive

One of the most important pieces of advice I have gotten is to stay positive! The job search can be stressful and discouraging. Many don’t find their dream job right out of college and that is okay. You must remember that you are just coming out of college, whether you have internship experience or not, it is still your first job. Keep an open and positive mind and remember, everything happens for a reason.

Although these tips may not directly help you score the perfect job or internship, they will make the process a little bit easier.

 

Key Components to a Well-Written Cover Letter

By: Emily Barber, @emilybarbershop

Ohio University ImPRessions Cover Letter

The season has begun. And no, I’m not talking about Christmas. Internships are on the minds of students around this time of year – finding, applying, interviewing and all of the panicking that goes along with the process. If you’re sending in an application, chances are that you’ll have to write a cover letter to precede your resume. For many people, this will serve as your first impression with a company. Use these guidelines to help your cover letter avoid the recycling bin and instead land you the perfect internship:

 

Address it to the right person

Nothing will ruin an application like calling someone by the wrong name. Find the name of the hiring manager, recruiter or other employee that will be looking at your cover letter. If you can’t do this, just make sure to avoid the overused “To Whom This May Concern,” which sounds extremely impersonal, not to mention lazy.

 

Don’t repeat your resume

Your cover letter shouldn’t be a copy of everything that’s on your resume. This is a waste of time for both you and the employer. Instead, highlight some unique experiences you’ve had, or go into detail on another time when you learned valuable skills.

 

Explain why you’re different

There might be many people applying for the same position as you. What sets you apart from them? Do you come from a different background? (Hint: this is a great time to mention why Scripps kids make great employees!)

 

Show your knowledge of the company

Mention something in your cover letter that the company has recently done that either interested you or pertains to the position you’re applying for. If they have core values or a mission statement, explain why you relate to these messages and how you will fulfill them if you’re hired.

 

Give it a personal touch

You’re not a robot – so don’t write like one! Be respectful and professional, but don’t be afraid to show your personality in your cover letter. Many companies look for employees that are personable, and if you can convey this trait in your cover letter, you’re that much closer to a second interview.

 

Cover letters can be daunting, but a well-written one makes all the difference. Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!

ImPRessions Wins Prestigious National Award

By: Marisa Fiore, @marisafiore1

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The Ohio University, Hugh M. Culbertson Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (Scripps PRSSA)’s on-campus student-run public relations firm, ImPRessions, won the PRSSA Dr. F.H. Teahan award for 2015 Chapter Firm of the Year at the 2015 PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is the most prestigious award a nationally affiliated student-run firm can win. Criteria for the award included performances and results achieved for clients, and the management and operation of the firm in providing strong business and professional experience for its staff.

Though there are more than 100 student-run firms around the country operated by PRSSA Chapters, only those among the upper echelons are PRSSA Nationally Affiliated. ImPRessions is part of this elite group of 29 firms who represent the most accomplished and successful student-run firms operated by PRSSA Chapters. Firms with this designation have successfully gone through an application process to ensure the firm is soundly based in three areas: a solid PRSSA/PRSA connection, a high level of professionalism and an effective structure.

The 2014-2015 ImPRessions Administration at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Awards Banquet where they were each honored with separate awards. From left to right Kerry Tuttle (Senior Assistant Director), Melaina Lewis (Executive Director), Sarah Rachul (2014/15 Junior Assistant Director, 2015/16 Executive Director).
The 2014-2015 ImPRessions Administration at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Awards Banquet where they were each honored with separate awards. From left to right Kerry Tuttle (Senior Assistant Director), Melaina Lewis (Executive Director), Sarah Rachul (2014/15 Junior Assistant Director, 2015/16 Executive Director).

“Last year’s Administration strived to improve and make a lasting impact for ImPRessions’ members,” said 2014—2015 ImPRessions Director, Melaina Lewis. “We focused our energies in providing professional development workshops, opportunities for leadership and firm-wide events. We had an outstanding support system in the Board of Directors, and the supervisors, executives and associates’ work ethic and commitment was undeniable. This couldn’t have been done without the members. I’m elated and proud of this firm.”

Sponsored by Champions for PRSSA, the Dr. F.H. Teahan Chapter Awards Program recognizes the outstanding achievements of PRSSA Chapters in 12 categories each year. Hundreds of Chapters apply for the Teahan Awards in hopes to be nationally recognized at the National Conference in the fall.

“I learned so much from being a part of the 2014-2015 ImPRessions Administration and knew that we were leading an amazing group of students and budding PR professionals,” said 2015-2016 ImPRessions Director, Sarah Rachul. “This win just confirms all those thoughts. It also serves as an incentive to work even harder this year now that the bar has been set so high. I can’t wait to see how much all our incredible members accomplish in 2016. I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Executive Director of this year’s 2015 Firm of the Year.”

Scripps PRSSA was also named a 2015 Star Chapter. The Star Chapter Award, for which all Chapters are eligible annually, encourages Chapter leadership to provide programming and relationship building opportunities for students and rewards them for achieving these goals. Scripps PRSSA is one of 43 chapters to earn this achievement. This is the second year in a row Scripps PRSSA has been recognized as a Star Chapter.

The last time ImPRessions won Chapter Firm of the Year was 2007 and the last time Scripps PRSSA won a Teahan award was 2012. ImPRessions was awarded $400 and a plaque for its achievements. The plaque will be displayed in Schoonover Center to honor ImPRessions.

For any media inquires about the award, please contact Marisa Fiore at mf469211@ohio.edu.