Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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My Favorite Things ImPRessions Has Taught Me

April 23, 2015

By: Elise Mills, @itsELISElove

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Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.

Teamwork really is dream work

PR is not a one-man show. No one person can successfully create and implement a campaign, though some will try. Each associate brings a different set of strengths that will further the account, and everyone trying their best creates unbelievable results.

Content is King

And research is Queen. Just because you have a great headliner, or idea does not guarantee its success. You must have content to back up that great idea. I loved learning that I had to do more than just come up with great ideas, I needed to put the work in and create the entire picture, not just one piece.

A campaign without a goal is not a campaign

Campaigns can run anywhere from hours to months, so having tangible goals is the best way to keep your account motivated. How can you achieve a goal you don’t know you have? You have to determine the amount of imPRessions, interactions, or anything else you are hoping to measure your level of success. Then, help the associates learn how to measure this success; it is a great award to achieve your goals.

Anyone can be a PR Star

The great thing about ImPRessions is that you are not alone. You have other associates, Assistant Executives, Executives, Supervisors, and others who are all rooting for you and are willing to help. Any plant provided with food, water and sunlight will continue to grow, and I have learned this past year that ImPRessions gives you all the tools to succeed. All you have to do is want it.

Find Your Focus: How to Narrow that Over Involvement

April 22, 2015

By: Sam Miller, @keepcalmsam14

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I’m sure we all remember our first weekend on campus. After a riveting speech from President McDavis, your entire class marches up Richland Avenue to College Gate, and here you truly become a bobcat. Another event that everyone undoubtedly remembers is the involvement fair. Hundreds of organizations, and thousands of students, crammed onto College Green, each of them trying to find the place they want to get involved. If you’re like me, then you probably signed up for at least 10 clubs, but you only became a member of about half of them.

Fast forward to the end of the year. You’re beginning to realize that you are spreading yourself a little too thin with your involvement and you need to cut back. But where do you even start? I am currently having this experience, and was recently given some advice on how to limit my involvement to three activities, and I’m passing it along to help all my over-involved friends out there.

1. Keep it professional

When it comes to deciding on organizations to keep, the one at the top of the list could be your pre-professional organization. These organizations for all the PR stars out there would be PRSSA, ImPRessions, SPJ, or Ad Club. These are the organizations that focus on your development and are going to arm you with the skills that will make you extremely hirable as you make your way into the work field.

2. Stay true to your values

The next organization that you should be sure to keep is any that advance your values and opinions. It is important to not lose sight of the things you believe in as you make your way through college. These organizations will help you do that. Examples of these organizations include any political parties student organizations, those with affiliation to special interest groups, or ones that have religious connections.

3. Having Fun

These groups are the ones you do for the heck of it. Your involvement in these groups should serve as the place where you forget about classes and go to relieve stress. These could include anything from a group that talks about your nerdy TV obsession, or one that works to give back to the community. Never underestimate the importance of keeping one of those organizations. It could be the one thing that keeps you sane.

Bonus: Once you choose your three organizations, it is then up to you to gauge your involvement in them. It is important to focus on the quality of your involvement as opposed to the quantity. If you devote all your time to one organization, and can only attend one meeting a month in the other two, do that. The people running the organizations will totally understand because we’re all college kids and we’re all in the same boat when it comes to involvement.

PaRtner’s Conference 2015

April 21, 2015

By: Jess Carnprobst, @jess_carnprobst

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This past Saturday, Melaina Lewis, Allison Evans, Kelsey Miller and I traveled to Columbus for this year’s PaRtner’s Conference at Capital University. After attending last year’s conference at Ohio State, I was excited to see what was in store.

Capital welcomed us with some breakfast foods, juice and coffee, before starting the keynote speaker. Then at 9, we heard from Amanda DeCastro, who is currently working at Resource Ammirati and talked to us about the things we won’t learn in school. She told us to have an elevator speech, learn to speak in public, take big risks, build our online presence wisely, understand that we will fail, become an expert in one thing, listen, find a work/life balance that works for you, master the art of writing and storytelling, bring a pair of flats (this one was for the ladies), you will get hung up on when calling people, don’t burn bridges and lastly my favorite advice, make your passion your paycheck.

In our first breakout session, we chose to attend the “art of the resume” workshop, gaining a professional’s understanding of the resumes we turn in. Here we learned that it’s important to be careful when choosing to create a design heavy resume, because every professional looking at it will have a different opinion. To reiterate on something we’ve learned at OU, they stressed the importance of tailoring resumes to a specific job and finding a way to link the skills gained in a previous position with the job description of the position you’re applying for. Others attended the personal branding workshop, which helped those students gain further understanding to the importance of establishing and maintaining a brand both on and offline.

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For session number two, we moved downstairs to learn more about advanced internships, while some stayed upstairs to learn about internships 101. Here, we were prepared for the difference between college life and a job. They stressed the importance of remembering to ask questions as a new full-time employee, and to own the projects you will be given. This is your job now and it’s expected that you do well.

Next, the moment we had been waiting for, a picnic with professionals! Capital University packed us boxed lunches and gave us an informal opportunity to talk with speakers and local professionals, while enjoying our food.

After lunch, we participated in a PR campaign competition seeking to help the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus give thanks to their many volunteers, while recruiting new volunteers. Each of the three groups had an hour to create a news release, social media component, overall goal and strategy and an additional component. All three teams created unique yet exciting campaigns and pitches. Kelsey’s team walked away with the best news release, Melaina’s team walked away with the best pitch and Allison and my team walked away with the best social media campaign and overall campaign.

Overall, this day reinforced the importance of getting to know members from local PRSSA chapters. Between sessions and during the lunch, it was nice talking to other students and hearing their perspective on things, as each school structures their PR classes and PRSSA differently. We all had a fun day of networking in Columbus, and came away with reinforced understandings as well as new perspectives!

Internship Checklist: What You Need to Do

April 14, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose; @tex_ambrose7

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We are sadly winding down the school year, and there is a million and one events we all have to attend. Before we know it May will be here and internships will begin. Starting a new internship can be intimidating, and returning to one will bring new challenges. After having had experienced and out-of-state internship, for the first time, with few expectations, I learned this unknown checklist to go through. To help prevent others from making my mistake, here is a nice little list of a few things to remember for your internships this summer.

1. Check Out Your Living Situation

Make sure you take the time to do research on where you will be living if it is provided. Don’t just assume they will provide everything, or you will be doing late night Walmart run your first night there to get the much needed coffee pot, toilet paper and dishes. Also, if you know someone who has interned in the same city you are, ask them for advice on where to live. They will have had the trial and error process and know where the good places are. If you are living at home, make sure the people who buy the food have the must needed snack pack and PB&J.

2. Explore the City

If you are venturing somewhere new, make sure you take the time to learn the city. As old-fashioned as it sounds, look at a map of the city, it can even be Google Map. Learn the orientation of the city so you are not lost upon arriving. Then when you get there, learn the best way for transportation. This will save confusion when you think 3rd North will connect with 3rd South and never does.

3. Standout

This may sound like something we all should do, but not everyone will volunteer to take the meeting minutes, or that extra project. You don’t necessarily have to do something amazing, just do more to let people know who you are. You may want to return next year and they will remember who you are, or they may want to hire you in the future. Make the effort to standout from the crowd.

4. Savor the Moments

Internships fly by. It’s a couple short months of intense work with people you may have never met before this experience. Get to know your coworkers, your employer, and soak up everything you are learning. You will regret it later if you didn’t get every second out of the experience that you could have. You coworkers may be great people to know later on.

Internships are exciting, scary and chaotic all in one. Go in prepared and everything will be great. Own the experience because there is so much to absorb.

Saving Sabra: Tips for Managing Crisis

April 13, 2015

By: Elizabeth Papas, @elizabethpapas_

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I woke up Wednesday morning and checked every single social media platform, before actually making the commitment to leave my bed. While I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I came across a tweet that truly struck my inner foodie. The tweet read RECALL, and was accompanied by the label of my favorite hummus brand. On Wednesday, Sabra Hummus sent out a press release explaining the company’s recall of 30,000 cases of its classic style hummus. The recall was a result of listeria contamination in a random sampling of their product. As a regular consumer of Sabra’s products, I was immediately concerned and felt mistrust toward the brand.

As aspiring PR professionals, we might be faced with a client crisis, similar to Sabra’s hummus recall. It can be imperative to our client’s business, and reputation, that we are able to handle crisis in an effective and timely manner. In order to prepare for crisis, we can familiarize our selves with these three crisis management tips.

1. Be Aware

Before sending out any information to the public, it is important to fully understand what the situation is and why it has happened. Being aware of the crisis can make explaining the situation to the public much easier. In addition, listen to the brand’s audience on social media, and gauging consumer’s reactions might help pin point the most effective way for the brand to address the crisis.

2. Be Honest

Once it becomes time to distribute information to the public, it is important for the information to be honest and accurate. Encouraging clients to remain transparent throughout the heat of the crisis can help maintain and restore trust with consumers. Honesty will also help in preventing the brand from attracting any additional problems.

3. Open Channels of Communication

After addressing the crisis to the public, be sure to encourage consumers to contact the company with questions or concerns. Opening the channels of communication between the company and consumers can ensure the public that the brand has nothing to hide. In addition, it might be helpful to address consumer’s concerns directly on social media. For example, returning a negative tweet regarding the crisis with a positive proactive comment.

It is true that crisis does and will occur; however, being prepared to act appropriately in the situation can save a client’s business. Therefore, if one is found in a moment of crisis it can be helpful to recall these three simple tips.

What Your Favorite ‘Parks & Recreation’ Character Says About Your PR Style

April 8, 2015

By: Lindsey Zimmerman, @lindseyzim716

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This past February, fans of America’s favorite small-town government said goodbye to the characters and storylines that had become a modern television classic over the past seven seasons. Although we’ll never get to see the Parks & Rec crew embark on any new adventures, the messages of their stories extend far beyond the fictional city limits of Pawnee, Indiana. Due to the show’s workplace-centered plot, your favorite member of the Parks department could say a lot about your own personal work ethic, particularly in an industry like public relations.

Leslie Knope 

You get stuff done. You’re not afraid to work hard for what you believe in, even if it’s not the most popular choice. You’re the type to dream up a crazy, out-of-this-world, outrageous campaign and actually pull it off, because you have the drive to make it happen.

Ron Swanson 

You’re probably the strong, silent type, and might not be much for small talk, but your coworkers and friends have no doubt that you care about them. You’re a perfectionist and wouldn’t even dream of executing any part of a campaign unless you’re confident that it’s the best it can be.

Tom Haverford
You’re an optimist who sees potential in everything. For you, there is no idea too far-fetched and no client too difficult to handle, thanks to your innovative and creative mindset. You have a lot of passion for life in general and a particular knack for business.

Andy Dwyer
You’re a little kid trapped in an adult’s body, but as Andy demonstrates, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You give everything 110 percent, even if it’s not something that you want to be doing, because you know that giving it your all is necessary to get you where you want to be. The word “jealousy” is not in your vocabulary – you are nothing but happy for your friends and coworkers when they achieve their goals.

April Ludgate
You’re crazy smart and sarcastic to a fault. Not one to waste time, you cut to the chase and make an impulsive decision if that’s what needs to be done. If you find yourself in a professional role that isn’t quite what you want to do, you work hard to create your own opportunities instead of thinking about what could be.

Ben Wyatt
A true data geek at heart, you’re the one who gets legitimately excited about campaign analytics and the numbers behind them. Despite your enthusiasm for the statistical side of things, you have a great imagination and work hard to turn your ideas into reality.

Chris Traeger 

You’re a natural leader, but you don’t let this get to your head, and you treat everyone with the respect they deserve. You are constantly trying to be the best version of yourself and this shows in your work as well.

Ann Perkins
Just like the show’s very own resident PR girl, you’re calm, cool and collected, and know how to keep your head on straight under pressure. Thanks to your ability to see the best in people and situations, you probably have a knack for crisis communications.

Donna Meagle
You are confident in your abilities and ideas and not afraid to tell it like it is. You know right away when something isn’t going to work and will try to put a stop to it rather than watching the potential disaster unfold. You’re extremely creative and have the smarts it takes to bring your ideas to life.

Jerry Gergich
Extremely devoted to your career, you come into work every day with a smile on your face and consider your coworkers to be like family. You might be a little accident prone, but you can own up to your mistakes and usually recognize what went wrong.

I’d consider myself to be mostly like Leslie with a little bit of April thrown in. Which character speaks to you PR style?

The New Scope Periscope Brings to News

April 7, 2015

By: Erin Golden,@eringolden

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By now, everyone’s probably heard of the immediately popular, Twitter-created app, Periscope. Periscope allows people with a mobile device (and the app) to live-stream video content.

The Meerkat app, which was released first and was heavily funded right before Periscope, has failed miserably after Periscope launched. Periscope’s usage and downloads have recently spiked and passed the downloads and the rankings of Meerkat. A large difference between the two apps is that Periscope saves the content on the app for 24 hours after the first live broadcast.

We can use our phones to live-stream events straight to the Internet in real-time, so what?

An app like this, however, could drastically change the news industry for media and for brands as well.

Here’s what apps like Periscope could mean for the PR/media industry.

  • We (the people) become even more of a “citizen journalist.” Giving the public the ability to be the first to report on events with video is a big deal. Now, big-time news outlets like CNN or Fox have competitors when it comes to quickly broadcasting real-time news. People with their phones might be able to post the content and spread the news faster than a news crew can get there. This doesn’t mean the quality will be high – just like citizens posting incorrect information on Twitter and Facebook, live video can still be taken out of context. However, seeing is believing, which makes it easier for a developing story to tell itself through an app like Periscope.
  • Brands could be hesitant to dive into a live-streaming app. It’s been stated that Twitter probably won’t be able to filter all of the content coming through Periscope. This could mean events that weren’t scheduled or monitored could be out on the web before a brand’s communication team might even be aware. Crisis communication anyone?! For this reason, brands might be hesitant to invest and partner with live video streaming like Periscope.
  • Global connections are made even easier. Periscope seamlessly connects users to other users all over the world, therefore really focusing in on the “international connectivity” aspect of social media. When traditional media reports internationally, it’s often from the perspective of a journalist who is not a native of the country, possibly skewing the reporting or having a bias on the news. Periscope allows people all over the world to glimpse into another’s life and view it from their perspective; from all the way across the world to right down the street.

No one (even us PR pros) can predict the future of technology and the effects of every new app that comes on the market. But, apps like Periscope harbor the potential to possibly change the landscape of the public relations and media markets.

5 Traits All Successful Easter Advertisements Embody

April 6, 2015

By Mira Kuhar, @mirakuhar

Easter is a time for family, cute animals and yummy treats. Most companies, whether they sell Easter-related products or not, like to center their advertisements during this time on the fun and playful atmosphere that Easter brings. If you’re thinking about creating an Easter-related campaign, here’s a small list of qualities to keep in mind that all successful Easter advertisements encompass:

A Family-Friendly Nature

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Since Easter is a holiday centered on family, most advertisements will capitalize on family time. Pictures of children on Easter egg hunts, family dinners and groups of happy church-goers, are frequently pictured in ads. The goal is to generate a feeling of family pride and tradition with consumers. Here is an advertisement by Paas, a company that produces egg dyes and other egg decoration materials. Their slogan is, “America’s Favorite Easter Tradition.” This ad uses family as a main focal point to show their commitment to tradition.

Pastel Colors

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When you think of Easter, what colors come to your mind? Light pinks, blues, yellows and greens, right? Advertising companies understand that these colors produce a sense of nostalgia for Easter. Because of this, pastels are typically the normal color template used in advertisements. Notice the colors that Target chose to use in some of their 2015 Easter ads: all pastel colors including pink, purple and yellow. These colors are a great go-to in Easter ads, and incorporating them into even the simplest of ads can go a long way.

The Easter Bunny

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If there isn’t a bunny in there somewhere, can you even consider it an Easter ad? I guess so, but most companies wouldn’t dare forget to capitalize on Peter Cottontail. The Easter Bunny is a huge part of the holiday, and by incorporating it into advertisements, companies can bring out the fun and playful nature of Easter in a simple and cute way. McDonalds did a great thing in one of their ads to contribute to the Easter conversation. They took the top of their logo, the Golden Arches, and put it at the bottom of the page to make it look as if it were a pair of bunny ears peaking in. This is a brilliant example of how to relate your own brand and company to the Easter holiday.

Chickens and Eggs

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Baby chicks hatching out of eggs is an image that comes to people’s mind when they think of Easter. M&M used the two images together really well in this Easter advertisement. The M&M pictured is meant to represent both an egg and a chicken; the design on the yellow candy is a baby chick, and the crack is meant to represent a chick pecking its self out of the egg. This is a cute way to appeal to consumers of all ages during the holiday.

Chocolate

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Candy companies have it easy during this time, since chocolate and sweets are a huge component of Easter. If a company doesn’t sell yummy candy, however, there are definitely ways that chocolate can be incorporated into the ad to give it an Easter-time feel. Heienken International, a Dutch brewing company, did this in a really simple and powerful way. They took their iconic green Heineken bottle and turned it into a chocolate beer bottle, much like the chocolate bunnies that are popular during the holiday. The ad pictures the foil coming off, revealing the chocolate underneath.

These ads are proof that no matter what a company sells, there’s a way to tailor their advertisements around the Easter holiday. As long as an ad incorporates one of these things, it can be a successful push to contribute to the conversation that happens around this holiday. Hoppy Easter!

Who in the World is Sarah Rachul?

April 3, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose and Sarah Rachul, @tex_ambrose and @SarahMRachul

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Sarah Rachul, current Junior Assistant Director and rising Executive Director of our PR firm ImPRessions. Outside of the professional realm, how much does anyone know about Rachul? Well, here’s an opportunity to get to know the woman in charge. We’re breaking down the barrier. Maybe you’ll have more in common than being in ImPRessions.

Where are you originally from and where did you go to high school?

I’m originally from Westlake, Ohio which is just outside of Cleveland. I was actually homeschooled through high school because I was a competitive golfer and traveled so much for that, and for trips with my family.

Why did you come to OU to study strategic communication?

Well obviously the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism has an amazing reputation, as does its faculty. But a big part of me choosing this school in particular, was the opportunity to join award winning PR programs like ImPRessions and PRSSA. I not only wanted classes that could prepare me for the real world but professional organizations that would help me get a job.

Why did you join ImPRessions and why have you stuck with it all these years?

After my first ImPRessions kick off freshman year, I knew that I wanted to be Executive Director and that became my goal for the next three years. Besides working to achieve that goal, I loved all the actual work I did for ImPRessions. Getting to work with three different clients and generate portfolio work was amazing. I love that ImPRessions can help you build your brand and your reputation as a rising PR star, while you’re still in college.

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What else do you do on campus?

In addition to my heavy involvement with ImPRessions and PRSSA, I am also a tour guide. Because of the time these commitments take, I don’t have a lot of time for other campus involvement. However, I was recently named the 2015-2016 Victoria’s Secret PINK campus ambassador so I look forward to my involvement with that next year.

What is your guilty pleasure movie?

My favorite guilty pleasure movie would be the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. The total length of the movie is 5 hours so the guilty part is that I’ll make snacks and watch the entire thing straight through on Sundays.

When you think of middle school, what song comes to mind and why?

I would have to say the song “Into the Woods” from the musical of the same name. When I was in middle school, I was an actress/singer/dancer and often performed in musicals. When I performed in this particular musical, we would play the soundtrack (and this song in particular) every time we were in the car. We played it so much that even my 1 year old cousin had the chorus memorized.

You’re stuck on a desert island, who is the one person with you and the one item you have?

I would have James Bond and a deck of cards. I choose James Bond because I figure that if he goes missing then someone is going to try and rescue him and when they do I’ll get rescued too. The deck of cards is to entertain us while we wait for the helicopter.

Some know that you are a big fan of Disney, what makes you such a fan?

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Honestly there are many reasons Disney is so close to my heart. It’s the place my family has been visiting since I was a baby which means I’ve been able to gather 21 years worth of memories in Disney. When I think of my childhood, I think of every trip to Disney and when I think of my happy place, I think of walking down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I also admire Disney as brand. They consistently top the list of companies with the happiest employees and the happiest customers. I could go on  and on but I’ll just say that when they claim to be the place “where dreams come true”, it’s not a gimmick.

What is your favorite thing about being at OU?

My favorite thing about being at OU also happens to be my least favorite thing about OU. I love the small college town feel at this school. I was immediately charmed by the brick lined streets and the tiny coffee shops on my first college visit. Living at OU is like stepping into a post card. However, you realize it’s just a little too small when you have to drive 40 minutes to the nearest Target.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman?

Don’t only get involved in what you think you should be involved in. Get involved with as many things that interested you because that’s the only way you’ll know what you really want to do. Also, there is no such thing as being over involved. There is no such thing is reaching too far or too high. “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!” – Brandt Paul.

Networking Trips 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

April 1, 2015

By: Morgan Borer, @MorganBorer

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This weekend, I traveled to the city that’s just as famous for its deep-dish pizza and hot dog stands, as it is for the Sears Tower: Chicago. I arrived at the Felix Hotel late Thursday evening with four other members of PRSSA, tired and weary-eyed from the exhaustive drive. I quickly unpacked my bags, located my planner and itinerary and hopped into bed. I was eager for a full day of networking with Scripps PRSSA.

I have traveled to Chicago a few times prior to this weekend, but I found myself unprepared for this networking trip. For example, while walking downtown during our lunch break on Friday, I frantically called my dad pleading him to deposit money into my account, I had seven dollars.

I was also shivering and attempting to warm my hands, to no avail. I also failed to bring a decent winter jacket and gloves. It’s almost April, so it must be warm in the city, right? Wrong. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who really had it together and helped make this weekend the experience of a lifetime, despite my poor planning!

After reminiscing on the trip, I’ve conjured up a few “Do’s” and Dont’s” of Networking in the City.

Do dress for the weather

Check the local weather at least one week in advance, and begin planning appropriate outfits and outerwear. If you’re traveling to a city, like Chicago, with cooler temperatures, pack extra gloves, hats, scarves, socks, tights and a warm coat. Also, bring appropriate shoes! Flats are much more comfortable for getting in and out of cabs than heels. Stash your heels in your bag to change into at your destination.

Do your research

Know the companies and professionals that you are visiting before you walk in the door. Visit the company website, read recent press releases, and be well-informed about what they are doing in the news. Come prepared to each meeting with intelligent, thoughtful questions. Professionals will be impressed when you show that you’ve done your homework.

Do soak it in

You’re a student, so act like a sponge and soak everything in. Listen closely to what each professional has to say. Oftentimes, they offer valuable interview tips and career advice. In Chicago, several of the professionals spoke about their own personal journey after college, and how they ended up working in public relations. Pay attention to the company culture and the environment and watch how employees interact with one another.

Do follow up

Bring your resume and business card to each place you visit, and be sure to collect business cards before you leave. After the visit, send each professional a personalized follow-up email. Thank them for meeting with you and discussing the company. You can always add a compliment, or mention something specific you liked about the company. For example, when I followed up with Groupon, I mentioned how I loved the Tiki bar in the middle of the office. Additionally, reach out to each professional on Twitter or LinkedIn and send them a message. These connections will be important during job hunting season.

Don’t be on your phone

Warning: If you’re like me and have an emotional and physical attachment to your iPhone, this will be difficult. However, it’s extremely important to stash your phone away and pay attention. Professionals will notice if you seem distracted or uninterested in the presentation and their company. At one of the agencies I visited, an employee blatantly pulled out his phone multiple times throughout the presentation, giving me a negative impression of the agency. Be polite and engaged.

Don’t feel like you have to have your life planned out

A networking trip is an opportunity to sample a little bit of everything from the buffet. You don’t need to know exactly what you want, or where you want to work. If you are set on working for a non-profit, that’s excellent, but keep your options open. One professional I spoke with told me that in college he never wanted to work in advertising or marketing, and that’s exactly what he does today. Don’t be intimidated by the young, cool, seemingly know-it-all professionals. They started out right where you are.

Don’t forget to smile

Finally, don’t forget to smile! Make good eye contact and smile at everyone you meet. You will likely grow tired, hungry, or in desperate need of a 3 p.m. Starbucks run. However, making an effort to stay upbeat and positive will make each visit more enjoyable. Display genuine kindness and people will definitely notice.

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