Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Networking with Professors

April 15, 2014

professorAn average student has roughly five different professors in a semester. In a year, they probably have nine or ten. By the time a student graduates there is a good chance that they will have had 35+ professors. Each one has taught you something that you may or may not use in your profession, but are they here for more than being an instructor? The answer is yes.

They are here for you to network with, to help you potentially find an internship for the summer or a job after graduation. For some students it is intimidating to approach a professor. Students may not know how to network with a professor, or which professor to approach. To make the process a little easier, here are some guidelines to think about when starting to network with professors.

  • Find the right professor: This may seem difficult at times, but there are ways to tell which professor is right for you. Choose a professor that you like as an instructor and who has values you admire. Don’t pick one just because s/he is in your discipline, you have to be able to converse with him/her too.
  • Use your email: Sometimes the best first step is just sending a professor an email and asking them to meet you for coffee. You could also set up a meeting for their office ours. Just make an effort to get to know them.
  • Ask the questions: Be one of the students that actively participate in class, but be careful not to overdo it. Just be sure the professor is seeing your interest and knows your name.
  • Take small classes: This is easier said than done, but when possible take the smaller classes. The professor will get to know you better and vice versa. This allows for engagement in a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • Research the professor: Knowing more about your professor than just what they tell you in class is more beneficial than you think. This shows that you wanted to know a little more about them, and took an initiative to do so. Be cautious about coming off as a stalker.
  • Accept Advice: Be willing to accept the advice they give openly, many times they are just trying to help. Some information may really change your perspective.
  • Don’t Dine and Dash: Don’t be one of the students that takes advantage of your professors connections. Truly get to know them because you never know when they will be able to help in the long run.

These are just a few tips to consider when beginning to network. Don’t try to network with all your professors; it will get overwhelming and counterproductive. Remember to just take a leap of faith, because many professors want to help you. If you strikeout with one, move on to the next until you find the one you are proud to call a mentor.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

Preparing for a Summer Internship (or Job) in a New City

April 14, 2014

Manhattan Office Vacancy Rate Drops In Second QuarterAs the school year is beginning to wind down and we’re preparing for the summer, you are probably thinking about the next steps with your upcoming internship in a new city. It’s exciting to explore a new city and discover more about yourself and how well you mesh with the city you are living in for the next three months. But with this move, you probably have a lot questions burning in your brain. Here are five tips that will ease your mind about the big move:

1. Where am I going to live?

There are a few ways you could seek out this answer: Start by asking co-workers, especially the hiring manager. They certainly know a thing or two about the best and safest places to look and with whom you can be put in contact. Also, check out nearby universities. For instance, if you have an internship in New York City, NYU has housing over the summer for interns coming in from out of state. If the city you’re moving to doesn’t have a university that rents out dorm rooms, check out the college student areas. Many students look to sublet over the summer! Don’t forget your smartphone. One app that I’ve recently discovered is called apartment list. It lets you search by zip code, bedrooms and price in order to narrow down what exactly you’ll need for the summer.

2.How am I going to pay for everything?

Budget, budget, budget. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Seriously though, when you’re moving to a new city that’s as expensive as Los Angeles or New York, expenses need to be at the forefront of your brain. Plan your budget ahead of time and think about what you’ll need to make it through the summer and stick to it!

3. I feel so alone! What should I do?

Don’t be afraid! Not knowing anyone, in my mind, is the most exciting part because you get a fresh start. You get to put the best version of yourself out there! Just because you aren’t in a dorm anymore with fresh, curious faces about this new world of college they’re about to face, doesn’t mean that you won’t make friends. It’s hard to be vulnerable, especially in a place where you don’t know anyone. Embrace your alone time, because pretty soon your phone won’t stop blowing up with people asking you to hang out.

4. How do I get around?

Take a couple days before you start your internship to navigate your way around the city. You DO NOT want to be late on your first day – mapping your way around your new surroundings will put you at ease and make you feel more comfortable about wherever are for the next three months.

5. I need to get out of the house, what can I do?

There many things you can do in this situation like ask your co-workers. They’ve lived in the city long enough to know some of the best hotspots in town and probably have some great insight into cool events that happen every summer! Your smartphone can once again come into play here, too. One app I love using is Fodor’s City Guides. The app lists off all of the important sights, restaurants, shopping, performing arts and nightlife that you should check out while you’re in town for the summer.

Ali Cupelli is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @ali_cupelli.

College Bookstore

April 11, 2014

banner_moms_2014

Another Mom’s Weekend has come and gone here at OU and it’s ok to let out a little sob, we are all sad. On a happier note, the College Book Store account worked with the store in their sixth annual philanthropic event to raise money for My Sister’s Place – a local shelter for abuse victims.

The College Book Store designed a special shirt to represent this year’s Mom’s weekend. Each shirt purchased added $2.00 to the check that the store owner will send to the organization. Last year there was a whopping 528 shirts sold, 57 of those being from the Mom’s Market and the account hopes they beat that number this year!

Preliminary numbers show that shirt sales were up, but the account is still waiting for the final numbers to come in. To ensure a larger turnout, the account hung posters around campus and uptown, as well as ran a table at the Mom’s Market in Ping. The number of shirts sold at the market this year trumped last year’s.

To encourage moms to wear their new gear, College Book Store tried a side event: Get Carded! Mom’s who wore the shirt on Saturday had a chance to win a $9.99 gift card. Account members were roaming the campus and carding mothers sporting the new attire.

Thanks to all of the mom’s and their OU students who participated to help College Book Store with raising money for My Sister’s Place. We will release the final sales numbers when we receive them. 

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

Campus jobs that help your future career

April 10, 2014 1 Comment

diningLet’s face it, college is expensive. Many of us need to find jobs to help with tuition or even to have spending money. You can either take a dining hall job or you can find a job that will benefit your career. The choice is yours, but I would much rather be doing work that is related to public relations than cleaning dishes.

Become a Campus Rep

So many companies look for students to represent them on campus so that they can gain recognition among students. This job requires many of the same communication skills that we will need in the real world as public relations professionals.

PACE Jobs 

Apply for PACE Jobs! These can count as internships and provide students with very valuable experience in their direct field. There are tons of PACE positions out there, and they’re all really cool jobs too.  (Note: You must be financially eligible for a PACE position.)

Find a virtual internship

Although I personally have not done this yet, I know many people who have. Virtual internships are great because the location doesn’t stop you from interning at a firm that you’ve always wanted to work for. There are plenty of search engines that allow you to search specifically for virtual internships. If you have a certain firm and mind, it doesn’t hurt to email them and ask if they offer any virtual internships.

Working for the University

This can include jobs like becoming a learning community leader, tour guide, student ambassador or any other campus job that works to assist the university. These jobs will help you improve your leadership and communication skills, which will definitely help when applying for jobs and internships.

At the end of the day, any job that requires communicating with others is going be beneficial to a career in public relations.When choosing a job, make sure it is something that is truly interesting to you and that you enjoy doing. No amount of money is worth a semester or year of misery, so keep these jobs in mind for next semester. You’ll be happy that you’re making money while gaining valuable experience at the same time.

Jess Carnprobst is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @jess_carnprobst.

Five steps to the perfect pitch

April 9, 2014

pitchWhether it is an internal request or cold calling, pitching can be a nerve-wracking and difficult task. Basically, you have to convince someone to add something to their to-do list, or take out his or her wallets and donate to a cause. However, it has been done, and done successfully. Here are five steps to nail the perfect pitch:

Do your research. Find ways to integrate your pitch into the person or company’s culture or lifestyle. Bringing up past connections is always helpful, along with a positive reminder of that experience. The ties that bring them closer to your pitch will help you get a meeting with them or get them initially interested.

Be friendly. Once you get a chance to talk or meet, be sure you have a friendly and positive attitude about the interaction. When asking someone to take time out of his or her day for you, it is polite and makes the conversation enjoyable and easygoing.

Prepare. Anticipating possible questions, having details ready to go and knowing your pitch inside and out can make the meeting successful and smooth. Think of yourself as an ambassador for your company or organization, in that you need to know important details and how to answer questions. If you are leaving your meeting with a bunch of unanswered questions or unclear details, your contact will be unsatisfied and probably not follow through.

Be clear. Have your key message points ready to go. Tell the person why this is important, the relevance to them and their company, the benefits it can provide and how they can participate. These are all points your contact will want to know, and will make them feel secure with the partnership. Leave something tangible behind so the contact can look over your materials, and think about your pitch thoroughly.

Follow-up. No matter the outcome of the pitch meeting, be sure to follow-up with your contact. A thank you if they accepted, along with an inquiry insuring success. A follow-up is obviously required if your contact is still pondering the decision to offer any more insight or answer any questions. If the contact rejects the pitch right away, follow-up to keep the conversation going in order to help with future pitches.

Though no pitch can be completely predicted or broken down to an exact science, the research, personality, planning, clarity and follow-up can make all the difference when making your perfect pitch.

Allison Evans is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter @Allison_Evans.

Being Bobcats on a Budget

April 8, 2014 1 Comment

broke“Broke.” I’d say that’s an adjective college students have used to describe themselves at least once in college. I can’t remember how many times my checking account was overdrawn freshman year. Living on a tight budget can be difficult at times, but it isn’t impossible! I’m no expert in finance but here are a few tips from experiences I have had with managing my mullah.

Get a Job

With the hectic schedules of class and extracurricular activities, having a job can seem daunting. I personally believe it’s necessary to work while in school. There are many campus and local jobs in Athens to take advantage of. Working in the dining hall isn’t the most glamorous job, but it is a job nonetheless. There are work opportunities in Baker Center, Alden library and many other campus buildings, as well as internships. Work experience while in school not only looks great on your resume – it plants the seeds of learning to track your spending. Money from Mom and Dad is great, but there is a financial consciousness and accountability that comes with having to spend your own money.

Be Financially Aware

Be honest about your spending habits. How much money do you spend when going out? Are you more likely so spend cash or use your credit/debit card? These are all things you should take into account when budgeting. Sit down and write out how much money you have weekly/monthly and how much you usually spend. Does it add up or are you living beyond your means? Always have some cushion. I prefer to use a debit card because it’s similar to spending cash. Be careful when using credit, because it can add up. I also don’t spend money once my account gets to a certain balance.  Decide what your max amount is and hold yourself to it. Overdrawing your account comes with additional fees, and ain’t nobody got time for that! 

Check your accounts & statements regularly

I check my account online everyday. You should always know how much money is in your account so you don’t overdraw it. If you download your banks app, you can get mobile alerts sent to your phone whenever your balance is under a certain amount – allowing you to keep track on the go.  Also try to keep an eye on your account activity and your monthly statements. Freshman year, someone illegally used my card information to make some purchases. Thankfully, I knew right away when the $100 was spent because my bank alerted me via smartphone , causing me to immediately check my account history. Since then, I have made it a point to stay cognizant of account activity.

The 20 percent rule

My mom always told me to put 20% of every paycheck into my savings account. Now let’s be real, sometimes there’s a pair of shoes or a concert that takes precedence, but saving is a great habit to start right NOW.

Treat Yourself

You can be frugal and still have fun! You deserve it! Regularly getting out/doing something nice for yourself is more cost efficient than splurging. Always have some money set aside to treat yourself.

Again, these are standards I’ve established for myself and how I handle my money. It’s worked out very well for me and I am proud of how responsible I have been with my spending this year. Here are also some links to additional tips, plans and advice.

What do you do to budget your money?

Malindi Robinson is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @matrixxmal.

Looking for more resources? Here are some links to help you with budgeting.

Wells Fargo         Bankrate        DailyFinance

What a Service Industry Job Taught Me About PR

April 7, 2014

Server-Job-DescriptionLike many teenagers trying to earn a little money, I spent quite a bit of time working a service industry job. My senior year of high school, I got a job as a dining room server at a local retirement home, and I genuinely loved working there. The facility where I worked was brand new (I was hired within a month of its opening) and seemed more like a cheerful, upscale hotel than a stereotypical depressing old folks’ home. More than that, though, I enjoyed getting to know the residents and bonding with my coworkers. For a 17-year-old working her first non-babysitting job, I’d been pretty lucky.

One thing that never really entered my mind while I was working there was the fact that I was, in a way, promoting our business and selling our services. And while working at a public relations agency hardly seems comparable to serving food to old people, many of the core qualities of a great PR professional can be gained through service industry jobs, from waiting tables to working in retail. I didn’t know it at the time, but that service job was giving me some of the key skills I’ll need in my future PR career.

  • Have a positive attitude. Those who have worked service jobs have probably heard it a million times: smile and act like there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. A disgruntled server or store clerk who clearly doesn’t enjoy his or her job isn’t going to make anyone want to return to that place of business. Even if you’re having the worst day ever, don’t let it show – especially when you’re interacting with customers. Your attitude says a lot, and if you’re not enthusiastic about the company, then why should they be?
  • Stay calm and professional in a crisis. Everyone who’s worked in the service industry has had at least one (and probably more) experience with an unsatisfied customer. Even though you probably wouldn’t realize it, you’re gaining valuable crisis communications skills while dealing with customers who want their food sent back to the kitchen because it wasn’t prepared to their liking. Getting angry and overly defensive isn’t going to solve anything – instead, keep your head on straight and do what you can to fix the situation.
  • Know your product. This might seem like a no-brainer to seasoned PR professionals, but it’s absolutely important to know everything possible about what you’re promoting or selling. We had to memorize the specials for each meal as well as the soups of the day, and there was nothing more embarrassing than when a resident or guest had a question about a menu item that I couldn’t answer. If you’re working with a client or doing in-house work for a company, make sure you stay in the loop about new product and service updates so you can adjust your promotion strategy accordingly.
  • Listen to your customers. Great PR, marketing and advertising campaigns typically come as a result of tailoring the promotional approach to customers’ specific needs, rather than blindly mass-promoting something. If customers in a restaurant or store speak up with a question, problem or even a compliment, take it seriously and keep what they said in mind for the future. When residents at my workplace raved about a certain dish, we made sure to offer it more often; likewise, we did away with unpopular entrees that not as many people enjoyed. If lots of customers like or need a certain product, it makes sense to promote that, as opposed to wasting time and money promoting something that they find unappealing or useless.

While not always easy, working in the service industry is a great way to learn how to deal with people. There will be customers who seem to have no intention beyond making your life miserable, but it’s important to learn how to deal with them in a professional manner. However, there will be others who absolutely make your day and remind you why you do what you do. No two days are the same in either a service or PR setting, and you never know what you’re going to get.

Lindsey Zimmerman is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications and specializing in Spanish. You can follow her on Twitter at @lindseyzim716.

Websites/Blogs to follow when preparing for your Internship

April 4, 2014 1 Comment

mashableNow that you’ve landed the internship – or are close to landing the internship – it is important that you are prepared for the few months of hard work that is approaching.  You can never fully know what to expect, but you can feel a little more comfortable and confident if you do your homework before your first day.

One of the best and most essential ways of preparing for your internship is to know your industry. Reading blogs, downloading apps, following certain Twitter accounts and keeping up on news are important responsibilities that you must follow through with, in order to be equipped for the job to represent your clients and your company. To help you prepare, I will cover a few major industries and news sources to follow to ensure that we are all prepared for our internships!

Technology

Wired (@WIRED

Wired is a magazine and online publication dedicated to technology and how it relates to the world around us. Whether it’s science, entertainment, design, business and more, Wired puts technology in simple terms and relates it to our every day encounters through articles and videos.

TechCrunch (@TechCrunch)

TechCrunch is a blog website focused on information technology companies, ranging in size from startups to established NASDAQ-100 firms. If you will be interning for a firm that works with startups, this site can give you vital information on other businesses and startups in the industry.

Mashable (@Mashable

While Mashable isn’t strictly a technology news source, I really like their tech articles. They revolve around the technology that we use every day, such as smartphones, tablets, websites and social media. They are short and sweet, which is perfect for us busy college students when we want the news.

Medical

Medical News Today (@mnt)

This site supplies all news related to the medical field including recent findings, studies and tests that have been completed. They also have ‘Cartoon Fridays’ on their Twitter account, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

Science Daily (@ScienceDaily)

Science Daily’s health and medicine section features research, news and videos relating to the medical field. Within this section are sub-sections Health and Medicine, Mind and Brain and Living and Well, so that you can narrow down news based on your interests.

Retail

Retailing Today (@RetailingToday)

Retailing Today has a news section dedicated to news stories revolving around the world’s top 100 retailers and their trading partners. From product news to news on CEO’s and company leaders, Retailing Today will give you the information you need to know about the retail industry.

Women’s Wear Daily (@womensweardaily)

Women’s Wear Daily covers news in regards to retail ranging from financial and legal news to retail forecasts. I also like this site because it covers retail news all over the world, rather than just the United States.

Now that you have a few sites and blogs to follow, you will be prepared for your internship no matter what industry your clients and company may fall under. It is always important to do your research and keep up on trends relating to your work. Hopefully you found this helpful and can follow a few new Twitter accounts!

Annie Beard is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @annie_beard.

Thick Skin is In

April 2, 2014

thick skin

Yes, you heard me right. Thick skin is in. I would go so far as to say it’s the new black of Public Relations.

Recently, I stumbled upon blog post titled “10 Traits of Talented Public Relations Pros.” Ugh, I thought. Another cliché article how to be successful in the colossal world of PR. I glazed over the post with little enthusiasm until I reached number eight on the list. Suddenly, a nerve was struck.

“Have Thick Skin” was advice #8. I thought, this really should have been number one on the list,. Since my middle and high school years of playing competitive travel sports, coaches and mentors have loved to tell me to “have a thick skin” and be “mentally tough.” But what did mean? In high school, I had no clue. It wasn’t until college that I began to grasp this concept. As a young, aspiring public relations professional, these words of advice have become increasingly more important and relevant to my life.

Frankly, public relations is not for the faint hearted. The same goes for any work in journalism. Reporters get shot down all the time. People rudely refuse to answer questions or be interviewed. Writers get criticized for the things they write about. News broadcasters, especially women, are scrutinized for their hair, makeup and outfit choices. Campaigns aren’t always successful. Pitches could be a hit or miss.

Public relations professionals must be able to receive criticism. Critical feedback has no filer and it will come from a variety of people and sources. It can be biting and painful, but it’s inevitable. As much as I hate clichés, the old saying “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” is rather appropriate advice. Yet, negative feedback doesn’t only have to be negative. It’s a way to reevaluate and improve your objective, making the end result more successful. If the only thing you heard was how awesome and wonderful you are all of the time, would there be any room for change or progression? Probably not.

I am 100% confident when I say that no human on planet earth is a stranger to criticism. I have been criticized for everything – from being an only child to having an Android phone before I bought an iPhone (which is just about the dumbest thing ever). I vehemently believe that it can only disable you if you let it. Allow yourself to learn and prosper from it instead.

On the flip side of the coin, PR professionals shouldn’t be afraid to be critical when necessary. If you sense a potential problem or issue, speak up! Communication is the core of public relations, and professionals are inherently strong communicators. Sharing your insights with colleagues and peers will lead them to respect you and view you as asset to the group. There is always room for improvement. Use your criticism wisely and effectively.

In short, wear your Thick Skin and wear it proud. Don’t forget to smile, too.

Morgan Borer is studying Strategic Communications with specializations in Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development. You can follow her on Twitter at @morganborer.

News Apps for the Person on the Go

March 31, 2014 1 Comment

newsIn the fast-paced life of a college journalism student, it is difficult to find the time to sit and watch the news or read the paper. But when you find yourself sitting in on an intelligent conversation about the newest bill in congress or a new crisis brewing, it is crucial to have some input. Once again we must dedicate this solution to the wonderful world of smartphones. What do you do? Download a news app. Browse the stories quickly in between classes, waiting for your coffee or right before bed. For the past month I have been using four different apps to keep up on the crisis in Ukraine, Malaysia flight 370, the Oscar Pistorius trial and other popular top stories. Each one is free and when you sign up it asks for preferences on what you prefer to read. After selecting as many categories you want, from fashion to food and from news to sports, it creates your home page. This is what I thought about each of them:

 

Flipboard

The easy task of “flipping” through articles of importance from reliable sources is what makes Flipboard my favorite news app. When I catch wind of a breaking news story, Flipboard is the first place I turn to for verification. With articles from NBC, Al-Jazeera, The New York Times, CNN, BBC and other top media outlets, I’ll read the story from multiple angles and in full detail. But, when there are no updates on those stories, I am entertained by my “Fashion” and “Celebrity” tabs. Certainly worth the download.

Pulse

Hands down, the most impressive feature of Pulse is the ease to which you can post specific articles to your LinkedIn Profile. Pulse is directly related to LinkedIn allowing you to browse your favorite magazine for stellar articles to post directly to your profile. I would highly suggest checking it out.

Zite

Once you select your preferred topics, Zite creates “Your Feed,”,which shows all of the articles similar to your interests. Unlike the other three apps, Zite’s sources are blogs, allowing users to see personal viewpoints on specific stories.

Circa

Sometimes I get rapped up in a breaking news story. Thanks to Circa, I have the ability to chose a story I want to follow and receive notifications every time new information is posted on that topic. Circa helps you to not miss out on story updates.

Sophia Ciancone is studying Journalism with a minor in Business and specialization in Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sophia_Ciancone.

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