Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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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 2 Comments

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.

Resume Trends: Dos and Don’ts

March 28, 2014

resumeeLooking through old pictures, I am in shock of how many butterfly clips I put in my hair in grade school. Okay, and middle school. Another 90s trend I wasn’t ready to let go of that my peers had thrown away.

Resume trends come and go just like the choker necklaces and layered polos we once held near and dear. Keeping in mind what trends will last can help you land the job (or internship) of your dreams. So grab your Lisa Frank notebook – here are some resume trends you should and shouldn’t follow.

DO.

Tailor your resume to the specific job. Let your potential employer know that you did some research on their company, as well as the position. This is especially important in a cover letter. Your experiences that are most applicable to the job should stand out, or at least be towards the top. For example, when applying to an internship focused on social media, highlighting the Twitter accounts you manage would be more important than working at a pizza place.

Don’t.

Use too many buzzwords. If the phrase “I am a hard worker” is on your resume, take it off. IMMEDIATELY. Save that for the interview when you can explain WHY you’re a hard worker. Sometimes buzzwords can be important – some companies electronically scan for specific words and sprinkle them lightly throughout. You also don’t want a ton of clichés on a resume. Words such as “led” or “built” can be good words that computers will pick up while also showing off your leadership roles.

Do.

Show specifics. Statements with action words about what a past experience entailed can be great, but hard numbers of what this experience accomplished can go a lot further. Being able to show how many placements a news release got or a percentage of increased followers will show them you’re an impact player.

Don’t.

Share your social media outlets if they’re not professional. This should be fairly obvious. If your last 10 tweets include any reference to the following: acting ratchet, twerking, the phrase “turn down for what?” or profane language, clean it up (or create a separate account) before adding it to a resume. However, if you tweet responsibly, a Twitter handle is a great addition to your contact information.

Do/ Don’t.

Color. It boils down to “Do #1,” tailoring your resume. When applying to a position where creativity is extremely valued, then adding color and a design can be a great trend to follow. Additionally, formatting your resume in a unique way (i.e. an eye-catching info graphic) can show off design skills. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re sending your resume in hopes of working in politics, keep color to a minimum. Find a balance between being creative while maintaining professionalism.

Do.

Go the extra mile. Following up with the company after you send out a resume is a trend that never goes out of style. Little things such as connecting on LinkedIn, an email or even tweeting at someone can make your resume stand out. Better yet, picking up the phone or sending a hand-written Thank You note can leave a lasting impression. And aren’t good impressions what we’re all about?

Building a strong resume can take time, but it’s worth the time when you come away with something you can be proud of. While it can be important to stay on trend, the most essential aspect about creating a resume is incorporating your own style.

Devon Pine is a senior studying Journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at @LuckyNumbrDevon.

#ImPRessThePros Twitter Chat Recap

March 27, 2014 1 Comment

Last night we had our first #ImPRessTheProsTwitter chat hosted by former CEO, Devin Hughes and his adorable puppy Winston. The chat consisted of five questions, all relating to jobs/internships (with a small debate on Coke vs. Pepsi). There was a total of 39 contributors, including Scripps PRSSA Professional Advisor Zach Wright, Former CEO Heather Bartman and students from other firms. Overall, the twitter chat was a success! So check out favorite tweets and the stats from last night’s #ImPRessThePros chat.

ImPRessions Twitter Chat

devin

zw

 

dtweets3

tweets2

tweets1

 

cokevpepsi allison

 

devinwinston

zwpup

 

 

7 Tips & Tricks For Networking Trips

March 26, 2014 2 Comments

7 Tips & Tricks For Networking TripsWhether you’re traveling to a new city alone or with a school organization for a networking trip, interacting with professionals can always be intimidating for a college student on the job hunt.

Over the course of my professional experience, I’ve discovered how essential it is to plan for the worst before diving head first into the “working world.” That way, you’ll be completely prepared and the right mindset to give your best first impression. Here are the seven tips I’ve taken away for professional networking.

Research the Company Before Visiting

This is crucial before even setting up the trip. For starters, it’d be beneficial to research your PR point of contact, company history, brand standards and social media platforms before you do anything else. You’ll sound knowledgeable while interacting with the professionals at the company online and in person using solid talking points from your research.

Bring Your Resume/Business Cards

Bring several copies of your most updated resume to give to every professional you meet. Business cards are also great if you have them too. Being able to showcase your professional experience is important, especially when time is precious on a company tour.

Look The Professional Part

No sweats, no gym shoes and for goodness sake do not cake on the make-up. This is the time you look your sharpest. Shine your shoes, iron those dress pants and don’t forget to put on deodorant before walking through the front doors of the company you’re visiting. When in doubt, a blazer and dress pants, or black leggings are my go-to professional attire. I never wear heels, unless they are low or on a tall boot, but even then I bring flats in my bag, just in case blisters appear.

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

I always bring a purse with me on professional occasions carrying items for the most inopportune moments when you have coffee breath, your phone is on 2% battery, etc. These key items are:

  •       Altoid mints or gum
  •       Hand wash
  •       Perfume/Deodorant
  •       Cash
  •       Portable phone charger
  •       Band aids
  •       Dental floss

Tweet At The Company Before Visiting

True story: tweeting at MediaSource, a PR agency named 2013’s Best Health Care PR/Marketing Agency by communications industry powerhouse Ragan Communications, before touring their office in Columbus, Ohio with PRSSA earned me my very own MediaSource coffee mug and “swag bag”. It was really exciting being recognized in front of the whole group tour for using their hashtag #BobcatsBrandJournalized14 before visiting. It just goes to show you what doing your research can achieve: recognition before a face-to-face introduction.

Don’t Be Late

Arrive two hours early if you have to, butjust make sure you are not late. Just don’t do it. Period. (Rule of thumb is 5 minutes early is on time.)

Follow Up

Through email or LinkedIn, following up with a personal message is the perfect way to show your appreciation for their time and especially shows initiative for keeping the conversation going.Hand written thank you notes are an excellent personal touch too. Don’t stop there though. Keep the relationship consistent with an email every few weeks with a possible blog link you found interesting or info-graphic worth checking out.

 

Stephanie Gort is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @StephGort.

Tips to Working Remotely

March 25, 2014 2 Comments

TipsToWorkingRemotely_Coffee

More people now see working remotely as a positive and rewarding way to complete work. A typical misconception is that employees will goof off without supervision. However, in my experiences I have found that working remotely increases productivity because it eliminates office distractions.

During the past two years, I had the opportunity to work for my father’s company, Yerecic Label, remotely from Athens. In this time, I have made many mistakes and learned how to work at my full potential remotely. Here are my six tips to being a great remote worker

  1.  Make sure you are passionate about your job. The key to being successful working remotely is to be self-motivated. If you aren’t passionate about your job and the work you are doing, it is a lot easier to shirk responsibility and goof off.
  2. Set and keep your hours. My first year working for Yerecic Label, I tried to fit my work in around my classes, clubs and other activities. Bad move. Most of the time I ended up doing my work when almost everyone was out of the office. This year, I have carved out set hours that I am working during key work hours. My co-workers know the best times to reach me and I am much more efficient.
  3. Minimize the amount of emails you send for approval and submissions. Managers get dozens and sometimes hundreds of emails each day making it tough to get a quick response or feedback. Combining your submissions or work will make your supervisors’ life easier and it will also help you get quick complete responses. Find your happy place to get work done. Find a place without distractions where you work best. Whether that’s a local coffee shop, library or your kitchen table, work in a place that is going to help you focus and avoid tempting distractions.
  4. Use technology for easy collaboration. There are so many great tools to utilize when working remotely to help group work. Some of my favorites include Google Docs, GoToMeeting, and Skype. Whatever tools you use, try to incorporate video since you can get more discussed in a 5 minute conversation than 20 emails.
  5. If you can, show your face in the office as much as possible. It is easy for your supervisor and co-workers to forget to include you in a relevant project or new company happenings when you aren’t in the office daily. No matter how responsive and connected you are remotely, you can’t replace face-to-face interaction. Some of the best insight and ideas come from simple conversations, so make it a point to get into the office to spark your creativity and connect with your employer!

TipsToWorkingRemotely_Growth

Remote work is growing in almost every industry. Working remotely has significant benefits such as a decreased commute time and increased flexibility. Implementing good work practices can help you to the path to success. What tips do you have in your experience from working remotely?

Kristin Yerecic is a senior studying strategic communications and minors in business and economics. You can follow her on Twitter at @yerecick

ImPRessions All-Firm Shirt on Sale until this Friday 3/28

March 24, 2014

Don’t forget to order your ImPRessions all-firm shirt! As of right now shirts are only $15 and the price will drop if more people sign up. To order a shirt, click here.

Remember this is fundraising for our organization. For each shirt purchased, we are earning $$$ for our great firm! You also don’t have to be a current member of ImPRessions (we know you Alumni want one), so please order because these shirts are pretty cool!

ImPRessionsTSHIRT

“Build a Brand. Shape Your Future.” AND buy your ImPRessions t-shirt.

If you have any questions, please email us at ouimpressions@gmail.com!

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