Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Flaunt What You’ve Got: Keeping an Online Portfolio

July 23, 2014

By: Lindsey Zimmerman @lindseyzim716

Any time you go through the tedious-yet-rewarding process of applying for internships and jobs, it’s almost a given that you’ll be asked to provide a writing sample at some point. A solid example of excellent writing can really put you ahead of the game as more and more PR industry employers are looking for candidates who really have a way with words. With that being said, it’s not always easy to pick out just one or two pieces of writing to showcase, especially if you’re like me and you’ve been writing for a wide variety of student publications and blogs all throughout college.

This is where the online portfolio can really come in handy. Everyone in the public relations industry, from the seasoned professional to the aspiring student, knows that a portfolio is crucial for showing what you’ve accomplished in your career. In today’s increasingly digital and technological society, it’s easier than ever before to keep all of your professional work organized in one place.

I use clippings.me for my online portfolio and keep a link to it right at the top of my email signature so that it catches people’s eye and (hopefully) intrigues them enough to click. I like clippings.me because of the easy, eye-catching organizational options. Every piece of work I’ve done, both for student organizations and for internships, is listed and organized first by publication and then by date. I also have a link to my resume at the very top. This site works well for written work, which is the bulk of what I have, but if you’re interested in showing off your design skills, Mashable has this great list of options for building a more artistic online portfolio.

An online portfolio is a great way to show off your work every chance you get. You can link to it on any social network, from your Twitter bio to your LinkedIn profile, in order to show off your work to anyone who may come across your online presence. It’s also a great way to keep your work organized when you need to provide a sample – simply scroll through your online portfolio and pick something out, as opposed to searching through old blogs and digital files to find that one perfect piece that really showcases what you have to offer.

Beyond showing off your creative talents, this is a great way to prove to potential employers and others in your network that you know how to stay organized, as well as consistent with your personal brand. Customize the layout and design of your site to match your blog, resume, business cards or anything else that reflects your professional self.

With an online portfolio, the possibilities are endless. If you don’t have one already, set aside some time to put one together and link to it wherever you see fit. In the long run, it will only be beneficial.

Increasing Facebook Engagement one Step at a Time

July 22, 2014

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

Before starting my internship this summer, I thought I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about social media, including Facebook, but I was wrong. Throughout the past two months, I have learned a lot about this social channel and what works for increasing engagement.

  1. Pay to play. Facebook’s organic reach has declined. Less and less people are seeing posts that you work hard to create, which means less people are engaging. Unfortunately, if you want to increase engagement, you will have to pay to boost your posts. Personally, I don’t think boosting every post is necessary, just the important posts. For example, if your company gets publicity and you share it on your Facebook page that is a post I would boost. If your company is hosting a webinar or added a new blog post to its page – those are posts I would write and boost.
  2. Use images. Images will catch your audience’s eye, and people are more likely to share a post with a fun photo. Posts with photos get 39 percent more interaction, according to NerdGraph. If you can post behind the scenes photos of your company’s employees, location or events, this is a great way to get people engaged and give them the inside scoop on your company, giving your brand a personality.
  3. Ask for engagement. If you want someone to share or like a post, ask for it. Many times, if you include a simple call to action in your status, it is likely that people will play along, doing what you asked for. If you get engagement, make sure you are always engaging back! This is important. People engage with you because they want a two-way experience, not one-way.
  4. Check your insights. Facebook insights can be very helpful when you are deciding when or what to post. Check to see what time the largest amount of your fans is online and then schedule post for that time. This will help to increase your organic reach so more people see your post. Also check insights on what the most popular types of posts have been in the past. This will help you decide if you should post a link, a text-only status, a photo, video, etc.

These are four steps that I have found helpful in getting more engagement on Facebook. I hope you found them helpful, too!

Check out this infographic for more tips on increasing Facebook engagement!


How to Connect With Someone You Don’t Know, but Want to

July 9, 2014

By: Sydney Gardner @sydneygardner

two tweets“It’s all about who you know.” It’s been said time and time again. To a PR student, connecting with professionals can often appear too intimidating to even try, but have no fear! Social media is a great way to connect with professionals in a less stressful environment! Taking a few easy steps will allow you to not only connect with someone you don’t’ know, but probably impress them along the way as well.

Know Their Work

Professionals may be flattered at you fan-girling over how pretty their office is, or who their clients are, but nothing shows your genuine interest better than knowing what they have done. Look up case studies, check out their blog and really read them! This not only gives you the chance to get a true idea of what type of work they do, but it also helps you see if this person is all you’ve cracked them up to be. By being able to discuss a person’s work with them, in and educated and informed manner, you show that you are truly interested in their career industry.

Interact With Them

So now that you have studied up on the person/company/brand that you love, it’s time to let them know. Social media is all about having real conversations so just remember to be yourself. I think one of the best ways to show them you like their work is to share their blog, tweets, etc. Networking on social media allows you to create a more casual environment to interact. Twitter is a great platform for starting conversations with professionals because you aren’t expected (or allowed) to write a lot. Just tell them, and your followers, why you like it. You may even get a reply or a follow from it! You can also comment on their work if you don’t want to share it. Be aware to not over do mentions and comments though! You want to show the person you admire what they do, not that you’re obsessed with them (even if you are).


Now that you’ve laid the foundation for connection, it’s time to take the plunge. I think connecting on LinkedIn is a great midway point between Twitter and email. I recommend connecting on LinkedIn within a few days of having a conversation on social media. Remember to always write an actual note on the invite, not the generic one given. Remind them of the conversation and let them know why you want to connect. Don’t be afraid of rejection. Most professionals will welcome connecting with an enthusiastic student with open arms.

Social media may not scream professionalism to some, but it can be great tool for you to reach out to people you want to connect with.  Social media has the unique ability to blend your personal life with your professional one, and that allows you to form genuine connections with people. When you interact with professionals on social media you are able to highlight you’re unique blend of personality and professionalism. So next time you are looking to network, turn to social media. You may be surprised at how successful you will be.

Using A Cover Letter to Stand Out from the Crowd

July 2, 2014

By: Austin Ambrose @tex_ambrose7

Most applications ask you for three pieces: a resume, work samples and a cover letter. Each piece plays an essential part in the selection process. Resumes are important but also very basic. A resume just gives the people hiring a chance to ensure you are qualified for the position. Work samples show your skills. However, there are plenty of people capable of doing those same skills as you.

How are you supposed to stand out from the rest of the pool?

The answer is your cover letter. Cover letters give you a chance to explain how well you will fit well into the company or organization. There is no need to restate what you already have on your resume and work samples. The cover letter is your opportunity to show what you know about the company and how you fit into the goals and culture already established.

A cover letter does require more work than a resume or writing sample

You have to do your homework and learn all that you can about the company. By having specific information about the company, they will realize that you either know the company or you were willing to do the work to figure it out. Either one is good.

You want to show how your goals and values match those of the company

The cover letter is meant to show who you are as a person. Cover letters are also great to showcase information not on your resume, or expand on a topic that was mentioned in your resume.

Be specific

Tell them exactly why you are the person they should hire.  Give them specific examples of what you have accomplished and how that will translate into the position. Explain to them how your previous experiences have equipped you to take on this position. This is not a time to be modest, but make sure you don’t cross that line into bragging. Sound confident and informed. A good employer will see through any BS and know when you are not being sincere. Show some of your professional personality.

Let the cover letter do all the talking

Your resume and work samples can only do the small talk. You have to pull out the real talker if you want to get anywhere. Remember that cover letters should always be specific to the position you are applying for. It’s not a bad idea to have a template that you can adapt for each position. The idea of a universalcover letter does not exist. Take advantage of the opportunity the company gives you to prove you should be hired. At the very least, a strong cover letter will get you to the interview round. Lastly, Be yourself and take pride in your accomplishments.

How to Diversify your PR Experience

June 26, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett @Gen__AndTonic

Feel like your resume falls flat compared to your peers?

Don’t fret! There’s always time to diversify your PR experience. There is many ways to get experience in all aspects of PR while still pursuing your passions.

1. Try out every segment of PR

Public relations is needed in every sector of the world, from nonprofit to corporate. Trying your hand at every segment will diversify your PR experience, and allow you to investigate the direction of your career. Try looking in to internships with nonprofits, agencies, corporations, B2B firms and more.

2. Work for a digital company

NR mediaIn the ever-evolving world we live in, digital companies are extremely viable and many offer stellar internship programs. My current internship as a Content Marketing Specialist for NR Media Group has allowed me to move to Dallas, TX and pursue my daily interests without need to go to an office.

3. Travel

Traveling the world is a dream for many, and can easily become a reality. Pursuing a job or internship overseas will not only diversify your PR experience but also your life. Traveling is also an option with a digital internship with no office time needed.

4. Get experience in every skill

While you may find your niche in social media or blogging, be sure to gain experience in every skill needed in the PR world. Traditional communications are still needed and most jobs will require you to wear multiple hats, so having experience in every skill will diversify your PR experience and improve your resume.

5. Pursue your passions

Overall, it’s very important to pursue your passions. Employers will always appreciate a good resume and cover letter, but being able to show you are pursuing your passions is also quite vital. The nice thing about PR is you can fuel your passion for the public relations world in to your other passions. Love yoga? Do PR for your local studio. Passionate about nonprofits? See if your favorite charity has any openings in their communications department.

No matter which direction you end up going with your career, trying to diversify your PR experience will help you immensely.

Does your internship have to be PR related?

June 10, 2014

By: Casey Weinfurtner @CaseyWein

internIt’s no secret our internship experiences help prepare us for a future career. When employers ask how we best fit the job through a sequence of interview questions, we’re going to need to draw from experience. That being said, aspects of your internship should be relevant to your career path. That’s not to say taking an internship a little out of the ordinary can’t prepare you – just be prepared to explain to an employer how it has.

Last winter break I interned with H.E.L.P. Malawi, a nonprofit organization that helps to better the educational programs in Malawi, Africa. I was listed under their “graphic design” intern and spent most of my time there building a Pinterest account as well as a small amount of time editing their newly remodeled webpage. Although this wasn’t exactly a PR internship experience like working for an agency or even doing PR related jobs like writing a press release, I still had enough relevant experience to discuss during the interview for my internship I have this summer at PR Newswire. I unexpectedly learned a lot about branding a company through social media, working in an office environment and putting my editing skills to work. Most importantly, I learned how to translate those new skills to my PR major and better understand myself what areas of PR I want to expand my learning.

Now with both of my internship experiences combined, I can give a well-rounded outlook on what type of career I want. Had I only stuck with my one internship from winter break rather than gaining more experience, I don’t think I would be as prepared for the real world as I feel now. The more experience you can gain the better – so take away experiences that will be most impactful on your professional life. Don’t waste time taking any opportunity that won’t be influential in the long run.

If you do consider taking an internship that doesn’t suggest it will be directly related to PR, consider the following questions on whether or not this internship is going to help benefit you:

  1. Will I be able to take what I learned throughout my internship and relate it back to a job within the public relations industry?
  2. How is what I’m learning at this internship going to be enough to help me with my success as a PR professional?

If you’re able to answer these questions positively, then you know you’ve found a meaningful experience.

Creating Your Resume on Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign

June 10, 2014

By: Jess Carnprobst @jess_carnprobst

The first place we all start when creating our resume is deciding where we want to create the document. Two of the most popular ways to create your resume are through Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. Both options have very different benefits making it a hard decision of which to choose. I’ve made a list of the pros and cons that I see to both Word and InDesign, having created a resume on both.

Microsoft Word


  • A variety of templates to choose from
  • Easy (and quick) to create
  • Information is already set into categories (this is especially helpful when you’re creating your resume for the first time)
  • Word provides templates that have been successful before, and allows you to search for templates by resume type


  • Hard to add personality to a template
  • More difficult to create a resume that is unique and stands out


Adobe Indesign


  • Allows room for creativity and unique design
  • Freedom to add personality
  • Not restricted to any specific layout
  • Wide variety of colors to choose from – not stuck with a certain combination
  • Allows you to really let your personality jump out of the paper


  • Easy to get carried away designing and forget about the content
  • Some employers find extra design to be “too much” and would rather a minimalistic look


As with most things, there is no right or wrong answer. If you don’t have a lot of design experience and feel more comfortable with the structure and layout of Word, by all means, create your resume on Word and don’t look back. On the other hand, if you do have design experience, creating your resume on InDesign is a fantastic way of showing instead of telling your skills. Whether you want an already proven successful structure of a resume or the freedom to customize your own, the choice is up to you.

If you’ve had a lot of success with either Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, please share below and let us know what works best for you!

Leave behind to get ahead

June 5, 2014 1 Comment

By: Allison Evans @Allison__Evans

stacks-of-paperThe interview process across the job market varies dramatically. Some interviews last 20 minutes, while others last a few hours with several follow-ups. No matter the format, it is important to prepare a “leave behind,” or compiled samples of your work and other documents showcasing your abilities.

As the name suggests, leave behinds are for your interviewers to keep after your interview concludes. This not only helps you stand out from the crowd, but also gives your interviewer an opportunity to gauge where you are on your professional journey. If given a leave behind, interviewers can show their colleagues your work too, which could sway the decision in your favor.

According to Forbes.com, the most important aspect of a leave behind is that it

“provides a tangible reminder of who you are and what you can bring to the position.” 

What to include in your leave behind

Customization is key when compiling a leave behind. The samples you select for your leave behind should reflect the position you are applying for. However, a good place to begin is with these 5 items:

  1. Resume
  2. Writing sample(s)
  3. Your most recent project
  4. Analytical reports
  5. Recommendation letter

Tips and tricks for leave behinds 

Include 5-7 pieces of work in your leave behind. If you bring an entire portfolio, it might overwhelm your interviewer and be ineffective. 2-3 pieces could be considered too few.

Use a print version. If you put your work on a disc or jump drive, it creates more work for your interviewer to actually view it. Put your work together on documents and have it printed professionally.

Customize. Different positions call for specific skillsets. For example if you are applying for an agency position, it is wise to highlight your writing ability, media relations skills and project management.

Organize and bind. It is important that your leave behind is well organized and bound together. Interviewers will often have application materials in a stack, so it is important that everything stays together in the correct order.

Incorporate your personal brand. No matter what happens during your interview, no one can dispute hard work, attention to detail and array of skills put into a leave behind. Set yourself apart and leave your interviewer a small piece of your professional journey, perhaps you will continue that journey with them.

Want to see an example? Check out Allison’s awesome leave behind! Example Here

Best Practices For Your LinkedIn Summary

June 2, 2014 7 Comments

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

linkedinAs we all know, first impressions are important. A LinkedIn summary can make or break you by determining the first impression you give potential employers who are visiting your profile. In order to create the first impression that you want, consider these five steps:

  • Be authentic. While writing your LinkedIn summary, be sure that your personal story shows through. This is your opportunity to be creative and define yourself the way you want. What makes you stand out? What are you an expert at? What are you proud of? These are questions that should be answered in your summary in order to give potential employers an idea of who you are. And always write in first-person. Writing about yourself in third-person can give your summary the opposite impression that you are looking for by making it seem impersonal.
  • Keep it short. Just like anything else these days, it is important to get to the point in your LinkedIn summary. While you need to tell your story, do it in a concise and simple way. Employers see many resumes and LinkedIn profiles each day, and it is crucial that they be impressed quickly before they get bored or distracted by their busy schedules. Keeping it short will ensure that they read everything you have to say. Another good idea is to break it up. If you feel like you have a lot of information you want to include, break it up into smaller paragraphs to make it easier and quicker to read.
  • Include key words. The types of key words that should be included in your summary are ones that describe what your strengths are and what your expertise includes. I don’t mean key words such as “hard working” or “determined.” A good list of key words could include strategic communications, market research, creative, analytics, entrepreneur, etc. When an employer sees that you are knowledgeable in certain areas that they need, it will make you more marketable.
  • Add a call to action. At the end of your summary, include a call to action that lets people know what to do next. It could be as simple as, “If you want to get to know me more, email me at ________.” Or it could be, “Reach out to me if you want to talk social media, SEO, or shopping.” There are plenty of ways to get an employer to reach out to you. Make sure that your call to action stands out and gets their attention.
  • Write what you would want to read. Perhaps the most important tip of them all. Write a LinkedIn summary that you would enjoy reading if you stumbled upon it, yourself.

Managing 2 Internships at Once

May 21, 2014 3 Comments

By: Lindsey Zimmerman @lindseyzim716

lindseyofficeIt’s 7 a.m. on a weekday, and I’m getting dressed and ready to head off to my internship at Battelle Memorial Institute. While my straightener is heating up, I grab my phone and get on Twitter. No, not to check my own feed and notifications – I’m taking a few minutes to tweet on behalf of College Tourist as part of my second internship.

That’ll be my morning routine for the better part of the summer, during which I’ll be working not one but two paid internships. I show up onsite every day at Battelle for my corporate communications internship and work remotely as a social media virtual intern for College Tourist.

The fact that one of my internships is virtual makes things a lot easier as far as time management goes. I work at Battelle from about 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and devote some time in the evenings to getting all of the next day’s social media posts for College Tourist written and scheduled (thanks, Hootsuite!). Now that I’m a few weeks into it, I definitely feel like it’s something I can manage. The secret to surviving two internships at once is simply using your time well.

theresaHaving a virtual internship as one of the two positions is one thing, but what about having two onsite internships at the same time? As crazy as it sounds, it can be done. Former Scripps PRSSA Executive VP and 2014 graduate Theresa Ianni did it last summer, gaining both agency and non-profit experience at AKHIA and the Greater Ohio Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America respectively. She said that although doing two internships wasn’t her original plan, she accepted positions at both companies after finding out that each of them would need her on opposite days of the week.

Even though doing two onsite internships at the same time might seem like even more of a challenge than having one onsite and one virtual internship, the secret to pulling it off is still the same: time management. With a little bit of preparation and organization, it can be done.

“The hardest part was remembering what time I had to report to each office and how long the commute was – I couldn’t get my days mixed up! But, I packed my lunch the night before and woke up with plenty of time to get to each office,” Theresa said. “While at the office, I made a day’s to-do list to keep me on track. At both internships, I had some assignments that were higher priority, so I always made sure to complete those first, and always communicated with my supervisors regarding deadlines.”

Although it’s undoubtedly challenging to complete two internships at once, Theresa said she’s glad she did it and recommends that other PR students consider it if the opportunities align.

“There’s so many directions you can go with a public relations major, and so many great companies that need PR,” she said. “Never sell yourself short, and always keep an open mind.”



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