Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Making ImPRessions in D.C.

March 10, 2014 2 Comments

IMG_1527No matter how old you are networking can be scary. Putting yourself out there to make connections can freak out anyone, the trick to it all is knowing how to network efficiently. However, sometimes LinkedIn and mixers just don’t cut it for college students, and that’s where the networking trip comes into place. What better way to make an imPRession than in person? This spring break, Assistant Junior Director Melaina Lewis made an imPRession in D.C. while on an individual networking trip to scope out the D.C. area and network with D.C. PR professionals. Want to know how to coordinate your own networking trip? Read our interview with our fabulous Assistant Junior Director herself.

Q: Why did you want to plan your own networking trip?
A: I’ve always loved D.C. It’s one of my top 2 places I want to live post grad. I was trying to think of where I had the most connections and DC won over Charlotte, N.C. I want to work for nonprofit or healthcare PR, and DC is a hub for those PR sectors.

Q: What were your first steps to planning?
A: I reached out to my Bobcat network and made some cold connections. I knew it was going to be harder to do the trip if I stayed at a hotel, so I reached out to Sienna Tomko who was recently hired at Children’s National and am staying with her.

IMG_1541Q: How did you reach out to the Bobcat network?
A: LinkedIn was a big one. I connected with Judy Dashiell at the National Fisheries Institute through LinkedIn messaging. I also spoke with Daniel Klein, whom works with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. The rest of the Bobcat network were local connections I already had, and knew their agencies or organizations had offices in D.C. I also reached out to Devin Hughes and he connected me to someone. Sienna also has a huge network, even though she doesn’t believe it, she does. Oddly enough, I have a family friend from my hometown who works in a government department, and she helped me with connections as well.

Q: How long have you been planning this trip?
A: I would say I have been planning this trip for two FULL months. I decided to make the trip right after Christmas break in January. I would suggest plan a networking trip three or four months ahead, so you don’t feel rushed.

Q: Were there any hiccups?
A: Monday was a snow day for the D.C. area. Even the government workers didn’t go into work. So Sienna and I joined a planned snowball fight in Du Pont Circle. I was retweeted by a Washington Post blogger, so that’s exciting.

Q: Would you recommend an individual or group networking trip?
A:  Any networking trip is an opportunity and a business card. It is less hectic when you are alone, and you’re guaranteed one-on-one time, unlike in a group setting. Also when you’re doing it individually, you’re tailoring it around whom you want to meet and who has your skill set. I planned my networking trip all around nonprofit and healthcare PR.

IMG_1542Q: Are you planning on interning in D.C. this summer?
A: Fingers crossed. I want to, I want to. I have met with a lot of people and I don’t know if it’s going to happen but it’s my goal.

Q: You’re a huge Scandal fan. How is that playing into this trip?
A: I get to watch Scandal in the capital this week. That’s really exciting. Walking down the streets, I secretly tell myself I’m Olivia Pope. This is the life Olivia Pope leads.

Q: What is your day-to-day like during this trip?
A: I’m trying each day to meet with 1-2 people, and leave my late afternoons and early evenings open. I want to make sure I’m getting that aspect of living here in the trip. It’s a mix of networking and fun.

Q: Is there anything you would change about this trip?
A: I wish I would’ve started planning earlier. It just felt so rushed and I wanted to expand more of my connections. It’s been a really good trip so I wouldn’t change much.

Interview conducted over Google Hangout. Later in the day, Melaina planned to check out the Georgetown area and visit Georgetown Cupcakes.

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Interviewee: Melaina Lewis is a junior studying Strategic Communications with specializations in Global Leadership and Marketing. You can follow Melaina on Twitter at @melaina_lewis.

Interviewer: Kelly Hayes is a senior studying Strategic Communications with specializations in German and Global Leadership. You can follow Kelly on Twitter at @kmshayes.

ImPRessing potential employers

March 4, 2014

standing outIt’s difficult to stand out to a potential employer, and it’s especially difficult to stand out amongst a community of overachievers like yourself. Sure, your GPA practically denotes you as a genius and you’ve been involved in extracurricular activities since the beginning of your college career. You’re so involved that you can’t even fit all of your experience on your resume. On paper, you look hirable AND desirable. But here’s the catch: Everyone else does too.

So, how are you going to stand out?

It’s easier said than done, but there are ways to set yourself apart from the crowd that just might land you your dream job or internship.

  1. Request informational interviews. Although less formal and more conversational than the standard job interview, informational interviews give you a chance to chat with a company’s employers, ask questions and soak in the company’s atmosphere. You’ll be asked questions, but it won’t be as nerve wrecking, because you’ll also be expected to ask questions. These interviews will put you a step above people who are simply applying for the job because it will demonstrate your interest in learning about the company and dedication to making connections with the employees.
  2. Use social media to your advantage. You’re on your phone 24/7 anyway, so you may as well use your social media addiction to your advantage. Before going to a company, firm or corporation, tweet at them and express your excitement to visit. Use appropriate hashtags and tweet at the company, along with any employees you are expected to meet. In addition to this, take the time to “like” the company’s Facebook page and “follow” its LinkedIn and Twitter sites. Showing interest in a company can be as simple as a touch of the screen.
  3. Be prepared. There’s almost no quality more attractive in an employee than being prepared. Research the company and write down questions to ask them. Express curiosity in what they do and show interest in what they say. Be prepared to listen. It’s seemingly impossible to actually listen to someone when your heart is beating a mile a minute, your palms are sweating and you’ve completely blanked on your next question. But remember to actually listen to their responses. Take what they tell you and refer to their advice or anecdotes later when you follow up.
  4. Follow up. Be traditional. Instead of sending a follow up email, hand write a thank you note and connect with the employer on LinkedIn. When you ask to connect with him or her, make sure you include a personal message instead of using LinkedIn’s automated message. It’ll make you stand out above others that didn’t take the time to personalize a message. As said above, take something the employer said and refer back to it, whether it’s something candid, informational or simply memorable. Just make sure it’s noteworthy.
  5. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your work, including homework assignments, projects, your resume, LinkedIn profiles or social media accounts. Don’t let being professional obscure your uniqueness, individuality or even your sense of humor. Most importantly, remember: It’s possible to be both personal and professional.

Standing out among other overachievers isn’t an easy feat, but the difference between receiving or losing a job can be as simple as a handwritten letter. Take advantage of all of the opportunities you can, and don’t lose your dynamic personality despite pressures of the professional world.

Allison Barwacz is a senior studying Magazine Journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at @abarwacz.

What Your Favorite Social Media Says About You

November 5, 2013 10 Comments

As young people – especially as PR students – we hear it over and over again: “Social media is taking over the world!”

New social networking sites are popping up faster than we can download the apps on our smartphones, and your social media drug-of-choice can give a lot of insight into your personality. What does your favorite say about your personality?

FacebookFacebook: You social butterfly, you! You’re an extrovert who loves to be in the know about all your friends’ current events. Most likely, your friends have learned to stop sharing new gossip with you because your reaction is usually “I saw that already on Facebook!” You like to live in – and document – the moment, and try to live life to the absolute fullest.

PinterestPinterest: You’re a dreamer who loves making plans and lists. You love to organize in a fun way – no dry agendas or boring PowerPoint’s for you! You have big plans – and a lot of them – but whether or not you follow through on them can sometimes be anybody’s guess.

Work-wise, you may be a bit of a procrastinator – but you’re great at keeping the mood light and moving things along. You can generally get along with most people – as long as they don’t steal your photo album titles.

TwitterTwitter: Constantly on-the-go, you don’t have time to slow down and explain your whole life to someone. You’re fast-paced, like things neat and concise, and love it when everyone else can keep up with your whirlwind lifestyle. One of your greatest joys is when the barista nails your “Grande-hot-triple five-pump-vanilla-non-fat-no-foam-whipped-cream-extra-hot-extra-caramel-carmel-macchiato” without batting an eye

You can be demanding, but you get stuff done – and while you might butt heads when working in a group, the final result always blows everyone away.

TumblrTumblr: You dabble in a little bit of everything and have interests in a wide variety of categories – art, music, books, movies, fashion – whatever it is, you’re tracking the tag on Tumblr! You like to have things all gathered in one place, and often tackle projects by breaking each major component into smaller blocks.

WordPressWordPress: You’re pretty no-nonsense – chances are, you have your ideal career all mapped out and know exactly how it is you want to get there. You know what you want in life and are driven, but still enjoy having a creative outlet to vent every once in a while.

You’re the go-to person when people want to get down to business. You’re quick, efficient, organized and great at delegating.

LinkedInLinkedIn: If LinkedIn is your favorite social media tool, props to you. Seriously. Obviously, if you’re a fan of keeping your online resume (more or less) up-to-date to the minute, you’re focused on your career and have a clear goal in mind. You can get a little bit of tunnel vision sometimes, but as long as your Facebook-loving friend reminds you to stop and smell the roses, you’re able to keep a balance.

You’re not the type of person to turn down an opportunity, either – you have a lot on your resume, and you’re definitely proud of what you’ve done, but you’re not cocky. You let your ‘rents gush about all your achievements for you.

So how do you stack up? Maybe you fit the description to a T, maybe not – as long as you stay proficient with whatever social media outlet you choose, you’ll be on top of the game!

-Kelsey Tucker is a junior with a double major in strategic communication and Spanish. Follow her at @kelseyptucker.

How To Network Using Social Media

January 31, 2013 7 Comments

Marisa Dockum

LinkedIn and Twitter serve as better networking tools than you might think.  The power of networking is endless, especially now with easy access to professionals via Twitter and LinkedIn. Here are a few tips to improve your online visibility and build a network:

  1. Never send a generic LinkedIn connection invite.  In order to stand out and make things personal, you must take the time to write a nice blurb on how you know them or explain why you would like to connect with them.
  2. Clean up your Twitter account to make sure it is appropriate before you begin attracting professionals.
  3. Don’t have full-blown conversations on Twitter.  Make an initial connection with a tweet, but then continue the conversation via email or direct messages.
  4. Use hashtags such as #intern, #internships, #HAPPO, #PR,etc. and directly tweet at companies or people who work there about news/events that are happening at those companies.  When you express interest in what that agency is actually doing, you will get noticed.
  5. Don’t get to the point right away, start by asking about the professional’s experience or for advice.  PR people love to talk about themselves and want to feel like they’re helping someone out from their expertise. So, allow them to do that and they will be more likely to then talk about a job or internship opportunity.
  6. Join Twitter chats, ask questions and share your answers.  Your questions could get noticed by a professional looking for an intern, and your active online presence will impress professionals.
  7. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and error free at all times, especially before you connect with professionals.
  8. Utilize the LinkedIn headline in a creative way.  For example, “PR major seeking internship in NYC,” and be active in different LinkedIn groups.

As a pre-professional, it is your job to seek out professionals, companies, PRSA young professionals and alumni on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Let your personality shine online, and do what we do best: communicate.  Actively tweet about PR news, tweet at professionals and companies, use hashtags, and connect on LinkedIn with personal messages.  These tips will allow you to network with the industry and establish a solid online presence, but most importantly it will highlight YOUR brand.

Go forth young professionals, use social media networking to your advantage!

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