Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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9 Ways to Put an End to Your Boredom Over Winter Break

December 3, 2014

By: Elizabeth Harris @elizharris32

winter break

Students generally cannot wait to get home for winter break. It gives us time to relax after a stressful semester of schoolwork. The first week or so is usually full of holiday shopping, catching up with hometown friends and binge watching Netflix. However, by the time the last two weeks of break roll around, the boredom usually sets in. The phrases “I just cannot wait to get back to school,” “There’s nothing to do here,” “I miss my college friends” “I’m sick of sitting around doing nothing,” are spoken amongst many college students.

Well, for those students who find themselves uttering those phrases, there are many productive things to do to fill up those dreaded times of boredom.

  1. Try to find a seasonal job. Some stores need extra help during the holiday season, and it is always nice to make some extra cash. Also, look into babysitting opportunities – parents often need someone to watch their kids so they can go shopping or wrap presents.
  2. Fine-tune you resume. No matter what, there are always ways to make your resume better.
  3. Apply to internships. Many times companies start review applications in January. There are myriad internship opportunities out there. Take the time to research ones you think would be a good fit and apply to as many as possible to have options.
  4. Build your LinkedIn profile. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn during the hiring process. You do not want to decrease your chances of getting an internship or job because you do not have a LinkedIn or because your profile is weak.
  5. Participate in community service. The holiday season is the best time of year to give back to the community. Look into volunteering at the local food bank or ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.
  6. Workout. With all of the great holiday food and the eating out that usually occurs during break, working out is never a bad idea. It’s also just a great way to fill your downtime in general.
  7. Visit your college friend’s hometowns. It’s always fun to see where your friends grew up.
  8. Shadow someone in your field of interest. It’s never a bad idea to get as much experience as possible in the career field you hope to hold a job one day.
  9. Do a random act of kindness. Part of the holiday season is all about giving back. Why not make someone happy when he or she is not necessarily expecting it?

And, once you are done doing all of these productive things, take the time to do even more Netflix binge watching, you deserve it!

Using LinkedIn to find an internship or job

July 17, 2014 5 Comments

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

dream jobLinkedIn is a great social platform that every student and professional should take advantage of. Not only is it great for connecting with other professionals, but it could also help you land a job.

There are plenty of scenarios that you could use LinkedIn for as your go-to job-search guide.

You are looking for an internship or job in a specific industry, but you don’t exactly know which company you would like to work for.

Do your research. Find big, medium and small agencies, corporations or organizations. Once you have found a few that spark your interest, find them on LinkedIn and follow their company pages. This will give you a better idea of whom the company consists of and who to connect with.

Once you figure that part out….

You have your dream job(s) and companies in mind, but you don’t know who to contact or how to land the job.

If you have a specific job and company in mind, make sure you are following its company page. Once you’ve done that, like I mentioned earlier, see whom the company consists of and connect with a few key employees who could help you.

When I use LinkedIn for job searches, I usually don’t try to connect with the CEO or President of a company. The reason I say this is because they have so many connections and they know so many people. They won’t be doing the hiring, and they won’t even remember declining your invitation because they will do it so fast. Find an entry-level employee who remembers how it feels to be in your shoes. Find the HR manager who does the hiring. Find someone relevant who can actually help you.

Once you have found the right people to contact…

You know who to reach out to for help landing the job, but you want to contact them in a professional, planned out fashion.   

Make sure you are saying the right thing. Don’t make yourself sound random or desperate. Explain to them who you are and why you are contacting them. Don’t jump right to asking for a job. Ask them if they know of any opportunities or other connections who could help you out. Ask them to keep their ears open, and to let you know if they hear of anything. Most people will be happy to help you out, as long as you sound friendly and professional.

Stand out.

If you are connecting with a fellow bobcat, let them know that you are a student at Ohio University. (Bobcats love to help each other out—I know from experience)! If they are a Reds fan, give Billy Hamilton a shout out. If they have a blog that you follow, talk about your favorite post. Find a way to relate to them and stand out.

Before you do any of this, however, you must make sure that your LinkedIn profile page is up to par. If you are reaching out to professionals, they expect you to be serious and might give your profile a look. Give them a good first impression with a good summary and be sure to highlight your strengths and experiences.

In the end, some professionals will ignore you, but some will help you. If you show the best version of yourself and reach out professionally, you are bound to end up with a few opportunities.


Good luck, and happy connecting!

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.

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.

Social Media Trends 2014

May 30, 2014 2 Comments

By: Angela Keane @angela_keane

social-networks“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” This quote definitely applies to your social media strategy. With social media rapidly evolving, you need to keep up with your competitive edge and that means staying ahead of the game. Know where social media is going and how to stay on top of it.

Here are the social media trends for 2014.

  1. Social Media is a Necessity. People may not realize it yet but social media is now a crucial marketing necessity. The emergence of social networks over the past few years has changed the way businesses reach out to their audience. Today, a successful business needs four essential elements: networking, awareness, engagement, loyalty – all of which can be achieved through social media.
  2. Visual Content. Online traffic is growing more and more, and now most of what we see is video based. Short, catchy videos capture the attention from a world full of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. Image-based social media sites will continue to grow in the future.
  3. Google+. Google+ has the second highest number of monthly users. This platform collects personal information and can no longer be thought of as a social network. As Google+ moves toward integration with other aspects of the web, they will grow for business and personal use.
  4. Go Mobile. Mobile marketing is one of the most prominent social media trends. More time is now being spent online through a mobile device. This trend is moving towards a more personalized, one-on-one engagement with targeting customers.
  5. MySpace Comeback. With their extreme makeover and re-branding efforts, MySpace appears to be on the rise. MySpace now offers an iPhone app that allows users to network and receive private messages.
  6. LinkedIn. The number one social networking site for professionals. With the launch of its Influencers program, it is positioning itself as one of the largest sources of content creation for professionals. It will emerge as the top source for business-to-business related content.
  7. Increased Social Media Budgets. Companies that want to keep up with their competition will start hiring qualified social media specialists.
  8. Social Media Contests. Social media will create more promotions and contests to attract new followers and interact with existing ones. These interactions offer a fun factor which produced participation and engagement. It will establish bigger brand exposure and business promotions.
  9. Marketing Tools. Predictive analytics tools, rather than just analyzing data from the past. These technologies use data mining, modeling and statistics to predict future performance.
  10. Foursquare will decline. Foursquare continues to struggle. With other social networks like Facebook and Twitter offering location based features, it will only be a matter of time before Foursquare is absorbed into other networks.

The Professional Headshot: Displaying Professionalism

May 15, 2014

By: Allison Evans @Allison_Evans

images-1When students are states away from companies they dream of working for, online networking is key. A first impression is made with a quick glance at a profile with eyes searching for a visual item, i.e. your headshot.

The use of an unprofessional picture, or a “selfie” is a common mistake made by students. When networking online, it is the equivalent to wearing jeans to a networking event. With the increasing competitiveness in the industry, mistakes on your own profile can affect your employment status.

Professionals look to hire students who value professionalism and are ready to transition from student to employee. Companies that see the effort you put into your own profile is more inclined to trust you with their projects. Frank Tyger once said, “Professionalism is consistency of quality.”

A common misconception about headshots is that the photographer has to be a professional. False! The name “professional headshot” means that you, the subject, look professional and prepared for a picture. With DSLR cameras becoming more common, it is easier to grab a friend to take a picture of you.

Photojournalism or Visual Communication majors are also trained in this area, and are a valuable resource. It is possible they will charge for their services, but the quality of your photos will pay for itself. Always make sure you include a photo credit when the opportunity arises.

A headshot should display your professional self. Therefore, wear business professional clothing and find a neutral or scenic background for the picture. A profile photo on LinkedIn is usually from the shoulders up. It is wise to choose a basic colored outfit free from patterns, because they photograph better.


While this seems like a superficial aspect of networking, the point of having a professional headshot is to make a good first impression, so employers delve deeper into who you are and the work you’ve done. Grab a camera savvy peer or friend, and show initiative with a professional headshot. Remember to smile!






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.


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 8 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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