Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Networking Trips 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

April 1, 2015

By: Morgan Borer, @MorganBorer

Networking 2

This weekend, I traveled to the city that’s just as famous for its deep-dish pizza and hot dog stands, as it is for the Sears Tower: Chicago. I arrived at the Felix Hotel late Thursday evening with four other members of PRSSA, tired and weary-eyed from the exhaustive drive. I quickly unpacked my bags, located my planner and itinerary and hopped into bed. I was eager for a full day of networking with Scripps PRSSA.

I have traveled to Chicago a few times prior to this weekend, but I found myself unprepared for this networking trip. For example, while walking downtown during our lunch break on Friday, I frantically called my dad pleading him to deposit money into my account, I had seven dollars.

I was also shivering and attempting to warm my hands, to no avail. I also failed to bring a decent winter jacket and gloves. It’s almost April, so it must be warm in the city, right? Wrong. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who really had it together and helped make this weekend the experience of a lifetime, despite my poor planning!

After reminiscing on the trip, I’ve conjured up a few “Do’s” and Dont’s” of Networking in the City.

Do dress for the weather

Check the local weather at least one week in advance, and begin planning appropriate outfits and outerwear. If you’re traveling to a city, like Chicago, with cooler temperatures, pack extra gloves, hats, scarves, socks, tights and a warm coat. Also, bring appropriate shoes! Flats are much more comfortable for getting in and out of cabs than heels. Stash your heels in your bag to change into at your destination.

Do your research

Know the companies and professionals that you are visiting before you walk in the door. Visit the company website, read recent press releases, and be well-informed about what they are doing in the news. Come prepared to each meeting with intelligent, thoughtful questions. Professionals will be impressed when you show that you’ve done your homework.

Do soak it in

You’re a student, so act like a sponge and soak everything in. Listen closely to what each professional has to say. Oftentimes, they offer valuable interview tips and career advice. In Chicago, several of the professionals spoke about their own personal journey after college, and how they ended up working in public relations. Pay attention to the company culture and the environment and watch how employees interact with one another.

Do follow up

Bring your resume and business card to each place you visit, and be sure to collect business cards before you leave. After the visit, send each professional a personalized follow-up email. Thank them for meeting with you and discussing the company. You can always add a compliment, or mention something specific you liked about the company. For example, when I followed up with Groupon, I mentioned how I loved the Tiki bar in the middle of the office. Additionally, reach out to each professional on Twitter or LinkedIn and send them a message. These connections will be important during job hunting season.

Don’t be on your phone

Warning: If you’re like me and have an emotional and physical attachment to your iPhone, this will be difficult. However, it’s extremely important to stash your phone away and pay attention. Professionals will notice if you seem distracted or uninterested in the presentation and their company. At one of the agencies I visited, an employee blatantly pulled out his phone multiple times throughout the presentation, giving me a negative impression of the agency. Be polite and engaged.

Don’t feel like you have to have your life planned out

A networking trip is an opportunity to sample a little bit of everything from the buffet. You don’t need to know exactly what you want, or where you want to work. If you are set on working for a non-profit, that’s excellent, but keep your options open. One professional I spoke with told me that in college he never wanted to work in advertising or marketing, and that’s exactly what he does today. Don’t be intimidated by the young, cool, seemingly know-it-all professionals. They started out right where you are.

Don’t forget to smile

Finally, don’t forget to smile! Make good eye contact and smile at everyone you meet. You will likely grow tired, hungry, or in desperate need of a 3 p.m. Starbucks run. However, making an effort to stay upbeat and positive will make each visit more enjoyable. Display genuine kindness and people will definitely notice.

Five Most Underused Social Media Tools

March 10, 2015

By: Gentry Bennett, @Gen_andTonic

With so many social media sites these days, it can be hard to learn the ends and outs of all of them. There are some hidden tools and features that can extremely help improve your experience. Without further ado, here are the five most underused social media tools…

1. Mute on Twitter, Unfollow on Facebook

Whether it’s your uncle on Facebook that likes to share his political views, or that one professor on Twitter that tweets at least once an hour, sometimes your feed needs a little “spring cleaning.” The mute and unfollow options on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, help you to stay connected with whomever you please. If the people you want to connect with aren’t improving your social media experience, silence is a simple click away. To activate these features, go to the selected account’s profile page. From here, on Facebook click where it says “Following” or on Twitter click the “Settings” gear, and unfollow or mute away!

2. Reading List on Twitter, Saved Links on Facebook

facebook-save-this-link

This feature will come in handy for those with a tendency to click on the longest articles when they don’t have time to read. If you fall into this category, and want to save that Buzzfeed article for your morning commute or walk to class, your bookmark bar is waiting for you. The days of cluttered bookmark bars and a million open tabs on your browser are over: enter Saved Links and Reading List. iPhone users can send articles found on Twitter to their Safari “Reading List,” while Facebook users can use the “Save Link” feature. Simply open the article of your choice and tap the arrow coming out of the box icon to save or send to your List.

3. Discover on Instagram

It’s easy to scroll through the photos on Instagram and then close out of the app. Just one tab over from your home feed is the search tab where you can also find Instagram’s most popular photos. These photos range from a Kardashian selfie to traveling photographers. This is a great way to find new people and companies you can follow to help diversify your feed.

4. Pinned Posts

Pinned tweets and Facebook posts (most often used in Groups) can be extremely helpful for the social media user with a lot of content on their profiles or Groups. Pinned posts allow you to pin one post that you find important, or has pertinent information, to the top of your profile. All other content following will be organized as it normally would. This is especially helpful for an upcoming event or contact information that a user viewing the profile or Group may need.

5. Relationship Notes on LinkedIn

linkedin-notes-tabs

Use this hidden feature to privately remember where you met someone or a reminder about a conversation you had once. Below the photo on a LinkedIn profile, click “Relationship.” From here, you can add any notes you want about the person. The best part is, the notes are completely hidden to anyone except you.

Resolve to Be Involved – 5 Resolutions to make 2015 Your Best PR Year

January 9, 2015

By: Sarah Rachul, @SarahMRachul

blank list of resolutions on blackboard

I have always loved the new year. It’s a clean slate, a whole new year to accomplish everything you couldn’t in the previous year. Generally, our resolutions consist of new diet plans, new workouts, relationship changes or even attitude changes. But how many people make resolutions about their job? The following is a list of the top 5 resolutions every rising PR pro should make in 2015.

  1. Attend a Public Relations Conference
    • There are so many amazing PR conferences that occur every year, and they are the perfect opportunity to learn from some of the best pros in the business. Personally, I’ve been to two PRSSA National Conferences, and they provided a chance to both network and learn. Building your network, chances to see a new city and learn about different parts of PR are just a few of the many reasons attending a PR conference should be at the top of your resolutions list for 2015.
  2. Design a personal website
    • I made this resolution about two years ago and I’m so happy that I followed through. It may seem daunting to start a website from scratch, but sites like WordPress make it easier with pre-designed templates. Once you decide what template best represents your brand, all you have to do is include your amazing portfolio pieces, resume and a description of your life as a PR pro. Feel free to include a blog if you feel you have a lot of professional opinions to share.
  3. Learn a new skill that will enhance your PR prowess
    • Public relations is an amazing field, which covers so many different topics. This is both a blessing and a curse when you’re entering the work world. While the choices for a career are great, so is the number of other young PR pros looking for jobs. Upon graduation, you’ll need to have some special skills that will set you apart from the crowd. Whether this be a certificate in entrepreneurship, a minor in the business school, classes in visual communications or even taking up broadcast/video editing as a hobby. Having specialized skills like this will not only set you apart in an interview but can also help pad your resume and portfolio. Use 2015 as the year to add to your already awesome set of skills.
  4. Resolve to be more active on LinkedIn
    • LinkedIn is often referred to as the social network of business professionals. As future PR pros, we should be well versed in all aspects of social media. So why aren’t more of us on LinkedIn? Spend the first couple of months of this year constructing a great profile (or rebuilding your existing profile) and start compiling a list of connections. Alway remember to send a somewhat personalized message when asking to connect and even use LinkedIn as a tool to research future coworkers or people interviewing you for a job. It never hurts to be prepared, and LinkedIn is just another research tool to add to your social media arsenal.
  5. Get involved in your PRSSA chapter and/or school PR firm
    • This resolution may seem obvious and you might even say “Well I’m already a PRSSA member and a member of my firm.” But the important word in this resolution is: involved. What does it really mean to be truly involved? It’s not just attending weekly meetings (although that is a start) or doing the bare minimum for your account. It’s about really committing yourself to making a difference in your chapter and your firm. Volunteer to plan an event or be the first to raise your hand with new ideas for your client. Take that extra step in 2015 and you, and your resume, will be glad you did.

5 Social Media Tips to Begin 2015

January 6, 2015 1 Comment

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7

PreparingforSM2015-620x330

Starting a new year allows for the chance to start fresh, and there is no reason this shouldn’t apply to your social media life too. Now is a perfect time to rethink your media strategy, and make some changes for the year ahead. With a little time and effort, you can have a completely revamped and improved plan for 2015.

Evan Lepage, a blogger for Hootsuite, discussed five tips for social media renovations. Taking from Lepage’s discussion, I’ll add some personal experiences of my own to bring the discussion closer to home.

1. Declutter and Drop the Weight

  • There are times when you scroll through your news feed on the accounts you manage, or maybe your own, and realize that you have no idea why you follow some r accounts. Drop that weight. Stop cluttering your feed with people who aren’t aligning with your goals, or who aren’t supplying the information you are looking for. Get rid of them, and move on. Also, cancel those accounts that you never use. If you aren’t updating that Google+ you made when you signed up for Gmail, end it. People shouldn’t find that and follow it, if you are never going to update anything on it.

2. Set Realistic Goals

  • Be smart about what you plan to achieve this year with your social media accounts. Don’t get your hopes up, saying you are going to gain 100 organic new followers on Instagram in a month. Chances are this probably won’t happen. I know that I have created goals for one of my accounts to post every other day on a Facebook page, and have 5 new likes in two months. Since education reform is a narrower interest group, I knew not to expect a lot, but hopefully gain some new followers.

3. Build a Follow List

  • While you are setting your goals, it might be a good idea to think about what information you hope to receive from your accounts. Once you know what you are looking for from your account, find new accounts that will provide you with that information. Don’t follow the people that retweet the information, follow the people who are first to send it out. Make a list of these people, and know who to look for to increase your effectiveness.

4. Update Profiles

  • Not having an updated profile is a real buzz kill. People are looking to learn more about you, but if you never update that Linkedin, then it becomes difficult. And yes, people still check Facebook, so make sure that is updated as well. Even if you don’t use it, have it up-to-date, or get rid of it.

5. Learn, Learn, Learn

  • Social media could be described as the fastest changing medium. New platforms are created all the time. It’s important to know what the hottest new app is and how the old ones have evolved. Stay current and do your homework. Make an effort to learn as much as you can about the sites you use and how they are changing. Also, make it a point to be on the look out for what is up and coming. You don’t want to be the last one to the rodeo.

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).

Connect

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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

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