Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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The Importance of Staying in Touch

January 13, 2015

By: Jessica Carnprobst, @jess_carnprobst

Stay-In-Touch1

As you begin making connections, it’s extremely important to keep them. This summer, I interned with WordWrite Communications, a boutique PR agency in Pittsburgh, and because I stayed in touch and on their radar, they asked me to come back over Christmas break. As I was leaving last Friday, they all asked me to stay in touch. So as I logged out of my work computer and walked out of their office for the last time, I thought of all the reasons I really wanted to do so. First and foremost, I enjoyed my time with them, and I want to hear how they are doing. Secondly, who knows where I’ll be after graduation, or if I’ll need a job in Pittsburgh. Lastly, everyone in that office is more than willing to help me in any way they can. Staying in touch with employers is not just a good suggestion; it’s something we all should absolutely be doing.

It’s polite to stay in touch with your previous boss, supervisor, or even fellow intern(s). Many will say how much it means to them to receive an email from you, even if it’s just to say Merry Christmas or ask how they are. It’s also nice on the other end, to hear how they are and how their life has been. I don’t know about you, but I love the connections I make during my time as an intern, and I’d hate to lose them with time, just because I never called or emailed.

You never know when that contact will be useful. It may be 10 or 20 years from now, but you might need a media contact in a different city, or help with something at work. Let’s paint a little picture and say your previous boss is the best person to help you. If you’ve stayed in touch, then it’s no problem! You can now finish your work without a hitch. I’ve heard countless stories that start this way. Old connections will almost always prove to be useful in one way or another.

They want to help you. If you’re one of those people that “feels bad” reaching out, stop thinking that way. It’s easy to feel like you’re being a burden, but if you’re truly staying in touch and not just contacting them when you need them, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out. They’re there to help you, so let them!

Nurturing connections is something we should all be doing. In honor of the New Year and the quickly approaching internship searching season, I say we make it all a resolution to stay in touch!

A Graduating Senior’s Advice to New ImPRessions Members

January 12, 2015

By: Kerry Tuttle, @kerrtut

2011-2012 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism ImPRessions Account

2011-2012 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism ImPRessions Account.

The fact that I’m even writing this post is insane to me. I joined ImPRessions at the beginning of winter quarter (RIP quarter system) my freshman year. That was three years ago. Now I’m sharing what I’ve learned since then, and why joining ImPRessions is one of the smartest choices you can make for your future career.

Our 13 clients span various industries, and we are one of the largest firms nationally. Although we are student-run, our leadership is some of the best of any organization on campus. From the administration to our associates, and everyone in between, we are made up of smart, hard-working, outgoing students who will be a driving force in the industry someday. ImPRessions gives members the tools to excel fast in this field at a young age. Here’s how to get the most out of your experience, both professionally and personally:

Look at this as a learning opportunity. Who cares if you’ve never written a blog post before or have no event planning experience? This is the chance to learn in an environment where it’s OK for you to have no idea what a press release is. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Try out different industries. I have worked with higher education, political and non-profit clients during my time in ImPRessions. The experiences with each account were vastly different and I had to navigate unfamiliar territory with every new client. This only benefitted me and gave me a lot to talk about during internship interviews. You may discover a new passion. Maybe food PR is your thing, even though you’ve been dead set on fashion. You never know until you try.

Network. Do you see those ten students sitting in your account meeting with you? Someday they’ll be working in the PR field so get to know them now! Form relationships with your account executives and your fellow account associates. Don’t be intimidated by members who are older and seem more experienced than you. Ask them to coffee now. It could pay off later in a big way.

Spend time outside of your account meeting. A slightly different point than above, ImPRessions is a great place to form personal relationships as well. Some of my closest friendships at Ohio University have resulted from my involvement in ImPRessions.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Our firm attracts some of the best and brightest Ohio University has to offer. Our members’ resumes and life experiences are completely different from one another. It’s easy to look at your AE’s LinkedIn and think, “Wow, I’ve had no PR experience compared to her/him. Cue panic attack.” Trust me, I’ve been there. As long as you work hard and are open to learning, great things will happen for you. The good thing about ImPRessions is that you don’t need to have had three internships to have your voice heard and your opinion respected.

I’m depressed that I only have 15 weeks left with my favorite organization, but the future of ImPRessions is so bright and I look forward to seeing the firm continue to evolve.

National Conference: It’s More than Just a Trip

October 21, 2014

By: Jess Carnprobst @jess_carnprobst

PRSSANCLast week, I attended my second PRSSA National Conference in Washington DC. Last year I attended PRSSANC in Philadelphia, and I’ve also been to two PRSSA Regional Conferences, making this fourth conference overall. With these experiences under my belt, I have countless notes in my notebook, new connections on social media and new career ideas in my head. Most importantly, after each conference I learn something new about myself. These are the biggest reasons I believe every college student should attend at least one national conference.

Make your connections personal 

I know how important it is to network with the person who can help you get the dream internship or job, but it’s important to see past what they can do for you. When you’re meeting new people (and you’ll meet hundreds) find a connection with them. It doesn’t need to be PR related, but find a way to make your connections personal and worthwhile.

Question your career path 

This is the best time for to question your career path! Question every single goal or idea you have. It’s ok not to know. You’ll be sitting in so many sessions throughout the duration of the conference, learning about so many topics you never knew were a possibility in PR. Now is the best time to think big and continue developing your goals. Conferences are made to help you decide where you want to go and what you want to do.

Step outside of your comfort zone

Going off of my last point, you’ll get the most out of your time at your conference if you step out of your comfort zone. Attend sessions that seem different, interesting or something you know nothing about, and just see what you learn. When you attend a conference you’re probably in a different city. Take the time to go sight seeing and go on adventures you’ve never been on. Sometimes you can learn just as much by exploring on your own as you would at the actual conference. The two go hand and hand to teach you about your career as well as about yourself.

Follow through

It’s so easy to forget to make that LinkedIn connection or send the email you promised when you get back home. Don’t let yourself do this. Whether it takes an annoying alarm or a spot on your to do list, follow through with the promises you made at the conference.

It’s not always about listening to the speakers, but it is about growing as a professional. While you’re there, follow these steps while adding some of your own to maximize your experience. Take advantage of conferences and go to as many as you can, because they’re an experience of a lifetime.

Summer Reflection Series: Logan Trautman

October 15, 2014

By: Logan Trautman @logantrautman

An internship is not only supposed to help you gain knowledge and experience, but guide you to figure out what the heck it is that you are meant to do after graduation. This is a somewhat terrifying thought considering there are so many available opportunities, but you are left to choose only one. So as spring semester rolled around last school year, and the internship hunt was in full swing, I found myself not only asking the typical questions of each opportunity – Is this paid? How many hours will I work? Will I be retrieving coffee and shredding papers all day? – and if this is an experience that will help shape my future.

Luckily, I ended up at MediaSource, a media relations firm in Columbus, OH. I was one of two media relations interns that worked for 10 weeks with this small but mighty company. I learned valuable skills in the field of media relations, sure, but what this internship taught me most is what to look for in a future career.

  1. Find a company culture that fits your personality. When I first spoke with MediaSource representatives, they handed me a container of jellybeans, which happened to be the color of their brand. From that moment on I knew the environment that I worked in would be creative, fun and innovative. It was exactly what I was looking for!
  2. Find a location you can call home. My hometown is Pittsburgh so living in a new city with no source of income (I clearly didn’t pick my internship for the previously mentioned paid or unpaid aspect) wasn’t exactly comforting. However, by the end of my internship I had grown so attached to Columbus and the incredible people I met there I shed a tear knowing I had to go back to my real home.
  3. Meet as many people as humanly possible. Being in the field of PR this may be a bias statement, but people are awesome. My internship taught me the importance of not only creating relationships, but also maintaining them. There are many times when it won’t be about what you know, but about who you know.

Now that I’m a senior, I plan to take these bits of wisdom and apply them to my upcoming, and final year at Ohio University!

 

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 be Nice to Reporters

May 16, 2014 2 Comments

By: Kate Schroeder @kschroeds7

reportprIt’s not a secret that journalists and public relations professionals tend to have a rocky relationship. Historically, both sides have held some preconceived stereotypes. One side believes those pesky PR people are trying to manipulate the news story and hide the facts. On the other side, those righteous journalists are always seeking a dramatic headline. One is the cat and the other is the dog. Each party is always trying to have the upper hand.

However, both need each other to be successful. Media relations is so important to a successful public relations firm – as public relations professionals we rely on our journalist counterparts to get our clients story out to the public.

So here lies the question on every budding media relations professional – how do you be nice to journalists? What are the ways to foster a rewarding relationship between you and your news counterparts? Coming from a news writing background myself, I have located some key tips that will bring some much needed love back into the PR and journalist dynamic.

1. Do your job and do it well

There is a reason that journalists get frustrated and short-fused with PR’s. According to an article by Forbes, the ratio of PR people to “pitchable” journalists is now estimated at 4 to 1. That means four times the amount of press releases filling up their mailboxes everyday.

One of the most important things in writing a press release is going straight to the point. Journalists are not looking for a novel to read. It is important to keep the most relevant information (including your contact information) right at the top of the press release. If the journalists cannot get an understanding of what you are pitching in the first couple sentences, they aren’t going to read further.

2. Research your contact

As public relations professionals, we have a vast amount of resources available to get media contacts. Even though you could send out a press release to every reporter in town does not mean you should. Make sure you research the reporter you are sending your press release to. Make sure what you are pitching correlates to what they typically write about.

3. Respect their time

Reporters are busy, busy, busy these days! It’s old news that journalism is not the same as it used to be. Today, journalists are required to produce more stories across many different specializations and mediums. This limits their time and puts them under immense pressure. Making it super important to respect their deadlines. News is always changing so journalist’s deadlines are not flexible. Make sure you stay to the point when speaking with them on the phone. If they are busy make sure you are open to reschedule a time to speak.

4. Be polite

This is the no brainer of my four steps of being nice to reporters. It may sound easy, but sometimes you might have to work with someone who might not respect you as a public relations professional. The only way to get through that is to be accommodating and polite. Before you make a call to a reporter make sure you have their first and last name memorized. Come up with a friendly opening remark and begin with a light and short conversation. One way to build your relationship with a reporter is to ask them what kind of future stories they would be interested in writing. This lets them know you are looking out for them and are a good resource for the future.

Now you are ready to cold call that reporter to market your pitch! Even though you won’t develop the perfect PR to journalist relationship every time, remember, you both rely on each other to get your jobs done.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Networking with Professors

April 15, 2014 2 Comments

professorAn average student has roughly five different professors in a semester. In a year, they probably have nine or ten. By the time a student graduates there is a good chance that they will have had 35+ professors. Each one has taught you something that you may or may not use in your profession, but are they here for more than being an instructor? The answer is yes.

They are here for you to network with, to help you potentially find an internship for the summer or a job after graduation. For some students it is intimidating to approach a professor. Students may not know how to network with a professor, or which professor to approach. To make the process a little easier, here are some guidelines to think about when starting to network with professors.

  • Find the right professor: This may seem difficult at times, but there are ways to tell which professor is right for you. Choose a professor that you like as an instructor and who has values you admire. Don’t pick one just because s/he is in your discipline, you have to be able to converse with him/her too.
  • Use your email: Sometimes the best first step is just sending a professor an email and asking them to meet you for coffee. You could also set up a meeting for their office ours. Just make an effort to get to know them.
  • Ask the questions: Be one of the students that actively participate in class, but be careful not to overdo it. Just be sure the professor is seeing your interest and knows your name.
  • Take small classes: This is easier said than done, but when possible take the smaller classes. The professor will get to know you better and vice versa. This allows for engagement in a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • Research the professor: Knowing more about your professor than just what they tell you in class is more beneficial than you think. This shows that you wanted to know a little more about them, and took an initiative to do so. Be cautious about coming off as a stalker.
  • Accept Advice: Be willing to accept the advice they give openly, many times they are just trying to help. Some information may really change your perspective.
  • Don’t Dine and Dash: Don’t be one of the students that takes advantage of your professors connections. Truly get to know them because you never know when they will be able to help in the long run.

These are just a few tips to consider when beginning to network. Don’t try to network with all your professors; it will get overwhelming and counterproductive. Remember to just take a leap of faith, because many professors want to help you. If you strikeout with one, move on to the next until you find the one you are proud to call a mentor.

Austin Ambrose is a freshman studying Journalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @tex_ambrose7.

Preparing for a Summer Internship (or Job) in a New City

April 14, 2014

Manhattan Office Vacancy Rate Drops In Second QuarterAs the school year is beginning to wind down and we’re preparing for the summer, you are probably thinking about the next steps with your upcoming internship in a new city. It’s exciting to explore a new city and discover more about yourself and how well you mesh with the city you are living in for the next three months. But with this move, you probably have a lot questions burning in your brain. Here are five tips that will ease your mind about the big move:

1. Where am I going to live?

There are a few ways you could seek out this answer: Start by asking co-workers, especially the hiring manager. They certainly know a thing or two about the best and safest places to look and with whom you can be put in contact. Also, check out nearby universities. For instance, if you have an internship in New York City, NYU has housing over the summer for interns coming in from out of state. If the city you’re moving to doesn’t have a university that rents out dorm rooms, check out the college student areas. Many students look to sublet over the summer! Don’t forget your smartphone. One app that I’ve recently discovered is called apartment list. It lets you search by zip code, bedrooms and price in order to narrow down what exactly you’ll need for the summer.

2.How am I going to pay for everything?

Budget, budget, budget. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Seriously though, when you’re moving to a new city that’s as expensive as Los Angeles or New York, expenses need to be at the forefront of your brain. Plan your budget ahead of time and think about what you’ll need to make it through the summer and stick to it!

3. I feel so alone! What should I do?

Don’t be afraid! Not knowing anyone, in my mind, is the most exciting part because you get a fresh start. You get to put the best version of yourself out there! Just because you aren’t in a dorm anymore with fresh, curious faces about this new world of college they’re about to face, doesn’t mean that you won’t make friends. It’s hard to be vulnerable, especially in a place where you don’t know anyone. Embrace your alone time, because pretty soon your phone won’t stop blowing up with people asking you to hang out.

4. How do I get around?

Take a couple days before you start your internship to navigate your way around the city. You DO NOT want to be late on your first day – mapping your way around your new surroundings will put you at ease and make you feel more comfortable about wherever are for the next three months.

5. I need to get out of the house, what can I do?

There many things you can do in this situation like ask your co-workers. They’ve lived in the city long enough to know some of the best hotspots in town and probably have some great insight into cool events that happen every summer! Your smartphone can once again come into play here, too. One app I love using is Fodor’s City Guides. The app lists off all of the important sights, restaurants, shopping, performing arts and nightlife that you should check out while you’re in town for the summer.

Ali Cupelli is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @ali_cupelli.

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.

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