PRSSA National Affiliation: resume building

By Nicole Bersani, CEO

Every month or so, the leaders in various PRSSA Nationally Affiliated student-run firms from around the country gather to talk about ways to make their firm better. The most recent call on Tuesday, Feb. 21 covered resume building with organizer, Jessica Noonan, PRSSA National Vice President of Professional Development, and  guest, Joe Clarkson, PRSSA National VP of Internships/Job Services. Both gave great advice that I would like to share with the rest of our members…

  • While some students might not have agency internship experience but want to intern or work at agencies, joining a student-run firm is a great way to showcase your experiences and display that you have work that could mirror agency experience (via Jessica). In ImPRessions for example, members can work on various accounts throughout their four years at Ohio University — some even work on more than one per year.
  • “There is no real magic formula for resumes.” -Joe. Try to demonstrate specifics such as using the number of media outlets that covered your client during a certain release, the amount of money you raised in fundraising for your client’s event or the increase in retweets, mentions, etc. while you did social media for your client.
  • Avoid being vague (via Joe). You might not have all the specific information/results from your client about the work you did, but try to gather as much information you can, ask your client if they can share their results and/or approve the results you have.
  • Be specific but also explain — don’t assume everyone knows what you’re talking about on your resume (via Joe). On my resume, I have it listed as “ImPRessions, PRSSA Nationally Affiliated student-run firm, CEO.” Because I also mention my involvement in PRSSA, I mention that organization in a separate line as “Public Relations Student Society of America, Hugh M. Culbertson Chapter, Executive Board Member” and therefore do not need to write out PRSSA twice. Also, make sure to label that you are an account associate, account executive or account supervisor for Express, Cardinal Health, etc. and not ImPRessions unless you are on the internal account. For example, Sam Barlett is the account supervisor for the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, College Book Store and ButtOut Ohio accounts in ImPRessions. If you have a sub-title such as social media coordinator, graphic designer, etc. then make sure to make that clear as well but also mention that role was while you were an account associate.
  • Highlight key terms and content (via Joe). Key words such as “team,” “community,” and “leader” are good examples of words to add. Also, any certain names of companies, events and software programs can be excellent key terms. Check also the company’s website that you are applying to — copy words they mention in their mission statement and on the application if it’s applicable to your resume.

If you ever need help with how to display your ImPRessions work on your resume, please do not hesitate to contact me at nicolebersani@gmail.com, our firm at ouimpressions@gmail.com, stop in our office hours on Wednesdays or reach out to our professional adviser, M.J. Clark at mjclark@wowway.com. Also, more resume tips specific to ImPRessions members can also be found in our 2011-2012 Brand Standards Manual.

If you ever have any questions for Jessica, Joe or anyone else on the PRSSA Naitonal Committee, their contact information can be found on the PRSSA National website.

Members, alumni, professors…any additional tips you recommend?

ImPRessions welcomes 2011 – 2012 leadership

By Rebecca Reif                                                                                                                                                                                  Assocaite, ImPRessions account

ImPRessions will begin next school year under the new leadership of Nicole Bersani as CEO, Rachel Csaszar as VP of operations, and Heather Bartman as VP of administration. Bersani, Csaszar and Bartman have all been involved in ImPRessions since their freshman years, and they are excited for the firm’s future.

After receiving national affiliation from PRSSA last quarter, ImPRessions wants to continue establishing solid connections through their national recognition.

“Because PRSSA has asked ImPRessions to be a mentor to other student-run public relations firms across the country, we plan to keep our message strong and consistent. Right now, we are in the transition stage between ImPRessions’ old executive board and the new one, so as the new CEO I am trying to learn as much as I can to assure that our firm continues to run smoothly,” Bersani said.

As the new CEO of ImPRessions, Bersani will handle day to day activities within the firm, interact with the firm’s client base, work on recruiting new clients for the firm and assure that each account is interacting effectively with their client. Bersani also plans to help ImPRessions apply for PRSSA’s nationally-affiliated student organization awards and the Teahan awards.

Csaszar, like Bersani and Bartman, started out as an account associate in ImPRessions and has worked her way up to her new position as VP of Operations. In her new position, she will be working internally within the firm to assure that each account is staying consistent with the firm’s goals.

“I’m most excited about having a more in-depth role in ImPRessions, and getting to work more with our firm’s adviser, M.J. Clark,” Csaszar said.

As a sophomore and the youngest of the new leadership, Bartman said she is excited to learn from Csaszar and Bersani and is thrilled to be ImPRessions’ new VP of administration.

“ImPRessions is such a prestigious firm and I am proud to say I am a part of such a wonderful student organization. Since joining ImPRessions last year, I have watched the firm grow and succeed. It’s going to be hard to improve a firm that is doing so well, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” Bartman said.

ImPRessions is currently accepting applications for account executive and account supervisor positions. Everyone is encouraged to apply! Please fill out the application and return it to the PRSSA mailbox no later than 5 p.m. on May 6. Electronic submissions will not be accepted.

College Book Store prepares to launch Sibs Weekend campaign

By Carly Damman                                                                                                                                                                    Associate, ImPRessions account

College Book Store is sponsoring Big Brothers Big Sisters during Sibs Weekend. PHOTO PROVIDED BY COLLEGE BOOK STORE

As the College Book Store account prepares for the brothers and sisters of Ohio University students to flood the streets of Athens this weekend, they are beginning to wrap up their Sibs Weekend campaign. The account has been hard at work this quarter designing fliers and t-shirts and coming up with creative ways to gain awareness for their event.

The College Book Store account will soon be asking local businesses to hang up a poster in their store front and if they agree their name will be listed as a sponsor on the College Book Store’s Website. Fliers will also be posted in residence halls. On Friday, the College Book Store team will be distributing fliers at the Convocation center to OU siblings as they arrive on the alumni association buses.

This week the account will be sending out a press release informing local businesses and organizations about the College Book Store event. Account executive, Alexis Sweet, comments on sending out the press release saying, “We will be making media follow-up calls to give our group some practice and make sure they are aware of our event.” The College Book Store account is giving their associates valuable experience by improving their communication and public relation skills, while also promoting their campaign.

On Saturday, the account plans on setting up a game outside College Book Store to attract OU students and their siblings to the store as they spend time uptown. They just have an idea but have not come up with the exact plan yet. The account will finalize their ideas during this week’s meeting. The College Book Store account awaits the success of the event and hopes all their hard work will pay off.

Lasting ImPRessions

By Kylie Whittaker                                                                                                                                                                               Associate, Athens County Humane Society

Rustling through my things in my cramped dorm room, the nerves began to set in. I had already attended the larger ImPRessions meeting during which we were introduced to the many accounts. Luckily I was placed into my first choice, the Athens County Humane Society. Now, I was on my way to the first meeting with my fellow Humane Society account members, not at all knowing what to expect.

I was the fourth or fifth person to enter the room. I was apprehensive, nervous, excited and unsure if I was ready to embark on this task I had brought upon myself. It was the beginning of my first quarter at Ohio University and my first experience with a student organization. Needless to say, it was new ground.

By the time the meeting began there were about twelve students sitting around a square table. We introduced ourselves, shared some personal history, and then tossed around some ideas of how we could most effectively execute our tasks throughout the quarter. As the meeting took shape, my nerves eased and excitement took over. We were all here, working together for one of the best student-run public relations firms in the country, and it was going to be a great experience.

Throughout fall quarter, my account helped plan the ACHS Centennial Celebration, a Halloween event for Friendly Paws Pet Supplies and Grooming and began work on the ACHS calendar. Our weekly meetings laid out our tasks to be completed for the next meeting.

Each member was given a job title, and mine was Multimedia Director. My job was to run the ACHS YouTube account, where we plan to post “Pet profiles” of animals in need of adoption. I took pictures at both of our events and wrote blogs for the ACHS website. Account members also took turns writing press releases which was a first-time experience for most. I was getting my first taste of real-life public relations and it was only my first quarter with ImPRessions. (Check out the ACHS YouTube channel, set to be launched winter quarter 2011.)

Going to college to get an education is a funny thing. The degree is what we are after, but in the end, it is experience that gets us ahead. Plenty of experience is readily available on the Ohio University campus, waiting for anyone who has the initiative to explore it.

ImPRessions is not a class room, lecture hall and does not involve note taking. It is action, networking and real public relations work. I not only got a sense of what my career in PR could be, but I also gained an irreplaceable foundation on which I am building my public relations skill set.

One extremely valuable aspect of ImPRessions, and any student organization for that matter, is the interaction between the students involved. Within ImPRessions, I met some of my closest friends and fellow aspiring Scripps applicants. Without these people, applying to one of the best journalism schools in the nation would have been terribly intimidating.

My interaction with Journalism school students and those planning to apply brought a confidence in myself and the choices I was making. I have no doubt that joining ImPRessions was the best choice I made fall quarter of 2010, and the personal and tangible benefits are more than I could have imagined.

December associate of the month

By Becca Reif                                                                                                                                                                         Associate, ImPRessions Account

Allison Jordan attributes much of her knowledge and passion for public relations as a product of the experiences she has had as an account associate in ImPRessions.

A sophomore public relations major in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Jordan first heard about ImPRessions during her freshman orientation and again during her Journalism 101 course. “I figured I should attend a couple of meetings to see what PR was all about,” she said.

Jordan is an account associate for the Bob Evans account. The account is currently focusing on planning family fun nights and partnering with high school booster clubs in order to promote the Bob Evans restaurant in Pickerington, OH. In addition to planning these events, Jordan has also had the chance to write press releases and create PR plans for her account. This is Jordan’s second year as a member of ImPRessions; and she said that “ImPRessions has taught me absolutely everything I know about public relations.”

Jordan is from Jackson Township, which is near the Akron, OH area. Some of her hobbies include: traveling, attending concerts, and spending time with friends.

Jordan sees an ambitious and adventurous future for herself. She said, “I foresee myself working in Chicago, Boston, or any large Mid-West/East Coast city and traveling…A LOT!”

Rebranding campaign asks students “What’s your Backdrop?”

By Hollie Amato                                                                                                                                                                         Account executive, Backdrop Magazine

The Backdrop team hopes the new logo will help widen the demographics of the magazine's reach.

The seasons are changing, and so is Backdrop. Whether it’s because of the new school year, or the new freshmen voices working with the magazine, Backdrop has rebranded the company with hope of further recognition.

The ladies of the Backdrop ImPRessions team recently sent out surveys to students of all ages throughout Ohio University’s campus. The survey asked basic questions: Have you heard of Backdrop Magazine? If yes, how have you heard of it? If no, what can we do to improve advertising? After collecting the information from 300 surveys, we found that our advertising needs improvement to spread to the whole student body. We also found that upperclassmen and students in the Scripps School of Journalism held the most knowledge of the magazine. Many underclassmen were not aware of the magazine, but did show interest in knowing more. That was one of our main goals, to create awareness and make students’ interest peak.

Another tip that Backdrop received from the surveys was to increase our advertisement. Backdrop magazine held a release party at the Union on Oct. 23, titled “Death By Music”. With performances by four different bands, all having different genres, the event pulled in many different groups of people.  The event was extremely successful and helped Backdrop get one step closer to where they want to be. The ImPRessions team is also working on new ways of advertising. Trying to get “in the students faces” without annoyance can be hard. Not only will Backdrop be hanging up and passing out fliers, but we’re going for something a little more extreme. Body stamps have been discussed during campus wide events. This way, the logo “b” from backdrop will be stamped on various students hands creating awareness of the magazine. Pens with the Backdrop label on them were also discussed.

Not only did Backdrop just release the Fall Issue of the magazine on Oct. 22, but they created a whole new look. Backdrops rebranding consisted of a completely new logo. The edgy and bold “backdrop” logo that was once ours is now transformed into a simple, classic and bold “b”. It may seem ineffective in words, but seeing the “b” around campus will make a huge statement.

The goal of the rebranding is to widen the demographics in which the magazine reaches. The magazine has been known for having a slightly narrow view. With the new logo the magazine is trying to promote diversity and make Backdrop a magazine for the entire campus. The Backdrop ImPRessions crew is currently working on a Backdrop awareness week. The goal is to advertise hard for Backdrop throughout an entire week. This will include ads in the post, press releases, Baker ads and more. On top of that our team will be hanging posters with the new “b” logo, passing out fliers and other promotional Backdrop items. Our team also plans on going around campus and making more students aware of Backdrop and the current changes. The slogan for the campaign ImPRessions put together is “What’s your backdrop?” and that is just what they plan on asking students.

ImPRessions sees large increase in associate involvement

By Myranda Owca                                                                                                                                                                    Associate, ImPRessions Account

This year ImPRessions is thrilled to have a big increase in members from previous years. Currently, ImPRessions has around 160 members on board, which is a jump from having about 100 last year.

Although a gain in numbers was expected when more clients were added on, the firm isn’t stopping there. ImPRessions is up four accounts since the end of last year to make the new total of thirteen, and the firm is still looking to expand.

When wondering who receives praise for all this success, CEO Devin Hughes does not hesitate to share the glory. “I credit an exciting new batch of clients combined with our extremely supportive returning clients, but also know we wouldn’t be where we are today without the incredible leadership of our account executives and supervisors.”

Even new members know that this gain in membership is a huge step in the right direction for ImPRessions. Junior Justin Lackey, a political science major, thinks ImPRessions is highly beneficial even for those not going into a public relations field.

“ImPRessions is great because people can experience PR even if it’s not your major. You gain a lot from being a member. You get exposure to different backgrounds and a lot of diversity while learning PR at the same time,” said Lackey.  

Lackey’s thoughts are reflected throughout the firm’s associates. Most students want to get involved and may have heard about ImPRessions through the Involvement Fair. Soon after joining though, ImPRessions shows that the organization is much more than just a way to be involved on campus.

“That’s what this organization is all about. I am honored to be supported by a team of executives that I know I can trust to position us as a top-notch student public relations firm,” said Hughes.