PRWeek “Opposing Forces: PR Aims to keep upward momentum in a down economy”

November 24, 2009 at 12:06 am (PRCA 3339)

Recently I read an article entitled “Opposing Forces: PR aims to keep upward momentum in a down economy” by Tanya Lews in the PRWeek Career Guide 2009.

After reading this article,  I am feeling a little bit better about the possibility of finding a job in May, when I graduate. The author of this article believes that maybe, the recession in the economy is really just a way to startover, kind of like a reset button for the economy. A lot of agencies and firms have decided that the recession has led to a biggger talent pool to pull employees from. Because companies are having less positions to fill and interview for, they have the ability to be extremely picky and look for the talent that used to be “mandatory” in finding any job. The larger talent pool adds more competition and challenges for entry-level candidates, but it also re

This article also pinpoints on the fact that clients, who are looking for somebody to work with them, are looking for social media specialists. New graduates are looking like they are the best candidates for those positions because so many of the newest graduates grew up with MySpace, Facebook, etc. and are familiar and confident in using social media services.

Several public relations firms, like, Makovsky & Company, have avoided letting employees go because they believe getting rid of current employees makes it harder to come back from the recession in the economy. Instead of reducing staff, companies like, Edelman have cut back on paid interns, only using unpaid interns achieving school credit. They report that this may reduce efficiency and quality of work initially, but their junior staff’s management skills get more practice and development because they are overseeig the unpaid interns.

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“From Bonfire to Bona Fide Events”

November 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm (PRCA 3339)

“From Bonfire to Bona Fide Events” was an event planning professional development session I attended on the second day of the PRSSA National Conference in San Diego.

Mark R. Lorimer, CMP, Owner, Eventive Group

David Anderson, Principle Owner, Eventive Group

Mark and David were the speakers at this particular professional development session.

“Be all you can be but don’t be everything.”

Some of the most important KEY PLAYERS in event planning are as follows:

  • Special Event Company
  • DMC-Destination Management Company
  • Independent Power
  • Supplier with Benefits (i.e. caterer might recommend a DJ)
  • Wedding Planners (if appropriate)
  • Incentive Companies

Order in which to consider when planning an event

1. Profile the Event

  • Guests (age, number, demographic, etc.)
  • History of the Event
  • Cost of the Event
  • Quick List of Event Elements

2. Budget

  • You won’t be able to begin ANY of the actual planning and layout of the event unless you first know the budget, how much money your client has to spend on this particular event.

3. Theme & Design

  • Profile the guest
  • Main decision maker’s “likes”
  • Theme your event to the venue in order to save money and ensure the theme of th event flows with the basic theme of your venue (i.e. Titanic theme in an aquarium)
  • Use a common theme with a twist. Choose an everyday theme and add something new and unique to it.
  • “Picture This”-define your theme clearly. Make sure all “Key Players” that are involved understand exactly what the theme for your event is.

RED ALERT!!!!! (Things to be aware of and keep in mind at all times)

  • Space Conditions-you need to keep in mind the air/heating abilities of your chosen venue; how many guests can your venue hold
  • Quality of Vendorcheck out the quality of the vendors you choose for your event (i.e. caterer, DJ, etc.); make sure they are reliable (check out review from past events)
  • Other Vendors-Make sure you do your research and keep your options open. You don’t always have to use the vendor you have used in past events. Change it up a little bit.


  • Function Firstbe sure to put the function of your event design before all other aspects. Although, you may want your event to look modern and unique function must always come first and foremost.
  • Then…explore hot designs & looks– after figuring out what the necessary function for your event is, then you can play around with unique/fun/exciting looks and designs to incorporate into your event


  1. Venue Standards– the venue at which you decide to hold your event may require that you use their food and beverage services (catering) at your event
  2. Venue Specialties-make sure you find out what your chosen venue specializes in. Every place/company will have certain food and beverage options that they specialize in/do better than their competitors. They will most likely have a chef on hand who has some specialty.
  3. Theme Adjustments- You may have to consider making changes to your original theme after talking with the venue about their food & beverage options in order to maintain a common theme throughout.
  4. Costs- this is one of the most important things to consider when talking about food & beverage. This will most likely be the main use of the budget and taking into consideration quality vs cost is an important decision to make.


  • Primary Spots-keep in my mind what spots are most likely to be seen by a majority of your guests and make this one of your main design spots
  • Lightinglighting can be everything. Using tools like, GOBO’s (lighting stencils/projectors) can be cheaper than using props.

  • Props & scenery
  • Centerpieces– these will go on each of the tables, or some of the tables, etc. You will need to coordinate the centerpieces with the theme of the event. Decide on flowers, fruit, or something more unique.

*Some other things to consider:

  • Costumize the CEO– if this is an event where guests should be dressed to the theme, then make sure your CEO is in costume. If the CEO won’t dress accordingly, then you should not expect all the other guests to do dress up.
  • Engage all scents-have candles, votives, incense, etc. to incorporate the sense of smell into your event.

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Abshire Public Relations & Marketing: “We take the puzzle out of PR”

November 18, 2009 at 12:22 am (PRCA 3339)

Jennifer Abshire came to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)  meeting tonight & spoke about her journey to success, along with tips on how to succeed. Jennifer is a Georgia Southern University graduate.

Jennifer is the founder of Abshire Public Relations & Marketing. Abshire Public Relations & Marketing is based out of Savannah, Georgia.

Jennifer’s first job out of college was working in non-profit with the American Red Cross. She explained that although there really isn’t much money in non-profit public relations and it may not be where you want to end up in the long run, “this is the journey” and it will eventually pay off.

She reiterated the point that you need to make sure you are passionate about whatever you are doing out of school. If you aren’t passionate about just being a waitress, because there are a lack of available jobs, then don’t just be a waitress…volunteer, help a non-profit organization out by writing press releases or create a brochure for free, act as a free-lance writer, but do something that you care about and are that brings the passion out in you.

Jennifer said that although you should look sharp going into an interview but she recommends looking creative along with looking professional. The more creative you look in an interview, the more you would stand out and the interviewer is likely to remember your face and who you are. One thing to remember though is to know who you are interviewing with before you pick out your outfit. If you are interviewing with corporate, you may want to put on your dress pants and your black shoes, but if you are interviewing with a company like Jennifer’s, you might want to show your more creative side and let some personality come out in your outfit.

The younger generation has better handle on technology so this puts them at a better advantage compared to older generations. Also, a lot of companies are looking to hire younger because of how technology-savvy the younger generation is. Now, there are courses in the public relations programs that involve social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, blogging sites) and the younger generation, like myself, grew up with the internet within reach.

One of the big no-nos in an interview is: Do not say you are good with people. This statement does not show any type of credibility with a company. Every person who majored in public relations thinks they are at least good with people at some point and to some degree.

Remember what you bring to the team. When you go into an interview remember the interviewer is looking for what you can do for them and bring to the company.  Put that information in your cover letter and resume. Play on your strengths in both of those so that the company can see where you fit best within them.

BE DIGITAL: You need to have an electronic version of your resume’, portfolio, and samples. Busy employees have no time to look at paper and may only have time to sit down to go through resume’s, portfolios, and samples after hours at their home, so being digital may get your stuff looked at over that person who sent in a hard copy. It is good to have a hard copy to hand in an interview though. Also, their company possibly be a “green” company, so they may believe the fact that you used paper proves you are not in fact a fit within their company.

One of the important things to keep in mind when writing a resume’ or cover letter is brevity. A busy employer doesn’t have time to read through lengthy paperwork and the more brief the better. Be able to be brief in your cover letter could also potentially show your writing skills.

Jennifer shared some very useful information with PRSSA and I recommend checking out her website, find her company on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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“Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online, & in Person”

November 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm (PRCA 3339)

I attended PRSSA National Conference in San Diego, California at the beginning of November. I attended keynote speakers and professional development sessions throughout the 5 days I was at the conference.

The final professional development session I attended  was “Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online, & in Person.” The speakers at this session were Walter Bateman II, who is a retired CEO of the Harleysville Group and Natalie Neczypor, a Marketing Executive at Ernst Young LLP.

Walter Bateman II’s key points in being successful in your Job search

  • Job searching is a job in itself”
  • Get Organized: buy a manila file & title it “Job Search”; this is where you should keep everything in the searching process
  • Look at yourself as others see you, not as you see yourself: ask questions like:

What do you bring to the table as far as talent goes?

What do you represent?

What would represent your ideal long-term career?

What is your vision?

  • Strategy: 1 or 2 sentences with HOW you will achieve your goals with your tactics (see below)
  • Tactics: Ask yourself who are the engaging influential people in my life (mentors) and what is my knowledge of the economy?
  • Keep Notes: Which conversations went well & why others didn’t go very well
  • Keep a calendar: Have only follow-up dates for interviews and applications listed on this calendar
  • Direct your resume’ to the CEO of the company with an engaging cover letter. Remember: If you send your resume’ to the CEO, they may want to personally meet with you in their office and if you don’t have the “balls” so to speak to sell yourself to him/her then don’t send your resume’ straight to that person.
  • Know your value to the company. Most young employees believe they are much more valuable to the company than they actually are. Figure out what your value is & keep it in mind when speaking to your “boss.”
  • Be proper in your approach in your cover letter, resume’ and interview.
  • AVOID: business “Buzzwords”
  • Your resume’ is a selling tool…the product you are selling = yourself
  • In the interview, make sure you show your accomplishments along with your commitments

natalieNatalie Necypor’s key points in being successful in your interview

  • Awareness: Know who you are (strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments)
  • Know where you are going in the next 3 minutes, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years
  • Resume/Portfolio: categorize your experience into 3 categories

1. Experience

2. Impact on experience

3. Results (use numbers, dollars, etc)

  • Be your own personal brand & always sell yourself. You are the only person who can sell yourself, nobody else can do that for you, but other people are able to help you along.
  • Build Repor: Don’t just talk about the weather, the pictures in the interviewer’s office, typical stuff. Talk about something that matters & work on it so that it is always your ice breaker. The weather, etc., doesn’t make you stand out against other interviewees; everyone that walks into that office talks about that.
  • Set an agenda: know what you are going to talk about in what order (give an overview of yourself; ask questions; present portfolio, etc.; conclude)
  • You have to spend money in order to make money How much would you be willing to spend to have your dream job?
  • Research the company & the interviewer: Ask the person who referred you or got you the interview what questions you should ask; don’t be afraid to use your people resources along with the internet; use words that are found in quotes your interviewer has said in your interview
  • Practice: Go to Barnes & Noble and buy the interview CD
  • Behavioral interviewing: Even if your interviewer isn’t using behavioral interviewing (i.e. “Tell me a situation where you have shown leadership?”), answer your questions in behavioral interviewing style. It will shock & wow them along with being able to elaborate your experience (stuff on your resume’).
  • Clear your entire schedule so that you aren’t rushed to leave the office; you never know when you might be sent through to the next step in the interview process (i.e. to talk to another person in the office).
  • Bring Several Resume’s: If you do get sent to several offices to continue the interview process you will want to be prepared to hand over more then one resume’ than just to the original interview.
  • Show personality: For men this means in your tie but stick to a blue or black suit, black or blue socks, and black shoes. For women this means in your shirt or bag, but stick to 3 accessories at the maximum, pants/skirt, stockings if wearing a skirt, avoid short sleeves, and wear closed toe shoes.
  • Take notes to use during the interview: They will ask you what you know about the company and it is okay to use your notes you brought. They don’t expect you to know everything and they understand you’re nervous so use your notes. Have your questions written down in your notes.
  • Questions to ask:

What objections do you have in placing me in this position? (Note: take notes when they answer this question, you will want to know what to work on)

What is the next step in the interview process? (Note: You don’t want to just walk out of the interview only saying “thank you for seeing me today”. Everyone says that. You want to show them you are serious about this interview and you want to know what to expect as far as when you should receive a follow-up.)
  • Ask for contact info & a business card
  • Send a handwritten “thank you” note ASAP. Keep thank you notes in your car and when you get to your car after the interview, take a minute and write it to the interviewer. Take the thank you note to the nearest mailbox and they will receive it within 48 hours usually.
  • Send a “thank you” e-mail: When you get home, send an e-mail showing your gratitude for the interview.
  • Thank the recruiter: If you had to go through a recruiter to get the interview, call them and tell them how great the interview went and tell them everything you learned. Chances are they will call the interviewer or tell them the next time they speak how well you thought it went and that you learned so much.
  • Call the person who got your resume’ to the top of the pile.
  • Call the person who interviewed you and thank them.

  • Be open to relocate: If you are willing to relocate, then you will narrow the competition down. If your career is that important to you, then your boyfriend/girlfriend will be there 5 years down the road when you come back home.
  • Be ready to do it all: be ready to manage in the beginning, not just be in your entry level position.
  • Remember: You are only as good as your last 15 minutes. So make those last 15 minutes count in the interview. This is your time to make a lasting impression.

This session was the one I got the most out of and made the conference completely worth while, even if I had only gotten to go this session. Mr. Bateman & Ms. Neczypor answered all my questions and more that have been sticking in the back of my mind since I have begun thinking about the job search process. I know it will not be easy at all and it will be a hard job looking for a job, but I do believe these tips above have helped me in understanding what companies are looking for and what to do to help show them what they are looking for: ME!

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