#AskNewPros: Social Media Certifications


This is part of our recurring #AskNewPros series. Do you have a burning question for PRSA New Pros? Ask us!


Are there any certifications you wish you had or programs you wish you were familiar with walking into the job market?

These days, it’s incredibly common for young professionals to include “social media” in the Skills section of their resume. But isn’t there a difference between knowing how to share a photo on Instagram and being a true social media practitioner? Absolutely!

To stand out from the crowd, and help hiring managers understand that you really do have the ability to strategically use social media to reach audiences and convey key messages, consider receiving a certification – perhaps from the Hootsuite Academy or National Institute of Social Media.

tnqz_lgmJim Mignano is a Senior Account Executive at Text100 Global Communications specializing in technology and healthcare. He currently serves as the President of PRSA Rochester, and you can always find him on Twitter at @J_Mignano.

#AskNewPros: Tips on Finding Your Niche


This is part of our recurring #AskNewPros series. Do you have a burning question for PRSA New Pros? Ask us!


What tips do you have to help PR students find the right fit/sector for them in the industry?

The best way to figure this out is to first think about what motivates you. What’s going to make “work” exciting for you? It could be anything! Is it the brand, the organization, working with social media, or working with traditional media? All of these things play a factor in figuring out the right fit for you.

Honestly, it’s hard to figure out until you’re in it. That’s where the value of interning comes in. I know PRSSA drills this into your head, but it’s true! Interning allows you to try out different roles and sectors so you can figure out your likes and dislikes. Beyond just what sector and roles are good for you, you can also learn what kind of workplace environment you want to work in. Maybe you thrive off the intensity of a start up or benefit from larger teams? You’ll never know unless you try! Plus, you may find out that work climate and team dynamics contribute more to your overall happiness and fit even more than what industry you’re working in.

Your time in college is a great time to explore all of this! Take on as many roles and various sectors as you can while you have the time to explore. It’ll help make your eventual job feel a lot less like a “job” after all.


Jenna Mosley is a PRSSA liaison on the PR New Pros executive committee. She works for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as the International Communications Associate in Washington, D.C.

What Every New Pro Should Know: As Shared by Edelman Immersion Program Employees and Graduates

Editor/Guest post note: The Edelman Immersion Program is a highly competitive program where participants spend 18 months rotating across different Edelman departments to learn the business and determine long-term career goals. 

Are you a new PR pro looking to succeed in this fast-paced and ever-changing environment? Graduates and current participants of the Edelman Immersion Program have gathered their wisdom to share with PRSA New Pros. Take a look at what members from all three of the company’s Immersion classes had to share from their unique experiences.   


Herschel Kissinger, Class of 2015 – Currently in Program

A piece of advice that I often need to remind myself of: nobody is a mind reader. Colleagues and mentors are willing to help you achieve your goals—if they know what those goals actually are. Don’t be afraid to start those conversations yourself.

From working across five different practices at Edelman, I’ve learned that we have an expert or specialist for nearly everything. If you’re starting a new project in an unfamiliar space, the good first question to ask is “Have any of my colleagues done this before?” Often a 15-minute conversation with a subject matter expert gets you a lot more information than an hour of Googling

Molly Shaheen, Class of 2015 – Currently in Program

Allow yourself to think of your role as you thought of college. In a communications agency, your clients and projects are your curriculum and each is an opportunity to gain knowledge on new things.

During your career, you’re going to have those core accounts that you always work on, much like the core classes for your degree. If you navigate things right, you’ll have room to take a couple electives down the line. Keep your eyes open and raise your hand for projects that pique your interest and are outside of your day-to-day role.

Don’t forget what your professors preached – participation! Speak up in meetings, bring interesting research or insights to the table and ask your teammates thoughtful questions along the way. It will help make you stand out.

Lissa Pavluk, Class of 2013

Don’t underestimate the value of a mentor. Find someone a few levels above you who is willing to help you navigate complex situations, give sage advice based on their own experiences and help you understand how to best grow your career. Your HR department should be able to help you facilitate this if you have trouble identifying someone on your own. The best part? You may end up with not only a mentor, but a good friend!

Jenna Wollemann, Class of 2011

One of the most important things I learned my first year working was the importance of managing up (or simply put, making the lives of your managers easier). Entry level employees are expected to be one step ahead, paying close attention to project timelines and various tasks for the team. When I joined Edelman, I quickly learned that you sometimes have to over-communicate with managers and team leaders so they know what the status of your projects are and when they can expect various deliverables. Over-communicating and managing up can be tough at first, but managers have no way of knowing what’s going on unless you tell them.

Additionally, be resourceful and don’t be afraid to ask questions! These traits go a long way. It’s always better to raise your hand to your manager before diving into a task if you’re unsure about something. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your peers. Other colleagues at your level can be fantastic resources if you have questions or ideas, considering it’s likely they have encountered similar experiences or issues.

Interested in applying for Edelman’s Immersion Program? More information can be found here.

Building Trust in Public Relations

Ethics… it’s just a matter of right and wrong, correct? Yes, but there are layers to being an ethical professional. Remember when PR was deemed the profession of spin? We’ve come a long way since then and in today’s media landscape, where everything is picked apart and scrutinized, we must remain trustworthy.

media-gatekeeperWhen covering ethics in public relations, there is a lot of mention of keeping the line of communication between the public and company, client and/or brand transparent, as well as legal. It’s a no brainer that public opinion is important but we must remember the gatekeeper, the middle man, better known as the media. Building trust between practitioner and the media is just as important because essentially, they are telling the public your story. One of PRSA’s core codes of conduct is the free flow of accurate and truthful information. That means building honest relationships with journalists, even if they become a close friend along the way. As ethical PR practitioners, we must play fair and keep an even working relationship between all members of the media. Yes, we should tailor each message depending on the interest of the publication and beat, but that doesn’t mean sending over confidential, inside information to a journalist just because you two are friends.

Being ethical doesn’t just mean avoiding bad situations. It is proactively doing what’s right, giving clear, correct, and complete information to the media while building meaningful relationships. Here are three essential rules to build trust between the media and the public:

  1. Do what you say you are going to do

As a PR professional, it is our primary job to communicate and disseminate information to the public. We are a resource and must be complete, accurate and timely at all times. Don’t be that PR person to hit up a journalist months before or after a issue is being printed with “new news” on the topic. They don’t care, you’ve missed your chance, and you’ve broken a tad bit of trust by wasting their time. We must remember that day to day, we work with a variety of people, companies, and industries that may not work in the same manner. Keep a trustworthy relationship with all stakeholders by meeting deadlines, responding to emails and phone calls, and fulfilling the duty of being a resource.

2. Focus on the relationship not the transaction

Trust comes with respect. If your primary connection with a person is based on press coverage, it is less likely they will come to you when they need a quote from an industry leader. How would you feel if a journalist clearly makes it known they primarily work with you because your company offers cool freebies or perks, you’d feel a little used. Don’t continuously send press releases and pitches without any other dialogue. Set time aside to really get to know the journalist and what they like, beyond their beat. Sometimes, working relationships are forced but to build solid relationships with the media remain open, transparent, and friendly.  

3. Remember the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule simply states, “Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.” How would you feel if you were on deadline and someone didn’t give you critical information needed? What would you think if you gave a journalist cool information on a new campaign, and they left out the hook that made the story interesting? Ethical public relations can be much simpler if we keep the Golden Rule in the back of our minds. Treat your client, the media, and the public with respect by practicing public relations with the highest ethical principles.


i-zthGPGn-XL-230x300Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-LA, is a fan of all things food and beverage, pop culture, and media. Combining all three passions, Jasmine builds community through engaging online marketing and dynamic events as an integrated communications professional in Los Angeles, CA. Keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram at @LoveJasPR or visit LoveJasPR.com.