Get Involved With New Pros in 2015

If you’re like me, the end of the year is a time to reflect on successes and challenges from the past year, as well as make plans for the upcoming year. New public relations professionals face a lot of challenges: a fast-paced and competitive job market, demanding clients and colleagues, and an evolving industry with an array of new channels and tools.

One of the best things you can do for yourself in 2015 is invest in your career to help stay on top of these challenges. The New Pros Section is designed for this person. My partners on the New Pros leadership committee are dedicated to building programs and opportunities for advancing the careers of our members. If you’re not already a member of the Section, consider joining now and jump starting your professional development.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, here are three to plan for in 2015:

  • Take part in the PRSA New Pros Section: As a national group, you have the opportunity to engage with fellow new professionals across the country who work for agencies, nonprofits, large and small organizations and more. We offer regular virtual programming, a Section members-only e-group, a newsletter, engagement on our social channels including regular Twitter chats, and host a month dedicated to New Pros in November.
  • Get active in your local New Pros group: If you’re looking for more in-person programs and activities, you can check out your local PRSA Chapter. Depending on the sponsoring PRSA Chapter in your area, there might be a local group of young professionals who get together for different programs and networking events. Reach out to your local Chapter’s leadership to see how you can get involved.
  • Mentor a PRSSA student or Chapter: One of the best ways to enrich your career is to begin mentoring and giving back to students. Whether it’s an informational interview, guest speaking at a local PRSSA Chapter or offering to be a sounding board, giving back to the profession of tomorrow is an important part of a public relations pro at any level. You never know if that student will become a client, colleague or even your boss.

How are you planning to advance your career in 2015?

Lucido_NickNick Lucido is the incoming Chair of the New Pros Section. 

Mentor has more than one definition

We all know what a mentor means. But do we know who each of our mentors are? What about mentors who don’t have the professional title of “mentor” – what about “unofficial mentors”?

Let’s start with the first definition: mentors. These are the people you’ve either connected with through a program or have asked to provide guidance. Moreover, professional mentors.

Then, there’s unofficial mentors. These are the people who you to not only go to for career advice, but also for everyday life lessons.

Fill in the blank: I surround myself with ________ …like minded people, positive people, good-hearted people, etc. Whatever that blank is, that’s where you’ll find your unofficial mentors. Unofficial mentors are those you look up to but don’t always associate an official title with: your mom or dad, sibling, best friend, co-worker on another team, someone you met while volunteering, etc.

While mentors are usually the professional relationships you go to for career advice, unofficial mentors are the ones you go to for everything, sometimes subconsciously.

My unofficial mentors? My mom and dad who I always go to for not only family guidance, but also financial advice (I am two years out of college and still call them about insurance policies). My best friend and boyfriend who is in medical school, the most positive person I know and never lets stress overcome him (even though his field requires sick patients, surgeries and what seems like never-ending standardized tests). Also, one of my best friends and cousins who despite a few struggles has immediately and confidently started creating a new path that includes finishing school and building a family.

It’s good to find those mentors who share professional advice (when to make those career moves, how to gain leadership skills, etc.). But it’s also good to discover and not forget about your unofficial mentors. Both types of mentors can help guide you throughout life tremendously.

Who are your mentors and unofficial mentors?

NicoleBersaniNicole Bersani is the social media coordinator for Comcast SportsNet Chicago. She also serves as the PRSA New Professionals Section mentorship co-chair and volunteers at Midtown Educational Foundation as a tutor/mentor for young girls in Chicago. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn

Three PR skills they don’t teach you in college (and three skills they do!)

College-Classroom-stockbyte-592px-304Whether you consider college the glory days or workhorse days, one thing is certain: You sure learned a lot.

But, once college is over, new pros quickly discover that the learning has only just begun. Real world success requires a mix of on-the-job lessons and your years of college training.

If you’re in the early stages of your PR career – or you’re a seasoned pro looking to enhance your experience – here are three skills they didn’t teach you in college that you should add to your toolkit.

  1. Be proactive. For most students, college is all about procrastinating. But, once you enter the real world, procrastination could become your worst enemy. Instead of waiting until the last minute, set personal project deadlines a few days ahead of your actual deadline so you can review and deliver your assignment early. Proactivity also extends beyond deadlines. You should constantly be looking for new growth opportunities within your workplace, asking for assignments that challenge you and build your career. Getting ahead of deadlines and demonstrating your desire to learn all things PR will help you stand out to company leadership – and who doesn’t want that? 
  2. Be flexible.  While in college, students usually know all assignment deadlines and tests dates from day one. The syllabus rarely changes, and when it does, the change is followed by complaints and chaos. But it’s different on the job. You must be flexible and open to last-minute changes and adjustments. This may mean you have to stay late to finish a project one day, or you must work through lunch to finish a last-minute presentation. Don’t get huffy about it. Adapt with a smile and get the job done. Your supervisor will notice and remember it. 
  3. Be engaging. This tip is two-fold. First, try as they might, it’s tough for professors to teach students how to be engaging on social media. You have to be natural when you engage with followers on behalf of a client, and it takes time and real world practice to build the right tone and develop your brand’s voice. Second, you need to develop interpersonal relationship skills early on. Whether it’s client relationships or interacting with superiors, the more comfortable and confident you are engaging, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

With so much to learn, the first several years on the job can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you did learn quite a few important skills in college that will come in handy down the road. You must remember and leverage these skills from day one. Some of these include:

  1. Research, including the SWOT analysis and communication research,
  2. AP Style, a requirement for pitching and writing in the PR world, and
  3. Public speaking in front of your peers and professors.

As you enter and thrive in the real world, don’t be intimidated by the amount you have to learn. Embrace it. You’re being paid to learn from some of the brightest leaders around – your co-workers!

What did you learn in your first year on the job? Share your thoughts below!

Stephanie Vermillion headshotStephanie Vermillion is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati. She is on the PRSA Cincinnati Leadership Team and is part of the PRSA Cincinnati New Pros Committee. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter (@SMVermillion).

Book Review: Thrive

This post is part of The Edge monthly series of book reviews on books relevant to new PR professionals.

downloadFor those who have been considering Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive, it’s worth reading.  Huffington’s book focuses on our society’s ever pressing demands and offers advice on how to handle, these challenges.  The book begins by describing a life changing moment for Huffington personally, providing the reader with the background and inspiration for her book and then continues with four pillars or sections, of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.

In Thrive Huffington’s main argument is that instead of constantly striving for money and power, success should be measured in other ways, in this the pillars of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.  Some of the advice offered by Huffington may seem self-evident, but it never hurts to be reminded.  The following points on technology and information I think most young professionals can relate to, and I know I did.

Huffington focuses on meditation and mindfulness, ways in which to live more in the moment and to combat stressors in our lives.  One thing she indicates that constantly vies for out attention is technology, she mentions “technology has been very good at giving us what we want, but not always what we need.” Huffington also acknowledges that the workforce emphasizes get more done and faster, but that at some point we can’t function if we don’t make time for ourselves.  I know personally I can’t constantly have my A-game if I don’t give myself some downtime.

More words of wisdom in the book discuss how we constantly desire to have information and how we consume our information via social media.  “The quest for knowledge may be pursued at higher speeds with smarter tools today, but wisdom is found no more readily than it was three thousand years ago … In fact, ours is a generation bloated with information and starved for wisdom.” She later goes on to say, “I believe our job in the media is to use the social tools at our disposal to tell the stories that matter-as well as the stories that entertain- and to keep reminding ourselves the tools are not the story.” Being constantly bombarded with information is not really always the best for us, but in our fast paced world it sometimes feels like we need to keep up.  Sometimes I think it’s good to remember we need limits in our lives we don’t have to stay on top of everything, and there is nothing wrong with that, the only hard part is knowing when to establish your own limits.

All in all, Huffington’s advice is great not only for people who already have 9 to 5 jobs but also people starting out in the working world.  Guiding us new professionals towards discovering a career that we enjoy and in the process remembering as we advance in our careers to still take the time to enjoy the things in our lives, making sure we live life and not let it pass us by.  Coming to understand that success should not have to be living to the point of exhaustion and creating hazardous lifestyle is important, and something I know I connected with.  What we prioritize and what we value really can and does make a difference.

P1070457 croppedStephanie Raso is a graduate of Linfield College and earned her BA in Communication Arts. She is a new pro-member and volunteer with PRSA’s Portland Metro Chapter. Connect with her on Linkedin or on Twitter @StephanieRaso1

New Professionals Week is Just Around the Corner!

New Professionals WeekThere’s still time to join in on the New Professional Week festivities. On behalf of the PRSA New Professionals Executive Committee, we’d like to invite you to be a part of our New Professionals Week, November 10-14, 2014.


What’s On Tap

#NPPRSA Twitter Chat: Navigating the Future of PR & Marketing
Thursday, November 6, 9-10 p.m. ET

Read more about the event & RSVP here

PRSA Webinar: How Polarizing Scotch Brand, Laphroaig, Built a Social-Centric Global Campaign
Tuesday, November 11, 2:30-4 p.m. ET

Matt Day, social and content strategist for Beam Products, will discuss tips for how to build a global social campaign. Click here to register for the webinar.

Host a Local Chapter Event for New Pros Host a New Pros Happy Hour: 
There’s still time for you and your Chapter to submit an event for New Professionals Week. Some ideas include…

  • Host a New Pros Happy Hour: Invite new pros in your area to a set location for networking, socializing and learning about the resources available and member benefits from PRSA. Allow members to receive a discount on drink tickets (optional). 
  • Host an Educational Panel:  Using a panel of local experts, allow new pros to gain insights into the burgeoning PR industry in your city or help them in launching their early careers. Offer catered breakfast/lunch/drinks (optional) as part of networking before/after the panel.
  • Host a Career Connection:  Connect employers looking for talent in your area with new professionals eager for experience in PR. Hosting a mini-job fair for Chapter members adds great benefit to their membership, enables networking and helps develop new pros to be future leaders within the organization.
  • Host a private showing of a New Pros webinar. During New Pros Week, we feature a national webinar on a topic of interest for new pros. We anticipate the webinar will be held in the afternoon on Monday, Nov. 11. To host a private showing – invite local new pros to an office, bring a bag lunch and have a discussion after the presentation. The playback will also be available through PRSA’s on-demand service, and our guest speaker can be reached throughout the week for questions via Twitter. 


If you have any questions please feel free to contact New Professional Programming chairs Hilary or Janelle.