5 Apps New Pros Need to Sucessfully Navigate Adulting

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I’ve been somewhat successfully “adulting” for about ten months now and, I’ll admit, navigating the professional life is in no way a simple transition. No matter your approach, there’s no streamlined way to navigate this journey. It’s only through trial and error I am able to find the right recipe for success.  Since I’m a new PR pro and the textbook definition of a millennial, I’ve survived with the help of a few must-have apps that have helped me appear a bit more professional and significantly less stressed:

Grammarly

I’ll start with something relevant to every PR professional out there: good grammar and quality writing. Grammarly is the app that has saved me when I haven’t been able to save myself. Grammarly proofreads your written work, so anything from a press release to a late night email, and even a Facebook post gets scanned for spelling and grammatical errors. Even better, Grammarly works as a Google Application so it integrates into almost every website platform you’re utilizing. If you’re signing up for the first time, use this link to get one week of premium free and invite your friends!

theSkimm

Let’s be real, small talk that doesn’t go anywhere is meaningless. I believe in making conversations count and, more importantly, having educated things to say. Since we often don’t have the time to read all the news before your morning coffee, theSkimm hits you up with daily emails that provide the need-to-know details on big things happening in the world. Whether it’s domestic or international issues, political happenings or just some major pop culture, theSkimm ensures that you’re in-the-know with the facts to impress. So instead of mentioning the weather, enlighten your boss with an update on that environmental policy legislation that just passed in the House? Sign up for it here.

Unroll.Me

Remember all those subscriptions you subscribed to during college for the “free stuff”? Mmhmm… Now you’re out of that lifestyle, and you still get swamped with countless coupons that get in the way of those real emails from your job. Do yourself a favor and sign-up for Unroll.Me. This app goes through your email and identifies all your subscriptions which you can then either unsubscribe in one click (yeah, you heard me!) or roll them up all into one email. So long are the days of sifting through 30 emails from Macy’s or daily political fundraising emails. Save your GBs for something more important. Enroll in Unroll.Me here!

Shine Text  

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a daily pick-me-up? Every morning someone just reminding you that you’re awesome and capable of handling whatever comes your way? Shine Text is literally a high-five in your pocket.  Daily messages of affirmation that go directly to your phone each morning. Why? Because self-care is important, and so is doing your best. A little encouragement never hurt anyone. Get your daily dose of happiness here.

Mint

Money management, ya’ll. Now that you’ve transitioned from that pesky part-time paycheck, it’s time to see how far your dollar can really go. I use Mint not only to track my income but also to identify where I’m spending my money. For example, Mint lets me know what percentage of my income I should be spending on groceries, entertainment etc. versus how much I actually am. Also, it helps me save toward financial goals. I know how much to put away and how my current spending habits affect how fast I can save that cash. Smart spending makes for smart saving. You won’t be a New Pro forever, so learn smart saving practices early so you’re not playing catch-up in the long game.

BONUS: Gmail Notifier

So for those of you rocking #TeamGoogle for work email (sorry Outlook users) Gmail Notifier is a quick little add-on providing you with instant notifications whenever you receive a message from your Gmail account. Regardless of what screen you’re on or, if your Gmail window isn’t open, you’ll always know when a new message enters your inbox. It also works on multiple Gmail accounts so it can be synced to your work or personal accounts. Install it here.

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Herasanna Richards is a member of the Central Michigan PRSA Chapter located in Lansing, MI. Currently, Herasanna is the Communications Specialist at Grassroots Midwest, a bipartisan political advocacy firm. She holds both her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Political Science from Michigan State University. In her free time, she enjoys getting out and involved in her #LoveLansing community and binge watching the latests Netflix Originals. Catch up with her on
Twitter and LinkedIn!

PRSSA: How to Kick-Start a Relationship with Your PRSA Sponsor Chapter

Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on the PRSSA Progressions blog. Whether you’re a college student or a New Pro, it’s important to build strong chapter relationships between PRSA and PRSSA.

The dynamic nature of the public relations profession, coupled with the current market saturation of recent and soon-to-be graduates, requires that students go above and beyond to create meaningful connections and make themselves stand out. One of the most valuable benefits of PRSSA membership is the opportunity to befriend and learn from local PRSA professionals.

The relationship between PRSSA and PRSA Chapters is an important one. PRSA sponsor Chapters provide mentorship, programming and fundraising assistance, training and industry insights, and students preparing for their careers need talented and engaged professionals to emulate. However, the day-to-day rigors of life, school and work can make managing these relationships especially challenging. As a PRSSA Chapter member or leader, here are some things you can do to kick-start your Chapter’s relationship with PRSA:

Help them help you. PRSA members are working professionals and contribute to PRSSA during their limited free time. They’re happy and eager to help, but it’s up to you to reach out and establish the foundation of a relationship. Don’t be afraid of the follow-up and always come prepared to talk about what help your Chapter could benefit from. Many times, PRSA professionals won’t know how to help you create a better member experience until you tell them.

Establish a constant. Because of the high turnover rate in PRSSA leadership, it’s difficult for Chapters to maintain meaningful relationships with PRSA annually. If you really want to leave a mark on your Chapter, create or utilize assets that can stand the test of time. Here are a few examples:

  • Create a tradition that requires your PRSSA Chapter and PRSA sponsor Chapter to interact at least once each year. You can create an event that brings professionals and students together, and allows the professionals to share and mentor. You can draw attention to your Chapter and create networking opportunities by inviting professionals to an entertaining event on-campus: Think (fun)draising, food and professional development.
  • Build a constant into your bylaws. If you take your Chapter’s relationship with its PRSA sponsor Chapter seriously, you will make it part of one of your officers’ duties or create a committee. Someone who is not the Chapter president needs to be responsible for making sure members have access to PRSA members — it’s that essential.
  • Use your Faculty or Professional Adviser to facilitate introductions. These people are tasked with counseling Chapter leadership and guiding members. Your Faculty and Professional Advisers are required to be PRSA members, so they should have ready access to your sponsor Chapter.

Be resourceful. PRSSA National has a wealth of resources available to you, as both a member and a leader. If you’re a Chapter leader and struggling to contact PRSA, you can reach out to: the vice president of professional development, the National Faculty Adviser or any other person on the PRSSA National Committee. Furthermore, consider reading the PRSSA/PRSA Relationship Manual or contacting someone in your area through theChampions for PRSSA directory — an exclusive PRSSA member benefit.

PRSSA members are the future leaders of the communications industry, and will one day be the CCOs and CMOs of the world’s most influential companies. It’s imperative professionals do a better job engaging, and students do a better job asking for that engagement.

gary-bridgensGary Bridgens is a project assistant in APCO Worldwide’s New York office and the former PRSSA National vice president of Chapter development. You can contact him via email at garybridgens@gmail.com and add him on LinkedIn.

New Pros Chapter Spotlight: California Capital Chapter

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#MemberMonday has been on a brief hiatus, but we’re back this week with a brand new Chapter of the Month! This month we’re featuring PRSA California Capital’s growing & vibrant New Pros group, led by Erica Brown, Jordyn True Anderson, Jessica Sweeten & Gina Burdi.

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The Edge: Tell us about PRSA California Capital’s New Pros group:

Erica Brown: PRSA California Capital Chapter New Professionals started in 2014 under the leadership of PRSSA Sacramento State recent grads, Erica Brown and Jordyn True Anderson. Since our inception, we’ve hosted several different events such as mixers, trivia nights and more recently a Career Day where we partnered with PRSSA Sacramento State to tour local agencies, companies and media outlets. Our section is lead by committee of four people right now.

TE: How many members do you have?

EB: 14 and growing!

TE: What kind of programming have you put together for New Pros?

EB: Mixers, trivia night, panels discussing emerging trends and hot industry topics, streamed webinars and the inaugural Career Day, which is an agency tour for local students to discover and get an inside glimpse of local agencies.

TE: How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?

EB: Our section has helped to bridge the gap between PRSSA students who are newly entering the workforce and helping them transition over to the PRSA Chapter. We help our Chapter with a lot of new member recruitment and outreach. We also look to provide fun, energetic and engaging programming for members and a way to intermingle new and seasoned professionals.

TE: What resources do you provide for New Pros?

EB: Connections to local professionals, job postings, networking/learning opportunities, mentorship

TE: What do some of your members see as the benefit of being a part of the bigger New Pros group?

EB: Networking with local professionals, building and expanding their professional network with other local new professional cohorts

TE: How do you engage and recruit New Pros?

EB: We work closely with the local PRSSA Sacramento State chapter to build relationships with these aspiring PR professionals while they are still students. We offer them mentorship opportunities and include and invite them to all of our programming events.

TE: What advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?

“Join right after graduation! There’s no better opportunity to network and continue learning than PRSA.” – Erica Brown

“Join either right before you graduate or as soon as you move to a city with a local chapter to get your foot in the door. You make so many connections right off the bat and those connections are strengthened by attending events, being actively engaged and getting involved with the board or a committee. If I didn’t get involved in PRSA when I first moved to Sacramento, I would probably be stuck working an entry-level job doing something that has nothing to do with PR. Our industry thrives on networking and PRSA is the easiest, most efficient way to become a part of the Sacramento PR Network.” – Jessica Sweeten

“Get involved, volunteer at events, or join a committee and make connections. There is so much opportunity to gain valuable skills that you can put on your resume or talk about in a job interview that are all gained by being an active member of PRSA.” – Gina Burdi

TE: What is the best way for New Pros to get involved in the PR community?

“Attend events and meet someone new every time!” – Erica Brown

“Go to events! There’s mixers that are socially based and there’s workshops that are educationally based so whether you are shy and nervous or outgoing and vivacious, there’s an event for you to get your feet wet!” – Jessica Sweeten

“Show up and follow up. If you meet someone at a PRSA event, follow up with them and foster and grow that relationship. Personal connections can really help to pave the way to success.” – Gina Burdi  

For more information on PRSA California Capital’s New Pros Group, check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. If you have specific questions about joining PRSA California Capital’s New Pros Group, tweet at Erica, Jessica, Jordyn and Gina.

Mastering the Art of Networking

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Networking- it’s a very intimidating word, especially for those who cringe at the idea of meeting complete strangers at a happy hour or local event.  Though it may come off as intimidating, the truth is that mastering the art of networking is a crucial step to land your first job.  The expression “it’s who you know” isn’t a myth and it certainly isn’t an expression that should be underestimated.  As someone who began their first post-graduation job in August, I can vouch for the importance of networking.  I can also provide some tips on how networking and landing your first job go hand-in-hand.

1. Utilize Your Resources

When looking for a first job, it can be tempting to start the search with platforms like LinkedIn, and while you may find some great positions listed, it’s not where I would begin. Very often when looking for your first job, it’s the people already in your circle that’ll help find the position you want, and ultimately, get you that position.  Whether it’s a professor, classmate, or family friend, chances are that you have a connection in the field that you are applying.  Once you establish that connection, don’t be afraid to reach out.  It may be an unspoken truth, but people in the communications field (and in general) like to talk about themselves and their professional experiences.  If you reach out with a positive attitude and genuine curiosity about the work they do, you’re golden.

2. Put Yourself Out There

Grounding yourself in the professional world requires you to get out there- literally. If you have colleagues or friends going to a networking happy hour or sporting event, make sure to get that plus-one invite.  Being open to meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone is the first step in securing that first job.  Even more important, it gives you the opportunity to be asked the first impression question: Who are you?  This is where your perfected 30 second elevator pitch comes in handy.  No matter who is asking, consider them a possible professional connection and sell yourself.  Make sure your presentation doesn’t sound staged or rehearsed, as people respond better to conversation that sounds genuine and honest.

While these two pieces of advice aren’t the only ones to consider when looking for your first job, they encompass the big ideas.  Everyone has been in your shoes before: colleagues, your boss- and everyone gets how difficult it is to assimilate into the real world.  The most important thing to remember is that the people around you are the ones that matter.  They are in your circle and consider themselves a connection for a reason- use that.  Taking advantage of networking opportunities will pay off in getting you that first job and it will pay off in the career path you choose.  Understanding how to talk to people, especially those who you want something from, is an invaluable skill.  So next time you are stepping into a networking event, try to let go on the intimidation and nervousness, and remember that it’s just one piece in the puzzle to help you get your first job.

evan-martinezEvan Martinez is a Communications Associate at American Iron and Steel Institute, a DC- based trade association representing the North American steel industry on Capitol Hill.