Twitter Chat Recap: Let’s Talk About PRSA and You

PRSA Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat Recap: Let’s Talk About PRSA and You
By: Emma Finkbeiner, PRSSA Immediate Past President

Last week, PRSA New Professionals co-hosted a lively Twitter chat with PRSSA, engaging both new professionals and PRSSA members in a conversation about the transition from student to professional. Check out some of the highlights from the chat below.

@PRSSANational: Let’s kick off the chat with a question for everyone. How did you discover public relations?
https://twitter.com/PRSSANational/status/996556588503609345

@OFlynn_Emily: A1: My mom is a marketing manager in the healthcare industry. When I was in high school, she told me that she thought I’d thrive in the public relations field. Now I’m entering my senior year of college in a major I’m so passionate about! #HappyMothersDay #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/OFlynn_Emily/status/996557556595281921

@nicole_graney: A1 #PRSSA: I discovered PR with the help of a lovely mentor, @cmwooll, who took me under her wing as a high school student and showed me how I can use my writing to tell stories. She’s been helping me tell them ever since!
https://twitter.com/nicole_graney/status/996557803870441472

@robyn_rl: A1: Accidentally! My first job was at a bar/restaurant in my hometown & they decided they needed some marketing things designed & some outreach done to local organizations & media. So I volunteered & loved it #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/robyn_rl/status/996557337065377792

@PRSANewPros: New Pros: What are some of the benefits of becoming a PRSA Associate Member and joining the PRSA New Professionals Section?
https://twitter.com/PRSANewPros/status/996558349746483202

@GregRokisky: It’s such an affordable rate, it’s perfect to test the waters in the #PRSA universe…and you’ll find there’s no turning back because you’ll meet just the most wonderful colleagues, friends, mentors and people who just get you // #PRSSA #NPPRSA
https://twitter.com/GregRokisky/status/996559086861934592

@Gemrick: My favorite benefits of joining @PRSA is access to an extensive job board, and the MyPRSA and New Pros community forums that connect you to everyone in PRSA. You can ask questions, seek advice, and get help from peers and experts! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/Gemrick/status/996559444908572672

@citygirlhanna: The greatest advantage, to me, is being able to bounce ideas off my peers. While having mentors is important, it can be very helpful early in your career to chat with those at your same level about their experiences, as all companies and industries are so different. #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/citygirlhanna/status/996559697112129537

@PRSSANational: Students: What are some of the challenges you’re facing or concerns you have as you prepare for the transition from student to professional?
https://twitter.com/PRSSANational/status/996560118438400001

@bridgetmurtha_: A3: Personally, I have learned so much in all my classes as a student but I am nervous about applying what I have learned about the field when becoming a professional. Overall, practice makes perfect & in order to grow within PR, I will have to try! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/bridgetmurtha_/status/996560664926842880

@adcook22: A3: How to continue setting achievable goals at the start of your career! “Get a job”, “graduate” or “work in x area” of PR were almost automatic as undergrads, but starting your career is a path that’s much more personalized  #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/adcook22/status/996561139625615360

@Marissa_218: As I enter my senior year of undergrad, I am confident in my PR abilities but the job search/find process is very intimidating! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/Marissa_218/status/996560671277043712

@PRSANewPros: New Pros: How did PRSA and the New Professionals Section help you smoothly transition from student to professional?
https://twitter.com/PRSANewPros/status/996561872718528514

@KayAnnePR: NP Answer: One of the greatest benefits of joining @PRSA for me is that I was able to continue the relationships I made in #PRSSA.
https://twitter.com/KayAnnePR/status/996562926701043713

@efink101: It provided me with a network of peers that are going through the same things as me, so we can relate, but also a network of mentors who want to lift up new professionals. It kept me engaged in the profession beyond my job. #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/efink101/status/996563796377432070

@Gemrick: I can confidently say that @PRSA and New Pros helped my transition feel seamless. During my last year of undergrad, I was heavily involved with my local PRSA chapter, and attended as many events as possible. (Come through student pricing!) #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/Gemrick/status/996564005882867714

@PRSSANational: Students: How could PRSA and the New Professionals best assist you in your transition to the profession and the professional Society?
https://twitter.com/PRSSANational/status/996563682208501760

@KEW_photo: Any help is needed and appreciated!  I loved @PRSAChicagoYPN event with the recruiters this was really eye opening that it is important to work with professionals who specialize in the job hunt #prssa
https://twitter.com/KEW_photo/status/996564406145204224

@nicole_tobias32: I think having a new professionals mixer hosted by your local PRSA Chapter would be a great way to connect with others who are in the same boat with you! Especially if someone has moved from out of state to work in your area! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/nicole_tobias32/status/996564589222428672

@AllisonMellor: I would love to see local #PRSA representatives at #PRSSA chapter meetings! This would be the perfect time to hear more about membership benefits and new industry trends.
https://twitter.com/AllisonMellor/status/996565848566386688

@PRSANewPros: New Pros: What are the best ways to get involved when first joining a local PRSA Chapter?
https://twitter.com/PRSANewPros/status/996565396114300929

@KirkHazlett: Not exactly a “New” Pro, but…get involved! Volunteer to serve on a committee. Help with event promotion or at the registration table. Be there. Be seen. Become a resource. @CCPRSA @USFPRSSA @utprssa @PRSATampaBay #prssa
https://twitter.com/KirkHazlett/status/996565781885411328

@GregRokisky: Ask! I met with a few local board members I’d developed relationships with and others I didn’t yet know and, it turned out, there was a need for a chair for the @PACEAwards—our local awards! No one else wanted it, so I said yes. Even as a new pro, you have skills! #PRSSA #NPPRSA
https://twitter.com/GregRokisky/status/996566119103246336

@efink101: 1) See if there is a Young Professionals Network. 2) See if there are any committees or subcommittees you can join and help out with. 3) Offer to be a liaison to the #PRSA Chapter’s #PRSSA Sponsor Chapter(s).
https://twitter.com/efink101/status/996566487572893701

@PRSSANational: Students: What other questions do you have about joining PRSA, the New Professionals Section or launching your career?
https://twitter.com/PRSSANational/status/996567213044895748

@EmilyZekonis: If you could go back in time and take one class you missed out on to help you in your PR career what would it be? #prssa
https://twitter.com/EmilyZekonis/status/996567261447114752

@alyssamurt: As an upcoming senior, I think it is always beneficial to hear how new (and old!) pros got their first job. Any tips are much appreciated! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/alyssamurt/status/996567487281090562

@Ashleigh_K_W: What certifications or hard technical skills could students learn to gain an edge? We know writing is a must, but are there any programs we should be studying? Muckrack? Sysomos? #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/Ashleigh_K_W/status/996568287390715904

@ambewelch: Some of us new grads don’t have jobs or internships lined up fresh out of college, what advice for new pros that are struggling to find employment? How should they stay motivated through their job search?  #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/ambewelch/status/996569255968690176

@PRSANewPros: New Pros: What is your best post-grad tip for success during your first year as a new professional?
https://twitter.com/PRSANewPros/status/996568919434547200

@JaCeyLynn_Y: Work hard and try to make a name for yourself. If you see an opportunity, don’t hesitate to take it. Also, don’t forget your organization skills you acquired in school. #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/JaCeyLynn_Y/status/996569597431156736

@sarahgdougherty: Late to the party! I’d say take things in stride and have a good attitude. Things may not come naturally at first, but bringing a positive outlook to the table and being willing to work hard and try new things will set you up for success and make you a go-to on your team #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/sarahgdougherty/status/996570480340537345

@GregRokisky: There’s a small window, even as a new pro, where you have the free time. Take advantage and say yes to as much as you can handle and figure out where you fit—the more you move up the less time for those things you have! #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/GregRokisky/status/996569316819718144

@efink101: For me personally, be resilient and don’t take things personally is my best advice. Starting a new job and becoming a professional rather than a student is sometimes difficult, but if you work hard and show your value, you’ll be fine. #PRSSA
https://twitter.com/efink101/status/996570879080484865

Thank you to everyone who participated in this chat. The conversation doesn’t have to end here! Students, feel free to reach out to members of the PRSA New Professionals Section any time with questions about transitioning from PRSSA to PRSA. And don’t forget, when you transition from PRSSA to PRSA Associate Membership, you can join for free using code AM18.

3 Ways to Avoid ‘The Grind’ in 2016

3 Ways to Avoid 'The Grind' in 2016People are creatures of habit, and as such, it’s easy to have the “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” attitude. But the truth is, that attitude doesn’t foster growth. In order to stand out and avoid “the grind” at work, new PR pros need to think creatively and pursue opportunities to improve. Here are a few simple things you can do to get started in 2016:

Develop, Sharpen and Show Off Other Skills

If you’re working in PR, there’s a good chance that your job is writing-intensive in one way or another. I think writing’s great – in fact, I’m doing it right now for fun – but there are so many additional skills you can develop to make yourself a more versatile and valuable employee. For example, if you have a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, you should look for opportunities at work to utilize that. Talk with your supervisor and explore ways to not only develop new skills, but also use and improve the ones you already have.

Proactively Search for Ways to Improve the Company

New PR pros may be handed a few projects that really allow them to take ownership. It feels great to lead a project or two, but don’t limit yourself. Really take a look around and consider what else within the company could be improved. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts with your team. Sharing these thoughts provides great opportunities to show your value and make meaningful contributions.

Find a Mentor

A little guidance from someone who has been there, done that as a PR pro is often helpful. A mentor is someone you can brainstorm with; someone who is both a role model and a professional friend. Establishing this relationship with someone who has more professional experience is hugely beneficial. You’ll have their guidance and advice on ways that you can stand out, put your best foot forward and overcome the challenges you encounter in the workplace.

With 2015 wrapping up already (I know, I can’t believe it either), now is a great time to switch up your professional game plan and make some positive changes. Getting comfortable and sticking to a routine feels safe because you know what to expect, but you will find that it’s far more valuable to step outside your comfort zone a bit. Go for it and make 2016 your best year yet as a PR pro!  

Jeff-200x300Jeff Adkins is a public relations associate for Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network in Detroit, Michigan. An active member of PRSA Detroit, Jeff enjoys connecting with fellow PR pros and seeking out new professional experiences. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Public Relations in 2014 from Wayne State University (WSU), where he was a member of the WSU PRSSA executive board and a peer mentor for students entering the PR program. In his free time, Jeff enjoys being active outdoors and volunteers as a PR officer with Portal Paranormal Society. Feel free to connect with him on Twitterand LinkedIn.

The Best 2016 PR Pact

Cheers to aPublic Relations professionals have some of the best transferable skills, meaning we can achieve just about anything. We’re great communicators, up-to-date on trends in our respective industries, digitally savvy and most times naturally charismatic. So what’s stopping us from being great in 2016? Nothing! Not even that 2 a.m. crisis that needs you to be in the office at 7 a.m., pushing internal deadlines back a day.

Let’s establish a PR Pact to be our best selves personally and professionally in 2016. Start by reflecting on the things that made you happy in 2015? Do more of that! Think about how you will define success in the new year? I like to think that success is relative and it causes more harm to compare successes of others to your own. Is your success spending more time with family and friends, being able to make time for self-care, spending time volunteering, being able to save more money, or earning a promotion at work? Whatever your success is in 2016, go for it!

Prepare for the goals you want to accomplish.

What do you need to do in order to achieve your 2016 goals? If it’s something like securing more press for a client, take time before the new year to edit and revise your media list. Pick the top 10 journalists you want to establish relationships with and start connecting with them. It can also save you time and headache to prepare a client editorial calendar of the publications you hope to pitch in 2016.

Do something for you! Now is the time to start working on your passion project.

Life is way more fulfilling when you have something to call your own. What’s that one thing you spend the most time thinking about? That’s your passion. This year, take more time to nurture your passion, you never know where it may lead you.

Surround yourself with people who will challenge you to be great. 

From networking in-person to online networking, taking time to surround yourself with inspiration is important to being your best self. What if that time you spent at networking events and on social media was focused on seeking out people in the profession you admire? This can be a formal or informal mentor, an accountability buddy or just a friend in the industry. Don’t take too much time admiring, though, as most of your energy should be towards using what you learn to reach your goals.

Remember the power of the word “no”.

What were the things that sucked the life out of you in 2015? What projects drained you and took the fun out of Public Relations? It is okay to say no, even to your supervisor. Just remember to have a reason and an alternative project to keep you busy.

If your goal is to take more time for self-care. Just like you would any other important meeting, schedule it. Say no to anything getting in the way of reenergizing your mind, body, and soul. This year, think of yourself as your biggest client.

Remember, action is the energy that translates goals into reality. A break is nice every once in awhile, but don’t be a set it and forget it type goal-getter. Take action to break boundaries in 2016!

i-zthGPGn-XL-230x300Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-NCC, focuses on building community through dynamic events and engaging online marketing as a freelance integrated communications professional in Washington, DC. Keep up with her on Twitter at@LoveJasPR or visit LoveJasPR.com. 

How to Stand Out in the Sea of PR Pros

PRSA THE EDGE OCTOBERThere’s great news! The economy is looking up for today’s job seekers, but that doesn’t mean companies are just hiring anybody. In today’s job market, tenacity and creativity go a long way.

Employer’s want to know you were productive between the time you graduated and the time you applied to your dream job with their company. They love to see that you are committed to your career and gaining valuable experience independently. After tailoring your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, going on informational interviews, and actually applying with a compelling cover letter, we often complain that the job hunt is a job within itself. The hustle is real but is well worth it once you land a job you love.

Prepare yourself for job-hunting success by creating a job hunt strategy. This goes beyond updating your online presence and applying to jobs but actually making strategic moves to land the job you want. Think organization. Create a list of companies you want to work at vs. companies you would love to work at. Use this list to prioritize time spent on cover letters and networking. Create a google doc and track the applications you send and the responses you receive. Keep in mind the date you applied and the date you followed up. Did you land an interview or was their no response at all? Log it!

Public Relations is a career that requires constant learning. While you are searching for full time positions, strategically introducing yourself by reaching out to companies you the companies on your “love” list. Share the relevant skills and accomplishments that would add value to their company and why you are interested in working with them. Show your passion by volunteering to assist in a project part time or on a paid contract basis. This is the perfect time to prove that you are an asset to the team.

Set yourself apart from other job seekers by taking on alternative positions that are related to the industry. A great way to gain experience is to serve as a Brand Ambassador at local events. Some of the top brands are represented at local festivals and doing a great job marketing their product is attractive to employers. Have you ever thought about asking your local coffee shop if they need some help with their social media? I mean you’re always there anyway applying to jobs, right? The least they can offer in return is a free cup of joe. Create a Social Media Strategy Proposal for them and if they like it, ask them to pay for you to implement it. If not, you have a social media strategy to add to your portfolio.

What are you doing to stand out from the crowded job market?

i-zthGPGn-XLJasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-NCC, focuses on building community through dynamic events and engaging online marketing as a freelance integrated communications professional in Washington, DC. Keep up with her on Twitter at @LoveJasPR or visit LoveJasPR.com. 

Five Tips for Balancing Work with Professional & Personal Organizations

Untitled design (2)You’ve been working on your time management skills for years as a PR student and now you’re in the big leagues. Even if you’re a master of efficiency, the truth is days are still limited to 24 hours and sleep needs to fit in there somewhere.

As a new PR pro, you naturally want to get involved in the community and grow, but you certainly still have non-PR interests that require time and energy. Here are 5 tips to help you stay balanced when you have a jam-packed schedule:

Get enough rest.

If you need a cup of coffee (or three) in the morning to wake up and get in the zone, you’re in good company. Unfortunately, there’s not enough coffee in the world to replace the necessity of sleep. If you’ve ever tried focusing on a complex project after a late night, you probably noticed how incredibly difficult it is. Understanding how much sleep you need for optimal performance and ensuring that you get it is beyond important. With enough rest, you’ll feel great, be more efficient and perform to the best of your abilities

Have your ducks in a row.

By “ducks,” I mean obligations and other activities that require time. Just bear with me on this one (hey, another animal reference!). When you’re busy as a bee (I’ll stop now, I promise), careful planning can be the difference between burnout and having fun. Maybe you want to do that yoga class in the morning instead of the evening because it helps you start the day with a clear mind and makes you feel more energized. Plan your activities in a manner that provides the greatest positive impact and allows you to do them to the best of your ability.

Prioritize what needs to be done vs. what can wait.

PR pros typically have very dynamic schedules with moving parts. We all understand the importance of deadlines, but what can be done later this week versus being done today? If you’ve been looking forward to attending a PRSA leadership seminar that’s Thursday at 6 p.m., that’s unmovable. But perhaps you can write your next PRSAY blog post a day earlier or later with respect to the deadline. It’s not an exact science, but taking a good look at what you have coming up will help you understand which items you can shift in your agenda.  

Designate some down time.

Frank Underwood from House of Cards on Netflix said, “I never make such big decisions so long after sunset and so far from dawn.” In case you aren’t familiar with Frank, this is only one of countless great quotes from him. We can often be tempted to work late or make important decisions on the fly in our world of 24/7 news and unprecedented connectivity. Even if your “down time” is only from 9-10 p.m. each night, you’ll thank yourself for that hour. In fact, it might help you unwind and get better sleep (this fits in with number one!).

Have fun and enjoy what you’re doing!

What’s the point of it all if you aren’t enjoying it? Professional and personal organizations can be very rewarding, but be sure you’re involved with them for the right reasons. These organizations should enrich your life, not consume it. We all want to see our friends and fellow PR pros succeed. If you find that you’re overloaded with committees or other time commitments, reach out to those around you for help.

Getting into your groove and finding a system that works well for you takes time and it may be a process of trial and error. Stay positive, keep working on it and don’t get discouraged. Once you figure out what works for your time schedule, you’ll find that it was well-worth the time and energy you put into it!

Jeff Adkins is a public relations associate for Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network in Detroit, Michigan. An active member of PRSA Detroit, Jeff enjoys connecting with fellow PR pros and seeking out new professional experiences. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Public Relations in 2014 from Wayne State University (WSU), where he was a member of the WSU PRSSA executive board and a peer mentor for students entering the PR program. In his free time, Jeff enjoys being active outdoors and volunteers as a PR officer with Portal Paranormal Society. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.