Category Archives: Public Relations

Want the Job? Channel Barney Stinson. (Seriously.)

Barney Stinson–the man, the myth, the legend–can teach us how to stand out in the competitive job market. Sure, he can also teach guys how to rack up the one-night stands, but let’s just let that rest for now. Beneath that Star Wars-loving, tailored suit-wearing exterior there is a professional who succeeds at pretty much everything he does. Interested in doing the same, but with your job search and professional life? Then by all means, read on.

Dress to impress. The man wears suits like it’s his job. He even sleeps in one, for Pete’s sake. While that might be a bit extreme, the point is made. In most cases, it is better to be overdressed than the only person in the room wearing jeans and a frat boy tank top.

Tell a story–with your resume, that is. Barney’s detailed tales of busty babes and bro code history always have his friends’ attention, and tend to have that “stick” factor. When tailoring a resume or cover letter, it is always good to keep Mr. Stinson in mind–paint a picture and tell a story that sticks. (Lies, exaggerations and racey escapades excluded.)

Live by the code. Not Barney’s infamous Bro Code, but close. Know the company’s code of ethics, and how it aligns with your own.

Sell yourself. Every episode, we see Barney sell himself to a myriad of women. Often times it is using some alias out of his personal playbook, but you have to commend the guy  for recognizing his opportunity and going for it. The take away here is that you are your biggest advocate, and if you can’t sell yourself, no one can. Be your own salesman, and recognize your target audience.

Lastly, get creative. The King of Bro Code certainly does this well with his playbook, (the Lorenzo von Matterhorn is my personal favorite), and the same should be done when searching for a job. Create an online portfolio that showcases your unique creative style, spice up responses to interview questions by using non-generic examples and find a way to set yourself apart from the rest.

Go ahead. Make Barney proud.

Event Planning 101: How to Avoid Disaster

This past weekend, my colleagues and I executed the last step in our internship for the term by hosting an event that we had been planning for the past few months. The event was on behalf of Nancy Hughes, founder of StoveTeam International and recipient of the 2011 Purpose Prize. It took place on Sunday at King Estate Winery, and everyone was extremely pleased with the outcome.

Nancy and Sanya

Nancy and her protegé, Sanya. Courtesy of Whitney Taylor at: http://whitneytphoto.com/

That being said, every event has its glitch(es), and ours was no exception. (Based on my general life problems, of course they were mostly technology-based. Darn 21st Century.)

After finally winding down from the excitement of our event, I have come up with a few pointers for any future event planners out there.

First, know your audience. We decided to use Paperless Post®, an online invitation service that allows you to personalize the invite. While this is a really wonderful option for the tech-savvy young adult, it was not so great for our fifty-and-over audience. We had a number of people that opened the invitation but failed to RSVP, assuming that opening it was enough for our count. Luckily, because my colleagues and I are human vacuum cleaners and will eat our weight in food, we had already overestimated the amount of food we would need, so the fact that about thirty more guests arrived than expected was already accounted for. Moral of the story: research your guests and think about their demographic.

StoveTeam Table

Our table displays. Those information cards were a pain to keep in place. Courtesy of Whitney Taylor at: http://whitneytphoto.com/

Second, have your technology straightened out. This seems to be a recurring theme in today’s world. While we had all of the right pieces, the one thing that we had decided was not in need of a trial run was our speaker set up. When the video that had been produced on Nancy’s behalf began playing without any sound, we had a minor panic attack. Again, luck was on our side as our photographer was able to turn around and pick up compatible speakers before the guests arrived. ALWAYS try out your technology before hand, even if it seems like a no-brainer. Lesson learned. Well, kind of. I’m still struggling with my iPhone. Oh well.

Also, bring a toolkit. My colleague (and roommate, actually—fun fact), is one of the few college girls I know who has a toolkit handy everywhere she goes. It includes nails, a hammer, twine, duct tape—you name it, she has it. And we ended up needing every single one of those items.

Finally, have plenty of visuals. Again, this is an area that we did not neglect, and I am extremely happy that we were over prepared for this. We had photos from the StoveTeam trips, framed awards, statistics, and informational posters for our guests to enjoy. Oh, and plenty of sunny sunflowers, because they can brighten up any room and put a smile on even the gloomiest face.

My experience interning for Nancy was unforgettable, and seeing so many people in one room to celebrate her accomplishments was an inspiration. Although our event had its glitches, it was certainly a hit, and Nancy left smiling!

AHPR Team

Kevin, Krista and myself after the successful event. We made it! Courtesy of Whitney Taylor at: http://whitneytphoto.com/

For more photos from our glorious photographer and fellow Allen Hall PR colleague, visit: http://whitneytphoto.com/. While you’re there, take a look around–she has an awesome portfolio!

Resumes: Revamped, Reworked and Revised

Next Wednesday, November 9, is the University of Oregon’s annual Fall Career Fair. With this date creeping closer, and with my graduation date looming (December 8—eek!), I’ve been joining my fellow super seniors in the act of revamping my resume.

Barney Stinson Video Resume

Who wouldn't hire this guy?! (courtesy of mytvmoments.com)

Never a particularly exciting task, it is important to keep several versions of your resume on hand and to constantly update them. The best way to do this, of course, is to pass your resume on to a knowledgeable pair of eyes in your particular field. As students, professors are a wonderful and easily accessible resource for this—as are recently graduated peers. (Shout out to those of you who have colored my resume with colorful corrections—you know who you are!)

I digress…anyway, the rapidly approaching career fair sparked the idea for me to post about some of the basic ins and outs of resume perfecting. So, here are a few tidbits that I have learned from anonymous editors:

  1. White space is important. When a recruiter receives a resume, he or she does not want to see an array of word vomit crammed into one page—space it out, play with the margins and spaces between headers and descriptions so that even if the resume is a full page in length, it does not feel like a chore to read.
  2.  Use color only if it is relevant to the job description. I once had a fellow student show me her color-coordinated resume, stating that it set hers apart from others. Looking at my black-and-white resume, I asked a PR professor (who also runs her own agency) about adding some color, and she responded with this question: Are you applying for a creative position? Well, no, I am not applying for any particularly creative positions, so she suggested that I keep my resume clean and show creativity with color in other things—my portfolio, for example.
  3. Use descriptive verbs! The first word of each line of descriptions for a position should communicate action. For example, some words that were axed for me were: worked, drafted, learned, help—none of these were descriptive enough to captivate the skimming eye.
  4. Be personable. In the PR industry, professionals are not uptight (generally). Show some personality and transparency in your descriptions and layout.
  5. Keep a consistent font across the cover letter and the resume, and any reference contact information.
  6. That being said, the font does not have to be Times New Roman—play around with it; find a font that helps eliminate dangling words (one word that flows onto the next line—you need that extra space!). However, remember that Comic Sans MS is ALWAYS a no-no. Try Garamond, it is similar to Times but crunches the letters a bit and really helps with spacing.

With this long list of “Do’s”, here are a couple examples of what not to do with a resume:

Even though her resume stands out, Elle’s scent may not be pleasing to everyone. And the pink paper? For a legal position? Not extremely relevant. Entertaining and true to her character, though.

Lying is bad, especially on a resume. At least he can chug a gallon of milk in ten seconds!

I hope that these tips are as helpful to my small pool of readers as they were to me! Happy editing—and remember, if you’re a student at the University of Oregon don’t forget to attend the career fair next week!

Miss Representation Opens Eyes

I would like to preface this post by stating that I am not a feminist. I am all for equal rights and representation for men and women, but I am not a “girl power” type of person. That being said, yesterday my professor showed us a trailer that has been blowing up on Facebook and Twitter the past few days. He pulled up the link to Miss Representation, a campaign about the ways that women are portrayed and misrepresented in the media. Normally this sort of thing rubs me the wrong way, but for eight minutes we all sat there in complete silence with our eyes wide and our jaws open. The numbers presented in this trailer are absolutely shocking. American teenagers spend an estimated 10 hours and 45 minutes consuming media in some form or another each day. Not 10 hours and 45 minutes a week–every single day. That is about 2/3 of the time we spend awake. Out of all of that mass media, women hold 3% of clout positions.

Perhaps this lack of representation across the channels of communication has something to do with the way that women are portrayed. We are symbolized as sexual figures rather than scholarly intellectuals. Even the most powerful women in the world are scrutinized on E! News‘ Fashion Police and Us Weekly‘s Best and Worst Dressed section. On the other hand, magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour are run by women from the top down, and yet the majority of their content is concerned with looking good and being sexy. The problem here is that sex sells–society has reached a point of no return, essentially. Women are consuming these magazines based on their content, and until that changes, the content will stay the same. The argument is one that may never have an answer, but the issue is unavoidable. Women are simply not equally represented in the media industry, and at the rate we are going, they never will be. This does not say much for the future of the little girls toting around their grossly proportioned barbies and watching Toddlers in Tiaras. Scary, isn’t it?

For those of you who haven’t yet seen the trailer for Miss Representation, (which airs in full on OWN October 20), please check it out. Trust me, it is worth eight minutes of your time.

 

Lions and Tigers and…Social Media? Oh My!

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with a talented public relations professional and she

Wizard of Oz

Dorothy is clearly not a fan of social media.

posed an interesting question. She asked, “How has PR education changed with all of this social media stuff?” This got me thinking about how rapidly the world of social media has changed business and job descriptions—especially when it comes to public relations. I then began to wonder: how can we, as public relations professionals, make the most of social media for our clients? After letting this thought stew for a while and thinking about what I have learned in the classroom as well as in the field, this is what I came up with:

  • Test the water first. There are so many different social networking sites out there that it is tough to initially decipher between the ones that are worth your time, and the ones that will fizzle out in a month. Google+ is a good example of a medium that many users, (yours truly included), jumped right into without reading the necessary articles or asking the question, what is the purpose of this? Take some time to research what you are getting yourself (or your client) into.
  • Keeping the previous note in mind, do not be afraid to try new things. Some clients have to be gently pushed in the right direction—social media is a new idea to many people, and the thought of putting a company, brand or individual on the Internet in real time can be daunting. Be sure to highlight the proper uses and specific benefits that can be reached by using social media.
  • Not all social media outlets are for everyone. Not all clients will benefit from having a Facebook
    page, and then there are some that will reap countless benefits. Know the audience that each medium serves and find the right match for your client.
  • Transparency is key. If you tweet for your client or manage their Facebook page, let it be known. “Friends” and “followers” want to know who they are connecting with. A great example of this is a Portland-based marketing agency, CMD. Each day the company “tweeter” edits the profile so that it clearly states who is on tweeting duty.
  • Be consistent. Signing up for a Twitter page alone is not going to generate any followers or form meaningful relationships. You or your client must monitor that page and supply meaningful content on a consistent basis. For some companies, this may mean sleeping with an iPhone on your bedside table and with loud alerts set for every @mention. For others, it may mean devoting five minutes of every hour to check in with followers. Either way, be sure that the route you choose is consistent, or those relationships will begin to burn out.
  • Provide meaningful content. No matter what route you take, the connections you make do not want to hear what you had on your bagel that morning (unless you are tweeting for a fitness magazine, and in that case I’d love to hear about a healthy alternative to cream cheese). Be sure that every tweet or post provides insight, contains clickable content, or sparks a conversation among other users.
While I am certainly no professional, I hope that this turned out to be accurate and useful. Maybe someday I will have more hands-on experience with the topic of social media and client relations! In what ways do you find social media useful? Or useless, for that matter? (Google+ is toeing the useless line in my book).

Got an Interview? “Bee” Yourself.

As an almost graduate, I began my endless interview loop yesterday morning with a phone interview, which I had never done before. After stressing about it all night, I began to think about what we, as social media connoisseurs who often get caught up in ourselves, can do to stand out among the crowd. My thoughts led to a list (surprise, surprise—lists make me happy, what can I say).

1. Sell yourself. My dad was reviewing my portfolio the other day, and he had a great point when he said:

for sale

A little desperate, but you get the idea. Courtesy of hubpages.com.

“Nicole, everyone that looks at this or who interviews you is going to be thinking, ‘what’s in it for me’? You need to be able to field those questions before they come.” Although my dad is from what seems like the stone age, he has a great point, (he also happens to be one of the most business-savvy people I know). Sell yourself, but remember that you need to do this while also answering the question of what is in it for them.

2. Know the requirements. Before any job that I apply for, I look over the qualifications and requirements, and I contour my resume to highlight how I fit their needs. This also goes into the “what’s in it for them” idea, but here it is important to dig deeper. The requirements for a job should be your talking points. Use them as guidelines for your cover letter, and if you land the interview, use them as talking points to highlight why you are the best candidate for this specific position.

3. Be interested in them. One of my professors once gave me a name to contact for a potential job, and the only piece of advice she gave me was to flatter him. Not in a creepy weird way, but in a professional manner—know the work that they have done, and be able to comment on it. Whether it is on a personal level or a company level, showing an interest in whom you are talking to goes a long way. After all, who doesn’t like a good compliment every now and then?!

4. “Bee” yourself. Every time someone says this to me I am reminded of the moment in Aladdin when the genie turns into a bumblebee and tells Aladdin to “bee” himself. My goodness, Disney is inventive. All joking aside, this was one of the most important lessons of our childhood, and it still carries into our lives today. Remember, public relations/marketing/advertising executives know how to read people. If you are attempting to build up a persona in order to please them, they can tell. The best thing to do is to let your passion for the position shine through and let your true talents be the basis for your conversation and connection with that person. Don’t learn this the hard way like Aladdin did.

Genie Bee

In the words of the wise genie, "Bee yourself." Courtesy of sarahnoelsmusings.blogspot.com

Lessons Learned

Wow. This is it. The last assigned blog post for my Journalism 452: Strategic Public Relations Communication class. Once the term is over I will most likely be recreating this blog, so for all two of my readers (hi Mom and Dad), I will keep posting but the subject matter may change.

For my last post, I would like to address what I have learned these past few weeks studying sports public relations. You guessed it—I’m making a list.

1.     Athletes are crazy. Well, not all of them, but when given the reigns to their own public identities (thank you, Twitter), many of them have shown us some very interesting sides to their personalities.

2.     Managing a brand is hard! From franchises to the players on them, the media feeds off of the negatives than the positives, and keeping these negative tidbits at bay is an impossible task.

3.     There are a lot of sports blogs out there. As a public relations specialist, it is important to be aware of the different ways that the client is being portrayed. Working in sports PR, I imagine there is a lot of time spent perusing the press, and in this case there is a lot of press to peruse. (My go-to blog of the term has been The Bleacher Report)

4.     This is not a 9-5 job. Working in the sports industry calls for your full attention, 24/7. The press does not care if it is 2AM—if there is a leak, it will be published, and you had better be awake to stop the bleeding.

5.     It is possible to clean up an image. Just take a look at Tiger Woods. I never appreciated the work that his publicist and team of sharks did for him, but he really is right back on top. Well, maybe not on top, but much closer than I ever thought he would be.

6.     React quickly. This one goes hand-in-hand with the tip above, but when Bret Favre was hit with the sex messaging scandal, his camp reacted quickly with an apology statement that helped to stop the bleeding. When Kevin Garnett was taking heat for his cancer comments to Charlie Villanueva, he did the same thing. Quickly issuing heartfelt statements and addressing the problem is the best way to diffuse it.

This has certainly been quite a journey. As a closing note, I’d like to post a completely irrelevant picture of my favorite athlete and man of the moment: Mr. Blake Griffin.

Blake Griffin Dunking

No caption necessary. Courtesy of apusa.us