5 Tips for a Resume Rescue

Image via Flickr Creative Commons-Charlotte West

Image via Flickr Creative Commons-Charlotte West

As my college career draws to a close, I’ve had the lovely task of creating the perfect resume to score me a job in the PR workforce. And boy, is it work! Luckily, I’ve had the guidance of my wonderful PR professors, career center advisers, and my former-writer dad. I’d like to share some of the tips that helped me craft a clean, descriptive and stand-out resume.

Oust Outdated Objectives

  • The days of having an objective on your resume are long gone.
  • Objectives give the impression “This is what I want,” when it really should be “This is what I have to give.”

Say Bye-bye to Highschool Highlights

  • You were President of the Vegan Club? Captain of the lacrosse team? Good for you, but leave it off your resume.
  • Highschool accomplishments are far outdated and don’t highlight your recent or current accomplishments.

Add Some Numbers

  • Let’s say you increased participation at a certain event, or beefed up a company’s social media content. Wonderful, but by how much?
  • Including statistics and numbers helps show that you can measure your success and analyze your work efficiently.

“Keep it Simple, Stupid”

  • Don’t chalk your resume full of bold, dark text.
  • Leave a good majority of the page without any text, images, or content.
  • The white space makes it look clean and sophisticated.

Edit, Edit, Edit

  • Once you think you have the perfect resume, send it to your friend/professor/dad/cousin/advisor/anyone who will lend you their helping eyes.
  • It’s important to have several people edit your resume and help you correct things you may have missed.
  • Make sure you have absolutely no typos, grammar errors, or design mistakes.

Hopefully these tips will help you craft your best resume possible and score you that big job! I’ll keep you posted on how my resume rescues and job hunt works out!

Tips for Your Next Interview

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, xianrendujia

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, xianrendujia

Interviews can be a terrifying thing. It feels like a million things can go wrong. Am I talking too fast? Do they think I’m qualified enough? Do I have lipstick on my teeth? I’ve been lucky enough to get some practice with interviewing within the past few months and the following tips helped to ease my nerves and kick up my confidence. With these tips under your belt, hopefully you can walk out of the office feeling like you aced it. And more importantly, get a call back! Here are some of the most helpful tips for before, during, and after your next big interview.

Before

Look the part

You know what they say: it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Even if you know it is a more casual company, show up in your finest suit and slacks. Make sure your hemlines are long enough and you are not showing too much skin. Keep your makeup, accessories and perfume to a minimum. After all, you don’t want anything to distract from your shining personality and fabulous credentials, even if its the latest blue Mac eyeshadow.

Do your research

Spend a couple hours researching the place you are interviewing. Find out what work they have done in the past, know their company mantra, discover where employees went to college. This lets the company know you’ve done your homework and are interested in what they’re like.

Come prepared

Obviously, you will want to bring your resume, portfolio, and business cards. But don’t forget to bring something to write things down in. I always find myself taking a couple notes during the interview. Also, if you feel you might be forgetful mid-interview, jot down a couple questions to ask them before going into the interview. Last but not least, leave your skinny vanilla latte at home or chug it down before entering the building.

During

Say “thank you”

It is so important to express your thanks to the interviewer. They have a busy schedule and about 1 million other things on their to-do list. Right after you introduce yourself, say a quick thanks for meeting with you to your *hopefully* new employer. Don’t forget to do this again at the end of the interview as well.

Smile

Do you ever notice that a smiling person always seems nicer than someone sporting a cold expression-less face? Make sure to exude happiness. Don’t get me wrong, don’t be grinning from ear to ear when telling them your “biggest failure,” but know what time to laugh and bear that toothy smile of yours.

Make eye contact

This is something that I think many people struggle with, yet it is so vital to positively communicating with people. Make sure you maintain steady eye contact with your interviewer. Hold that stare of yours for even longer that you think, taking short breaks to look down or glance somewhere else. Eye contact lets the interviewer know you are actively listening, and also helps show you’re confident.

After

Get connected

If you haven’t already, request to connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn, or follow them on Twitter. When adding them on LinkedIn, make sure to include a short message thanking them for their time.

Send some snail mail

Be the stand out that you are and send an old school, handwritten note. In the note, thank them for their time and include a personal bit about something you talked about in the interview. A handwritten thank-you sets you apart from the other interviewees and shows the interviewer that you follow through.

How to Perfect Your Personal Brand

Via Anna Rydne communicateskills.com

Via Anna Rydne communicateskills.com

This past week I had the chance to hear from Mindy Lockard, or the “Gracious Girl” as she’s branded herself as. Lockard is a nationally known etiquette expert. As a budding PR professional, it is important to have a polished and professional personal brand. Think of your brand as how others see you. Why is having a personal brand so important? It creates credibility and a reputation for yourself. Lockard gave us a wonderful presentation and I’d like to share some of my favorite pieces of advice with you.

On the web…

  • Social media is one of the most powerful tools to build your brand.
  • Be mindful of what the characteristics of your brand are. That’s what your content should be.
  • You are responsible for what other people post on your content, so clean up inappropriate comments if friends post them.
  • Always use correct grammar and never use profanity.
  • Have a relevant Twitter handle that people can find. Don’t just use random parts of your name.
  • Make sure the last 10 photos you posted are what you want people to see. (No “selfies.”)

In real life…

  • Learn to have conversations with people that do not actually get anything for you.
  • Speaking of that, do informational interviews.
  • Maintain eye contact with people. It communicates mutual respect.
  • Don’t use your phone. It gives people the impression your phone is more important than them.
  • Give firm handshakes, your full name and calling cards.
  • Always follow up with handwritten thank you notes.

In yourself…

  • Authenticity is one of the most important qualities in a person.
  • Don’t be afraid to be bold.
  • There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.
  • Don’t be desperate: people can smell it a mile away.
  • Set high goals for yourself.
  • Go to events alone. It’ll bring you out of your comfort zone and let you meet people you might not of otherwise.

I hope these pieces of advice allow you to perfect your personal brand! I’m off to buy some thank you notes ASAP!

Tricks of the Trade: Sports PR

Photo via Flickr Commons,  CarolMunro.This past week I heard the 411 on sports PR from Craig Pintens, the senior associate athletic director of marketing and public relations. Pintens knows how the world of sports PR works: he’s been doing it for over 10 years. If you want to find out who is behind all of the University of Oregon’s PR magic, it is this guy. Pintens has dealt with everything from Chip Kelly’s departure, LaMichael James volatile ways and  the NCAA sanctions. Thankfully, the Allen Hall team and I had the opportunity to hear his advice on what the world of sports is like. Here are some of my favorite tips he gave us.

 Know your brand. 

  • Ask yourself, who are we?
  • What is our story?
  • How do we accomplish our goals?

Social media is huge.

  • It is the most important advancement in sports PR since 1995.
  • Be on relevant platforms.
  • Link content from Twitter, to Instagram, to Facebook.

Be engaged. 

  • Be fan centric.
  • Social media is for the fans.
  • Post unique content. If you have special access to certain things, take advantage of that.
  • Influence > growth. Because influence will eventually lead to growth.

Measure your efforts. 

  • Even if you can’t access expensive measurement tools like Topsy, you can use others.
  • Facebook and Twitter have great free analytics.
  • Find trends within your most popular posts and post according to those trends.

“It’s only a crisis if you make it a crisis.”

  • Crisis is one of the most overused terms in PR.
  • It’s almost impossible to have a plan.
  • You can’t have an exact plan because each crisis is unique.
  • But, you can have a protocol.
  • Rely on experience, instinct, and other informed people.

Sports PR is definitely a different monster than other facets of PR. But, you can tell that the basics of PR still hold true. Hopefully you can use this advice if you decide to go down the sports PR path!

Social Media Tips to Ditch according to Ragan’s PR Daily

Image via Jason Howie.

Image via Jason Howie.

I recently came across this insightful article by Jackson Wightman on Ragan’s PR Daily discussing some of the biggest social media myths. I enjoyed this article because it helped me realized some of these things I’ve been hearing all along in my PR experiences are downright wrong. To me, it’s almost the same as hearing “don’t go outside with wet hair if it’s cold,” just to hear that this actually has no effect on your chance of getting a cold. Go check out the article to get a full 411 on what social media tips to avoid, but just incase you don’t, I’ve listed three of my favorite “tips to ditch” below. Take a look and make sure you don’t fall trap to these faux pas!

1) “You need to be present on all social media platforms.”

This is one tip I’ve heard many a time. People say it’s better to be on all social media platforms just a little then be focused on just a few. I’m glad to hear this is one piece of advice to avoid because I’ve always thought quality over quantity. You should focus on platforms where your audience is and where you can achieve the most with your brand.

2) “Email is extinct.”

I can’t remember a time that I was taught any PR-related email information. Personally, I’ve always found email to be quite useful and in past internships this was one of the biggest platforms we used to raise awareness, garner donations and engage with our audience. As Wightman states, “Email is an essential part of lead nurturing and enables you to segment content. Despite what the charlatans say, for many people email is still the preferred channel for communication.” So keep on sending those emails and drafting those pitches because email is here to stay!

3) “All your updates can be automated.”

Thankfully this is one tip I’ve never been told, but one I’ve seen many times. Are you ever going through a company’s Facebook feed and all you see is automated, robot-like posts? This is one of my biggest pet peeves and I believe it does nothing but hurt companies. Social media is all about interaction and engagement with your audience, so why would you only publish automated “read this article” content? Hopefully all content creators will take note that this tip is long gone and simply not acceptable in today’s social media world.

Social Media Advice

buttonsThe other week in our Allen Hall meeting, we were lucky enough to host Bailey Koharick, the marketing manager for Palo Alto Software. As their social media manager, Bailey knows the ins and outs of the social media world and how to make a brand successful across all platforms. She gave us some insightful advice on social media marketing and PR and I’ve listed just some of her suggestions below. So check them out and use them in your next social media plan!

Be on your toes.

  • Chose good times to post or tweet.
  • Use cultural references.
  • Be the three C’s (clear, concise and concrete).

Prove your worth.

  • Measure. Your. Efforts.
  • Use Twitter, Facebook and Twitter analytics and analytical tools. 

Quality, not quantity.

  • Don’t buy your followers.
  • Interact with your followers and other brands.
  • Make personal connections.

Keep learning and know the trends.

  • Go to webinars, read newsletters and check out other brands.
  • Be aware of brand highs and lows.
  • Do some research.

Develop a personality and be human.

  • Have a brainstorm session and create a persona for the brand.
  • You’re not a robot, have a personable voice.
  • Build relationships with followers.
  • Be friendly.

Know the rules.

  • Company values
  • Competitors.
  • Buzzwords.

And finally,

  • Be gracious.
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Use images.

Client Relations Do’s and Don’ts

allen-hall-pr-logoThis past week, the Allen Hall team and I got some great insight from PR guru and UO professor Kelli Matthews on client relations. She’s had over 10 years of experience in the PR world, meaning, she knows her stuff. Through Facebook and Twitter, Matthews asked the PR world, “What is your best do or worst don’t for building a strong relationship with a client?” She compiled their answers along with her know-how to give us five great do’s and don’ts. I also added one of my own for the fun of it! Here they are!

1) Listen

  • Really listen to what your client needs.
  • Understand their challenges.
  • Actively listen-nod your head, repeat what they say, make eye contact.

2) Be Honest

  • If you don’t know something, that’s okay!
  • Admit when you’re unsure.
  • Don’t lie.

3) Be Interested

  • Make a point to have pre-business conversations.
  • Be personal! Where are they from? How’s their spouse doing? Do they have kids?
  • Little things like remembering their coffee order go a long way.

4) Be Proactive

  • Look for ideas.
  • Go out and find solutions.
  • Over-deliver.

5) Be Responsive

  • Answer emails within 24 hours at the latest.
  • Return phone calls even faster.
  • Never ignore the client.
  • Set up communication expectations from the beginning.
  • “Under promise, over deliver.”

And my own recommendation, 6) Just Be Nice

  • Smile! Nobody wants to look at a frowny face!
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Don’t get sassy.
  • Be grateful, they are giving you their precious time!

So that’s it, six awesome tips to really wow your client. I know I’ll be making sure I take these into consideration next time I’m with a client!

Must-have Traits for Any PR Pro

I LOVE PR

I was recently perusing one of my favorite PR blogs, Ragan’s PR Daily and came across an interesting article. The title “7 Traits of a solid PR professional” is pretty self-explanatory. According to PR Daily, a valid PR pro needs these seven qualities: business-minded, flexible, strong writer, “sponges,” unafraid of learning more, news-junkies, and thick-skinned. As a current public relations student, soon to be jolted into the competitive PR world, it’s nice for me to hear the qualities that can make or break your success in the PR workforce. While I like to think that I possess most of these qualities, it’s great to be aware of each one and work on strengthening them all. In an earlier post, I examined the four qualities that Ragan’s PR Daily said PR newbies should have. It is an interesting comparison to see what they say all PR professionals should have, experienced and unexperienced. So go check out the article and see for yourself!

Tips for Your Next Infographic

Created by Anna Reinhard

Created by Anna Reinhard

For a recent class assignment, we needed to create a captivating infographic. Ever since the infographic craze hit, I’ve been a big fan. I think they are great ways of creating buzz about a cause or informing your audience of something. With my recent interest in nonprofit PR, I set my sights on making an infographic on the global water crisis, which devastatingly affects one in eight people worldwide. I wanted it to be bright and enlightening. The goal was to compel the audience to donate by presenting the startling facts. To create this infographic, I followed a few tips and I’d like to share them with you:

  • Keep it simple: Don’t try to make it complicated and too colorful. Keep the colors and fonts simple, and make sure you don’t have more than three selections for each. Also, keep plenty of “white space” to keep the infographic looking clean and professional.
  • Keep it important: Don’t drown the reader in a million facts and statistics. Gather your research and choose the most important facts and figures. They will speak for themselves.
  • Keep it positive: Add in statistics about the good that can come from donations. Including optimistic data is much more affective than just heart-wrenching facts.

These are some of the tips I used, and I hope they will help you too! Have fun and make sure to focus on something that you are passionate about!