Monday, March 9, 2015

Tackle Job Fairs Like a Pro

This past week, I checked off a major item on my senior to-do list: attend a job fair. With graduation only 66 days away (is what number real?!), I've started to put out feelers for what's to come in my PR career. Luckily my university plans major-focused fairs, so I decided to take my chances at the bi-annual Mass Communication Fair. I was a little hesitant, because I usually prefer to talk to companies in a less intense manner (as opposed to competing for attention against 500 swarming ambitious students), but I was fairly surprised at how productive it was!

With some experience under my belt, here's how I made the most of connecting with brands and employers:

At the Fair:

Dress your best - Hopefully this goes without saying, but plan ahead for any career fairs you want to attend. I can't tell you how many people I saw pop in to talk to employers and were dressed in casual school clothes. First impressions make or break your job fair experience - make it count and show up in finest profesh threads.

Go with a plan - Most job fairs place their employer list online prior to the event, use it to your advantage! Go with a plan of who you want to meet, research them and go see them first - chances are you'll leave the employers refreshed with your preparedness. More than anything, ask questions - be genuinely interested in what employers have to say!

Roll with the punches - Don't stress the small stuff. I know better than most the desire for everything to go according to plan, small bumps can really throw you for a loop if you let them. The fair I attended had a fire alarm interrupt it TWICE, but I used that opportunity to walk out with the employers and have some one-on-one time. Don't get me wrong, the raining humidity outside had me sweating out of my blouse, but the employers and I joked about it and kept going. You can't control everything, so just go with the flow and make the most of the opportunity. 

Stock up - Don't end up empty-handed, print plenty of copies of your resume and business cards.

Pitch it - Practice your elevator introduction, it will make all the difference when you are around so many other people with the same mission. Be clear about what you want and what you have to offer. Everyone loves efficiency, but don't forget to let organic conversation flow after your introduction. 

Next steps:

Add on LinkedIn - I know this is a touchy subject, but if your fair is anything like mine, many of the representative employers will be human resources recruiters. If you're genuinely interested in working for a company and have a meaningful conversation with the recruiter, add them on LinkedIn. They'll know you took their company and your conversation seriously and are looking to build a relationship.

Apply - If an application position in a specific company is open - apply for it! If you're required to submit a cover letter, mention the job fair and who you talked to. They might be the ones looking at applications or they can be an internal witness about how you are in a professional environment!

Follow up - If you're the boss I know you are, you most definitely got their contact information! Follow up with an email or a thank you letter - include what you learned and where you see your place within the company, even if there aren't any open positions. Your contact might have some information to get your foot in the door!

Any tips or best practices I missed? Leave me a comment or tweet me at @PRGirlPaige!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

All Internships Are NOT Created Equal

For so many students, internships are just an item on a long list of things to be checked off. As with so many things today, it's often mistaken that the quantity of internships you participated in over college is more important than quality.

Trust me, I get it, getting plenty of experience while you're still in college is essential, but there's so much more to it than that. After starting my seventh semester of interning, I've realized:

It's important to find a place where you belong; where the company culture resonates with you and where you will become part of the team. 

It's important to find a place that will let you get your hands dirty with meaningful work, and dive head first into a variety of projects.

It's important to find an internship where you will be taught and not just used for menial tasks.

It's important to try different places on, in different fields or niches, so when it comes time to dedicate 50+ hours of your week, you'll know exactly what you like and what you don't.

It's important to find a place that listens, that's accessible and pushes you to grow into a better professional.

So before you take that position "just because you need it," or to add to a list, think about your goals and what you stand to learn. Is this place going to make you come alive?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Photo Journal: New York City

This past week was one of the best weeks of my life! It was my first time in New York City - but this was no routine tourist trip. With my school's student-run PR agency, I got the chance to meet and mingle with some of the biggest and brightest public relations firms + professionals in the country. I also had the opportunity to become close friends with so many amazing PR girls that were on the trip with me. Scroll down through the captions for a peek into my week! Interested in my other photo journals? See them here! Stay tuned for the insights from my agency visits next Monday. 
How often do I get to hang out with one of my past photography clients in another state?! So happy to call Erika a friend, too!
Fulfilling our obligatory tourist duties in Time Square - these are just a few of the awesome PR peeps that made my week amazing.

Our first agency on the trip was meeting with Ogilvy + Mathers. Their offices are based in an old chocolate factory, with over 2,000 employees in the NYC global headquarters alone.

Central Park before the snow.
We had the best bakery next to our hotel, Park Central, called Tisserie! I regret to say too much of my budget was spent on cider, sandwiches, muffins and yogurt.
Chelsea, NY

Meet Mondy Hobbs, my partner in crime and my co-account executive for our client, The Hitch!

Most enchanting restaurant that ever was, built in a repurposed green house.

Chelsea Market - it took all my resolve not to buy the jewelry this man was selling.

Highline in Chelsea - only it was spring and we could have seen the Highline filled with flowers.

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center - the last day before it was taken down! So happy we got to see it.
The New York Public Library - I was literally in awe for several minutes. My attempts to break in and stay up all night reading here a failure.
Another PR-related stop, was with the United Nations. It is technically off of US soil, so some of us were able to get our passports stamped. It was amazing to hear so many different languages from all of those inside the UN.
All of the UN's chambers are located here in New York City, with the exception of the International Court of Justice (in Switzerland). Here is one of them above!

Meeting with the communications director for the Secretary General of the UN was unreal. We also got to attend a real life press conference with journalists with the director addressed some of the acts of terror in Paris last week. We were literally on the edge of our seats. Did you know that the US has to allow journalists from member countries access to the UN, even if the US does not have a standing relationship with that country? (Like Cuba) Hear our university mentioned at the beginning of the conference here.
We also got to meet with one of the world's biggest PR agencies - Burson Marsteller! 
For a bit of fun (and attempt to make our dreams come true) we bought tickets for...CHICAGO! My first Broadway show. It was perfect. 

John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields in Central Park - another Beatles spot checked off my list! I got to see Abbey Road last summer whilst in London.
A kind sir playing Strawberry Fields while we all sang along.

The view from Top of the Rock. UNREAL.
Central Park from Top of the Rock.
One of the chapter leads for the NYC chapter of the Texas State Alumni Association! Since I worked for the Alumni Association for a couple of years, it was so nice to meet a chapter leader. 
Oh, NBD, just Leonardo DiCaprio's apartment.
If you love Gossip Girl like I do, you know this is where Chuck and Blair tied the knot.

27 Dresses anyone?

Chocolate, caramel with salted butter, orange blossom, pistachio, german chocolate and rose water macarons.
YES. I had to.

After a very emotional day at the 9/11 Memorial, we got to meet with their communications director. It was so interesting to hear how they handle constant worldwide publicity and controversy.


We ate at the most delicious Italian restaurant in Little Italy - plus free wine. We couldn't turn it down!

St. Patrick's Cathedral

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