With my graduation rapidly approaching, tensions are running high. Not just for me, but for my entire graduating class. There is a buzz, an understood stressor, for most of this class.
How do we get jobs?
It’s the one oppressive question on everyone’s minds, the one aspect that may mark an undergraduate career “successful” or “unsuccessful.”
Fear not, class of 2013! The statistics are in our favor: CBS News reports that less than six percent of college graduates in their 20s are unemployed. While that still means thousands of us will find ourselves without employment as we walk across the stage, there are some things soon-to-be grads can do to improve their chances of getting a job soon after graduation.
Step 1: While you are still a student, take advantage of student services. Most colleges have a career center staffed with great people willing to help you find a job, revise your cover letters and resume and offer general advice and support.
Step 2: Network, network, network. Reach out to everyone you think may know someone who knows someone. You never know whom others know, and this may lead to a connection for a job or a paid internship. Email your parents’ friends, the alumni association for your college, past bosses, professors you think will give a good recommendation, your friends and family members. Say that you are graduating soon and are in search of a job or an internship. Attach your resume, a list of references and cover letter so your contacts know the experience you have, or at least know for sure what you majored in.
Step 3: If you haven’t completed at least one internship during your undergraduate career, take the summer and complete one in the field you want to work in. Now, more than ever, employers are looking for experience. Experience doesn’t have to be paid, but it does have to be valuable. Who knows? That internship may turn into a full-time gig for you in the future!
And, for those in the communications field…
- Maintain a positive, professional social media presence. Here at Tricom, we’ve discussed the importance of social media many times. Maintaining a good web presence shows employers you have a mastery of social media without you having to spell it out.
- Try reaching out in creative ways. The trend on Twitter is to construct a “twesume:” a 140-character representation of yourself, possibly with a link to your online resume, blog or LinkedIn.
- Brush up on basic writing skill sets, such as grammar, blogging, press release writing or other types of writing you are likely to do in the communications field.
- Update and maintain your portfolio to keep work samples in one location. This can be helpful to show employers examples of your work when they ask. Keeping a portfolio can demonstrate the ability to organize, multi-task and think critically without having to directly say so in a cover letter or interview. Portfolios can be digital or paper, but they always need to be up to date.
Getting a job post-graduation doesn’t have to be scary. Just keep a positive attitude and proactively search for positions you may be interested in. Something will come through.
What is Cision you may ask? Cision is a tool used by PR and marketing professionals to create media lists. While extremely helpful, Cision can be intimidating and at first difficult to master. If you fail to conduct the search properly, you will be left with a headache and a long list of names to sort through before finding the specific contact you need.
“Come up with a media list using Cision.” My boss asked me one morning at the office.
“I got this, can’t be too hard,“ I whispered to myself. Boy, was I wrong! I began by making my search way too broad and then proceeded to sort through hundreds of names hoping that some of them would lead me to a successful list. After submitting my list to Scott, I heard him bellow my name and thought, “What happened? Where did I go wrong?” My stomach dropped, as any other interns would. I lowered my head with shame and walked into his office.
“This media list is useless to me,” he said. He gave me one more go to create another list. Yet again, a failed attempt.
The next day I entered Scott’s office along with my fellow co-workers and he began to outline what had gone wrong during my attempt to create a media list. As an intern, being scolded in front of the entire office has to be one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced. But, after I got over my utter embarrassment, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He detailed what to look for and the most important aspects of Cision. By the end of the conversation, we all had a much clearer idea of what goes into creating an effective and useful media list.
Here are some helpful suggestions as you embark on your first journey through the world of Cision:
Have a clear plan of attack in mind
Before you even log on to Cision, sit down and strategize what type of media you want to pitch (radio, print, bloggers), what beats you want to target and what cities or states would make the most sense for the audience you want to reach. Once you have this mapped out, you will have much better luck creating clean and effective lists.
Divide your media searches by media type
It is often a good idea to divide your searches by media type. For example, if you know that you want to target radio and television for your story, run a separate search for each. This will make the “clean up” process of your list much easier and streamlined
Provide Cision with Specific and Targeted Search Criteria
The more specific you can get with your search criteria, the easier your life will be as you move toward identifying who your key outlets should be for your story. It will also help ensure that you have the right contact information for the outlets you are targeting. For example, if you are targeting TV stations, make sure to include search criteria for a producer, assignment desk or guest booker. Otherwise Cision may provide you with contact information for the station’s news anchor, which will do you no good when you are trying to pitch your story.
Also, be sure to include beat information in your search criteria to ensure that the media in your search results will have interest in your story topic.
Cision doesn’t know everything!
While Cision is a great tool, it is always a good idea to cross check your results. If you are looking for radio shows to pitch in a specific city, make sure to do a basic Internet search for the city’s top shows to ensure Cision did not leave off any critical media contacts off your list.
Always ask questions
Questions can be your best friend when interning and critical when trying to build a media list on Cision. If you find yourself confused on who and what you are looking for, you can always utilize fellow interns and co-workers in your office for help, or the help desk that Cision offers. It is easy to use and even provides an informal chat over-the-Internet option.
Cision is not easy. It is one of the most difficult things to master. But becoming proficient in Cision is one of the most beneficial things that a PR professional can do.
Thursday, 11 April 2013 DeAnna Rich
Richard Edelman argued in 2000 that “the defining element of the new media world is the democratization of communication. Messages are being circulated to consumers and responses are being received in equal measure due to the explosion of the Internet.”
The Internet has made two-way communication easier. We now have an online world of cross-influence in which everyone is an equal participant, but the public relations practitioners sit at its core. “Failure to compete on the Internet can be fatal,” Edelman argues.
Failure to adapt to these new ways of communication will challenge even the largest and most successful organizations. Failure to interact with the public in ways that they communicate will bring that damnation more quickly.
Public relations professionals must use Facebook to communicate. Facebook is by far, the most widely used social media outlet. Donna Tam at CNET reports there are over 1 billion active monthly users on Facebook.
Facebook pages allow users to dispute bad service, provide reviews, ask questions and engage in two-way communication with seemingly faceless entities. Organizations can hold sweepstakes, contests, post questions, as well as interact with users on different pages. Facebook encourages the social part of social media, and successful PR pros shouldn’t forget it. Sarah Skerik, in “Using Facebook for Public Relations,” recommends 20 percent promotional content, 80 percent engagement with the public.
Always make sure your online content is relevant to your audience and timely in relation to current events. Keep your tone lively, excited and conversational: these types of posts often get the most attention and interaction. If possible, include a picture or a link to add engagement opportunities. Overall, just make sure you’re posting content you would like to see!
If you don’t have a Twitter yet, get one. It is quickly becoming one of the major outlets to receive news and is also a reliable source to promote clients. The catch is you must know how to use Twitter, and it is not as easy as some may think.
So, what is Twitter? Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting.
The most important thing to understand with Twitter is the # symbol, called a hashtag. It is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
Now, the most important thing to know about a hashtag is to not #Hashtag #every #word #in #your #tweet. Hashtags are not used to make your tweet look better and, if used incorrectly, can give the wrong impression to your followers. It is meant to bring constructive attention to your tweets.
For example, the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health (@VACoalitionWH) is currently using certain hashtags to promote their political issues with Virginian politicians. They use hashtags such as #OpposeTrap or #WarOnWomen and urge their followers to use these hashtags so that they may follow or retweet users who are tweeting about it.
So what is retweeting you may ask. Retweeting is the act of copying and posting someone else's tweet and sharing it with your followers.
The most important thing to remember about retweeting is to give credit where credit is due. Adding a “RT” at the beginning of the tweet followed by their Twitter handle (the name you choose to represent yourself) is the correct way to RT something on your timeline. Your timeline, or feed, is a long stream showing all of the tweets from those you have chosen to follow.
If you choose to RT, make sure you NEVER take the original tweet out of context. Since Twitter only allows tweets with 140 characters, it is ok to abbreviate a couple words, but never alter the original meaning of the tweet.
Do not be afraid to ask people to RT you. Adding “please RT” to the end of your tweet is a great way to let people know you are looking for more exposure, but NEVER fill your followers inbox asking them to RT you. This may annoy your followers more than anything.
And finally, be interesting! The way you will be successful on Twitter is if you provide information that is compelling and valuable to the audience that you are trying to reach!
Check back again soon for more Twitter do’s and don’ts.