Monthly Archives: April 2013

Job Interview Tips to Get You Hired

By Kristin Soo Hoo, Treasurer

With summer just around the corner, many of you have already begun the tedious search for an internship or job. You’ve probably spent countless hours perfecting your résumé, crafting a personalized cover letter to each potential employer and nervously awaiting replies.

So what happens when you’ve finally been invited for an interview?

Before you have an anxiety attack, review these interview tips to help you secure your dream job!YP prsa

 Before the interview:

  • Research!

Learn about the company’s history, values, scope of work, case studies, awards/successes and key employees. Identify how the organization differentiates itself in its industry. Then, skillfully tie this information into your interview responses.

  • Remove inappropriate or unprofessional content from your social media profiles.

Employers need to trust their employees to represent the organization in a positive light. Many will turn down candidates because of inappropriate social media content like pictures of excessive partying or posts about participating in illegal activities.

  • Assemble a portfolio for the interviewer to keep.

Insert copies of your cover letter, résumé and relevant work into a solid-colored folder. You can place the papers in sheet protectors to avoid hole-punching.

  • Print business cards.

Use a pre-made design or create your own business cards on relatively sturdy cardstock. You can order them through an office supply store (Office Depot, Staples, etc.) or websites like vistaprint.com. Include your name, phone number, email address, home address and possibly social media links.

  • Review common interview questions, and prepare answers.

There are only three true job interview questions, according to an article in Forbes:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can we tolerate working with you?

But here are more examples:

  • Conduct mock interviews.

They will allow you to assess and improve your verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Practicing will help reduce anxiety and discomfort during the actual interview as well.

Interview day:

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time.

Potential delays include traffic, parking or finding the meeting location.

  • Stand up and introduce yourself with a firm handshake.
  • Think quickly, but feel free to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts.
  • Support your answers with details and stories of personal experiences.
  • At the end of the interview, make sure to ask a few questions.

Write down questions beforehand, such as “what is your company’s corporate culture?” or “why did you choose to work here?”

  • Send a handwritten thank you card.

Impress the interviewer by mailing a short handwritten thank you note. Employers appreciate the personal touch and thoughtfulness, so it will help you stand out.

Most importantly, remember to:

  • Relax
  • Be confident
  • Be yourself

Also, check out job interview do’s and don’ts for recent PR grads.

Question: What additional job interview tips would you like to share?

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Filed under Internships, Jobs, PR Industry, PR Tips, PRSA

Graduating This Spring – Now What?

By Kaylee Weatherly, Collegiate Outreach

For those of you graduating this spring, the thought of what’s next may cause you some stress and questioning. It’s best to think of this as a time of many possibilities, because it is. There are a lot of different paths to take in public relations – whether it is to find a full-time job at an agency or in-house, try another internship, or go to graduate school. But don’t feel that these are the only directions. You can go into PR indirectly, even if you don’t take a job specifically titled “public relations,” you might even still be performing the basic functions of PR and will get tons of experience there.

  • Full-time job– Full-time jobs are hard to come by these days, and even if you receive an entry-level position, there still might not be much job security. Many people right out of college face the anxiety that they have to take the first full-time position offered to them, even if it’s not what they’re interested in. Keeping an open mind is good, but be careful. If there’s no passion to be brought, then what’s the point of working 40 hours a week at something you can’t see yourself doing? If you still want to shop around, internships and temporary positions can also be a good path for you until you figure out what kind of work you really like.
  • Internships- Internships are always great experiences, but make sure to know your worth. Always go into an internship that will teach you something and will set measurable goals for you to reach. Agencies offer great full-time, paid positions. Nonprofits are usually unpaid, but you’ll get to wear a lot of different hats and work for a great cause. The following Forbes article asks the founder of Internqueen.com how to land a great internship: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/01/31/how-to-get-an-internship/
  • Graduate school- My decision to go straight to graduate school right after my undergraduate career was tough and filled with questions about what I really wanted for a career, what I was passionate about, and whether I could afford more student loans. At the time of graduation, I felt like I wasn’t prepared enough to go straight into the ever-changing field of PR. Sure, I knew how to write a good press release, but I knew that wasn’t the only skill I needed to know. I wanted to also gain a solid background as to why we do the things we do in PR and how to conduct strategic PR, not just tactical PR. Yes, the student loans are expensive (especially because I decided to get a masters at a private school), but my thought is that it’s just going to be like any other bill you will have to pay. Here’s a great article about choosing to get a masters degree in PR and why it will help you. http://prnewpros.prsa.org/?p=1071.

But don’t think that a masters in PR is the only option. You can also choose to get a degree in communication or an MBA.

There are many options you have after graduation. The important thing is to tame your career anxiety by allowing it to motivate you. It’s also important to continue to network and meet people in the PR field, like joining the Young Professionals of PRSA organization. It will help keep your foot in the door and offer you a lot of opportunities to meet other PR professionals like yourself.

Congratulations on graduating – now go show the world what you’ve got to offer!

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Filed under PR Industry, PR Tips, PRSA