From resumes to twitter and from public relations professionals to corporations, this semester has been a wonderful learning experience. I not only have heard about topics I previously knew nothing about, but I have had several hands-on learning experiences, that helped shape the way I now view the field of public relations. I have a lot more respect for those in PR, and I also have a much better grasp of what it means to be a professional in public relations.
Number One— When first looking to start in public relations, the best way to get an interview, not a job but an interview, is by having a good resume. A resume should highlight strengths and accomplishments. Former places of employment and involvement are good to include. Try to have the resume cater to the place you are applying, and make it simple and easy to read. Finally keep it to a page; don’t go on and on for three pages about every little thing you have been a part of for the past ten years. This leads to the next point.
Number Two— Use LinkedIn in correlation with the resume. Although a resume should only be about a page, LinkedIn is a popular place for employers to go and see the more extended resume of a potential employee.
Number Three— Once you get an interview, there are other things to keep in mind. First do your homework, memorize names of people you will meet before you meet them. Find out what the company is about and know its history. Arrive in plenty of time and dress nicely. (A suit is normally a safe bet). Brush up on standard interview questions and try to predict what they may ask you. This way you are not caught off guard.
Number Four— Before this semester I knew nothing about Twitter, but now I see how useful it can be. It is a wonderful way to stay connected and make connections. As a PR professional you will want to be in tune with what the world is talking about. What better way than Twitter.
Number Five— However, Twitter can also be used to really make those in the PR field work. For instance, if you are part of the public relations department of a large corporation there is a lot of pressure put on, when something goes wrong and everyone is tweeting about it. News that used to reach a few hundred people can now easily reach thousands or even millions. This leads to the next issue.
Number Six— I interviewed a public relations professional and one of the questions I asked him was, “What does a normal day or week look like?” He responded by saying that basically there wasn’t a normal day or week. I think part of this is you never know what might be the most pressing issue of the week. If Twitter explodes with bad publicity on your company, the whole focus of the PR department has to shift for that week or until things get cleared up. I also gained a lot of other interesting knowledge from my interview. If you want to read more about it you can click here.
Number Seven— Along the same lines. This semester I also learned a lot about corporations and the somewhat common mistrust that many of them face. Again, I saw the need for public relations, especially when the press or a customer doesn’t give an accurate portrayal of your company.
Number Eight— Moving into another area of thought. I have learned a lot about effective ways to listen and the importance of being a good listener. I took a NewsU course on listening, and I think it has truly helped me to be more conscious about how I communicate in conversations.
Number Nine— Another important lesson I gained this year was how to effectively deliver difficult information; like telling a good employee that they need to be more responsible in arriving to work on time, or their job may be jeopardized. This was also a NewsU course.
Number Ten— Finally, I learned the importance of staying current with public relations and some of the websites like prdaily.com that offer information to those looking to stay connected.
So, needless to say, there have been a lot of helpful tidbits that I gained from Professor Nixon’s Public Relations class. This was just a glimpse into three months of classes and learning — I hope you enjoyed it!