Guest Post: Embracing the Next Phase

This guest post is from my Twitter friend, Kellye Crane. Kellye is one of those PRos that I always recommend students follow. She’s super smart and has good advice for PR people at all levels.

As the school year draws to a close, I’m sure many PRos in Training are thinking about the future, and pondering what Modern PR means today. Whether you’re on the job market, starting an internship, beginning a new position or just trying to keep up with the latest advancements, you’ve no doubt heard and read a great deal about the vast changes taking place in the approach to public relations.

As current students know, whether it’s called PR 2.0, New PR, or some other catchy label, it’s clear that public relations is moving into a new age. At the forefront of this evolution is PR’s incorporation of a more conversational approach to communications, made possible – and necessary – by social media.

All this change can feel a bit intimidating, but the good news is this is truly an exciting time! Those who stay abreast of the changes and adapt to the evolving climate will thrive. If you’re worried, I’m going to let you in on an open secret:

Today’s students are every bit as prepared as the more experienced PR pros to succeed in this fast-changing environment.

For most of the class of 2009, adapting to new technologies, conversing online and being authentic is second nature. Much of what my colleagues and I are trying to learn – from the social norms of texting to the unspoken rules of Facebook – is old hat to you. PR is going to look very different in the near future, and the truth is some of the experienced pros are set in their ways.

Of course, the fact that the methods of communicating have changed doesn’t alter the fundamentals of public relations we should all be practicing. This is where the PR veterans have much to teach new PR pros.

These circumstances create a unique opportunity for emerging and experienced PR pros to join forces for a perfect partnership of wisdom and new ideas. While it’s essential to give appropriate respect to your managers, at the same time you should feel comfortable to share your perspective. The best workplaces will welcome your input and – whether it’s used or not – you’ll be credited with thinking strategically.

Your fresh perspectives combined with the expertise of your senior colleagues will be a powerful alliance. Together, you’ll be unstoppable!


Kellye Crane founded Crane Communications, LLC in 1995, and has 18 years of experience in strategic public relations and marketing communications. Her blog is Solo PR Pro and you can find her on Twitter at @KellyeCrane.

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What Does the PRo of the Future Look Like?

The very ground on which we stand in public relations is shifting. Like tectonic plates colliding miles under the surface, these changes are shaking up the industry. The PRos of the future will need to have different skills and use more traditional skills in new ways. These changes are creating new opportunities for smart, creative thinkers.

John Bell at Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence Team offers 13 skills that will be required for PR professionals to succeed in the future. His PR Brain for 2009 looks different than the PR brain looked even seven years ago when I finished my undergrad degree.

You can read John’s post, but the point of his skills that I take away are that you have to be quick, responsive (not reactive) and creative. You also must know how to think in terms of measurement, ROI and be able to talk business.

Katie Paine offers six skills that PRos of the future need to have in a recent newsletter article. Katie offers that incoming professionals must be able to listen, create campaigns with the audience in mind and value truth and transparency. She reinforces John’s point about measurement. PR professionals must know how to measure and make decisions based on data.

They’ll make decisions based on data, not gut feelings. Yes the gut will still be a powerful tool, but in an environment that morphs faster than you can say “Utterli, Seesmic, Plurk, and Twittergrader,” the gut will be a very difficult thing to read and rely upon.

Amy Ziari, rounds out these three recent posts with insights from a (fairly) recent grad. Amy is an Oregon alum and has a very forward looking perspective about new PR grads as the future of the industry. She offers this:

I’m proposing that recent grads have such an incredible knowledge source at their fingertips. We will be the leaders in advancing our profession forward, and teaching our agencies and many of our coworkers about these changes. We will also be the ones brainstorming ways to take our profession to the next level in the future as human communications and media continue to evolve. We are a generation like no other. That can offer to our profession like no other.

I am excited for my students. It’s a new world with tremendous opportunity and they will be ready for the future.

What do you think? What skills do new PRos need to have? How is the industry changing?

Guest Post: As A New Grad, It’s All About Marketing Yourself

This guest post is from Ashley Sherrick (UO, ’07), an intern at Conkling, Fiskum & McCormick, a public affairs agency in Portland, Ore.

So I know you have heard this before, but the key to landing your first “real” job or internship out of college is to market, market, market yourself! Just being a recent grad myself, I went through the whole freak-out process of not having a job lined up after school.

My best tip is to do informational interviews. I know, it may sound like a waste of time because you might think there’s no job potential because it is not a formal interview, but they really do pay off.

Call a company that you may be interested in and see if anyone is available to do an informational interview. Likely you will be directed to someone willing to spend time some time talking and give you a chance to market yourself a professional with potential. And the best part is that you can relax and be yourself; you’re the one doing all the interviewing – not to mention that you won’t get sweaty pits (read: gross) like you may during a real interview.

First, be prepared. Do background research on the company and prepare a list of questions tailored to each specific company you interview with. Second, ask your interviewee what experiences brought them to where they are in their career today. Ask for tips for a new graduate trying out the working world and what they recommend for moving up in the workplace.

Remember this is an informational interview, your chance to do the interviewing, and you may realize that what you thought would be a fabulous place to work is not really what you are looking for.

Lastly, if the interview goes really well, you may want to ask your interviewee if it is okay that you leave your resume and cover letter… but feel out the situation first. Usually, it is not appropriate to leave a resume and cover letter because the interview is not formal, but as said earlier, feel out the situation. And always ask for another person that you could get in touch with at the company at the end of the interview.

In my case, I did an informational interview with a woman at Conkling, Fiskum & McCormick, which went great. We ended up talking for an hour and a half just about life in general, as well as a bit about the company, and I ended up landing an internship just from the informational interview.

Another important way to market yourself is to have a blog. I’m sure some of you have already created a blog or will in the near future thanks to Kelli, but blogs are a great way to let the world, as well as potential employers, see your writing style. It shows that you have a passion for writing, which you should (we are journalism majors for a reason) and it also shows that you are keeping up with the exponentially growing social media and the ever-changing journalism industry.

Good luck! And have fun.

Work is Hard: Tips for your First Job

Recent grads are eagerly anticipating the first day on the job. And my students are no exception.

I want to offer a few first-days-on-the-job tips. I’ll preface this by saying that your first job will not make or break you. You can take a risk, follow your heart (or your wallet) and you’ll be just fine.

So, say you’ve landed that first great job. You’re eager to make a good impression, to make your mark on the industry and to move up the agency or corporate ladder. But what can you expect?

Your education is only the beginning.
I see three parts to this piece of advice – the logistics of work, the tasks and the personalities.

Education doesn’t prepare you for a 8 – 5 schedule. And believe it or not, it’s hard. It’s hard to be at work by 8 am and stay active and engaged for 8 hours. It’s hard and it will take some time to adjust. And don’t let work consume you. Easier said that done that first six months or that first year – but remember to exercise, to spend time with family and friends and to have some fun. It’s called work-life balance.

ZenHabits has lots of great tips for all these things. Here’s a nice post about being more productive.

My piece of advice for learning office personalities and politics is – stay out. Stay out for a year if you can. You don’t want to “side” with the wrong person or issue because you don’t know any better. Just stay out. And don’t gossip. You probably won’t get fired. But you might damage your relationship with your employer. Better to stay out.

Find a mentor.
Look around. Who in your office is doing good work and is well-liked and well-respected? Tell them. And ask if you can go out to coffee. A mentor relationship doesn’t have to be a formal one. But having a senior person to go to with questions or of whom you can ask advice is invaluable.

I met my mentor through a volunteer project with a nonprofit organization and, while we don’t work together often, or even see each other more than once every couple of months, I know I can always ask her advice. Not only do I know I can ask. I know she’ll be honest with me and give me good feedback.

Seek challenges.
You come to the table with outstanding professional skills and a background to be able handle much of what’s thrown your way. Seek out challenging assignments. Look at the basic assignments you’re given and figure out how to do it better or faster. Make recommendations or suggestions for programs that will add value for your organization or your client.

By seeking challenges, accepting more responsibility and making yourself more visible in your organization, you’re likely to zip up the proverbial “ladder” in no time.

For my readers who are new professionals – what would you add?

Keep networking.

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