Making a Difference for All the Difference: Landing the Perfect Internship through PRSSA

We have reached the point in our academic careers where going to class and getting good grades is no longer enough. There is now the added expectation of networking and finding an internship that allows you to apply all that you have learned while acquiring new skills from the professionals you are working with. Though this process can seem daunting, the connections, exclusive opportunities and assistance provided to PRSSA members makes acquiring that perfect internship and crucial professional development skills that much more manageable.

This semester, I began volunteering for a nonprofit in Wilmington called All the Difference. This outpatient clinic provides treatment services and conducts research for children with developmental and sensory disabilities. The organization sought an individual to reconstruct their social media plan and help with crowdfunding research. Though I did not have formal experience in the field, the organization’s mission resonated with me so much that I felt compelled to apply for the position.

Thought I’ve only worked with the organization for a short time, my experience with All the Difference has proved invaluable. Having never formally composed a social media campaign before, I was initially intimidated by the endeavor. While talking to peers with social media experience, I found that I had all of the skills necessary to implement an effective plan; the only thing I lacked was confidence in my abilities. Currently, All the Difference is in the process of implementing my plan to increase traffic on their various social media sites in hopes of obtaining more donations through crowdfunding.

I would not have been able to take IMG_4203advantage of this experience without the help from and resources provided by PRSSA. This opportunity was posted on the PRSSA Facebook Member Forum only because members on the E-board had connections with people in the organization. As a paying member of PRSSA, there are many exclusive opportunities made available at organizations looking specifically for a dedicated PRSSA member. Landing the first internship tends to be the hardest, but the level of professionalism that PRSSA exemplifies to the community positively adds to your credibility and can make you a strong candidate for the position. Having PRSSA on your resume along with exclusive access to internships offers you the recourses necessary to positively impact your overall professional development.

By: Victoria Dellacava

Victoria Dellacava is a sophomore Honors student at the University of Delaware majoring in Interpersonal Communication and minoring in Public Policy, Organizational and Community Leadership and Advertising. In addition to her involvement with PRSSA and All the Difference, Victoria is a violinist in UD’s Symphony Orchestra. Follow her on twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn!

5 Ways to Network Like a Pro

Networking is a critical skill to have that many people struggle with. Improving your networking skills can make all the difference and help you get your foot in the door. Here a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be Prepared

Before attending a networking event or meeting always do your research. Make sure that you know who is hosting the event and who will be there, this will help you know what to expect. Also make sure you prepare a short speech to introduce yourself. This short speech should briefly tell people about yourself, your goals and help them remember you.

  1. Make Eye Contactinterview

Looking someone in the eye is key. It lets them know that you’re are paying attention. Nothing gives a worse impression then looking around for the next person to talk to, or looking down at your phone.

  1. Listening is Key

Remember that networking is all about conversation and making connections, so you do not want to be talking the entire time. It is important to seem interested in the person you are talking to. Ask them questions and listen to their answers, you may be able to find out what is important to them and connect with them that way.

  1. Politely Exit Conversations

Part of preparation is scripting out some exit lines, this will help you smoothly exit a conversation. When exiting, make sure it flows with the conversation, do not interrupt the person to exit, wait for a loll in discussion. Make sure that you exchange business cards and share a firm handshake before moving on.

  1. Follow Up

Networking does not end when the event does, it is an ongoing process that always happens. It is really important to follow up with the people that you met, whether that is through and email or a phone call. You do not have to contact everyone you met, just the people you really connected with. Doing this within 24 hours of the event will set you apart and show that you can take initiative.

Networking can be intimidating but it is important to remember that networking is something that everyone does. Don’t be afraid to get out there and make connections because you never know where they will take you.

Article Used: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/12844.aspx

By: Hailey Fuzak

Hailey Muzak is a junior mass communication major with minors in business administration and journalism. She is a first year member of PRSS-UD, the VP of Communication for the Student Alumni Ambassadors, a cofounder of the Cockpit Crazies and a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma

5 Blogging Do’s and Don’ts

If you like writing, or want to sharpen your skills, writing a blog is fun and beneficial. To write a well-organized and purposeful blog, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind!

Don’ts:blog1

  1. Don’t use too much content. You do not want to overwhelm your readers. Keep it simple and they’ll be more likely to keep reading!
  1. Don’t clutter your page. Make sure there aren’t too many visual cues, links, or buttons on the page that may distract your reader from the message, or messages, you are trying to convey.
  1. Don’t frame things negatively or speak badly about anything or anyone else. A blog should not be used to express dislike or hatred. Use the power and freedom of expression for good! Spread positivity; the world could always use more of that!
  1. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Blog about something you know enough about. Make sure the content you’re posting is accurate so that your readers will see you as a credible source.
  1. Don’t imitate someone else’s blog. Don’t be a “copycat.” If there’s already a blog about something you want to talk about, engage with the writer and readers of that blog instead. Find something that makes you and your blog different.

Do’s:

  1. Show passion about your topic. Being passionate will reel readers in. Chances are, if you’re passionate about something, your writing will be richer and more interesting for readers. That’ll keep them coming back.
  1. Be specific and consistent about your message and reasoning. Avoid making a blog about nothing. Once you lock down that passion, stick to it! Open up to your readers, tell them why you’re passionate, and then stay true and focused on that passion.
  1. Write regularly. Make sure to keep readers engaged. Try developing a schedule so that your readers can know when to expect a new post. Setting deadlines for yourself will also prove helpful and efficient for maintaining your blog.
  1. Respond to comments/ engage with your readers. It’s crucial to realize that you’re writing for an audience and they matter! Responding to their comments will make them feel included, therefore encouraging them to keep reading!
  1. Use images and provide links where necessary. Pictures grab attention. Keep readers entertained! Following blogs is most often a leisure activity; pictures remind your readers that they’re not reading another boring article. Links help to display how your blog connects to the rest of the world, so be mindful of staying relevant.

By: Sydney Dawson

Sydney Dawson is a junior Mass Communications major and pursuing minors in Advertising and Spanish. She is a first year member of PRSSA-UD, an undergraduate TA for the Spanish Department, and a third year member of the UD Coed Cheerleading Team. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @syddle3.

Break Through the Interview: A Recap of the Interview Skill Slam

The word ‘interview’ often makes people cringe. Interviewers can be intimidating, stressful, and can make you rethink what you should and shouldn’t have put on your resume. People walk into interviews never fully knowing what to expect, and never fully able to figure out whether the words “we’ll be in touch” mean you got the job, or that you’ll never hear from the interviewer again.

However, thanks to PRSSA-UD’s skill slam on Monday, March 23, entitled “Break Through the Interview,” planned by the pre-professional organization’s Vice President of Professional Development, Laura Hepp, some of the PRSSA members had the opportunity to receive feedback from PR professionals on their interview skills, and their resumes.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit through members’ interviews and take notes on the feedback professionals provided, as well as, listen to what they said are dos and don’ts for any interview. What I learned from sitting through these interviews was always expect a behavioral based question, and don’t let it frazzle you. Possible employers want to know that you can think on your feet, especially when they ask you a question such as “give me an example of a time you tried to accomplish something and failed.” This kind of question sends people into panic mode, but no need to panic. Turn a negative into a positive. Admit to the failure. We all have them, but make sure you end with how this failure bettered you in some way.

Also, always maintain eye contact and shake an interviewers interviewhand. It seems simple enough, but in the heat of the moment a lot of people tend to forget about this simple gesture. Don’t let that be you. A handshake and steady eye contact make you seem confident and they differentiate you from someone who is so nervous they almost seem unsure about their own abilities.

Always make sure to sound enthusiastic about what you love, and be able to verbalize how you’d be an asset to the organization whose position you are interviewing for. It’s nice that you enjoy your profession, but interviewers don’t care about why you think a given position is the best fit for you they care about why you are the best fit for them.

Lastly, as for resumes don’t be afraid to get specific. Explain in detail how you personally have positively impacted the places you have worked for and make sure to put the most important and relevant thing you’ve done at the very top of your resume.

This was my first PRSSA skill slam and based on what I learned, I encourage everyone to jump at the chance to participate in the next skill slam. Who knows, you might just take away from it.

By: Stephanie Pinilla

Stephanie Pinilla is a junior Psychology and Interpersonal Communications double major, working toward a Women’s Studies minor. She is currently a general member of PRSSA-UD, and works as a media planner for Now Hear This UD public speaking competition. Stephanie hopes to end the year by becoming an Oral Communication Fellow and by becoming a more active member of PRSSA-UD. Follow her on Twitter, @lilpinil.

Spring Into Success: 4 Tips to Make The Most of Spring Break

Finally, it’s time to relax after a busy first half of the semester—spring break is here! In between basking in the glow of the sun (or not…where is warm weather?) or just the glow of your computer screen, this time is also a great opportunity to work on your professional brand. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of all that extra time in a way that will benefit you in your future career.

  • Update (or create) your resume.

During the school year, I tend to neglect my resume until I actually have to use it. It’s easy to forget to add new clubs, volunteer opportunities, or new jobs and internships to your resume when you’re busy. If there are no new activities to add, think about editing it. Is there a better word you could use to describe what you did in your position? Is everything formatted in an appealing way? If you’re a freshman who has yet to create a resume, now is the perfect time to start! Don’t worry if you don’t have much to put on it yet—there’s plenty of time. Many templates are available online to help you begin. springbreak

Relax over break, but also advance your career.

(mhs.keysschools.com)

  • Develop your LinkedIn profile.

I’ve found LinkedIn to be a great tool. It allows you to go more in-depth than a one page resume, and you can show off your writing skills and even include writing samples/projects if you’d like. Being able to connect with professionals and search for jobs and internships is another benefit of having a LinkedIn profile. If you already have one, take this time to update or edit it, or maybe even change your profile picture to a more professional shot.

  • Search for summer internships.

It’s not too late to be looking for summer internships. Many places are still looking for candidates and holding interviews. Blue Hen Careers, a database with hundreds of jobs and internships listed, is a great place to start, plus it’s available for all UD students and even alumni to use. There is also a College of Arts and Sciences Career Networking Night on Thursday, April 9, if any communication majors are interested!

  • Create an online professional portfolio.

Personally, this is my goal for spring break. Creating a way for employers to view your writing samples and other relevant projects online will really help you stand out when applying for jobs or internships, and allow them to view your work all at once. I’m planning on making a WordPress site to upload my writing samples to, but you can use any blogging platform, or even LinkedIn.

Hope you are having a great break!

By: Allison Knouse

Allison Knouse is a junior Mass Communication major with minors in journalism and advertising. Along with being a member of PRSSA-UD, she is a social media ambassador for the university and serves as the Vice President of PR for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD. Follow her on Twitter @BlueHenAllisonK, or connect with her on LinkedIn!

Short, Sweet and To the Point – Tips for Successful Blogging

Gone are the days when a blog post was simply used as an outlet for one’s thoughts. Sure, these blog posts still exist; but bloggers have taken to the social media channel to further act as journalists, reviewers, and opinion leaders. Anyone can write a blog post – but who wants to attach his or her name to something mediocre? Crafting a post that is informative, influential, and impressionable can be tricky. images

Here are a few tips to take your blogging skills from beginner to beyond adept.

  1. Write with the end in mind. Why are you writing about this topic – what is your ultimate goal? Be mindful of who your target audience is, and what you want to have accomplished by the time they finish reading. Do you want them to try a certain new restaurant? Make that known. Do you want readers to become informed of a new charitable organization and then make a donation? Make that known.
  1. Every word counts. Many people are under the impression that more is always better; however, this is not the case. If you can make your intention clear without a ten-page explanation, do that! There is no need for excess words, which I like to refer to as “fluff”. Each word should be carefully selected for a specific purpose. Be transparent and genuine in your writing.
  1. How it is displayed is just as important as the content. Make your post easy on the eyes! Compiling lists is a great way to present content. It is much easier to read smaller paragraphs, and bold prints or bullet points, rather than lengthy paragraphs that seem to never end. It is much easier for readers to digest the information this way as well.
  1. Create catchy titles. A title is the first thing a reader sees, and often influences whether or not he or she will read on. Demonstrate your creativity! A title is indicative of what will follow. Make sure that it accurately sums up what you will be talking about, but isn’t bland. Think of it as a preview to your writing style; if your title is clever and well thought-out, your writing will be, too.

It is meant to be enjoyable, so don’t forget to have fun with your writing! By utilizing these tips, your blog posts will reach their maximum potential and your readers will be impatiently waiting for you to post more and more. Happy blogging!

By: Christina Droppa

Christina Droppa is a UD-loving sophomore, a member of PRSSA-UD and a member of the sorority, Sigma Kappa. She majors in communications and minors in Spanish.

Image from: http://www.spiceupyourblog.com/2013/01/writing-compelling-blog-posts.html#.VQ5s1ihFPao

 

#UDPRIntern: The Five Do’s and Don’ts of Interning for a Small Business

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When did you realize you were meant to work in public relations?

This past winter, I interned for The SuperNutritionist (SN), a nutritionist business based on Long Island. My favorite part of the experience? Getting a rush knowing I was helping a small business owner thrive in today’s economy through my social media strategies. That rush was my light-bulb moment; I knew from then on I was meant to pursue a career in public relations.

I happen to love developing social media campaigns for small businesses. Unlike working at an agency, at a small business you have only one client and only one brand to define, making it easier to invest all of your energy into achieving the owner’s goals.

Interning at a small business also provides a chance to test out all facets of a public relations career. I know my internship with the SN prepared me to handle everything from data analytics, to scheduling tactics in a content calendar, to even getting behind the camera and shooting videos!

Interested in looking into the small business internship market? Here are my top 5 tips for being the best public relations intern a business owner can have:

1. Do Develop a Social Media Plan and Content Calendar. Think of writing the plan and the calendar as creating the instructions for a new board game; they must be so foolproof and detailed that anyone can follow them without your help. These tools ensure that even when your internship is over, the business will have a consistent stream of fresh and varied content.

2. Don’t Ignore to What the Owner Is Looking For. Listen to what the business owner sees as their branding strategy or their selling point. Although you are in charge of developing the social media strategy, you need to make sure your boss’ vision is expressed. Once the plan and calendar are compiled, explain how every tactic contributes to overall awareness of their company and their brand.

3. Do Discuss ROI with the Owner. Business owners often crave immediate results from social media- more likes, more followers, more money, etc. It is critical you explain that social media is not a short-term process, it’s a long-term commitment. Let them know ROI is also measured via impact, influence, and most importantly, engagement. While you should still evaluate metrics the owner cares about, also make sure to evaluate the ones you believe will create the most results in order to prove what works and what doesn’t.

4. Don’t Execute Something That’s Busy Work. Small business owners don’t have large budgets or amounts of time to dedicate towards managing a campaign that doesn’t generate results. Do your research before you implement a campaign or suggest new types of content to curate. You can never guarantee results, but backing up your ideas with research gives them a better chance of actually creating meaningful impact.

5. Do Introduce New Platforms to Optimize Reach. I introduced the SN to Instagram and Pinterest, providing her brand with desirable multimedia content. More platforms also equal more target audiences for the business to reach (for example, the SN can now target older women on Pinterest versus the young adults on Instagram).

It may not be a glamorous agency experience, but working for a small business teaches you a lot about meeting a client’s social needs. As an intern, you will not only learn, but you will also leave a small business better equipped to tackle the ever-changing worlds of social media marketing and public relations.

And if you weren’t already convinced that PR is the career for you, executing all of these tasks for a small business will definitely help you figure out what you want. Go ahead, have your light-bulb moment.

By: Paxton Mittleman

Paxton Mittleman is a sophomore Communications and English double major with an Advertising minor. When Paxton isn’t attending PRSSA-UD meetings or writing for the blog, she is volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma, planning events with the UD Honors Program Senior Fellows, or tweeting up a storm on her Social Media Ambassador Twitter account. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn!