A beginner’s guide to making the most of Night With the Pros

“Whenever and wherever you can, network.” Stephanie Mantegna, a PR professional, gave this advice to a room of excited students at last year’s Night With the Pros. As this year’s #NWTP approaches our Chapter, there are a few networking tips for beginners you should know to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Often the beginning of a conversation is the most difficult, especially when approaching a professional. Have a question in mind to open up a dialogue after shaking their hand and introducing yourself. “Can you tell me more about what you do?” and “Where do you work?” are simple open-ended questions that bring up more conversation points. Remember to actually listen
to what they’re saying; don’t be too concerned with your next line that you stop paying attention.

Networking is not just about giving and getting information, or even about building a superficial contact list. Networking is about truly connecting with other people, learning more about them and about yourself. Don’t panic. These professionals all started out where you are right now and every one of them will be happy to help you.

IMG_4190To ease your mind ahead of time, there are many things you can do before the event that will give you an impressive edge on the rest of the crowd. Research the presenters ahead of time; Google their names and find their LinkedIn profiles, and follow them on Twitter. When you meet them later on, it would really stand out to mention a blog post or article they posted.

Practice your handshake with your friends ahead of time. Last year before #NWTP, I went around my floor in a hyper state of anxious excitement, shaking peoples’ hands and asking if my outfit was appropriate. It made me feel much more relaxed for the real thing. Plan your outfit ahead of time and feel free to ask any questions you have to the PRSSA Executive Board. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to ask if the skirt is appropriate, it isn’t.

Once you’ve conversed with the presenter and feel like you’d like to move on, some exit strategies to use are “May I have your business card?”or “What advice might you have for me?” This shows interest and professionalism and allows for more information for a follow-up if you truly connect. When you’re finished, shaking their hand and saying “It was great talking to you, thank you” is a perfect exit.

If Night With the Pros will be your first networking event of your college career, get excited! You are in for an inspiring night. The public relations speakers are always welcoming and happy to talk to passionate and excited young students. We are the future of the field, after all.  🙂

By: Julie Millisky

Julie Millisky is a UD-lovin’ sophomore with a passion for the environment, human rights, and public relations.  She is pursuing double majors in Interpersonal Communications and Public Policy. In addition to being an engaged member of PRSSA-UD, Julie is very involved in the Blue Hen Leadership Program and is a mentor for incoming freshman students. Connect with her on Twitter, @Julie_Millisky.

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New executive board spotlight: Public Relations Director, Keri Betters

– Name: Keri Betters
KATG1– Class year: Senior

– PRSSA E-Board Position: Public Relations Director

– Nicknames: Kerbear, Carols,
K-Dawg, Eliza, Ker, KB Toys, Betters

– Favorite meal/foods: Dinner’s my favorite meal! Favorite foods are grape leaves (a Lebanese dish), hummus, chicken and broccoli casserole, coffee (it’s a food group, I promise), and watermelon.

– If you could meet anyone: Johnny Depp, Tim Tebow, Troy Polamalu, and Michael Jackson.

– Dream career: My dream career is to go into sports PR (ideally for my favorite team of all time, the Pittsburgh Steelers) and/or become the next Erin Andrews.

– Sibling(s): I have three younger brothers: Jeremy (19–he goes to UD, too!), Zachary (16), and Joshua (10).

– Pet(s): Sadly, no pets currently, but I really want a white husky with blue eyes!

– If you could travel anywhere: Australia, Hawaii, Neverland, and Narnia.

– Favorite place to study on campus: Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and The ISE Lab.

– Guilty pleasure: The Bachelorette and caramel iced coffee.

– Weird habit: Most of the time, I purposely spell my name wrong at Starbucks because I’ve realized that’s a battle I’m never going to win. Also, before any stressful event (interview, exam, competition, etc), I listen to “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson on repeat. Don’t know when this habit started, but it calms my nerves every time!

New executive board spotlight: President, Natalie Hines

– Name: Natalie HinesIMG_7062

– Class year: Senior

– PRSSA E-Board Position: President

– Nickname: Nat, Natty, and Patty

– Favorite meal/foods: Spaghetti for lunch or dinner, or a mid-day snack. Also, chips and salsa. Don’t forget the guac!

– If you could meet anyone: Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon.

– Dream career: I aspire to work in communications or public relations that benefit children in some way. I have always wanted to work with Buddy Valastro, of TLC’s Cake Boss. We’ll see.

– Sibling(s): I have an older sister, Erica, who works in human resources for Delmarva Power.

– Pet(s): Unfortunately, no. But dachshunds are my favorite.

– If you could travel anywhere: Italy.

– Favorite place to study on campus: Trabant chapel and library multimedia center.

– Guilty pleasure: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Also, Christmas cookies.

– Weird fact: I have traveled to the very top and bottom of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, I met Jessica Simpson and Kelly Rowland and I once wanted to be an artist.

Social Media Safety Tips for Young PR Professionals

With social media being such a great outlet for people to speak their minds, it also has created an issue—what is too much to be put online? What is okay to be shared, and what should not be?  Sometimes, it is hard to determine, but it is important for students looking to enter the world of PR (or looking to become any professional, really) to understand their limits.  Within the last year, I have learned that I need to take more precautions with my social media accounts after realizing that they really are important in representing you as a brand to future employers, and that your representation online can really help or damage your chances of landing that internship/job. Here are a few social media tips I found online that can help you utilize Facebook or Twitter to give you an edge over another student.

  • Conduct a “social media sweep” every month.

Make time every month to go through and check your accounts, making sure to delete anything that does not portray you in a positive light.  Un-tag yourself from Facebook pictures that might not be too flattering, and even check what pages you are “liking.”  Other people can usually see these, too, and what you like says a lot about you.

  • Make sure your profile picture is professional.

This may seem like common sense, but your picture is the one feature anybody can see regardless of your privacy settings.  Just remember to keep it relatively classy, because your profile picture will also come up on Google when your name is searched.

  • Consider your Facebook page your live resume.

Ask yourself:  Would you print out your Facebook page and hand it to a potential employer?  Would you be proud of what you have posted?  It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to posting if you are not sure of its level of appropriateness.  Even if you delete things, it is not necessarily gone forever—Google and Facebook can keep track of what you have posted, and it is better to keep in mind that an employer will potentially be able to see anything you have posted.

  • Find an honest friend to look at your social media profiles and tell you what should be removed.

Find someone who has your best interests in mind and is willing to look through your sites for you, and ask them what are the top three pictures on your profile that should be taken down.  Once they tell you, at least seriously consider deleting them.  Same goes for posts and likes, if you are not sure.

  • Set your Facebook profile so that everything is private.

This shows that you are smart with social media, and you know how to control your own profile!

  • Don’t air frustrations and concerns for all to see.

No offense, but no one really wants to see a bunch of passive-aggressive “sub-tweets” or Facebook statuses about other people.  It damages your social media presence, and ultimately does not accomplish much.  You would be much better off by having a private conversation with the person you are having a problem with.

These are just a few tips to help you manage your online presence.  You use Facebook and Twitter everyday anyway; why not use it as tool for getting a job, too?

Written by: Allison Knouse

Allison Knouse is a rising junior Mass Communication major with a minor in journalism.  Along with being involved in PRSSA-UD, she will be the Vice President of PR for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD starting fall semester.

PRSSA- The Reason I’ll Be Successful

One word to describe the first day at your first internship?

Horrifying.

Walking into Needham Partners on my first day of my first ever internship was one of the most nerve-wracking  days of my life. I was so scared I wasn’t going to be good enough, that I wasn’t going to be the intern they were hoping for.

After my first few days, I started to realize that I had nothing to be nervous about because I was prepared for whatever they would throw my way.

Why was I prepared? I owe it all to PRSSA-UD. eboard

I couldn’t be happier that I joined PRSSA at the beginning of my freshman year because I have already learned more than I would ever learn in a classroom. First, I learned about all of the do’s and dont’s of resume making in PRSSA I learned that when applying for specific jobs/internships, you have to change your resume to appeal to the people at that company. When applying for my internship at Needham Partners, which is a marketing and public relations company that organizes large conferences for huge corporations and important people, I knew some of the things on my resume wouldn’t be relevant when they were reviewing my resume so I took them off.

Second, during PRSSA, we had a meeting dedicated to making and perfecting our LinkedIn profiles. Having a LinkedIn that is updated and descriptive is very important for employers when they are looking for new employees. Having a LinkedIn came in handy when getting my internship because I have been using it very often in all of the work that I do in the office.

Another great thing about PRSSA is all of the trips that we go on. Every semester we take trips to talk to professionals in all types of industries. They tell us about how they got to where they are today and they give us tips about  what we can do to be successful. This year I went to Tipton Communications, a PR agency in Newark, DE and Hunter Public Relations in NYC. I learned so much from the people working at these two companies and they gave me so many great tips that I have been using at my internship and that I can use in the future.

Lastly, because of PRSSA I feel that I have matured professionally. Being able to watch all of our Executive Board this year, and having the amazing opportunity to be on the Executive Board next year, I feel that I have matured a lot. If I had started my internship a year ago I would not only have been very un-prepared but I wouldn’t have been as emotionally ready or as mature as I am starting my internship now. I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to intern at this great company and I owe all of my success at this internship and in the future to PRSSA-UD.

Written by: Katherine Bartell

katherineKatherine Bartell is a Sophomore at the University of Delaware and is from Nanuet, Ny. She is majoring in Communication Interest and minoring in Spanish. Katherine is so excited to be apart of the PRSSA Executive board. She loves the beach and spending time with family and friends. Katherine’s favorite place she has ever traveled to was Rome, Italy and she hopes to be able to return to Italy and travel in Europe after she graduates college. She has a crazy obsession for Disney and loves the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Katherine hopes to have a career in PR agency when she graduates college. She is extremely proud to be a Blue Hen and feels so lucky and happy to attend UD.

New executive board spotlight: Program Director, Sydney Scheiner

prssa– Name: Sydney Scheiner
– Class year: Junior
– PRSSA E-Board Position: Program Director
– Nickname: Squidney
– Favorite meal/foods: Breakfast is my favorite. Put pancakes and eggs in front of me and I’m the happiest person alive
– If you could meet anyone: If I could meet anyone, it would have to be Amy Poehler and/or Tina Fey.
– Dream career: My dream career would be to be on Broadway or a rapper, but my realistic dream job would be to work for SNL or Jimmy Fallon.
– Sibling(s): I have an older brother named Corey who is 24 and works at Major League Baseball Productions.
– Pet(s): I have the poster dog for golden retrievers. His name is Parker, he’s 4, and my parents treat him more like a child than me.
– If you could travel anywhere: If I could travel anywhere I would go to Australia, then some small town in Montana.
– Favorite place to study on campus: The best place to study on campus in my opinion is the Chapel, but when that gets too crowded, go to Alfred Lerner, it’s usually very empty.
– Guilty pleasure: Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardashians
– Weird fact: I have an incredible memory. I remember very trivial things about people and I never forget anyone’s birthday.

#UDoPR: PRSSA-UD’s Unforgettable Day in the City That Never Sleeps

“Everything I owe to PRSSA. I would not be here without it.” – Grace Leong, University of Delaware Communication alumna and owner of Hunter Public Relations.

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Two weeks ago, fifteen members of PRSSA-UD traveled to New York City for the semester’s agency field trip. The weather threatened to downpour, but never once did we have to run for cover. After arriving bright and early in Manhattan, all fifteen of us eagerly anticipated the many adventures the day would bring. As a lover of all things social, meeting The College Prepster, visiting Hunter Public Relations, and touring Buzzfeed HQ reinforced exactly why I adore public relations.

First stop: brunch with Carly, AKA The College Prepster, at Le Pain café. Carly’s career in the blogosphere boomed unexpectedly, but Carly has learned a lot about public relations through the process. While chatting with her, she explained that knowing your audience and what they’re into are critical for both blogging and public relations. “Learn social media etiquette as quickly as possible,” Carly urged. “Anything on social media can and will be traced back to you so always represent yourself (and your company) professionally.”

Next stop: a visit to Hunter Public Relations. Grace Leong, Hunter PR owner and University of Delaware graduate, majored in Communication and founded the PRSSA-UD chapter. Her passion for what she does is evident in both her words and actions. Speaking with her was encouraging, refreshing, and motivating. Grace promised that although working in a fast-paced agency can be exhausting, it is extremely rewarding. “When you get burned out,” Leong encouraged, “do more of it [what you do], but change the scenery. It helps reignite your passion and creativity.”

After our discussion with Grace, I walked away with three tips for success:

  1. Be transparent. Always admit you’re sorry.
  2. In a job interview, state the impact and relate it back to the company and how you would fit in
  3. While job searching, look at the entire package of the company. Salary isn’t everything and it won’t motivate you through the hard days—go with your gut and do what you love.

The final stop: a tour to Buzzfeed Headquarters. The HQ reminded me of Google’s office in the movie, The Internship. Not only did the office include a life-sized cutout of Ryan Gosling, but there were ping pong tables, foose-ball tables, an Xbox, and a few giant TVs. One of the employees, Ashley, gave us insight about what it’s like to work at a social media-focused company. Her #1 tip for success: “Marketing is paid media, but public relations is earned media. Knowing this, the distribution strategy is as important as the idea itself.

Although we heard advice from three different perspectives, the overall message stayed consistent. Public relations is relationship building. Whether you build that relationship through blogging, working directly with a client at an agency, or focusing strictly on the social media aspect, implementing public relations skills is critical for long-term success. As a field trip attendee, the experience further sparked my passion for PRSSAA, motivated me to keep pursuing my dream, and reinforced the true value and importance of public relations. Bill Gates summarized it best: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.”

To read the tweet-by-tweet summary of the day’s events, click here for the Storify! 

By: Keri Betters

Keri is a junior Interpersonal Communication major with a double minor in advertising and interactive media and a concentration in public relations. She currently serves as PRSSA-UD’s Program Director and will be the PR Director for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to serving on PRSSA-UD’s executive board, she is a UD Social Media Ambassador, a social media marketing intern for UD Career Services Center, a youth group leader, and a member of Lambda Pi Eta. Connect with her on Twitter, @LilMissKeri93.