#UDPRintern: A Winternship to Remember

My name is Amanda Schuman and I’m a sophomore communications interest major. I have been a member of PRSSA-UD since fall semester of my freshman year, and as someone who wasn’t entirely sure what to be when I grew up, it was a great organization for me to join. PRSSA introduced me to many aspects of the public relations industry, which led me to pursue my first internship in the field this winter.

I currently intern at my old highschool, Golda Och Academy, in its alumni relations department. On my first day, I tweeted about my #winternship. The school’s principal took note of this term, enjoyed it, and now it is sticking. My job involves contacting alumni (my friends) through social media to rally involvement with fundraising and keep the alumni society updated with their accomplishments and milestones.

My first major task was to help promote and plan an annual basketball game of ahashtaglumni vs. the current high school team. This event invites back the last four graduating classes to have brunch with their former teachers and then watch the game. A couple weeks in advance, I was in charge of sending out emails to both alumni and faculty informing them of the event, making a Facebook event and managing the giveaways that were to be handed out.

While discussing the event, I remembered how during the PRSSA-UD networking event, Night With the Pros, a Twitter contest was held to encourage participant engagement on social media. I applied that to the basketball game and created a contest using a hashtag that got alumni talking about the game through social media. My colleagues were impressed with the results and I have PRSSA-UD to thank for that.

On game day, I was in charge of the school’s Instagram account. While I took time to catch up with my friends, I also snapped pictures of alumni and faculty mingling, as well as, action shots of the game. I then had the idea to recreate the famous ‘selfie’ of Ellen Degeneres and other celebrities by having the principal of the school take a selfie with the entire alumni section of the game. This photo managed to get more ‘likes’ than any previous picture on the account.

In the end, it was a win for the alumni team and a win for my winternship.

By: Amanda Schuman

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.