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.

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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!

5 Ways To Make The Most of Your Semester

All too often my fellow students and I rush through classes with one goal: make it to the end of the semester. Semester after semester we push through, until we finally reach that pinnacle point: graduation. But what happens to the in-between? After all, isn’t the point of college to prepare us for the career world? Wasn’t that why we slaved over research papers and stayed up all night cramming for the big final? Don’t forget those fabulous group projects that always seemed to come together just in the nick of time. So do classes really matter? As midterms approach, I’m tempted to say, “No way, I’m graduating soon, so who cares!” But what if we tried to do more than just barely wade through the material day after day? What if we took a proactive approach to our semester and actually tried to get our money’s worth? I think this is how we could do it… blog image 3-21-15

  1. We could actually appreciate our class schedules! Yes, that’s right. Trust me, I’ve had many unfortunate schedules throughout my college career, but I still think we ought to take a step back and enjoy them. Think about it, who else gets to spend three or four hours per day in a classroom, then gets to roam free for the remainder of the time? So how do we hang out with our friends, get enough sleep, and complete our assignments before the next day of classes? We learn TIME MANAGEMENT, before we have a full-time job and actually need it.
  1. Don’t forget the SKILLS we are learning in our classes! We may not ever need to know which president was the first to live in the White House (it was President John Adams), but we will need to use the skills we learn in our everyday lives. Knowing how to conduct research, synthesize large amounts of information, write concisely, and communicate effectively will all be necessary for success in our careers. So why don’t we try to learn now?
  1. We can PRACTICE with our professors! How will we interact professionally in an interview? Have we learned to network well at social events? Do we know how to draft a professional email? Professors are here to help! We have access to office hours every week, they (almost) always reply to our emails – no matter how poorly drafted they are, – and we interact with them two or three times a week during class. Let’s use this time to gain valuable experience interacting professionally.
  1. Next, we can NETWORK with our fellow students! One day they’ll be our professional peers. We share a common bond as UD students, so it’s a perfect time to develop friendships and acquaintances with those who we will be sharing a job market with very soon.
  1. Oh, and don’t forget, the semester is about FUN too! We need should take time for ourselves, figure out our likes and dislikes, discover a few hobbies, and volunteer in our community. It’s the perfect environment to develop lifelong friendships. So if we are willing to put in the effort, I think we just might learn a few things along the way!

By: Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson is a senior double major in Mass Communication and Political Science, with a minor in History. She is also a part of the UD Honors program. In addition to her involvement in PRSSA-UD, Rachel is a leader in the Baptist Student Ministry on campus. 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

 

Heather Tansley, Communications Specialist: Taking A Leap and Finding Her Passion

If you asked Heather Tansley what she wanted to do with her life as she entered college, her answer would have had no trace of the words “communications.” In fact, Tansley started school at the University of Delaware with a major in Neuroscience, planning to enter the medical field.   tweet2

So how exactly did Tansley go from budding medical professional to the Communication Specialist for her alma mater’s Career Services Center?

It all started after Tansley obtained her Master’s degree and landed her first job performing crisis work at a psychiatric hospital. As she watched the hospital’s communications strategists at work, Tansley thought, “That looks like fun…I want to do something like that.” Luckily, she got the chance to test the fun out for herself when a spot opened up on the hospital’s team, jumpstarting her career in the communications industry.

While Tansley enjoyed working at the hospital, she was looking to return to the culture of the Fightin’ Blue Hens. The opportunity knocked when a friend alerted her to a job opening at the Career Services Center (CSC) where counseling, marketing, and communications skills were required- the perfect combination for a woman like Tansley.

Flash forward to today, and Tansley is serving her UD community at the CSC, where she produces all digital and hard-copy marketing materials, manages the CSC’s social media platforms along with a team of student interns, develops the center’s web design. But her favorite part of the job is whenever “a student tells me that we made a difference.” Wherever her career took her, Tansley wanted to help the people around her, and through her work at the CSC she is able to do just that.

As Tansley looks to the future of her marketing efforts at the CSC, she sees social media acting as the game changer in campaigns. With the Millennial generation becoming increasingly social networking savvy, “I think [social media marketing] is just going to keep continuing to grow.” This is reflective in how Millennials are hired in today’s job market; Tansley notes employers don’t want to see a resume anymore, they simply want to see your LinkedIn profile.tweet1

So before immediately jumping to your LinkedIn profile to ensure it reflects your long-term goals, Tansley advises students to “take opportunities even if they seem outside of the direction you think you’re going.” Tansley changed her direction when she took a communications position out of her comfort zone- and she never looked back.

Tansley’s job might not entail practicing medicine like originally planned, but her story shows that by taking chances and being open to whatever is thrown your way, you may end up in a position where your passion shines through- and maybe you’ll even make a difference.

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!

(Heather Tansley photo: Her LinkedIn Profile)

(Tweet screen shot: @BlueHenJH SMA account)

How to Take a Break and Get Ahead: Winter Session Recap

Overwhelmed with the amount of free time on your hands during the lengthy winter vacations we get here at UD? To those opposed to kicking back by the cozy fire, there’s actually a lot that can be accomplished in just two short months.

I, personally, couldn’t let the opportunity of UD’s winter session pass me by. Whether you’re trying to get ahead, boost your GPA, or coordinate for a double major, taking winter classes is an extremely beneficial thing to do. If you still want to be in the comfort of your own home over the winter months, then why not take online classes? UD allows students to register up to 7 credits during the winter session. I filled my schedule solely with online courses.

Online classes are designed to appeal to a mallorymdiverse range of learners. This is largely due to the fact that they are generally self-paced. I’ve always been more of an impatient, fast-paced learner and taking online classes allows me to work as far ahead as I can. I took a one-credit communications elective this past winter in which I completed all of the course material within the first week. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, online classes can also allow you to take your time more so than you might be able to when attending an actual lecture.

Enrolling in UD Winter online gave me more flexibility in my schedule to return to my seasonal retail positions at the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I worked as a sales associate at Harstrings Kids Clothing and a Brand Representative at Justice For Girls. Whether it’s greeting customers at the door, ringing them up at the cashwrap, or assisting them on the floor, both of these positions have helped me enhance my communications and PR skills by promoting both merchandise and sales.

It just so happened that while I was working at Justice this past winter, they were undergoing renovation. We had to ship out thousands of units of merchandise to stores across the U.S. to make room for construction. I obtained experience communicating with sales girls across the country about which types of merchandise would be most beneficial to their stores. I also obtained experience communicating with girls at my location on how to coordinate with the temporary and tight space that we had. I’ll be eagerly returning this spring to see our final product.

Returning to campus after Winter Session didn’t feel like I was just getting off of vacation and that’s great because that’s not what I was going for. I felt accomplished.

By: Mallory Metzner

Mallory Metzner is a freshman communication interest and fashion merchandising double major with minors in journalism, business administration and Spanish. She currently serves as a competitive member of the UD intercollegiate figure skating team, learn-to-skate teacher at the UD Fred Rust Ice Arena, crew member of the Student TV Network 49 News, writer for the UDRESS fashion magazine, public relations team member for UDRESS, and a general member for PRSSA-UD. Follow her on Twitter, @MaleePaytatweet.

PRSSA-UD’s General Meeting Recap: Crisis Communication

Jumping into the spring semester, PRSSA-UD wasted no time getting down to business at their official second meeting on Monday, March 2.

The meeting began with two speakers talking to the organization about SPPA (School of Public Policy and Administration) and its potential to help members who decide they want to join and apply. From there, a quick re-cap of general information was discussed, such as the benefits of becoming a dues paying member and the organization’s mentor-mentee program, the PRSA Delaware award that members can apply for, and a Hunter PR Fellowship opportunity that is being offered. Also introduced were things to look out for this semester, such as the headshot fundraiser April 15 with discounts for dues paying members and the first PRSSA-UD Skill Slam of the semester, entitled “Break Through the Interview” on March 23.

Once the basics were covered, members had the opportunity to use their own skills and brainstorm. In a PR-strategy workshop, members were asked to handle an example crisis. The workshop included a scenario that actually occurred in real life; when a link between a local E.coli outbreak and Odwealla’s fresh, unpasteurized apple juice was discovered, in which one child died and more than 60 people became sick. This situation prompted more than 20 lawsuits and members were asked to use their PR knowledge and split into groups, visualizing themselves as the head of PR to determine how they would handle the situation, who their audience was, and how they would go about creating awareness whilst changing attitudes and behavior.

Each group came up with their own unique spins on how to handle the crisis, including press conferences where high-ranking company officials would present. Members stated that in the conferences representatives should use total transparency and apologize, make it clear to consumers of the drink that the company valued buyers’ trust, and should additionally state what changes the team would make to their processes in order to keep said trust. Also mentioned was compensation for the one child who passed away and those who became sick because of the apple juice product and to put a FAQ sheet online of commonly asked questions and their answers about the product and the companies’ procedures.

After the exercise members got the chance to read how the company handled the crisis in real-life. Astonishingly enough, it was almost identical to what members came up with… PRSSA-UD really knows how to train students for the future field they are considering. The meeting concluded with a quick hot chocolate social where mentors and their mentees got a chance to connect after the long UD winter break. Although cut short by an incoming class, the atmosphere was relaxed, yet informative, helping all members to feel at ease and prepared for the upcoming semester of events to come.

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By: Brittany O’Connell

Brittany O’Connell is a freshman communications interest that is passionate about art and social media. She is a Social Media Ambassador for UD on her Twitter account @BlueHenBrittany, and hopes to broaden her horizons, step out of her comfort zone and help many throughout her next three years at UD.