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

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3 Books to Read for Aspiring PR Professionals

In the public relations field, writing is one of the most important tools we have. However, instead of creating content, we can turn to books from some leaders in the field for meaningful advice. Here are only a few of the inspiring and informational books that the PR world has to offer. Each one of these books has a new way of looking at business and the way people build relationships.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book has been called the PR bible and is one of the first best-selling self-help books. Although released over 75 years ago, it still contains extremely relevant step-by-step information about how to be a leader, make people like you and win people to your way of thinking. The ability to create and maintain relationships in public relations, whether it is with your professors, peers or co-workers, is a necessity and an immeasurable quality. His timeless advice is definitely worth reading.

“Success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”

2. All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger

As aspiring PR professionals, we know the importance of an internship. However, obtaining one is easier said than done. Berger, known as the Intern Queen, had 15 internships while in college and uses her expertise to help students find and make the most of their internships. With information ranging from how to write a resume to turning an internship into a job, it contains invaluable advice for students. It also includes a great section on practice questions for interviews to prepare. This is a great resource for PR students at any level.

“While an internship does not guarantee a job with an employer, it does guarantee an experience – an experience that takes you one step closer to where you want to be after college.”

3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

For those interested in psychological side of business, this book is for you. Dweck found that people have either a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset” about our character, intelligence and talent. With a “growth mindset”, you believe that with hard work you can thrive in a challenging situation and learn from criticism. This is a mentality that we should adopt because those with this mindset are more creative and resilient. It is an empowering and motivating look at our behavior.

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

I hope you find these books as motivating and inspiring as I do and you continue to keep reading!

By: Jennie Osber

Jennie Osber is a senior mass communication major with minors in advertising and psychology. Along with PRSSA-UD, she is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, the national service sorority and Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honors fraternity. Follow her on Twitter: @JennieOsber

Link used for research: http://www.businessinsider.com/must-read-public-relations-books–the-required-reading-list-of-pr-books-and-marketing-books-2011-9

Picture from: Google Images

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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.

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.

Four Ways to Get the Most of Your Summer Internship

The weeks left until the start of another semester dwindled down to just three, and if you’re like me, you still have part of that time left at your summer internship. In that amount of time, you can tackle a big project or meet an Executive who offers to look over your work. I know I plan to take on as many assignments as possible until my last day.

With all the professional development opportunities awaiting you, it may seem hard to narrow it down to just a few. Look at these four ways to get the most out of your summer internship and see just how much you can achieve in three weeks!

  1. Ask Questions

The longer you intern for a company, the better you can understand which of your co-workers work in positions you hope to one day. Ask them to lunch, walk with them on the way into work in the morning, or grab a coffee date and ask them any question you have. Once you’re with them, ask as many questions as you can. Most of the time professionals are happy to help an intern learn more about their industry or must have skills. I found a recent graduate at my internship who worked in the department I liked the most. We grabbed lunch one day and I learned more about her day to day work activities than I would have as an intern in another department.

  1. Learn a new skill.

Every internship experience is different, so take the time to learn a new skill during your last few weeks there. If you focus on transferable skills, you can transfer what you learned to your next internship or even job. I developed my leadership skills by taking on the lead of a project. I received the chance to delegate tasks to my peers, problem solve, and effectively manage a team. All of those skills can be transferred to a future position, each with an example I can communicate in an interview. Expanding your skill set will help you continue to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.

  1. Network with your peers.

If you work with other interns, it’s important to network with them; you could run into them again in the future. Take the time to talk to them during your lunch break or on the way out of the office at night. Employers notice you taking the time to build a relationship with your coworkers, showing you’re a team player. I’m lucky enough to work with 8 other interns, and I spend a lot of time getting to know them and their varied skills at work. These connections will be useful slow day with no projects, but will also allow me to meet some of the people I could be working with again when I graduate. It’s important to know the people working in your industry and to look to them for support or advice. You also get a better understanding for your competition when applying for jobs.

  1. Get as many samples for your portfolio as possible.

Your work portfolio showcases your skills to future employers and can be filled with samples from work or independent projects. Samples from projects you worked on at your internship, however, really stand out. Use these next few weeks to draft as many samples for your portfolio as possible. My portfolio is filled with press releases, articles, and event materials, some of which were used by my Supervisor for actual projects. In these upcoming days I’ll be looking for any chance to write a press release, article, or to be included on a project where I can produce tangible work. Taking on a chance to work, no matter how small, shows your initiative to learn as well.

By: Betsey Coulbourn

Betsey is a senior Political Science major with a triple minor in journalism, political communication, and Islamic studies. She currently serves as Historian for PRSSA-UD for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to being on the PRSSA-UD executive board, she is a Field Organizer with the Delaware Democratic Party and a member of Active Minds. Connect with her on Twitter @betC__.