Intern to senior.

it’s been a while since I put my two cents into this blog. I have been spending a lot of my timekeeping up with my personal blog and writing about how much I loved Pittsburgh or the stress of returning to school.

As all good things do, my summer internship came to an end, and I grab my stuff and sadly watched the ‘Burgh disappear from my rear-view mirror. But I took so much more away from the experience I had this summer than what I brought to it. Anyone who says internship don’t matter are just plain lying to you. I feel like I have received an excellent education, but some things need to be learned on the job, in the spur of the moment.

I got an introduction to a part of PR that my textbooks didn’t cover: measurement and analytics. Putting a dollar amount to all of your hard work. Showing the client results. And I con honestly say that not much of my time in the classroom has been dedicated to learning the art of the pitch. I made more phone calls to the media this summer than I could count, and slowly found myself becoming more comfortable on the phone with reporters. You can practice with your friends all you want, but nothing can prepare you for calling the New York Times like calling the New York Times.

I made so many wonderful connections and got insight from real pros all summer. It was as ifeveryone I encountered could be such an amazing role model for the future of my career.

I now see that agency PR is really my thing, and I wouldn’t have changed a single second of anything, even when things in the office were moving at rapid speed. I realized that I have a niche for social media, love working on a deadline and that event planning is my absolute favorite part of the job.

I have two pieces of advice for anyone who is thinking about doing an internship, in PR or otherwise. The first is to ask a ton of questions. My supervisor did a fantastic job at informing me of not only my projects, but of other things that were going on in the office. But she wasn’t a mind reader, so during my last week when I still had questions about the process of planning an outreach, she scheduled a meeting with me one-on-one and answered all of my questions. I left feeling that I had completely learned everything I could in the amount of time that I was there.

My second piece of advice is to volunteer outside of the office. I got to do an amazing event with my agency that took place on a weekend. I didn’t mind working extra hours, after all, I was only in the city this summer to learn! But I also volunteered to help set up for an event in the Cultural District, something completely unrelated to the agency. It got me a behind-the-scenes look at event planning and a ticket to one of the hottest parties in Pittsburgh. There are opportunities everywhere if you just take the time to look.

I am now a senior at IUP, and the semester is three weeks in. My classes are moderately hectic, I’ve got a science, two English classes and my senior synthesis. The thing taking up more of my time right now is PRSSA. I am planning an alumni panel for Oct. 4 and am putting every spare second I can into making sure it goes off without a hitch. I have all of my speakers lined up, and I am extremely excited for the actual event. It is kind of stressful; because our adviser is still in Afghanistan, but our temporary adviser and my e-board are doing a great job at backing me up.

Life is insane right now, and my planner is fileld from top to bottom. But so is the life of someone in PR, right? :)

funnelthru:

Personal Brand : Savage Chickens

funnelthru:

Personal Brand : Savage Chickens

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Measuring success.

I remember being four or five and going to a law office with my dad. I sat on a leather chair outside of the office, coloring on a legal pad that someone had given me, and I looked around. I could hear a clacking noise coming down the hall and watched until I finally saw the culprit: a pair of high heels. image

She could have been a secretary making minimum wage, or she could have been the teeage daughter of one of the partners. But in my little preschool mind, all I could think about was how successful she must be.

So that was it. For the rest of my young childhood I attached success to a piece of a wardrobe. I eventually learned that anyone, from hookers to home makers, can own a pair of high heels, and the idea left my mind. It’s funny when I look back and think about what success meant to me as a kid and what it means to me now as I grow up a little bit.

When I was a teenager success was the same thing as fame. If everyone knew your name and everyone loved you, you were successful. But I learned the lesson that all teenagers do eventually: not everyone is going to love you. And fame is just another way of saying you can’t go to the grocery store without getting stalked.

I got to the end of high school and success was all about the awards you got. Honor roll, scholarships and a medal for getting the highest SAT score. Those things are still important. It’s a good feeling to be recognized for working hard. But success isn’t all about what’s sitting in your trophy case.

Maybe I’m thinking a little bit differently now that my formal education is coming to an end. Pretty soon I won’t be making dean’s lists or getting inducted into honor societies. But that’s ok. Because I think in the real world, success is just another word for happiness. As long as I can wake up with a smile on my face, I don’t think life can get much better than that.

It was quiet in my office the other day when I got there. All of the lights were out and it was eerily quiet, so quiet that all I could pay attention to was the clicking of my heels on the hardwoods. I’ve come a long way from doodling on legal pads and dreaming of being a rock star. Life is always changing, and obstacles pop up all of the time that I didn’t see coming. But you know what? Most of the time, today included, I’m really happy.

Success.

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Why we <3 Social Networking ⇢

Tweetness.

I feel like the jury is still out on Twitter. Some people hate it and some people love it. Some people see it as a narcissistic outlet to tell everyone every detail of your day and some people see it as a useful and simple networking tool. Me? I think it is a little bit of both.

Believe it or not, I think there is a right and a wrong way to tweet. I love getting in touch with PR professionals or fellow students over Twitter. It’s an easy way to have an open discussion about our industry with opportunity for others to chime in. Hash tags make it simple to find information you are looking for and personalize your feed to what you are looking to find. But you need a purpose.

I don’t care what anyone had for lunch. I don’t care if you tripped going up the stairs. But you do. I get that. So the occasional useless Tweet isn’t a deal-breaker for me. But if that is all you want to talk about, you aren’t using Twitter for everything it is worth.

The top news stories in the world sometimes trend on Twitter before breaking into mainstream media. That should tell you something. People are talking about some really important things on Twitter, and you have a chance to be a part of it.

Twitter has been in the news itself lately, with MTV announcing its quest for the first Twitter Jockey. Wanting to keep up with today’s rapidly morphing communication practices, MTV is looking for someone to bridge the gap between audience and network by using Twitter.

And then there are the Twinterns. Companies are taking on students who eat, sleep and breathe social media to update their accounts. See? Twitter could get you a job.

Call it narcissistic or call it genius, Twitter is changing the world in 140 characters or less.

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A little less PR, a little more random.

To chronicle my summer in the ‘Burgh and whatever random adventures follow, I started a second blog

Twilight: They REALLY want your blood now.

It’s week two of my internship in Pittsburgh, and I’m loving every second of it! I have officially fallen into a morning ritual of listening to my ipod on the 13x as I see the Pittsburgh skyline pop up. If taking public transportation is a skill, I think I’m pretty good at it. Ok, I’m proficient.

I’m learning so much at my internship, from how to work Cision to the beauty of doing a mail merge. Every day I get to see and work on projects that are innovative and fun!

As I was driving home from my internship today, I heard an ad for a local blood drive. Here is a press release about it from PR Newswire:

Central Blood Bank Offers Twilight Fans a way to be Among First to see the Highly Anticipated Sequel New Moon   Pittsburgh’s Largest Regional Blood Center Announces Special Blood Drive for Fans of Popular Vampire Series PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ — With midnight showings of the next installment of the popular Twilight movie seriesNew Moon selling out more than two months prior to the sequel’s November 20 U.S. release date, Central Blood Bank is offering Pittsburgh fans a way to be among the first to see the highly anticipated movie while helping to save area lives.

In honor of the release of Twilight: New Moon, Central Blood Bank is hosting a special New Moon themed blood drive event on Monday, November 2 from 1 PM to 8 PM at the Sokol Club, located at 2912 E. Carson St. and Tuesday, November 3 from one PM to seven PM at Dingbats, located at Pittsburgh Mills.

The first 250 donors who schedule an appointment for either drive at www.centralbloodbank.org or call (412) 209-7080, provide the drive code “Q002” for November 2 drive or “Q003” for the November 3 and present to donate blood will receive a free pair of tickets to a special midnight screening of Twilight: New Moon. The screenings are taking place at the SouthSide Works Theater on Nov. 19, 2009, the night prior to the opening day of the movie’s release, and at 11:59PM and on Nov. 20, 2009 at 11:59PM. These will be one of the first public showings of the film. Additional single tickets to the midnight screenings are available while supplies last to donors who show up and donate the day of the blood drive as a “walk-in.”

"We are constantly looking for new and compelling ways to build our donor base. By focusing on what is hot in pop culture, in this case the Twilight craze, we can engage a very important audience," said Judi Matok, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Central Blood Bank. "Our goal is to make blood donation fun and educate younger audiences on the importance of giving back to the community. We also want to raise awareness that when people donate one pint of blood they can save up to three lives right here in the Pittsburgh area."

Donating blood is a very simple, easy and free way to give back to the Pittsburgh community. Each blood donation can save up to three area lives. If this drive’s goal of collecting 500 donations is met, more than 1,500 people would receive the gift of life.

Pre-registered appointments for this popular drive are highly recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Those interested in participating in the drive and securing their two tickets to the midnight screening can register at www.centralbloodbank.org or call (412) 209-7080.

In order to give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old (16 year olds may donate with a signed parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and not have received any tattoos or piercings (ear piercings are ok) in the last year. There may be other eligibility requirements that apply that will be determined on an individual basis on site.

About Central Blood Bank

Established in 1951, Central Blood Bank is a not-for-profit organization that serves the transfusion needs of Pittsburgh and surrounding area hospitals. Today it is a center for excellence in transfusion medicine and an integral partner in the delivery of health care in western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio regions. Central Blood Bank currently employs approximately 330 dedicated employees at 28 conveniently located community locations who annually collect, test and distribute 155,000 units of whole blood to more than 40 hospitals and health care facilities in the tri-state area. Fourteen mobile teams are available daily, visiting businesses, schools, churches and community groups to provide access to donate.

For more information surrounding Central Blood Bank, visit www.CentralBloodBank.org.

Honestly, I think this is a great way to get people to donate blood! Even if you aren’t a fan of Twilight, you can’t deny the shadow it’s putting on pop culture. Parents can donate blood and get tickets for their kids, or those crazy Twi-Moms can get a pair for them and their vampire-crazy book club. The only complain I have is that someone didn’t read a pun-tastic line like the headline of this blog. Opportunity missed, but they are on the right track.

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Sailing the intern(ship.)

It’s been a while since I gave any life updates, and I have a big one! I am officially signed on to be a public relations intern at a fantastic advertising agency in Pittsburgh this summer! I found on on April 15 that all of my hard work is paying off! I couldn’t be more excited about my summer in the city or all of the new information I know I’ll learn from this experience, but finding an internship wasn’t smooth sailing.

I thought that I would find an internship I loved by chance, ace the interview and they would love me (well, maybe I didn’t think it would be THAT easy.) When I stumbled upon a small company that seemed perfect for me, I was excited to get started with the interview process. I picked out the perfect outfit, updated my resume and put the finishing touches on my portfolio. At the interview I felt relaxed and at ease, and when I left I thought that THIS was going to be where I would spend my summer.

But after waiting weeks with no answer after I was told I would get one, I sent an email to check in. I got a quick reply with the names of the company’s two summer interns. I wasn’t one of them. This may seem like a sad ending to my internship story, but as luck would have it, it was just the beginning.

While waiting to hear back about my first interview, I went to a networking event with PRSSA. We heard from amazing speakers and got to meet other excited, talented and proactive students. I was so impressed by what one of the speakers was saying about her company that I walked up to her and asked if they were taking interns. When she said yes, I handed her my resume and asked if she would please consider me.

Two days before I heard a “no” from my first interviewers, I got a call to interview with the larger company. I went through the interview process again, taking in how different the companies were. The first company had only a few employees, while the second company had three offices up the east coast. The more I looked into the larger company, the more I fell in love with it. From their mission statement to their body of work, the company was flawless to me. I had what felt like a great interview and realized that I had become very attached to the second company.

Still fresh in my mind, though, was a rejection from a company smaller and less selective than this one. I felt like I sturck out in the minor leagues and was now standing at bat in the majors. I waited another three weeks to hear back from company two. I took my phone everywhere with me, checking it in class and at work. One day I looked at it and had missed a call. I frantically hit the send button and found myself speaking with company two’s HR director! I apologized for missing her call, and she responded with some of the most wonderful words I’ve ever heard:

"Oh, that’s ok! I will just calling to congratulate you…"

Now that I look back on it, the internship process was a long one. Waiting to hear back from a company can feel like years. And at first rejection stung and made me wonder what I was doing wrong. Then I realized the one thing I want to pass on to anyone still looking for an internship: Sometimes you’re just not what they are looking for.

Just like you don’t belong with every person you see, you don’t belong with every company. Just keep looking (NETWORK!) and the company that’s right for you will pop out, even after the wrong company sent you away. You may think that a small company is what you want, but you should look at a large company too!

I think that getting turned down for my first internship was the best thing for me. First does NOT mean best, and had I given up and stopped looking, I never would have gotten this opportunity.

All kinds of plans.

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I am so excited to say that I will be serving as the president of the IUP chapter of PRSSA nest year. I have been elected along with six other hard working students to oversee the forming of a new student-run firm and bring speakers who can give my chapter useful and exciting information about the world of public relations.

These are my goals for the 2010-2011 school year:

1. Have a speaker at each monthly meeting in order to keep members informed and enthusiastic.

2. Have an alumni panel, including IUP alum who now have jobs in various fields of public relations. Invite potential members so they can see where a degree from IUP can lead them.

3. Have a resume workshop with a member of the IUP career development center. I hear members say that they don’t know how to create or edit their resumes for internship interviews or job interviews!

4. Promote PRSSA through book marks placed in communications media and journalism textbooks, and by putting the PRSSA URL on signs in computer labs.

5. Contact a graphic design class and have them do a firm logo contest for extra credit.

These are just a few of the goals I have for next year. I cant wait to see what we can accomplish and learn!

Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.

- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (via ransombookquotes) (via twentythreebooksasummer) (via booklover)

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