Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A young PR pros' aspirations for entreprenuership

Is it just me or do other young PR professionals want to start their own business? It’s exciting to look ahead and hope that some day I’ll have the knowledge, resources and support to do so.

A long-term goal of mine is to open up my own boutique PR agency or consulting firm and I constantly think about how or if this could happen. I feel like I would at least need to get a master’s degree in business or mass communication, possibly both. And have some rock-star partners (especially a stellar accountant).

One of the things I worry about is building a client base. Getting and retaining clients seems like one of the most challenging aspects of beginning a business although I’m sure there are tons of other things to worry about. Here are a list of online sources I found that might spark the interest of you future entrepreneurs.

What are your thoughts?
Current entrepreneurs: what was the hardest thing about starting your business? What do you wish you would have know before you started? What advice would you offer young PR professionals with aspirations of starting their own business?
Rising PR stars: what is your dream startup business?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goal setting: founding and following my PR path

Looking back on four years of college, I now understand the power of setting goals. Yes, goal setting is empowering. When I was young, I kept things pretty simple in the goal-setting category. After being accepted to the University Honors program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, I immediately set my sights up graduating with a GPA of 3.5 or above. This number is the cutoff criteria for graduation from the program, so it seemed like a great baseline.

I wrote this goal down and began my mission. Each and every academic step I took and decision I made reflected this goal. Some classes I knew my highest potential was a B, others I knew I was slacking if I didn’t get an A; but each end-of-semester grade report exposed my measuring stick and told me how I was doing.

My next big goal became clearer as I progressed on the path of becoming a young PR professional and demanded more out of myself. After being cemented at three different PR internships, I set my sights on the best. My goal was to land a PR internship at a world-leading, prestigious and global public relations agency. Heck, look back at one of my first posts at on the PR path.

Landing an internship at Burson-Marsteller, a top ten PR agency worldwide, was my ultimate goal. I got to the final stages of the long interview process in 2009, only to be rejected due budget shortfalls. I could have pouted or been mad, but I used the rejection as a motivator to continue working toward my goal.

Landing an internship with Burson became my mission, my goal and my passion. I set up Google alerts to follow the company every day, and constantly brainstormed ideas for how my application might stand out from the 800 other young PR professionals who applied.

A year later in 2010, I applied and was accepted into the program. I start June 7 in Chicago’s public affairs practice. What an amazing feeling to follow a goal, dedicate yourself to making it happen and realizing that goal. Fulfilling goals is a feeling unlike any other and just when you think a goal might be out of your reach, it may just be closer than ever. Set goals, work hard and never doubt your determination. By the way, I did graduate with above a 3.5 GPA, checking off another goal on my professional pursuits.

What goal-setting success stories have you had on your path to becoming a young PR professional? Please share!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

PR+SM Summit - Tactics for finding a job through social media

Today I'm spending a chilly Wisconsin day at Marquette University at the PR+SM Summit put on by Comet Branding and Marquette University. I'm attempting to post multiple times throughout the day to give people a quick run down of presentations I find interesting.

Jeff Carrigan from Big Shoes Network presented, "Gettting a job: social media know-how is good, but mom's advice is even better," here's a run down of that presentation:

According to Carrigan, jobs postings are up about 50 percent compared to the same time period last year and the hottest jobs are entry- to mid-level positions in digital, interactive marketing and social media.

How to go about searching?
  • Eight places to search for jobs online: specific company Web sites, Universities, recruiters, industry resources (Ad Age magazine, PR week, etc.), job boards, profesional organizations (PRSA), social networking sites and staffing firms.
Carrigan dabbled into four of these categories, giving specific tips in each:
  1. Agencies/Corporate (specific companies): make a list of 50-100 companies you are interested in, visit their site once per week and monitor their job postings on a regular basis. Most job posting are exposed interanlly first and might only be posted externally for a short time. The quicker you get on it, the better chance you have of getting an interview
  2. Job Boards: There are three types of boards. [1] National (,; [2] Local or regional (,; [3] Niche (, Monitor these sites on a weekly basis and apply for job postings within 5-7 business days for best results.
  3. Social Networking: Facebook is a great place to gather intelligence about companies for job searching and learn about company culture. Navigate the group directory on and engage with members of niche groups related to the field you're interested in. also offers opportunities to network and find people who may be useful connections for you.
  4. Twitter: This could go in social networking but there's more here so it's in a seperate category. There are four types of accounts on Twitter you should be aware of: [1] Corporate HR; [2] Executive Recruiters; [3] Companies; [4] Job Feeds. Here are a few good handles to follow:
  • @aconnjob @jtrantowski ,@AtrceIQ, @judiwunderlich, @cooljobsAtLC, @FullHouseLive, @GetPubRelatJobs, @PRSAJobCenter, @TMJ_Chi_Adv, @TwitJobSearch (investigate on your own to find out who/what these accounts are about)
Main takeaways
  • Social media in job searching should be used to elevate your visibility
  • Social media is a way to demonstrate your expertise
  • Use social media to build and cultivate your network
Stay tuned for more posts today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome fellow #happo participants!

Thanks for finding your way to my blog. This space is meant to provide useful tips and insight for asipiring public relations professionals. Browse around, read a few posts and let me know what you think.

Why should you hire me? Follow #22reasons2hire on twitter to see the 22 reasons why you should hire me.

If you are sick of my tweets (there will be 24 total!), check out my Web site and portfolio at I would also love to hear from you, so feel free to call me at (262) 510-6047 or e-mail me at

Thanks for looking, comments are always appreciated!


Monday, February 15, 2010

PR you won't learn from your professor

This is the first in a series of posts related to "Chicago in the Loop" conference which offer insight into the PR profession you won't learn in the classroom.

There are some things you just won’t learn in class. The wealth of knowledge, tips and concepts I discovered at the “Chicago PR: Get in the Loop” conference presented by the DePaul University PRSSA Feb. 11 and 12 could never be taught with chalk, a textbook or a test.

“Get in the Loop” helped me discover an amazing perspective into the public relations industry; a perspective acquired through networking, experience and storytelling featuring intelligent professionals.

Susan Howe, president of global PR firm Weber Shandwick, delivered a keynote speech at “Get in the Loop” that was full of information young professionals should know about the public relations industry. Below is an overview:

1.    Diversity of opportunity – Howe highlighted that employees can change jobs without changing employers. Within a large company that encompasses a variety of services, job transfer is a reality for someone looking for a different entrée of work.

2.    “Career Experts are bullish on public relations,” said Howe, noting that between 2008 and 2018 the field will increase by 24 percent or 66,000 jobs according to the U.S. News and World Report.

3.    The evolution of the communications industry positions PR as the new weapon for marketers. Howe provided the following timeline with short keywords that define each period:

1980s: “Traditional PR doers”
•  Announcements, presentations and collateral
1990s: “Integrated PR drivers”
•    Coverage, strategy, awareness and buzz
2000s: “New influencers”
•    Reputation, engagement and experience

By new weapon, I think Howe is suggesting that executives are realizing PR is more cost-effective than advertising and marketing, and they realize PR can still produce excellent results (not to say advertising and marketing aren’t important). Companies can establish a two-way dialogue with customers through social media for a small cost.  Reputation management has never been more crucial in a time where anyone with a keyboard can shout out to the masses.

Open up your newest PR textbook, read it cover to cover and let me know if you learn the aforementioned information. Thanks to DePaul University and Susan Howe, I learned this in just one hour.

[My next post will give an overview of media monitoring software like Cision and Radian6]

What’s something you have learned outside of the classroom that you would never see in today’s textbooks?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Useful and quick reading to guide your career

I’m not going to lie. I don’t read much. But after I won “Young Professional’s Guide to Success” by Ryan Kohnen from an online contest started by @rachelesterline I was excited to dive into this hardcover.

After I received the book in the mail Saturday and started reading it, I finished the 202 page book by Tuesday; it was a hard book to put down and here’s why:

#1: Short, sweet and to the point

Kohnen understands his audience, “Generation A.D.D.,” and sets his book up accordingly. With 16 short sections that offer career and development advice (all less than 20 pages), Kohnen introduces a topic such as “Establish Your Values,” relates it to an experience he’s had and then expands upon it with help from successful professionals.

#2: Different perspectives and variety in voice

At least half of the content is advice from CEOs and other business professionals to support Kohnen’s advice. Each section offers a new perspective from someone in a different industry, which not only makes the content relatable to a wide audience, but also helps to keep the tone fresh and interesting. The format also differs from section to section –lists, pull quotes and poems break up the text creating an easier reading environment.

#3: Useful and engaging content

Kohnen doesn’t hold back and addresses topics that are meaningful to young professionals. He isn’t afraid to discuss (and even admit that he fell victim to) the idea that many young professionals feel “entitled to have everything.” Other useful topics include: “Find Mentors and Create Fans,” “Lead From the Bottom” and “Attitude, Confidence and Passion.”

Overall “Young Professional’s Guide to Success” was easy and quick to read. I felt satisfied after reading it because of how encouraging it was to hear from so many different successful people. Senior executives, community leaders and CEOs all give their encouragement and bid of confidence to young professionals. Lastly, I enjoyed hearing the journey author Ryan Kohnen explains piece by piece throughout the book.

To learn more about Kohnen follow him @ryankohnen or get a copy of “Young Professional’s Guide to Success,” at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Networking events: attend and plan your purpose

Looking back at my four years of school, I wish I would have taken opportunities to go to local, regional and national networking conferences. I recently registered for Chicago PR: “Get in the Loop” regional PRSSA conference and am very excited and a little nervous to attend Feb. 11 and 12.

This two-day conference starts  Feb. 11 with a full day of Chicago public relations agency visits. Although I have a good sense that Chicago is an exciting place to work, it will definitely help to physically see the inside of potential future workplaces.

Friday features a complete lineup of intriguing workshops with themes like, "Getting in the Door with a Professional Image," "Standing out with Social Media" and "From The Front Lines: How Agencies and Clients Work Together." The day is capped off with a 90 minute career development fair. All for $60.

A great place to learn about upcoming conferences is the PRSSA Web site, which has a specific section for   upcoming events happening across the nation. I would also suggest contacting your local PRSA chapter and asking about  if they know of any upcoming events in the area.

If events are too expensive, consider attending a lunch meeting with your PRSA chapter. There will almost always be discounted rates for PRSSA members to attend these meetings. Bring a friend or two with and have a networking goal outlined before you go. Whether your goal is to get five business cards or just let professionals know you are looking for an opportunity, make sure you have a solid idea of your intended purpose of attending such an event. 

My purpose of attending the Chicago conference is to get a feel for the agency work environment, network and make connections with other students and ask for suggestions about job hunting from professionals. 

What conferences have you attended and how have you benefited from them? Do you have any suggestions on where to find such events?