Coping With PR

Public relations life lessons from a student who is still in the trenches.

BYOB! March 23, 2007

Filed under: helpful tips,internship,Kent State Public Relations — copingwithpr @ 1:06 pm

PR Life Lesson # 5 (Even though it is so close to spring break, “BYOB” does not refer to “bring your own beer” in this case “BYOB” means “bring your own BRAIN!”

         I know this sounds like a harsh lesson but lately I’ve listened to some of my classmates with shocked disbelief. I am amazed at how people are handling the internship requirement for our major. So I think the lesson is worth sharing.

        Throughout the year I have heard people talk about internships and I have found most students lack the healthy fear that I have. (I know I am neurotic but it isn’t a factor here.) Some students don’t seem to mind that their lack of internship is going to push their graduation back a semester. Maybe my college experience hasn’t included enough of the first type of “BYOB” but I am ready to graduate– on time.

        So for any one else that feels the same way, I have some “use your brain” tips in order to get an internship. (Now I should add that I haven’t technically obtained an internship yet. That will hopefully change over break. But these tips just make sense to me, and I suggest you use them if they make sense to you.)

Internship Tips:

  • Start researching early. (If you want a summer internship pick at least 5 realistic places by January.)
  • Take time to create and edit a solid resume and coverletter. (I would complete this by February. This was hard for me; I suggest to set aside more time then you anticipate.
  • Apply to multiple places. (Everyone is applying for the dream job and only one person will get it. I hope you get it, but play it safe and assume you won’t.)
  • If it’s your first internship consider unpaid positions. (I know we all want money, but often the experience is more valuable . Plus unpaid positions are often less competitive, which increases your chances as well.)
  • After you apply call to check on your application. (A mild amount of stalking is necessary. Companies want “go-getters”. If you can’t be an advocate for yourself, how could possibly champion their causes?)

         Do what you want with these tips. They just make sense to me. I’ll let you know how successful they are after my interviews over spring break.


Have good manners! March 16, 2007

Filed under: helpful tips,Kent State Public Relations,manners — copingwithpr @ 1:02 pm

PR Life Lesson # 94  (I know, I’m sorry there’s no quippy title this week… But this is a good lesson so read the entry anyways)

        I was in Media Relations yesterday and Professor Jeanette Drake brought up a simple but important point. She said that in order to be successful public relations professionals, we must have good manners.

        Now I realize being polite/professional at work is common sense. But people still chose to ignore proper etiquette all the time. Alright here’s the “so what?” This is important because besides being annoying, poor manners can be detrimental to a public relations career. This industry is about interacting with people and building relationships. It is obviously more difficult to build a positive relationship with someone you find rude or inconsiderate. I know in college manners isn’t exactly a pressing issue, but in the “real world” clients and other professionals will evaluate you based on them.

Simple Tips:

1. Use those golden phrases your mother taught you! Always say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” and “you’re welcome.” Use titles of respect (Mr., Mrs., Miss., etc.) to address others.

2. If you are meeting someone new– make the extra effort. Introduce yourself and shake their hand firmly.

3. Pay attention when people talk. Actually listen to what they are saying! Ask questions and be engaged in the conversation.

4. Extend a helping hand. This can be a simple as holding or door for someone. If you see someone struggling with a task offer them help.

        This is obviously a very short list. There are lots of other areas of manners/etiquette to consider (for example appropriate dress or polite conversation topics). Most of the time I’ve found if you use common sense it is easy to be polite. (But then again my mom drilled manners into my head since birth.) And if you are unsure just ask a professor or polite classmate.

        Bottom line– manners are well worth the effort!


Remember to be Happy that you’re Engaged! March 9, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — copingwithpr @ 3:05 pm

PR Life Lesson #89 (By engaged I mean busy…Leo and I are not, I repeat, not engaged… But it is fun to give my mom a mini-heart attack.)

           It seems like every week in the Kent JMC program is hectic and busy. But this week seemed particularly brutal… the stress was mostly dread induced… becausetroll hunter I know next week will be insanely busy.  

            I started to feel like I was losing my mind this week. I completely forget about a hall council meeting, and I lost my glasses and calculator. (Although I am convinced that I did not lose my glasses and calculator. I know logically I probably lost them in my cluttered room. But other scenarios need to be considered. Like for example a small mythological creature like a  troll could have crept into my room and snatched my calculator and glasses. Everyone knows that trolls have very bad eye sight… and are horrible at math.)

             Anyways…to the point. I survived the week and right now I am all Zen. I have rationalized the stress. So here is my pep talk (you will need this at some point):

             Junior and senior year are kind of like PR boot camp. It’s stressful and at times makes you cry. But it also toughens us up. It produces sharp communicators and strong writers. It forces us to face our fears (like calling strangers). Kent State gives us real world skills. The program allows us to walk into a first job/internship with confidence.

             The hectic schedule is worth it because it has a purpose. It will make life after graduation easier because we will be prepared. I know it’s hard but it is really important to be happy that you’re engaged. Busy is good. Even if it doesn’t always seem to be at the time.

               And trust me stepping back and remembering what you are really getting out of college helps to keep your life in check. And be happier!


Always Be Prepared! March 2, 2007

Filed under: helpful tips,preparation — copingwithpr @ 2:06 pm

PR Life Lesson #41 (No I am not a girl scout….though I was in Campfire….but that has nothing to do with the post… and I was a horrible Campfire girl…)

          The appropriate title for this lesson in reality should be “Don’t Get Sick!” But 1) it just sounded too negative and 2) getting sick is kind of unavoidable… so that rule wouldn’t be really helpful to anyone.

           Alright… I went to bed Sunday night perfectly fine and woke up Monday with a moderate case of ‘death’ (a.k.a. sore throat, runny nose, fever and general misery). This particular case of death lasted about four/five days. I dragged myself to all my classes but couldn’t to do much else all week (well…besides managing to infect the entire Kent Campus…sorry about that everyone).

            Now that I am finally feeling better, I am surveying the damage done to my grades. So far it seems that I survived relatively unscathed. I know, you’re saying ‘yay for you, why does this matter?’ Well this matters because odds are this will happen to you too at some point. And I got through it by being prepared.

My Tips On Being Prepared:

1. Use a planner– Keep a planner all the time (trust me it’ll make your life less hectic) and when you get sick it’s great because it has everything in one place. So you can easily prioritize and put off the non-essential stuff until you feel better.

2. Work ahead– I know this seems impossible. It isn’t. If you put yourself through one really sucky week (during which you work really hard on getting the next week’s stuff done in addition to the current week’s work) you will get a week ahead of schedule. Then you just have to maintain it. If you can do it this system is amazing! Knowing you’re ahead all the time takes tons of pressure off. But I am realistic… just make sure you complete assignments……15 minutes before they are due 🙂

3. Have friends– My friends were awesome this week and really helped me get through. (Thank you Allison for the care package of medicine….and the post-it notes with the medicine’s directions…. and the post-it note explaining NOT to take ALL the medicine at once 🙂 ) Plus it’s really good idea to have a friend in your classes… They can explain to you what happened in class all week…. class just gets foggy when you’re sick.

            I know these are obvious tips, but I didn’t know how important they were until I actually had to rely on them. Just do yourself a favor and follow them… or just don’t get sick!