10 Signs PR is the Right Job For You

Those looking to get into public relations may not be 100% sure that it is the right career for them.  Besides having a severe  love for coffee (I’ve never met a PR girl that doesn’t), below are  10 signs that  public relations  could in fact be the best  job for you.

  • Writing doesn’t bother you, in fact, it’s fun!
  • Breaking news? You’re the first of all  your friends to know.
  • You’re borderline obsessed with social media.
  • You  enjoy being busy and are multi-tasking,  all the time.
  • Communicating with people all day is enjoyable.
  • Work on the weekends? Totally fine.
  • Rejection happens, but you  don’t take no for an answer.
  • You work  well under pressure and stay organized.
  • Planning  and attending events has always been a dream.
  • Being on the  computer all day doesn’t bother you and your smartphone never leaves your side. Ever.

Whether you  have all, or some of these traits, these are just a few warning  signs that you may have been born a PR girl. Do you possess any of these qualities?

A Brush with Perfection

Like any girlie girl, I love playing with makeup.  But I also have my trusted products that I haven’t given up on in years.  Though A raved about Make Up For Ever here, I cannot live without my Bare Escentuals.

The worst is getting up at the crack of dawn for an event, only to have your makeup looking cakey or shiney by mid morning.  Bare Escentuals is the only product I’ve found that keeps you fresh looking all day long.  I’ve actually had beauty editors ask me what makeup I use at my events – and I’m always proud to tell them of my dedication.

My mother is the one who introduced me to the original swirl, tap and buff my sophomore year of high school, and I swear to you I’ve been a devoted user ever since.  bareMinerals has gotten quite the transformation over the years though, and has blasted out their line to include hundreds of eye shadows, blushes, mascaras (Buxom is another fav!) and even skincare.  I just recently purchased the bareMinerals “100% Pure Moxie” kit, the Retro Lounge Eye kit, and several lip glosses and eye shadows.  The best part about the kits is that they usually come with full sized professional brushes for use, so you can be sure you’re applying the product exactly how you should be.

Head over to sephora.com or bareescentuals.com to check out the stock.  And be sure to “like” Bare Escentuals on Facebook to get the insider scoop on exclusive sales and new products.

NYC Budget Survival

Maybe it is the New Year Resolutions talking, but we’ve heard a lot of chatter lately about making the move to New York and all the nervousness/excitement that goes along with that. One of the biggest questions we get is whether or not anyone can actually afford New York.

Honestly, we’re still trying to figure that out for ourselves!

The biggest thing about living in New York is also making a commitment to live within your means. This may mean giving up daily Starbucks for free office coffee and tea. Or, doing your grocery shopping on Fresh Direct or at Trader Joe’s instead of the convenience store or Whole Foods. With a little thought and planning, anyone can make NYC work for their budget.

We’ve included some basics here…

First things first, RENT – Make sure you can ACTUALLY afford the place you sleep in. Your rent should be about 1/3 of your yearly income, so think almost your entire second paycheck for the month will most likely go to rent on the first. DO NOT try to swing more than that

TRANSPORTATION – While jumping into a cab can seem easy and oh-so-New-York, I have come to hate cabs. I do not want to know how much money in my 9 years in the city I have spent on cabs, because I am almost certain it is tens of thousands of dollars. Be smart when you want to get somewhere. Give yourself enough time to take the bus or subway. Even if the weather is bad, sometimes subways are faster than non-four-wheel-drive or non-english-speaking cabs

EATING OUT – Save your Seamless money. While ordering in is, again, convenient, you will most likely spend at least  $15 on a meal when you could have easily thrown together something at home for under $5. Save up that Seamless cash for a fun, fancy meal with your friends or significant other

EATING IN – Hands down, cheapest place to grocery shop in this city is Trader Joe’s. But sometimes, the location is inconvenient or the produce is a little sketchy (I hate to admit it). For fresh food, the best places to go are farmers markets or Whole Foods. For all around one-stop shop, use Fresh Direct. The home-delivery service is cheap and convenient. Prices are much lower than what you’ll find at your local Gristedes or Food Emporium around the block

THE HOT SPOTS – Avoid falling into the trap of “I NEED TO BE THERE NOW” when it comes to restaurants/clubs/lounges in the city. Most likely, ESPECIALLY in PR, you will be invited to an event at that location within the next year or so, and you won’t need to pay to get in/drop hundreds of dollars at dinner. If it’s a super secret location that you know would be a super special experience, save up and splurge on it with someone else you know would enjoy

FITNESS – Another trap I fell into when I moved to New York was the high-priced gym. There is no need to spend upwards of $120 – $150 each month on fitness in the city. There are now multiple Planet Fitness and Blink locations that serve memberships at a fraction of the cost. I also love fitness classes, but I was recently introduced to Classtivity and I can tell you I will NEVER pay full price for a ultra-hip spin class again. During the summers, I always run in the park (so much nicer than a treadmill). Adrianna and I are currently enjoying Tone it Up Youtube vids in our living rooms. Equinox, you can eat it

BEAUTY – Every NYC girl and guy does need to pamper herself/himself. For necessary facials or spa treatments, I always use Lifebooker to get an appointment at half the price. For haircuts, it’s best to follow a recommendation from a friend for a stylist they trust. If you can’t find anyone, that’s okay! I still use my stylist from home in Upstate New York to save on the cost of cut and color

What to Tell Your Parents About PR

May graduation is only a few weeks away and college seniors are getting the inevitable question, “so what’s your plan for a job?” Many college seniors are feeling the pressure to come up with a good answer, and for those pursuing a career in public relations, you might get a few blank face stares back when you say you’re getting into PR. Because that’s like advertising, right?

Defining PR is always difficult but instead of resorting to a comparison of Samantha in Sex and the City (which won’t give your parents the best impression), here a few pointers to highlight that will get them just as excited as you are about your PR career.

  • Get the word out. Our job is basically to make our clients look good and “get the word out” (the only thing my parents understand) by hosting events, planning media interviews, aligning with celebrities etc.
  • A people’s person career. PR is all about networking, meeting new faces and communicating daily with clients and media. In other words, you’ll meet lots of people and make new friends.
  • Travel really fun places to do cool things. Random trips to places you’ve never been before will happen. Did I ever think I’d be traveling to Dallas for the NCAA Final Four? Nope, but I am. Thanks to working in PR.
  • Get creative. PR is all about coming up with the next best, big idea. You get to brainstorm really fun, over-the-top ideas that will get you media attention.
  • Work with famous people. Working with celebrities in inevitable in PR and guess what? Even though celebrities can be a pain in the a$$, it’s a major perk and gives you bragging rights.
  • Good pay. Note that I’m not saying great, but working in PR you will have a decent salary. Your starting salary is rough, but that’s expected with any career.

How did your parents react when you said you were getting into public relations?

The Perfect Follow-Up

One of the most important aspects of pitching is following up. I’m sure if you asked a group of PR professionals about pitching, a majority would state that they don’t hear back from their contacts until they follow-up – so don’t be discouraged when you originally receive no response.

So what’s the most effective way to follow-up on your pitch? I’m a strong believer in the one liner email. Keeping the body of the original email you sent underneath your follow-up, add a short line like the below:

Hi X – I just wanted to follow-up to see if you were interested in the below opportunity/product.

Thanks for your consideration, X

Many times you will receive an email back either stating “No, thanks” or “Thanks for following up. I looked over your email originally and…” As media is inundated with emails every single day, following up is sometimes the only way to ensure your pitch is read. Phone calls also work well with print publications, but I personally don’t make those until I haven’t heard back from even the follow-up email. You want to get in contact with the media, but you don’t want to annoy them.

What are your thoughts on the follow-up?

Create a Marketing Strategy

Every Professional is a Product

People buy items from companies they know and trust, name brands whose reputation sets them apart. A working professional is really no different from these brand name items, because a self employed individual is really a product, too. In the business of work from home, a name equals a reputation. Create a marketing strategy to give both positive word of mouth.

Marketing

Marketing is about getting the word out there, building up a brand name and delivering on promises and commitments. Even when it comes to marketing people, this basic formula doesn’t change. Create a marketing strategy that will accomplish these goals, but make sure to always deliver on every commitment. Even the best marketing strategy in the world won’t help when the reputation doesn’t back it up.

Essential Marketing Tools

For the self employed professional, the greatest marketing tool is the portfolio. Many people who work from home have both a physical and online portfolio which makes it easy to showcase examples of work. Online portfolios are easy to access and can be easily updated, but even paper-rich portfolios can be easy with a little regular maintenance and frequent updates. It’s a good strategy to include only high-quality work. After all, marketing is about making products and people look good. By the same token, be sure to keep resumes and references updated. Most employers ask to see resumes and samples of work. With a winning portfolio and an updated resume, a self employed professional has all the right marketing tools close at hand to get that job.

Every Professional Is a Product

Don’t forget, a self employed professional is really a sort of brand name. Reputation is key to establishing good credentials, because even the best marketing in the world won’t overcome bad word of mouth. Meet deadlines, answer e-mails and always, always follow through. Be sure to respond to employers even when getting turned down for a job, because a simple thank-you can go a long way toward putting a professional in good standing the next time a position becomes available. A complete marketing strategy includes a strong follow through – delivering to employers and clients as promised.

Strategy

The best marketing strategy of all is simply to have confidence. Apply for jobs even if attaining them seems unlikely. Continue working on the portfolio and the resume, keep building up a brand name and don’t give up. That’s the most beneficial marketing strategy of all.

How to Create a Good Learning Environment

Creating a Classroom Space to Meet Learners’ Needs

A learning environment that is conducive to learning takes into consideration the comfort of all learners. Good lighting, seating, room temperature, acoustics and visual aids will ensure that participants are comfortable and engaged.

Good Lighting for Learning

Good lighting can not only improve the ambiance of a space but promote learning by improving visibility and the energy level within the room. Lighting can be altered by choosing when to have the full compliment of lights turned on, when to use just natural light (if the room has windows) and creating a warm reading space with the addition of floor or table lamps or creating a seated task area with task lighting.

Arranging Seating to Allow for Active Learning

Training room layout or the seating arrangement is one factor that can be changed in most classrooms. Use the opportunity to create a space that is conducive to the activities planned such as a horseshoe arrangement for discussions, pods for small group activities and theatre style for large participant numbers where demonstrations or lectures are the main delivery style. Make sure that the room is large enough for the number of participants; cramped rooms can distract learners.

Comfortable Room Temperature Keeps Learners Engaged

Room temperature can influence attention spans and learning. It is important to check the room temperature and close blinds, open windows, use space heaters etc. if necessary. Basic comfort is needed if learners are to retain the information they are learning.

Test Room Acoustics to See if Sound Equipment is Necessary

If the room is large and the participant numbers is in excess of 50 people, a microphone and speakers may be necessary in order for the presenters or instructors voice to carry to the back of the room. Bad acoustics can be highly frustrating for learners who are intent on hearing the message. Good conference phone equipment is also important if learners are calling in to the session. Speakers may also be required if audio presentations such as video clips are shown.

Visual Aids Need to be Seen by All Learners

Visual aids can have a huge positive impact on learners’ ability to understand key concepts. However, if visual aids are poorly designed and are not visible to all learners within the classroom, they loose their impact. Choose font sizes of no less than 20 in PowerPoint presentations and choose backgrounds that are light with dark coloured font.

Comfortable learners are engaged learners and so it is important for instructors to consider the elements that they can control to create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.

Write an Effective Cover Letter

Attach a Letter to the Resume to Highlight Skills

A cover letter is a one page document that is included with a resume when applying to potential jobs. The cover letter highlights skills and accomplishments as they coincide specifically with the duties and qualifications mentioned in the job announcement. The letter should cover why the applicant is best for the job with examples of past performance in previous jobs.

Personalize the Letter

Rather than a generic greeting of “To Whom It May Concern”, conduct a little detective work to discover who the letter should be sent to. This may be the hiring manager or the director of human resources. Use networking skills to find out the person’s name so the cover letter can be more personalized. When addressing the letter, do not use first names in the greeting.

In the opening paragraph of the cover letter, let the hiring manager know how the position within the company was found. Specify the newspaper, online website or networking contact. If the position was learned of through a mutual contact, this is the time to name drop. Indicate the name of the position or the reference number for the job within the company.

Relate Skills to the Qualifications

In the second paragraph of the cover letter, detail skills and achievements as they relate to the qualifications and duties that were listed in the job announcement. Be specific when listing skills by providing examples. Do not simply reiterate what is on the resume. Use examples that are not listed on the resume or further expand on them within the cover letter.

Instead of stating “Implemented a customer service training program that improved customer service..”, rework to be specific by stating “Developed a six week customer service training program that resulted in a 30% increase in customer satisfaction within three months.”

State the Intent to Follow-Up

In the closing paragraph, state how follow-up with the hiring manager will occur. Give a timeline of when a phone call will be made or an email will be sent to set up an appointment to learn more about the position or for an interview. End the letter with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” followed by a signature and typed name.

Proofread the cover letter for spelling and grammatical errors before sending it with a resume. If possible, have another person also proofread it to ensure it reads well and is error free. Print the cover letter and resume on a white or beige linen paper for delivery to the company.

A well-written cover letter that showcases abilities in relation to the advertised position can move the resume to the top of the stack. Highlight strengths and mark a calendar to follow up with the manager in a few days.

Writing a Strong Job Resume

Tips for Highlighting Credentials for Career Advancement

Although workers should be through in describing their qualifications to prospective employers, a job resume should be succinct. Students and recent graduates should try to keep their job resumes under one page. Experienced workers or people changing career paths can extend their job resumes to two or three pages.

Career Objective

Although it is optional, many employers like to see a career objective at the top of a job resume. A career objective is a three to four sentence description of the type of position the worker is seeking, along with a brief overview of the employee’s qualifications and credentials. Objective statements are particularly effective for persons changing careers and reentering the workforce. Those who have jumped between jobs frequently may benefit from a career objective as well, as it shows that they have put thought into their job search.

Resume Body

A job resume should provide an accurate, thorough overview of the prospective employee’s career and educational history. The most common way of presenting information on a job resume is in a reverse chronological format, beginning with the applicant’s education and following up with a listing of their work history. This chronological listing makes it easy for employers to see how the employee’s career has progressed.

A good job resume should not leave any periods of work history unaccounted for. If a worker has been unemployed for long periods of time, she should briefly describe what she did during this time in her resume. If possible, the worker should fill the gaps by discussing volunteer work, travel or personal projects that relate to the job to which she is applying. Workers should not, however, include any information on your resume that indicates their age, gender, marital status or religion.

Workplace Skills

Workers should create separate sections on their job resumes to highlight the skills and experiences that do not fit elsewhere in the document. For example, workers with extensive computer experience should create a separate section on their job resume to discuss the operating systems, programming languages and software with which they are familiar. They should highlight these skills using bulleted lists or tables to make the information easy for employers to scan.

Finishing Touches

Good job resumes should be written in formal English. The final document should contain no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors and read smoothly. If the prospective employee is sending the resume by mail or is hand-delivering it, the resume should be printed in black ink on a cotton-based stock. All resumes, whether printed on paper or posted online, should be printed in an easily readable serif or sans serif font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri or Cambria.

Top Tips on How to Write a Professional Email

Hints and Advice on Email Etiquette in the Workplace

Email is fast becoming the primary means of communication; not just between individuals on a social level, but within businesses. A May 2009 report by The Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, estimated that there were 1.4 billion email users in 2009, and that some 247 billion emails were sent each day in 2009.

Statistics on Email Usage

To gain an appreciation of just how important a medium of communication email is, it is beneficial to know some telling statistics (sourced from Email Marketing Reports):

  • If email was a country, it would – at 1.4 billion users – be the largest in the world.
  • One email is sent every 0.00000035 seconds.
  • By the time this sentence has been read, 20 million emails would have been sent around the world.
  • Every second, the world’s email users produce messages equivalent in size to over 16,000 copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

An Introduction to Email Etiquette

Within business especially, whether sending an internal or external email, it is important that the message is constructed in a professional manner, to give the correct impression on those receiving it. Poorly worded or constructed emails can render an incorrect message, or give out the wrong tone – purely because due to its very nature, email does not convey facial signals, and therefore messages written with one intent can often be read as the opposite. Emails are also retained much longer than paper documents, so any negative impression given can be lasting and irreparable.

Good Email Etiquette

  • Do always read, then re-read an email before sending it, to check spelling, grammar and tone.
  • Do ensure that the content of the email is relevant to those to whom it is being sent.
  • Do have a relevant subject heading, to clearly indicate at a glance the important attributes of the email and its contents. However, avoid a lengthy subject heading.
  • Do ensure that a signature is appended to the email, so that those reading it can contact the sender if required.
  • Do, if an email is being forwarded, inform the correspondent that this is being carried out.
  • Do use emphasis in an email where appropriate, but refrain from over-emphasising. This will result in the email looking cluttered.
  • Do be polite in all emails.
  • Do scan any attachments for viruses before sending the email.
  • Do be concise, and avoid lengthy ramblings.

Bad Email Etiquette

  • Do not reply to a message when angry or frustrated, as this may be regrettable later.
  • Do not type in capitals; this is considered to be shouting.
  • Do not copy the entire business into an email if it is not specifically relevant to them all.
  • Do not send unsuitable attachments, as this could provoke complaints and disciplinary action.
  • Do not make personal remarks about the recipient or anyone else. This is extremely unprofessional.
  • Do not use emoticons, such as smiley faces.
  • Do not use email to discuss confidential information; it is not as secure as commonly perceived.

Email can be a valuable tool in business, if it is used correctly. Courtesy, respect and accuracy should be some of the common themes that run throughout every email sent, to avoid negative repercussions in the future.