Only two more work days until the holiday (counting today)…yay! Before you jump for joy and head out of the office, it’s important to double check your list of things to do and make sure everyone is up to speed on where you stand. One of the biggest mistakes interns and new hires make is not informing their teammates on where projects stand.
While many managers may ask you on their own, be proactive and shoot a note today about how far along you are on all of your projects. This will leave ample amount of time to complete an assignment you might be missing before heading out. Also include what you have on your list of things to do once you return and remind them of your vacation time. This will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks for your teammates and client.
Since I’ve been on vacation this week, I’ll be in the office between Christmas and New Year. If you find yourself in this position, you know the office will be dead. Set aside projects that can be completed during this time so you’re still being proactive. It could be catching up on monitoring, charting…anything that will keep you busy.
Is anyone else working between Christmas and New Year, or am I the only one?
We’re in the homestretch to the holidays now, which means most procrastinating PR girls and boys are running around getting last minute gifts. When I was making my list of recipients this week, I thought of those I spend the most time with: my office colleagues. This year has been a tough one, so I want to give almost everyone a little something. But in any office, whether you work in a tiny 5 man shop or a global corporation, there are some boundaries with gifts. Here’s a little guide to giving back to those you work so hard with during the year:
Gifts for the boss – I don’t really appreciate one-off gifts for the boss. First, it puts you in the “brown noser” category. Second, it could put your boss under some pressure or in a moment of embarrassment if he/she didn’t get you anything in particular. However, I am in FULL support of gifts for all of your managers and supervisors. AKA, anyone who has been a great mentor to you throughout the year. That way, you are not singling out the head of the company but rather thanking every person who had an influence on your work this year (including the head of the company). Get them all the same thoughtful gift, whether that’s a new coffee mug for the office, a day book, fun stationary, or your favorite chocolate or wine.
Gifts for your co-workers – My office does a white elephant, so we don’t feel the need to get everyone individual gifts. However, last year I was still new at my company and I wanted to be sure everyone felt how thankful I was for being welcomed in the office, so I got all my team members a little something. This year it’s a little more laid back, so a little candy or fun lotto ticket or cute card for their desk will suffice.
Gifts for your office BFF – This one is a bit tricky as well. Your office BFF can be handled like your other close friends, but still be sure the gift is appropriate for office space. And be sure to give the gift after office hours – either at your Thursday happy hour or when you are both out to lunch. Don’t wave the gift in front of your peers… no need for them to know.
If you’re still in school, you’re probably lucky enough that you have almost a month off from school and some downtime at home for the holiday. When I was in college, I usually used this time to catch up on some much needed sleep. Once the craziness of Christmastime is over, you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs after you’ve reread Twilight for the 400th time. This downtime is the perfect opportunity to get started on your internship search or work on some career goals. Here are a few things you can do for your PR career while you’re snuggled up out of the snow.
Edit your resume – Before leaving for break, make an appointment with career services or a mentor to review your current resume. Have them give thoughts, or where you can elaborate on your strengths. Not only will you have plenty of time to make some much needed changes, but you’ll be surrounding be family and friends who can give their thoughts too!
Research some companies of interest – Between Pinterest, tumblr and Facebook we all spend a gross amount of time on the computer during holiday break. Why not spend some of that time going down the rabbit hole of potential first jobs or internships? Look up your favorite brands and think about who you would like as a client. Do a bit of digging to see who their PR team is, and what they have been up to lately. If you’re really in a daydreaming mood, look up some apartments in the area of your dream job. This always used to motivate me to keep going for what I wanted
Spend some time networking – Even though you may be cooped up and prefer to spend the holiday in your pj’s, you can still do some serious networking from home. Find some PR girls or guys through Twitter or a university club that has an online following. Send emails to some people you admire and ask them out for coffee or for some much needed advice. But first, be sure to spend your time looking into your potential new friends. If you have a question for a blogger, be sure they haven’t already addressed the issue in an FAQ or past post. And don’t EVER send an unsolicited resume to a new contact. Make a connection first
As the year comes to an end, planning for clients begins for the next fiscal year. Before diving into a new PR plan, it’s important to reflect back on the year you just had in order to make an informative recommendation.
Review your results – Look at the goals you set for the past year and see how well you achieved them.
What worked – Think about what gave you the resulted you wanted and what made the client happy. Was it a Twitter Party you planned? Your blogger relations? Take note and incorporate these ideas into next years plan.
What didn’t work – What didn’t help you in attaining your goal? Was the media uninterested in your spokesperson? Don’t be afraid to be realistic – it will help you pull together a more rational recommendation.
Set realistic goals – Unless there are severe budget cuts, you can’t lower your goals for the New Year, but don’t overestimate. You don’t want to give yourself unrealistic goals that will just cheat you and the client.
Target audience - How effectively did you reach your target audience in the past year? What new ways can you reach them this year? Maybe there’s a new form of social media they’re using or a celebrity they’re into.
Develop your plan – Now that you’ve reflected, what communication tools will be the most effective in the coming year? Reflect on how you answered the above bullets to better inform you.
This week has been crazy with an office holiday party, an intimate friends gathering, a couple holiday house parties and a black tie event that I just had to pencil in. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the cheer and go a little overboard (it happens to the best of us), but now is also a great time to do a little gut check and make sure you’re behaving appropriately at each venue. Below is a list of the top holiday parties that everyone probably has on your schedule, and how to accommodate your attitude for each.
A Friendly Cookie Swap or Pot Luck – one of my favorite parties of the season. Dress in stretchy pants (leggings) and a festive top. Sock bun or spunky ponytail. Spend time on your dish to pass – this is a great excuse to try one of the many recipes you’ve drooled over on Pinterest. Bring your best work stories and boy gossip. You know it’s time to leave when the wine bottles get recycled and dishes are brought to the sink – offer to help clean up as well!
The Office Party – Potentially one of the most fun or one of the most dangerous. Dress in a fancier office look – nothing too short, too sparkly, too high or too crazy. Here you can show off a personality with accessories. Stick to two beverages, three MAX. Avoid gossip or whispered talk, but have fun and bond with co-workers. You know it’s time to leave when someone attempts to make Gangnam Style happen.
Holiday House Party – Time to let loose! Now you can break out the short sequin skirt or new red lipstick you wanted to show off this season. Bring a bottle of wine or six pack to contribute to the festivities. Do not try to play DJ, and politely compliment the host on their music style (even if some ballads from the early 90′s come on). You know it’s time to leave when the sun comes up.
The Black Tie Event - Whether it’s for a charity or a super fancy office party, these are a great excuse to get all dolled up. Wear a maxi skirt or festive cocktail dress and skip the black tights. Treat yourself to a blow out. Bring a well packed clutch. You know it’s time to leave when men have started to sweat through their tuxes from all the dancing.
As the weekend draws closer, all I can think about is the holiday vacation I’m taking next week. I haven’t taken a full week vacation to travel somewhere in…let’s just say, three years. This getaway is long overdue and as any hardworking professional, we tend to get caught up in work, commuting and all the hassle in-between. A lot of us don’t take what we need – some time to unwind and get away, especially from holiday mayhem.
Leaving on Sunday, I’m traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the first time as a birthday/holiday gift from the bf. There are three things I’m looking forward to the most:
Kicking back, relaxing and soaking up the sun (which I definitely didn’t do this summer)
Getting to see a new foreign country
Spending quality time away from the computer, cell phone and any other distractions that tend to get in our way
I went to college where I graduated with a BA in communication studies majored in public relations and minored in marketing. I graduated in ’05 and between getting not so wonderful jobs (cold calling for a marketing firm) I decided to go back to what I did in college to pay the bills – bartend. I worked for this restaurant from ’09-current and I made amazing money, received award after award there, but I finally realized it’s time to GROW UP!
This is my burning question: Do you think that since I have been out of the industry, I should take a really good internship for a couple of months to freshen me up, possibly result in a job or at the least build my resume? Or, I do know several friends who have companies that told me that they would vouch for me and I could put work experience from them on my resume. I do feel like the second is a great option and I will probably do that, but don’t you think if I get a great internship that might lead to better results than just frustratingly searching for my dream job with little to no job qualifications?
Please help! I would love to hear what you think!
This is a great question that’s extremely relevant to our times. It’s so difficult for our generation to graduate and find a dream job…in fact, it’s near impossible! So many of us end up in the situation you are in now where you had to turn away from pursuing our major to make sure the bills are paid. The reality of your situation is that a good internship on your resume will aid you in all of the ways you outlined above. It will freshen up what you learned in college, build your resume, be a great learning experience and potentially lead to a job.
I remember when I first graduated college I already had two relevant PR internships at other agencies under my belt, so I immediately thought that I was qualified to be hired as an Assistant Account Executive. In actuality, I wasn’t. Full-time internships are a completely different learning experience from part-time internships while you’re still in school. When I wasn’t offered the job as an AAE, I was hired as an intern (yet again) which eventually lead to a job.
Pursue a full-time internship opportunity you’re really interested in at a firm you’d love to work for. Otherwise, you’ll most likely be banging your head against the wall searching for a dream job with no qualifications and a time-lapse between your prior relevant experiences.
Even if you do land the dream job, you would probably struggle in the position without having the prior necessary experience. Though it won’t be the pay you’re used to, an internship is the necessary step anyone has to take, no matter what age, to break into the PR industry.
P.S. Have you considered building a PR position at your restaurant? Another resume builder, you can manage the restaurants social networks, event planning and pitching local media to get coverage for the restaurant.
As I was running to the subway this morning with gifts for my co-workers in one hand and an umbrella in the other, I noticed someone reading an article on “A Not So Merry Holiday”. While it’s the most wonderful time of the year (to some) it can still be extremely stressful making sure everything goes smoothly between work, gifting and planning. We all know it’s important to stay focused this month, so here are some tips on how to beat holiday stress.
Try to eat well and make time to exercise. You’ll feel better about yourself and can relieve some stress while exercising.
Plan ahead. I’ve mentioned this before, but can’t stress it enough (pun intended).
Get extra sleep. 10pm is now my weekly bedtime.
Take time for yourself. Take your lunch break, decorate your apartment, wrap gifts or bake cookies.
Be realistic. If you’re overloaded with assignments, speak up at work. If you can’t afford extravagant gifts, look up some DIY ideas. It’s the thought that counts.
Remember what the holidays are really about. The three F’s: family, friends and food.
Still have fun! Get into the spirit and knock some items on your bucket list before it’s too late.
This month we’re giving you a few gift guides with our favorite things for loved ones this season, but every PR girl and guy has their own holiday wishlist. It can range from that perfect holiday entertaining segment to a new iPhone case. Adrianna and I have been talking about our wishes for the season, and while there are some things specific to us (we both want this SLR camera so badly!) there are a few things we’re sure you can relate to:
The perfect Today Show placement for a client with slow coverage
To be followed on Twitter by a minor celebrity
To actually go ice skating this winter in Central Park (Good luck to us!!)
A kiss under the mistletoe
A new coffee mug for the office
Praise from that stubborn client that gives two word responses to paragraph-long emails
New riding boots to trudge through NYC weather
A gorgeous holiday gift guide placement for one of our clients
Can you believe we’re almost through with the first week of December?! Before we look forward to the holidays, below is a look back at our favorite #PR101 tips from Twitter. Thanks to all that are included. Keep tweeting Xo