I have a quick question about landing an internship. I reached out to a friend’s parent’s contact about possibly interning for their company in the spring. It is nearing the end of the semester and have not heard back about an interview (although they did confirm they received my resume). Wondering if I should follow-up again or wait it out a little longer. I’m hoping I can interview before winter break but don’t want to pester.
What do you think is the right move?
-Anxious and Determined
The answer is simple – YES. So many opportunities fall through because people are afraid of being a pest. In this day and age, you can’t let that hold you back. Opportunities are sparse, so be as proactive as possible. Show your extreme interest in the company and make it known that you’re serious about the position.
Pick up the phone and call the company. It’s much more personal than email. If they can’t give you an answer on your follow-up, let them know that you will be following up again in a week. And then follow through. Be honest in letting them know that you’re hoping to have an answer before winter break and ask if that’s possible. Ask to come in even just for an informational interview to meet the team.
Be assertive without being pushy and you’be be surprised in the response you get. The longer you wait, the more chance you have for the opportunity to slip away to someone else being more proactive.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing a girl who really came to the office knowing she was right for our open internship. She knew exactly what she wanted to communicate, she knew she could make a good impression, and she did it. Not only was I impressed, but almost every member of my team who met with her agreed shes would make a great fit at our company.
This girl is blessed with PR girl confidence. She probably had it from a young age. Not all of us are so lucky.
It took me several years to feel sure of myself in my career and in my role at my company. Mostly, it just takes time, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you pick up that admirable charm early on as well. Whether you’re heading into an interview or it’s another day at the office, try a few of the below to help strut your PR girl stuff:
Semi-stalk those you admire – Yes, this sounds creepy. Get over it. If you have a colleague or friend at school who you admire for her bad-ass-ness, take a few notes. What does she say to get people to understand her point of view? How does she walk into a room? How does she introduce herself?
Get your own Sasha Fierce – As lame as this sounds, I bring myself into a mindset of the task I need to handle and think about how a totally-in-control PR girl would kick ass doing it. Some call it alter-egos. Some call it personas. Whatever. The point is, sometimes you need to be your own hype girl and fake it until you make it. Beyonce had Sasha Fierce for years, until she got to the point where she knew she could handle it all on her own, and killed her.
Nail your first impression – Come in strong. Smile when introducing yourself to everyone. Shake hands, sometimes use both hands if you want to make a personal connection or feel like the other person needs to chill out. Even if the other people in the room aren’t as friendly, if you come in happy and ready to work, if these people don’t get on your level it’s their own fault. Now you own the room. Way to go.
There are several times when you’re working with a reporter and the story goes completely as planned. Then there are other times when the story takes a turn for the worst and there’s no way for you to control it. While we all know we can’t control what the reporter will write, there are ways to handle yourself when a story goes in the wrong direction to make sure you personally don’t get burned.
Give the reporter a call. When you get an inkling of what the story is actually going to be about, speak on the phone instead of just email. This way you can get more feelers about the story and ask more questions.
Be completely honest with the reporter. Let them know that your client doesn’t want to be associated with X, Y, Z. Letting them know will at least put up a red flag and there could be a chance that your client won’t be included.
Suggest new ways for your client to be included. If they are a part of the story, make a suggestion that instead of your client being portrayed in X light, they could be portrayed as Y instead.
Take it as it is. There’s only so far you can go in pestering the reporter. Don’t harm your relationship by giving attitude or being overbearing.
Give your client the heads up. Cover your butt. Let them know what the story ended up being about and that they might be included. Let them know what suggestions you’ve made and the steps you’ve taken.
How have you handled yourself when an article doesn’t go as planned?
Our dear friend Nichole at Vanilla Extract recently posted about gaining followers on her favorite shopping social network Wanelo. What’s great is that these tips apply to gaining followers on any social network or blog so read on and make sure you follow Nichole if you aren’t already!
Hi, my name is Nichole and I’m addicted to online shopping. My latest obsession is a cool app / online shopping community called Wanelo. This service let’s you see all of your favorite stores and products in one place. AKA: You can shop faster and more efficiently online. In your PJ’s. With wine. Can you say dangerous?
I’ve spent a lot of time on the site, drooling over my favorite shoes, bags, and dresses, and buying a few must-haves. During that time, I learned a lot about the service and built up quite a following.
Here’s the deal: Wanelo has over 10 million users, up from 1 million in November 2012. Over 200,000 stores have followings on the platform, including top retailers like Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, J.Crew, and Nasty Gal.
So what’s the benefit of having more Wanelo followers? If you’re a retailer, a large following helps you get your products in front of more people. As a blogger, it adds credibility to your portfolio and might be an opportunity to collaborate with some of your favorite brands. As a user, it validates your opinion of what’s hot.
If you want a piece of those 10 million users, here’s how to get in front of them, one great product at a time.
1. Post good content.
Products can catch on fast on Wanelo, and the people who post the most popular products can gain influence. All kinds of products are welcome, but quirky, unique, well-photographed and/or topical ones typically get shared and distributed widely.
Wanelo is obsessed with power users, and if you have good content, you might:
be included in Wanelo’s weekly Top Stories newsletter that reaches its entire user base.
be included in their invite-only Wanelo Holiday page—a page curated just for this season that will feature stories and products from a select group of users, brands, and media properties on Wanelo. All the content will be viewable by Wanelo’s 10 million-plus users, regardless of whether or not they follow you.
2. Bring products to the table.
It’s all about bringing great, new products into Wanelo because that’s how you gain visibility and influence. Your profile will be forever linked to the products you post to the community, which is an opportunity for you to get noticed as more and more people save and re-save your content.
3. Have a good profile picture with a bio.
When someone lands on your profile, the first thing to catch their eye is your profile picture. Make sure it’s a forward-facing, quality photo of yourself. Blurry, pixelated images, or pictures of someone or something that isn’t YOU, won’t resonate well with users. Your bio is your chance to tell people who you are in a nutshell and entice them to follow you. You can link to your blog and Instagram as well as connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your profile.
4. Be active when it counts.
A good strategy for picking up maximum re-saves, likes, and comments is to save products when other users are the most active. While the site is consistently busy throughout the day (they say users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on Wanelo!), early evenings prove to be the most beneficial. We’ve found that the peak is often around 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.
5. Utilize Stories.
Stories are editorial bits of content around a group of products that gets published to all of your followers. Stories can be easily shared to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter as a single image, which can generate even more exposure and help grow your following.
6. Engage with other users.
You can get in front of more users by mentioning (@username) and commenting on products and stories. There’s also story reposting, which allows anyone to repost a story they like to all of their followers. This helps people, who are creating amazing stories, find more followers.
7. Tag products with appropriate hashtags.
Hashtags help products get discovered and help you keep up with all the unique content on Wanelo. Hashtag pages are created automatically when products and stories are tagged. Users can also follow hashtags and see when new products are tagged. This means your profile will be exposed to anyone following the hashtags you’ve used in your posts. You can also hashtag stories, which is another way that helps you discover more content and helps others discover you! For example, a user can follow #leopard to see all of the relevant products and stories tagged with that hashtag.
8. Be active.
When you actively post from stores you love, you have a chance to become a top contributor. Top contributors are listed on a store’s profile page, which is another way to gain exposure, and stores pay attention to that. But most importantly, just be yourself and have fun with it!
At nyc PR girls we get a lot of great questions in our mailbox. We are happy to help each and every one of you, and we hope that you dig through our blog and the internet and help yourselves as well! Sometimes, we get a fun question like “where should I apply for jobs?” or “how do I get started?” That’s when I want to say something like “Honey, let me google that for you.”
For questions like these, the answers are almost never ending. It is up to you guys to find the path that works for you. But an amazing tool at your disposal?
I’d like to consider myself a Google master (I once found a link for my mom to purchase a vintage Whirly Bird under three minutes. You’re welcome), but it really isn’t that hard to use the search engine to your best advantage. Google is much smarter than any of us may realize. So smart it can translate your forgetful brain into exactly the result you were looking for. So whether you have a project for school, work or are beginning your job search, Google should be your first stop.
Type into the search bar EXACTLY what you’re thinking – Can’t remember the name of a job search engine or book that a friend recommended, but you can recall some random details? I’ve found what I’m looking for by literally typing “Job search engine with an i” or “Song in Geico commercial with man made of money.” Google reads your mind, but only if you put it in the search bar
Google will answer your questions – Need to know what time it is in Los Angeles? Google knows. Looking to start your fashion pr career? Ask Google directly. Using a full question usually gets me the best results. If it doesn’t pop up with the answer Siri-style, it will provide several sources that you can read to have a broad understanding of the topic. Which leads me to…
Google will narrow your search – The internet is a wormhole of information. If you read one article on consumer PR or best pitch practices, and it sparks an idea, make sure to google your next thought. As you tighten up your question and receive better information, you’ll soon be researching rather than just reading. And that is really the difference between a PR girl and your average Jane. PR peeps do their due diligence always
After going on a lovely trip this weekend I was not feeling coming into the office and getting work done. When I began to feel pain in my head and shoulders, I wanted to nip whatever was coming my way in the bud so I quickly went to City MD and got checked out. For the first time EVER, I was diagnosed with tension headaches.
It’s a known fact PR girls and guys have stressful jobs, but I never thought I would have a medical issue because of it. Since the doctor has called attention to it, I do have to be honest and say I haven’t been feeling like myself for a couple weeks now. Maybe this tension headache is just what I needed to get back on my feet.
Before you let your stress get the best of you, here are some ways you can make sure you’re easing the tension in the workplace:
Always inject the positive – Even in a dire situation. Sometimes you don’t even know that you’re in a negative situation until someone looks like they’re about to break down and cry. If you notice a lot of negative words in a meeting with a colleague (“no,” “i told you so,” “I hate this,” “difficult,” “more work,”), try to throw in some words of encouragement as well
Check your posture – No need to do downward dog at the desk, but check your shoulders and where your head is. You may be putting more tension on your neck than you realize. If you’re a student… working from your bed might sound comfy, but it could lead to back pain. Usually a straight chair (or even standing!) is best
Keep cozy – I try to have at least two cups of tea a day to keep my head on right. If you have a favorite scarf or sweater, keep it at your desk. I had colleagues who put slippers on in their cubicle. Do what makes you feel at home
Make time for you – Even if it means a little less sleep in the morning, I always prefer starting my day with something for me (whether it’s running a personal errand or running on the treadmill). Work feels a lot less like your entire day if you take some time for you
I’m a recent graduate with two degrees in English and Communications, experience from multiple internships and currently trying to find a career in PR in a struggling job market (who isn’t though, right?). I really love your site and I think that the feedback and discussion topics that are perfect for post grads much like myself. I’m looking for some advice as I’m taking the dreaded job search day by day and I’m hoping you can help!
I’ve had internships at Conde Nast with placements at Teen Vogue and Bon Appetit and was the editor in chief of my university newspaper for a year. I’ve just completed an internship at a PR firm in NYC and always thought that I would be a good fit for a career in editorial but after my most recent internship, I realized that I want to work in travel PR. Unfortunately, my PR firm currently isn’t hiring full time.
I am very grateful to have been able to gain so much experience through these internships and I feel very blessed to have learned so much but everywhere that I apply seems to only accept unpaid interns or positions that require 5-10 years’ experience. My problem is, like many other post grads, I’m at the point where my student loans are kicking in and the pressures of the real world are beginning to creep up on me.
Any advice from any of you who have been in my position (that sickening feeling of defeat), professional or personal would help. Are there any specific sites that you’ve found helpful in your search? How did you deal with moving back in with your parents after four years of being on your own? (Enjoying the luxury of coming in from the bar on Saturday nights whenever you wanted to 12 “where are you?” “where are you now?” texts every weekend).
Hope to hear from you soon!
- Feeling Defeated
That sickening feeling you’re currently going through is very common. We all prepare ourselves to graduate, get our dream job and live happily ever after but unfortunately that’s not reality anymore.
After graduating, I had to take a paid internship. If you do have to take another internship, find a place that pays and make sure it could lead to a full-time position. Be very candid and ask this in your interview. Paid internships do exist, just make sure you’re using several different websites, including LinkedIn, during your job search.
It’s also important to make sure you’re searching for the right entry-level position. It sounds like you’re ready for an Account Coordinator or Assistant Account Executive position but note that these positions are usually handed to interns or people with connections, so don’t be too discouraged. There’s a girl at my agency that was a recent grad like yourself with little experience and no connections. She went door to door to every agency to drop off her resume in-person and followed up resiliently until she landed the position she wanted. Little standouts like that take you very far.
The most important part is to not give up. The minute you start doubting yourself is when you’ll start going backwards. Yes, you might feel down now because you’re still living at home, but the experience you have under you belt is amazing. Any PR professional hiring would love to see someone with editorial experience. Be confident in yourself and recognize that the right door hasn’t opened itself just yet. One day you’re going to miss those days living at home.
Adrianna and I both had the kind of weeks where we looked around and couldn’t believe how grown up we were. A is moving into a fabulous new apartment in Hoboken that she has all to herself, and I just moved into my first office.
Sometimes these changes seem scary, but as we’ve always said… it’s the time you spend outside your comfort zone when you’ll make the magic happen. If you have an opportunity in front of you that you’re hesitant about, whether it’s an interview for a job that’s totally different, or a new class, or a new set of friends that are a little older and a little more mature, why not jump in? You’ll learn something about life, and you’ll learn something about yourself.
Being an interviewer, there are several red flags to lookout for when interviewing someone. Just based on personal experience, there are certain watch outs that let me know whether or not the interviewee could bit a good fit to work with. With interviews for December graduates looming, here are a few red flags to keep in mind.
Showing up late for the interview. They probably will show up to work late as well.
Being unprepared. If they don’t bring a pen and paper or a copy of their resume, big red flag.
Inappropriate dress. Low cut top, too short of a dress. This shows they might not be taking the interview seriously.
Not having a good understanding of PR. It’s difficult to sum up PR in a sentence, but you can usually tell who’s really interested in our industry by their perception of PR.
One word answers. If the interviewee is answering with only one word, they might be hiding something. Or just don’t have anything to say.
Little knowledge about the agency. Proof that they didn’t research your company.
Quiet and not confident. If the conversation doesn’t flow naturally and becomes awkward, it’s probably because the interviewee isn’t confident or prepared.
Doesn’t ask questions. One of my biggest pet peeves. Ask me one thing – anything – so I at least know you’re engaged.
Sounding desperate. Mentioning they’ve applied and interviewed for a million jobs and haven’t heard from anyone raises red flags.
Only concerned about money. Especially for newbies. If they’re thinking their first job is going to be high paying one in PR, their reality is skewed.