How to Ask the Right Questions

When you enter the career world, your supervisors will often say to you “there is no such thing as a stupid question.” While I encourage this phrase, what I really think it should be is “you shouldn’t be afraid to ask ANY questions.” There are stupid questions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they shouldn’t be asked – especially if you’re just starting a new job, a new project, or trying to learn about someone’s work style. However, to avoid being a nag or give yourself a bit more confidence while being quizzical, there are a few steps you can take to ask the RIGHT questions.

For example…

Before asking someone else, ask yourself – can I Google this? It shocks me how many questions I receive in an email or in an interview that could have easily been answered by a little research or doing some googling. It saves yourself and your managers time if you try to find easy answers for yourself first.

If you think it sounds silly, frame it up nice - Even if you have to ask something as simple as where to order paper bags from, frame it in the context of your thought process so your co-workers know where you’re coming from. If you explain that you’re trying to make best use of the client budget but you are having a hard time finding the best delivery materials, that sounds a lot better than “where do we buy cheap bags?”

Question your question, and you might find an answer- This may seem silly, but sometimes your questions can be answered by thinking outside the problem at hand. Ask yourself if there are any resources you can check first, any past projects that might be able to help, or new information you recently received that helps to clarify.

Know who to ask - Even if you’re buddy buddy with your boss or director, it doesn’t mean you need to bug her with every question. Talk to those members of your team who can help you best. Same thing with professors, career counselors or mentors. Just because someone has giving you great information in the past does not make them the master encyclopedia of all things ever. Expand your resources for best results.

 

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Spring Cleaning for the New Yorker

The past four days have been the first true signs of spring in the city. This weekend was gorgeous, reaching almost 70 degrees and sunny the full two days. It seemed like everyone was out on the streets, stretching their limbs and exposing pale city skin to the sun.

When you live in New York, spring cleaning is a bit different than a full-house-scrub-down (though, I have to say scrubbing my apartment for spring is one of my favorite things to do). Here are a few ways New Yorkers spring clean their lives.

  • The farmer’s market no longer seems like a cruel joke on the farmers. The market is flooded and always smells like fresh dirt and bread.
  • Brunch is taken outside.
  • Lungs are exercised in fresh air that doesn’t hurt.
  • Closets are cleaned out, and new colorful clothes are seen on the streets.
  • Momentary blindness followed by extreme happiness for all the pale legs (the first real sign of warmer weather).
  • Umbrellas flex their muscles.
  • Taxis are shunned, and walking is preferred (similarly, too-high-heels are traded for considerable flats and wedges)
  • Smoothies and ice cream on instagram, oh my.
  • Windows are thrown open and music is heard on the street.

What are your favorite urban spring cleaning moments?

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From the Inbox: Should I Switch Internships?

I have been a follower of your blog for a year now and I love it. Your blog truly mirrors what the PR profession is all about, so thank you for that!

I am currently in a dilemma, and I need your expertise. I am a junior in college studying public relations. Since the rush for internships is off to a start, I applied like crazy and landed two awesome internships. The problem is, I can only choose one since I am a full time student. I wish I had the time to juggle both but I don’t. And now I am struggling to decide which internship to take.

The first internship I landed is strictly focused on Fashion PR and the second internship is a full service PR firm that caters to Lifestyle, Entertainment, Fashion, and Beauty clients. My interests in the PR field are not just in Fashion, but I already accepted the internship with the Fashion PR boutique.

Which should I choose? My heart is telling me to go with the second internship, but I do not want to be impolite and tell the Showroom Coordinator from the first internship that I can no longer take the position. I am scheduled to start next week.  What should I do?

Thank you,
A Torn PR Girl

Should I Switch Internships

First off, congratulations! This is not a bad problem to have. It’s like The Bachelorette when she’s down to two guy that want to marry her and she doesn’t know which to choose.  Tough life.

Since you’ve already committed to starting the fashion internship a week from now, I would say it’s too late to switch. You don’t want to burn any bridges, especially since you’re just starting out.

The good news is that you pretty much have a second internship lined up for the fall or spring. Email the other firm and let them know that while you already accepted an internship at a different agency, you would be interested in working at theirs in the fall or spring. Stay in touch with them over the summer so that they don’t forget about you. By the time you graduate, you will have two completely different experiences under your belt so you’ll know which is the better fit for you once the time comes to look for a full-time job.

If you were coming to me with this question as someone who already graudated, I would say to take the second opporunity. You’re still only a junior, so you have plenty of time to feel out the industry.

Hope this helps – and best of luck.

Xo, A

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The Top 5 Resume Mistakes You’re Making

As summer approaches, many college students and grads are scrambling for an internship or job. We’ve seen hundreds of resumes, either submitted to us or the agencies we work with. Here are the top five worst resume mistakes, and some of my biggest pet peeves.

Top 5 Resume Writing Mistakes

  • No social media handles. We work in PR – yes, I want to find you and stalk you on Twitter, LinkedIn and maybe even Instagram. Make it easy for me by including your channels.
  • Spelling mistakes. Yes, this still happens. I don’t know how but it does.
  • Formatting issues. Limit your resume to one page and make sure spacing is aligned. It should be very pleasing to the eye and simple to browse. My favorite resumes came as a PDF and have some creative, photoshop elements.
  • Too many words. If you find yourself cramming everything into one page with a super small font, start cutting words. Anything that’s too lengthy won’t be read. Highlight what’s most important including any figures and results.
  • Objective statement. They’re usually better left off. So many are super broad and irrelevant. Put your objective in the cover email instead.

What are some other resume mistakes you see?

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