From the Inbox: A Returning Internship

Hi A&M,

I am a sophomore in college living in NYC and am currently working my second PR internship. Right now, I intern at a beauty PR firm and I am absolutely in LOVE with this internship. I think beauty PR is really my calling in life. Oh and it’s PAID! How amazing?

Like most internships, it only lasts for one semester. I really want to stay for the summer but I am not sure how to go about asking. I don’t want to look for a new internship because I feel like this one is perfect for me. We have three other interns and I have not told them about my desire to stay because I fear they will try to beat me to the punch. Please give me some advice on how I can properly ask to extend my internship into the summer months. Thanks so much in advance & I’m obsessed with your blog :)

Love,
P

Returning Summer Intern

First off, this is not the time to be shy. If you’re loving your experience, SPEAK UP. Because you’re right – your peers might beat you to it. It’s a rare experience to find a place you love working. Many interns might be surprised to learn that their managers can’t always tell if they are actually enjoying what they are doing.

As soon as you can, set up a meeting with the appropriate people. Go straight to your boss and the HR director and have a sit down to let them know how much you’ve enjoyed working there. This is your time to be vocal and say something before it’s too late. Straight up ask them if they would be willing to consider you as a summer intern candidate. At the end of the day, it can’t hurt and you definitely can’t expect them to automatically ask you to come back.

If they aren’t willing to take you on in the summer (don’t be surprised if so) politely ask why. Is it because of your performance? Or do they have a policy implemented to hire new interns each semester? If this happens, let them know you would love to be considered for an entry-level position once you graduate and keep in touch. Super important.

Best of luck – and let us know if you end up returning!

Xo, A

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Sacrifices Worth Making for NYC

hyposocial:❀  vintage & nature blog  ❀

While adopting the NYC lifestyle, you’ll immediately see there are a few things you’ll have to give up so you can afford to take advantage of the city best you can – as well as pay the rent. Whether you’re moving in for the first time or have finally decided you are going to conquer city living on a (reasonable) budget, a few luxuries you had at home or in quieter locales will fall to the wayside. For me, I have gotten a little lazy the past few months (a polar vortex can do that to you), but I’m ready to get back on an urban budget (READ: spend my money on a lot of cute spring clothes).

As long as you are as infatuated with the city as its we are, they will barely seem like sacrifices. Besides, every con comes with a pro. If you maneuver these few things the best you can, the city will repay you.

A few sacrifices compromises for NYC…

Trade Easy Commuting for Lots of Walking – I dream of a day when I’ll have an easy commute to work. But if I’m being honest, my walk to the 4/5/6 train is one of the most peaceful times of day. Not only do I get to breathe in the city, but I zone out to music or an audio book (great recommendation from a friend of mine).

Trade Starbucks for Office Coffee – If you were addicted to Starbucks previously, you can best get over it now. Learn how to make something somewhat decent with almond milk and raw sugar in the office and call it a day. Ain’t nobody got time for those lines anyway, never mind the prices.

Trade Your Big Screen for A Bookshelf – Any huge electronics you had at home or in an older, larger, apartment you can kiss goodbye. Not to mention the hassle and cost of Time Warner is just not worth the headache. Keep it to a small TV, hook up your Netflix, and bring in some cute furniture instead to make your apartment a home.

Trade House Parties for Pregame Parties – While house parties will become a thing of your past, pregaming apartment parties are some of the most fun I’ve had in New York. For one, I love snooping around and checking out other real estate in New York – any excuse to do it with an invitation and without a broker is a dream for me. Two, free booze and good friends.

Trade Dinner Takeout for Saturday Brunch – As I’ve said before, Seamless is a trap you do not want to fall into. Save your moneys for a fun Saturday Brunch with the girls. Believe me, it’s muuuch better than your weekday Applebee’s/Sushi/Domino’s habit.

Trade Long Hours for Long, Fun Nights – Yes, New Yorkers are known to work their butts off. But we’re known to have a good time too! Keep your weeks mostly for work and catching up with very close friends when you need to blow off steam. You’ll trade those 12 hour days for 12 hour nights on the weekend.

Trade Car/Taxis/Uber for the Subway – I AM THE WORST AT THIS! I miss driving, I love taxis, and Uber is an addiction I would rather not give into. But there is something about becoming a real New Yorker and being able to navigate the subway like a pro. I’m working on it.

Trade Mall Browsing for Window Shopping – This one was easy for me. While some people love going to the mall and getting everything they want for a season all in one go, New York is best for window shopping and taking your time. Plus, looking at the gorgeous windows up and down Fifth Avenue is absolutely free (until you dive in for the splurge).

What are you willing to trade for New York? What have you given up, but gotten in return? We want to know!

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Learn to Write… for Real

When I was little, I was OBSESSED with the book (and popular Nickelodeon Movie) Harriet the Spy. I particularly related to Harriet’s fascination with writing down everything she saw in the world. I used to climb a tree in our front yard and wait for something exciting to happen for me to scribble into the composition notebook my mom got for me at the drugstore. Growing up in Small Town, Upstate NY, not too much happened. I’d usually make up stories about our neighbors or watch the grass grow. In any case, I can pinpoint these young summers as the time when I became a writer.

Vintage

As PR professionals, we do a heck of a lot of writing. When you start out, much of our writing is composed of pitches or press releases, so creativity is limited. As you advance in your career or gain more of your clients’ trust, you will be asked to draft campaign plans, media statements, or social media posts. To get yourself to that stage, you need to develop  your professional writing voice through the years and constantly be looking to learn new things.

College is a great place to develop your voice, whether you’re a PR major/minor or not. I was an American Studies major, and wrote at least 2-3 papers a week. This is when I nailed my grammar skills and learned how to research and cite resources. While PR classes may teach you “PR writing,” it’s these more liberal arts courses that I am most grateful for establishing my writing skills.

If you’re like me and didn’t (or don’t) have the luxury of a public relations course, there are a few ways you can continue to develop your writing skills in your professional life. Here are a few tips:

Understand writing is really rewriting – My father used to tell me this every. single. day. Give yourself enough time to produce your best work, which is going to mean going through several drafts before you give anything to a professor or supervisor. Usually, I like to start by writing my stream of consciousness (aka gibberish), then clean it up from there.

Do your own research on writing format – If you’re just starting out and not sure what a press release should look, like – use Google to find a recent release from a brand you respect. Truthfully, press releases change based on the client or brand, but Google is a good place to start.

The AP Stylebook is your friend - When I first started PR, I was so against AP Stylebook. I could feel it shaming me from the bookshelf so much, I would throw it in a desk drawer just so I didn’t have to look at it. Truth is, having a handle on grammar is your BEST tool. If you don’t know your stuff, it shows. And those who have the AP Style down will be given the best writing assignments. Just a fact of life.

Don’t be scared to use your voice and show some personality – That’s what writing is about. Make it juicy, funny, romantic, trippy – whatever is YOU. If you’re writing on behalf of a brand, look at brand materials and the website to get a feel on words used frequently in relation to the brand personality. Give it to a friend or peer to read once, and see if you got it right. Usually, it will take a couple assignments before you get it.

Practice – The blog is a great tool for A and I to practice writing, but I also look to my superiors to teach me something new with every item I draft. NEVER JUST ACCEPT CHANGES IN A DOCUMENT. Walk through edits so you can take them as little gifts for your next assignment.

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Six Signs PR Isn’t the Job for You

A while back, we wrote about 10 signs PR is the right job for you. But what about knowing if it isn’t? It’s not uncommon for graduates to enter a career they’re not sure is a definite fit for them. It’s also not uncommon for people to ramp up their PR career and start reevaluating it several years in. In reality, PR isn’t for everyone. Here are six signs that PR isn’t the right job for you. Don’t take it personal – it’s just business.

Six Signs PR Isn't For You

  •  You’re constantly feeling burnt out. Those times when you’re overly exhausted, experienceing an extreme lack of interest and just aren’t feeling motivated. The PR job is all about having high energy and being on your toes. It’s the only way to please client and in reality, this job isn’t a 9 to 5.
  • You don’t take criticism or rejection well.  If you take criticism too personally and aren’t willing to absorb feedback, the job isn’t a fit for you. PR pros are constantly being criticized on their writing, contacts, strategies, placements and more.
  • You hate writing. It isn’t a good sign if the thought of writing a pitch, plan or press release makes you cringe. Yes, we all get annoyed at times, but our job is about communicating and constantly evolving our writing. We send hundreds of emails a day, so if you don’t enjoy writing, we have a problem.
  • You don’t care about the news. If you have a sincere lack of interest in the news, media and digital landscape this definitely isn’t the job for you. We’re expected to stay on top of what’s going on in the news constantly –  especially what reporters care about. The media landscape changes every day and if you don’t care about what’s going on or your placements, big red flag.
  • You don’t like working with people. Not much of a people person? Big problem. PR is all about teamwork and relationships. Relationships with your colleagues, clients and media contacts.
  • You crumble under pressure. Just like media, we’re charged with deadlines and constant client demands. In order to make it to the other side, you must stay organized and focused in order still function under pressure. If you constantly breakdown and crumble, you’re toast.

What are some other signs PR isn’t the job for you?

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