In a PR world that now relies heavily on only email, the importance of picking up the phone is greater than ever. Many new PR professionals don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone to pitch a reporter, or even ask about a job interview.
I will never forget during my first internship, I had to pick up the phone and pitch reporters all day. From 9am to 5pm. In front of all of the employees. And provide a full pitching update at the end of the day. It was nerve-wracking and extremely pestering, but ever since I’ve felt extremely comfortable picking up the phone to talk to any reporter.
So many times we’re given a pitching assignment, blast out emails, and wait for responses. The most effective way to get instant feedback and a gut check on whether or not your pitch is even relevant, is simply to pick up the phone. Jot down the reporters number if they don’t pick up, and try calling again in a few hours. So many emails go unanswered. Even the short ones like, are you working on your holiday gift guide yet? Pick up the phone if you don’t get a response. You’ll be surprised how much more information you can dig out of a reporter when you get them on the phone. Plus it help you further your personal relationship. You become more than an email address.
There’s only a few weeks left of Summer Friday’s – crying face. And whether you get out at 1:30pm every Friday or have select Friday’s off, it’s important to make the most of your time off. Here’s a few ways to do it.
Explore the city. Venture down to Union Square or SoHo. Do some shopping and stop for a sweet treat along the way. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. in Union Square or Popbar in the West Village are our favorites.
Pamper yourself. Get your nails and hair done. Schedule your long overdue waxing and maybe a facial on the side since you’ll be at the spa. Relax and pamper yourself after the hard work week. You deserve it.
Soak up the sun. Either in Central Park, Madison Square Park or the pier in Hoboken if you want to go across the river for an unbeatable view. If you have time, head to the beach. There’s only a few weeks left to enjoy the sand.
Run errands. To the grocery store or to make those returns you’ve been putting off. Clean up your apartment if you’ve been putting that off as well. It will make you feel accomplished.
Meet up with friends and family. See that old colleague you haven’t caught up with in several months. Or ask your mom to meet you for a day in the city.
Be lazy. It’s not too often we get to lay around our apartment or by a pool worrying about nothing. Take a nap on the couch or read a book and enjoy being home sweet home.
As a follow up to my creative agency interview post, we need to discuss what to wear on a more conservative interview. These can be a bit tricky. The worst thing you can do on your first corporate interview (besides chew gum or let your *Nsync ringtone play full blast) is try to ignore your personality or appear drab when you present yourself. While you may want to be more polished and less modish, that doesn’t mean you need to hold back who you are. Here are a few of my favorite pieces for the more conservative meeting, along with tips to remember when dressing: I rarely wear slacks, so you’ll never see me put them on for an interview. Most important to me is to have great classic items that can mix together in any which way. A dress, whether it’s solid or patterned, is a must-have. Cannot go wrong with a wrap dress. I prefer darker colors here as they are universally flattering. A pencil skirt is another great option. Rather than a two-piece skirt suit (who wears those?) I would pair a patterned skirt with a solid blazer (like this one too) and a blouse or shirt.
As for accessories, you can have one playful item that adds a little something to the outfit – whether that’s a chunky necklace or a collection of bangles and bracelets. Avoid neon colors. Shoes should be a solid pump, no toes showing (check the tips and make sure these are clean!). I like a classic black bag too. No matter your outfit, a trench coat is the perfect topper for the professional outfit. I like this one.
As these are very basic, clean-cut clothes, fit is incredibly important. Do not wear pants that are not hemmed, skirts that tug or hang loose, or dresses that do nothing for you. The key here is figure flattering, not “what is the most professional thing my mother purchased for me last Christmas” (only saying that because I’ve been there). If you don’t have any items in your closet that do not fit you and you need to make a purchase, I would recommend buying one great professional dress and a perfect-fitting pencil skirt. You can mix the skirts with any tops you wish, and the dress is a great item to wear to all of your first interviews.
In creative industries like PR, it can be easy to forget your professional boundaries. Everyone is friendly with one another and goofs around, cussing is pretty normal, and you can get away with pairing your breezy maxi dress with a fun blazer. Everyone has their own personal professional boundaries. Some people are uncomfortable sharing anything personal with co-workers, while others gab away at the water cooler about their mom’s best friend’s recent poodle purchase. I think it’s always best to err on the side of respectful privacy, in all areas of the work place. Here are a few hints as to what “being a professional” really means.
Address people with respect – Even if you have a nick name for your work bestie, try to save it for when you are having fun or just with the two of you. Be sure to call people’s names with a smile on your face when you can, even if you’re angry. You’re not anyone’s parent or child… start each encounter in a welcoming way and on even ground
Dress for the level above you - It’s easy for me to slip out of this one. Flats are so comfortable and during the winter sometimes I can barely muster the energy to take my snow boots off my frozen toes. However, if you’re running around the office looking like the temp hired to stuff mailers, it will be hard for others to take a better first impression of you. Dress clean, dress appropriate, and show modesty
Make eye contact and be friendly – I actually think being sheepish or quiet has minimal place in the office. Be sure you are looking people in the eye when you speak and they are speaking. Talk as you would like to be talked to, as a confidant or an experienced worker. And for goodness sake, put your phone away. My biggest pet peeve is when I express an idea or an opinion but colleagues only half heard it because they’re checking their email
Speak with confidence - Learn how to talk and be heard. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to up the volume on your voice. Speak in short sentences. Do not whine or complain. Make references people can relate to. Think before you speak. This comes with practice, but once you’ve got it you’re golden
It’s good to laugh (it inspires culture), but it’s not so good to dish (it inspires cliques) – I love cracking jokes with the girls in my office. We’ll talk about the Fifty Shades trailer or a ridiculous celebrity tweet and bust a gut. However, do not mistake camaraderie for trusted relationships. Rumors spread in the office just as fast, if not faster, than they did in high school. Keep your thoughts and personal escapades to yourself, unless you’re sharing a fun night or event you think your co-workers should try. And NEVER talk about a co-worker behind their back. If you think there is a real issue, go to a supervisor or HR