PRSA offers tools to acquaint seniors and recent college graduates into careers in the PR industry
Senior year can be the most stressful point of time throughout your college journey. PRSSA-LB allows students to attend helpful workshops, career tours, listen to guest speakers and build connections with PR professionals in the industries members are interested in. Then, graduation comes and goes and you might feel like you lost all your available resources for finding a job. What many people don’t know is that as a former PRSSA member, you have access to a discounted membership price for PRSA, the professional organization that oversees PRSSA, up to two years after graduation. So instead of paying $115-$325 for the other types of memberships, you would simply pay $60 annually! And according to the PRSA website, $60 could get you more than you ever expected. Here are five ways to maximize your PRSA membership:
1. PRSA Job Center
The job center has over 1,000 listings for available public relations jobs in various industries. It allows members to sort through listings based on location, job type, job function, organizational setting and industry. You can also upload your resume to the PRSA Jobcenter and apply to job listings directly from there. This is especially helpful when you need to narrow down what kind of jobs you would actually liketo apply for, rather than mindlessly scrolling through different job sites.
2. Resume & Cover Letter Assistance
Once you upload a copy of your resume and cover letter onto the Jobcenter, you will receive a free resume review from a PR professional. Under “Careers,” you are also able to create an updated resume using PRSA’s resume builder . Soon after the completion of your resume, it can be made public to be searched by employers or kept private to your profile.
3. Networking Events
PRSA hosts a multitude of exciting conferences and workshops aimed at educating and connecting members around the world. Most of these events do come with a registration fee, but it can definitely be a worthwhile investment in your future career and members receive a discounted price. Who knows? You might meet your next employer at one.
4. Webinars and Online Courses
If money is tight to travel or you have a conflicting schedule, PRSA also offers webinars, Case in Point online programs and online courses called “On-Demands.” These are geared toward strengthening your skill sets and developing new abilities. Case in Point is a program that gives members the opportunity to read case studies from a variety of industries and topics.
5. Career Articles
Finally, with a membership, you can divulge into the many newsletters and blogs on the PRSA website. Strategies & Tactics is PRSA’s very own newspaper that stays up-to-date with new trends and information about implementing the best PR strategies.The PRsay blog also has articles with relevant and modern topics that focus on career advice, leadership, and PR training.
So, the next time college stresses you out and you feel like you are failing... Remember that you have more resources available to you now than ever before. Now it’s up to you to take advantage of them.
By: Kassandra Dume
Understanding a company’s values and persona can help you find your perfect interview style. Some businesses pride themselves on being a more lax and non-traditional workplace, so wearing an elevated casual outfit could work to your advantage in an interview
Congratulations! Your hard work paid off and you’ve got an interview for your dream job. You have a fresh copy of your resume, you’ve prepared questions to ask your prospective employer, and you’ve anticipated questions they will ask you in return. Now you’re just missing a professional outfit that doesn’t look like you borrowed it from your parents closet or threw it together in a hurry. Here are four tips to help you look and feel great at your next interview, while looking like your bestprofessional self.
Don’t be afraid of color and prints
There are no rules that say you can’t wear color to an interview; so incorporate your favorite hue or one that boosts your confidence. Wearing a printed shirt under a blazer or statement earrings with a neutral outfit shows employers you are confident and have a playful side.
Find your fit
We don’t all have the luxury of having a tailored suit on hand for an interview, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look tailored with what you do have in your closet. Stay away from clothing that is noticeably too tight or too baggy; you want to look sharp. Find cuts and styles of shirts and pants that make you feel comfortable. Mix things up with a blouse with structured shoulders or flared pants.
Whether it’s a frat, sorority, PRSSA club, or any other CSULB activity you’re proud of, if you have a pin or similar accessory, incorporating it into your outfit is a great way to start a conversation with your employer. It also gives you an opportunity to share your interests and achievements.
Details, details, details
Once you have all the pieces of your outfit picked out, be sure to take the time to look everything over to ensure the quality and cleanliness before you head out the door. Make sure every item is wrinkle-free and crisp. Make sure your nails and hands are clean, and are ready to shake hands. Take extra care to not have makeup or sweat on the collar of your shirt or on the sleeves. Keep your breath fresh and keep cologne and perfume to a subtle minimum.
Dress for success isn’t just a cliché phrase we’re all told as young adults; it holds a lot of truth. If you are trying to enter into a particular field of work, you want to dress like you’re already part of it. Taking the time to look put together demonstrates that you are serious about your goals and understand a professional appearance is part of any job, especially one in public relations.
My Top Three Ways of Staying Organized and Sane: Balancing PRSSA’s Bateman competition, a full CSULB class load, and a “real job”
By: Jonathan Rulison
Getting involved with different activities and jobs on and off-campus is a great way to learn public relations while expanding your professional horizons. But, as a developing public relations professional, you know how overwhelming life can get when you’re trying to balance everything. I’m the creative director of the 2020 PRSSA-LB Bateman team, I work two jobs and take a full 15 units. Here are 3 strategies I use to help me keep it all together.
1. Setting Reminders
If you have a phone, you probably have a reminders app. Use it! Whenever you’re given a task, get a homework assignment, need to remember a birthday or whatever else, set a reminder! You can set your app to remind you at whatever time or location you want and it takes a whole 15 seconds. Alternatively, you can use Google Calendar to input those same reminders and view everything you have to in a convenient calendar format. If you link it with your phone, Google Calendar can also send you time-based reminders to keep you on track. I’ve genuinely lost count of how many times these apps reminded me of something I had completely forgotten about, saving my life. Use them!
2. Department of Journalism & Public Relations resources
Odds are, if you’re in the JPR department, you’ve taken a lot of classes on the ground floor of the LA4 building. But you might not know what hidden gems lie upstairs. LA4-206 is the Lee Brown Study Room, it has a few sets of tables and chairs, some spare textbooks and a couple of Macs equipped with the Adobe Suite. Lee Brown is usually pretty empty, so it’s a great place to work independently or with a group, especially if you want to avoid the library crowds. Next door to Lee Brown is LA4-207, a computer lab that has enough Adobe-enabled Macs to keep a small class worth of people busy. With plenty of computers and printers, the computer lab is a convenient place to go whether you need to quickly use one of your free prints before class or spend a few hours creating the perfect edit for that video in Premiere.
3. Consistent communication
Communication is key! When you’re involved in a project with other people, you must stay in constant contact while working with them. Throughout your project, stuff is going to come up. Team members are going to get sick, software is going to glitch, life is going to happen, nobody can control that. But what you can control is how you respond to it. When things come up, let your teammates know! When you keep your teammates in the loop, they can budget time to help you out and keep things on track. When your team is informed and updated, your team is happy. When your team is happy, your team works well!
Remember, even amid your hectic schedule, try to take the time to do your future self a favor. You’ll thank me, and yourself, later.
CSULB Professors Give Advice for Effective Email Pitches in the Modern Era of PR
by Brenda Melara
One of the most important skills a public relations professional needs to master throughout their career is how to create an effective email pitch that can grab the interest of journalists, reporters and other content creators. Professors from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at CSULB have taken the time to give their advice for an effective email pitch in the modern era of PR.
1. Research before pitching
Before crafting an email pitch, it is important to research the subject of the pitch and who the pitch is being sent to.
“Research the outlet and the reporter,” Professor Holly Ferris said. “Understand the types of stories the reporter writes and understand how the publication typically covers similar stories.”
By researching the receiver of the email pitch and the news outlet they work with, you can tailor your pitch specifically to their type of content and audience.
2. Create an informative subject line
The subject line can be what encourages or prevents journalists from opening the email. The subject line should not be flashy and informal, but instead it should be descriptive of the overall pitch and straight to the point.
“Journalists receive many email pitches every day, so your subject line needs to be descriptive and straight to the point,” Dr. Soumitro Sen said. “It shows the journalists you are a serious organization and lets them know what the email is about.”
3. Tell journalist in the lead why they should care
Since with an email pitch there is limited space, it is important to grab the reader’s attention on the very first sentence. When writing your pitch lead, it is important to establish why that journalist specifically should pick up that story.
“You need to establish the importance of your message and its news values,” Dr. Trevor Bell said. “The first thing you need to do is establish why they should cover your story.”
Some people tend to take proofreading for granted, especially when writing in digital form since there are tools that catch errors for us. But without proofreading your message, you risk being unclear and making it more difficult for a journalist to understand us.
“Avoid errors, especially if you don’t know the person,” Dr. Trevor Bell said. “The person will judge you based on what you write and if you’re sloppy it will affect how they see you.”
5. Add useful contact information
For journalists to find the email pitch useful, it is necessary to provide them with our contact information. Also, journalists value when you can provide them with access to interesting sources of information.
“Give me the information I need and give me the access to people who I can talk to about the information that you shared with me,” Professor Gary Metzker said. “I find that aspect of the email pitch the most helpful for the stories I write.”
Regardless of the field you are going into, it is important to be able to create an email that it is clear, concise and relevant for the intended audience. Use these tips from JPR professors to improve your next pitch.
Creating exceptional, professional content on a budget
by Sophia Soliman
The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” still holds true. However, the truly exceptional content creator understands that offering their audience valuable content is the key to credibility, higher engagement and a stronger brand image. While CSULB students, particularly those in the public relations program, are exceptional, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve. Here are some of the best free online programs to save to your public relations digital toolbox. If you want to elevate your content creation to the next level, keep reading.
By now, Canva is a staple in the PR toolbox. However, if you’re new to Canva, it’s an online graphic design tool with ready-made templates optimized for social media, infographics, brochures, and more. Piktochart and Easel.ly are excellent tools for creating infographics as well.
If you’re familiar with Canva, consider trying Canva Design School. They have numerous educational series, but my favorite is the “graphic design basics.” This short and sweet mini-series covers the basics of good design, such as complimentary fonts, white space, coordinated colors and more.
Sharethrough Headline Analyzer
My least favorite part of content creation is writing headlines. However, the Sharethrough Headline Analyzer is a great tool for analyzing the effectiveness of your headline. For example, the headline for this post received a 73, or an above-average score. Their algorithm is effective, and they offer explanations on how to make your headline even better.
Open Calais Demo
Part of effective search engine optimization (SEO) is understanding what keywords best highlight your written content. This program is merely a demo of the site’s capabilities but is nonetheless sufficient to identify tags. Simply copy and paste your text and it will analyze your text and identify the best keywords to tag your content with. For instance, their system has identified “public relations program,” “Canva” and “social media mastery” as a few of the keywords of this post.
Grammarly and Hemingway App
Concise and effective writing is an essential skill in PR. That said, if your skills aren’t up to par, resources like Grammarly and Hemingway App can help. The Grammarly add-on for Google Chrome works on Google Drive, Gmail and most social media platforms. It helps catch spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Hemingway App is great for understanding the readability and flow of your writing. It’s important to note that neither program is perfect, nor do they take AP style into account.
Did you know that as a CSULB student, Adobe Creative Suite is available for $20 a year? While this isn’t a free program, like the others on this list, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention a deal this good. Take advantage of this incredible price, and in particular, Adobe Spark. It’s similar to Canva, but Adobe Spark offers website and short video templates. The website templates, in particular, are a unique offering I have yet to see on any other site.
In sum, there are a lot of free resources available for the aspiring PR practitioner. These are just a few of them, so it’s worth doing a bit more research to bolster your digital toolbox even more.
Some quick tips and a story from a student who made the switch
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