PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Trying Something New

As I continue to transition in my new position with Edelman, one thing I’m already finding is I don’t have as much time in the day to peruse news articles and share them via Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. Trust me, I know this is a good thing. Technically, this is my first 40-hour per week gig; for the past couple of years, I’ve always balanced jobs and internships with classes, so I’m used moving around all day.

So, in an effort to continue to share what I feel is relevant to future and current PR pros, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to bookmark a couple articles per day via delicious and automatically post these to this blog. You can check out this feature here.

You know I love feedback, so let me know what you think. I’m here to help, and I hope this will be another tool that will accomplish that.

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Filed under: Social Media, , , , ,

Social Network Separation Is Bad

One thing I see more and more often is students who use different social networks for different reasons. For example, using Facebook for a crazy college lifestyle and keeping a professional blog. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.

You’re findable

Even if you’ve changed your name on Facebook or use some kind of alter ego for other social networking profiles, don’t risk it. Here are some stats from an MSNBC article I want to throw out:

“According to a March survey by Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank, 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections, according to the survey.”

When it comes down to it, there are many more applicants to any one job, so don’t hurt your chances by taking a risk online.

profiles

Linking up

When I put up the new design on my blog, I added my Facebook profile badge. Before, I always thought Facebook was for my personal friends because I have personal information on there, but isn’t that the case with any social networking site you’re part of? Now, I’m open to networking on any of my profiles. Once you get over the initial “I want to post something really inappropriate” hill, it’s not so bad and helps your reputation in the long run.

Remember when Facebook changed and everyone thought it looks like Twitter? And Friendfeed‘s recent makeover to make it look more like Twitter? I think social networks are going to continue to converge (to some extend). Networking professionally on one site but avoiding conversation on another just plan looks bad.

Choose one side

When Facebook opened up to more than those with a .edu address and I started getting friend requests from professionals, I quickly learned about the importance of keeping a professional online profile — no matter what you’re using.

I recommend choosing one side; there’s no point of using some sites professionally and some sites for fun. This, of course, brings up the question of authenticity: do you have to show a different personality that who you really are? Not at all — just keep your illegal habits out of sight.

Be smart

I’m sure many of you already know what you put online is open for anyone to view. I just want to emphasize how important it is to be consistent and clear with your social networks. You never know, it might end up helping you get a job.

So, do you use different social networks for different reasons? Why? Do you think college students should be in a different category since they will be looking for jobs? All thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Photo by M. Keefe on Flickr.

Filed under: Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , , ,

What If You Start PR Later In College?

During the past couple of weeks, I wrote a series of posts on how to prepare for PR in college. The advice was directed at a hypothetical freshmen about to enter PR studies in college, though the advice can be applied to different parts of a career in the field. Now, I want to write to a more realistic crowd — the sophomores, juniors, seniors and new graduates who just found PR.

Before I start giving some advice, I want to make it clear that you don’t need to have four years of solid PR experience in college to get a job when you graduate. Sure, it would be nice to do all of the things I mentioned in the other posts, but is it completely realistic to do what I recommend each year? Not for everyone. If you start PR even as late as senior year, you can still get off to a great start to your career. Here is what I recommend:

Draw on past experiences

If you were pre-med, philosophy, math or even underwater basket weaving, it’s important to draw upon past experiences and apply them to the public relations field. Chances are, if you majored in biology before you changed to public relations, you have some interest in science or technology. The great part about this is you can use this to your advantage. As a public relations practitioner, you’ll probably represent a company or organization that does things the public won’t understand — and that is where you come in. When you can bring a specialized background to the PR industry, it makes you that much more valuable.

Tip: Apply what you’re learning in other classes to your PR career — it will help you to be a more effective practitioner.

Get solid public relations experience

Although you may be worried about catching up in classes, especially if you changed majors later in college, it’s important to immediately seek solid opportunities that will help you enhance your public relations skills. You will be able to get the most out of an internship if you have a mentor guiding you throughout your time with that company/organization and if the program is somewhat structured. Sure, there are exceptions to those, but if you can find a company with some talented professionals and value their interns, you will probably have a good experience.

Something I forgot to put in my last posts is a list of resources of finding an internship. So, here are some great places to start:

  • You college’s career network will probably be the most helpful in finding an internship near your college, unless you’re in a big city.
  • PRSSA JobCenter is the job bank of National PRSSA. It’s a great resource with tips and job postings.
  • EntryLevel-PR.com is a great resource for finding internships and full time jobs.
  • Reach out to your own network — make sure people know you’re looking for a job/internship and you never know what might happen.

Tip: Find several diverse experiences before you graduate in order to make yourself more marketable and find out what you want to do in your career.

Get active in social networks

The beauty of using Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and others for professional use is the ability to build your network so easily. Reach out to public relations professionals, especially at companies you would like to work for, and communicate with them. Another really good place to be is PROpenMic. It’s a network for public relations students, practitioners and faculty members — check it out.

With all of the joining and networking you will do, it’s important to maintain a sense of professionalism. Talking about how drunk you got during the weekend on your Facebook profile used to be OK when Facebook was just for college students. That’s not the case anymore. Know that what what you put online is fair game for potential employers and bosses to read, so make sure you think about what you post.

Tip: Get online and start participating in conversations. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn from a strong online network.

Get active in PRSSA immediately

Even though it might be intimidating to join an organization with students already active in their profession, know that many people are in your same shoes. Here is my advice on how to maximize your PRSSA membership later in college:

  • Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles on the executive board and on committees. By building relationships with peers and learning from them, too, you’ll be able to learn and grow.
  • Attending National Conference, National Assembly and Regional Activities are great ways to help you get caught up from what you missed for the past couple of years. I’ve heard from a lot of people that these conferences ignited their interest in the public relations industry. I mentioned this before, but make sure to network with your peers β€” someday, they will be your colleagues.
  • If you have the opportunity to work with members of PRSA, do it! If you can serve on a committee or help plan an event, it’s a great way to get to know some pros.
  • Applying for national awards is not just for the members who have been in the organization forever. Apply for them, and at least they will be good practice for the future. The link to the awards is here.

Tip: Get active in PRSSA immediately and start building a network of students and professionals.

No excuses, play like a champion

Is studying public relations at all like Wedding Crashers? Maybe. I like this quote and I think it applies to this situation perfectly. Even though you joined the game a little late, it doesn’t mean you have to stay miles behind the rest of the crowd.

Tip: Don’t make excuses — get active in the public relations industry.

And here is what my Twitter network had to say:

@kellee_m Start networking as soon as you can online, in person, in class and in student organizations.

@sheesidd Immerse yourself in social media & read trade publications like PR Week.

@heatherhuhman Intern ASAP – it will help you land an entry-level job after college sooner. Plus, it will confirm your interest in the field.

@aribadler The best thing you will ever learn is that you haven’t learned enough, so never consider your learning completed.

@maryhenige Need to understand business in order to advise C-suite clients.

@aubzim join PRS(S)A, volunteer, write! Never too late for gaining experience. Work on worthwhile causes; don’t spread yourself too thin

@ssiewert you don’t need 5 internships to succeed! Immerse yourself in the industry, get involved in PRS(S)A, build a network, write a lot.

@AmberMShinn Me: late-in-college PR person. Tips: Get as much varied PR work experience as possible; be willing to volunteer to get it.

What advice do you have for PR students getting active later in the game?

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, PRSSA, Public Relations, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Networking

There are many posts, columns and articles out there about how to create your own brand online. I’ve read a lot of advice on the subject and learned a lot. I’ve also learned that you really have to find out on your own.

Before I share some different Web sites that I believe to have great value, I encourage you to go through this (if you haven’t already). It’s a presentation by Marta Kagan. This really is hilarious and worth an entire read-through. Also, use it as a guide – even if you’re not doing this stuff for a business. As a general guideline, make sure you are consuming and sharing others stuff before your own.

  • Twitter – microblogging. Some argue it’s a way of life. No matter what, there are many conversations occurring on here and this site is especially important in building your brand online. Connect with me on Twitter here.
  • Facebook – connect with people by friending and maintaining a profile. Facebook is moving in the general direction that most of these services are moving – sharing and consolidation. What’s the point of having 30 profiles on different Web sites when you can update and maintain everything from one? One day, Facebook really will own the world. This scares me, too. Connect with me on Facebook here.
  • LinkedIn – I like to call this the professional Facebook. Connect with and recommend your business connections. This is a great way to keep in touch with people. Connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Here’s a couple more services to take your social networking to the next level:

  • WordPress – host your blog here. It’s a great site that tracks all the stats you’ll ever need and has many useful tools.
  • Google – using such apps as Google Reader, Google Groups, etc. make Google social. You can use these apps to share information and contact each other.
  • Friendfeed – combine pretty much everything you’re doing online to your feed. I think Friendfeed is the future of social networking because, like Facebook, it is a way to combine everything easily. Brian Solis wrote a great post about the future of Friendfeed here, and I agree with him.
  • Pandora – play streaming music online. I love Pandora because it is nice to find new music as well as hear some favorites. And yes, this is social networking, especially because you can hook it up to your Friendfeed. You can check out my feed here.
  • Delicious – bookmark your favorite Web sites, articles and blog posts. I installed the Delicious Toolbar for Firefox and because this is hooked up to my blog and feed, people can check it out. Oh yeah, make sure you connect this with your feed, too.
  • Flickr – post and share photos. I wish I took more pictures and had a camera phone so I can use Flickr more, but I don’t. People find this service helpful because it is so easy to share and to post on different platforms.
  • StumbleUpon – find and rate information on the Web. For more information on how to use it, click here.
  • Scribd – upload and share documents with friends. I have seen people use this for group projects (Google Groups can do this, too) and other things. I think this will be gone soon because of how much easier Google’s programs are.
  • YouTube – watch videos online. Come on, there’s something for everyone here!
  • Slideshare – connect with some brilliant minds and share their presentations (or create your own). Look above for an example of an incredible presentation on Slideshare.

It probably seems like a lot of work to maintain all of these accounts, but I’ve found that once you do all the signing up, it’s pretty easy. I don’t spend hours updating and maintaining my profile on each of these services, I simply use them when I need it.

What else do you use? What doesn’t work? Where is the future of social networking? For me, the trick is consolidation.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Social Media, , , , , , , , ,

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