Three Ways To Launch and Manage Your Career (PRofessional Development Week)

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Mar 4, 2009 in Career, Conferences, Public Relations

This post is a part of PRofessional Development Week. The posts from March 2 to March 6 will focus on the development of professional skills of public relations students. If you would like to contribute to this special week on A Step Ahead, e-mail Rachel.M.Esterline {at} Gmail.com.

Renee Walker, the associate vice president of public relations and marketing at Central Michigan University, shared this quote with us at the CMU-FSU PRSSA Regional Activity:

Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from knowing the joy of flight.

— Lane Wallace

Here are three ways to help launch and manage your career that I learned from Renee:

  1. Create a list of “must haves,” “deal breakers,” “professional goals” and “personal goals.”
    To help you evaluate whether or not your career is going in the right direction, Renee suggested creating a list. For example, one of my “must haves” is a job that challenges me. If it is too easy, I won’t be learning much. A “deal breaker” is a job that requires me to fetch coffee. I believe in paying my dues, but I don’t want my position of intern to be taken advantage of.
  2. Identify your talents and experience gaps.
    By identifying your talents, you can better promote yourself. And, by identifying your experience gaps, you can find ways to gain the experience you need. My talents include social media and writing for publications. But, I don’t have a lot of experience in media relations. In order to close the experience gap, I should work on gaining experience in media relations in order to advance my career.
  3. Establish stretch goals.
    Since working with Renee when I was an intern in her office, I have realized she believes in pushing yourself to reach higher goals. She calls these “stretch goals.” She said it is OK if you don’t always reach your stretch goals, but you can never reach them if you don’t try. This is where her favorite quote, at the top of this post, comes in.

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Does school accreditation matter?

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Feb 4, 2009 in journalism

If you attended college for journalism or a related field, did you choose an accredited college? Did the accreditation matter?

Central Michigan University’s journalism department is not seeking accreditation. The decision is yet to be made, as it must be approved by the dean, and CMU is technically still accredited until May, according to CM Life.

This really bothers me though. I chose to come to CMU because it had reputable PR and journalism programs. The accreditation was the bonus to me.

Even though experience and portfolio pieces is what usually matters to employers, I’m not sure the school will continue to attract serious journalism students like it has in the past.

What do you think? Does it matter?

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How working in advertising can help a PR career

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Jan 5, 2009 in Advertising, Career, CM Life, Public Relations

Today was my first day as an account executive at CM Life. It was overwhelming at first. I started cold-calling from my list of assigned clients. A few wanted to talk to me, some didn’t seem to care and one pretended not to speak English.

But I already see how being an advertising representative can help me in my public relations career. Below are five ways working in advertising helps a career in public relations.

1. Cold-calling clients will prepare you for cold-calling reporters. Some automatically tried to turn me away without listening and some were actually be interested.

2. The pitch needs be be well-tailored. Why should a business run an ad? Why should a reporter write a story?

3. Stay positive. Just because the first ten clients (or reporters) turn you down, it doesn’t mean you don’t have something good. Refer to number 2.

4. Make it easy. I’ve pulled ads that have already been run and calculated the pricing for my meetings with clients because I want to make getting an ad easy for them. Using press releases, fact sheets and reliable sources, you can make writing a story easier for a reporter.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. The people who are working beside you were new once too. They probably asked the same questions you want to ask them and they are very willing to answer them for you.

For those of you who have worked in advertising, how has it helped your career?

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