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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Allan Schoenberg Award

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Feb 24, 2009 in PRSSA, Public Relations

Today I got a letter in the mail. I opened it slowly, hoping it wasn’t a rejection letter. I read the first word, “Congratulations!” and relaxed. The letter said I was the 2009-2010 Allan Schoenberg Award recipient.

I’m thrilled and honored. I’m looking forward to meeting Allan Schoenberg in person at our PRSSA conference. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit already via Twitter.

The letter said, “The Allan Schoenberg Award was established to recognize an outstanding member of PRSSA or PR Central who shows leadership potentials and commitment to the field of public relations.”

I will be recognized as the winner at the PRSSA Spring Conference, but Dr. Krider and Allan Schoenberg said it was fine to share the news early.

The hardest part of the application was the essay. I had to define my philosophy of public relations.

I wanted to say something Natalie Ebig Scott tweeted to me once: “It’s PR, not the ER. I’m influencing lives, not saving them.” But, I don’t think that was essay appropriate!

So, I wrote, “Overall, I believe public relations is positively influencing people’s ideas and opinions through communication to achieve strategic goals.”

You wouldn’t believe how long it took to come up with that! Coming up with a philosophy is harder than I thought. I talked to the recipients from the past two years and they said they felt the same way.

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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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Marley and Me makes great story

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Jul 19, 2008 in Books

Yesterday I picked up Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan at the library. Seeing as Grogan is an alumnus of Central Michigan University’s journalism program, I was interested in reading his book that had become a New York Times Bestseller.

I began reading it late last night, figuring I would get a few chapters in before going to sleep. The next thing I knew, it was 3 a.m. and I was still laughing at Marley’s antics. As soon as I woke up this morning, I picked the book back up and finished it.

Marley and Me is a touching story of a trouble-making lab and the joys and pains of his family. Grogan is a fantastic storyteller and I felt as if I were having a face-to-face conversation with him while I was reading. The book made me both laugh and cry. I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming movie.

Reading Marley and Me has reminded me of the fact that I would like to write a book someday and it is inspiring to read stories by CMU alumni.

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