Allison's Online Portfolio

Archive for January 2010

Comment #1

 “Cover Letter Tips” – Stephanie Medlin

http://stephaniemedlin.wordpress.com/

January 27, 2010

Hey Stephanie! I really enjoyed your blog and I think it had a lot of great advice. I like that you included expressing your enthusiasm for the job. I think it’s important to let your potential employer know that you really want the job and are looking forward to being a part of the company. I also like that you included not using cliches and jargon because I feel like that makes you sound pretentious or like you’re trying too hard. Finally, I thought it was good advice to have an objective for your cover letter. It’s probably easier to write if you have a specific message that you’re trying to convey with your cover letter. Finally, I liked that you added what not to include in your cover letter like salary information and avoiding lies and negative language. Can’t wait to read the next one!

Comment # 2

Internship Advice (PRCA 3711) – Danielle Barrett

http://dsmilez.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

I really enjoyed your blog. I, too, have heard that word a million times since starting college, and all of those phrases about how an internship can advance your career. I considered just taking the senior seminar class and skipping the internship, but eventually all of those phrases got to me and I decided to take the intern route instead. I start my internship in May so your friends’ tips are really helpful. Maranda’s internship seems like it was really cool and I think she had some good advice. I agree that it’s a good idea to take as many credits as you can so that you can learn as much as possible while still in school.  I also liked Shameria’s advice about keeping in touch with the company and asking questions. I think asking questions is one of the best things you can do to advance your career.

Comment # 3

Informational Interview Recap – Kristin Bixby

http://kbixby1.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

Hi Kristin! I thought this interview was really informative. I’m surprised by how much Allie uses social media. If Facebook is what it takes to get a job today then I may be in better shape for the job market than I thought I was! Allie’s job seems like it’s really fun. It’s cool that she’s getting to be a part of launching the iTunes app for her company. It’s also good to know that all of the press releases we’re learning to write in school will come in handy when we get out in the real world. Allie’s tips were helpful and I will definitely keep them in mind and try to do as many internships as I possibly can.

Comment # 4

Internship Advice – Meghan Callahan

http://meghancallahan99.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

Hi Meghan! I really liked your blog post. I’m going to be interning at Savannah Magazine this summer and I’m so excited about it. I’ve heard good things about it from other people I know who have interned there and you seem to enjoy it as well. I thought that you had some really good advice especially about having a good attitude and being enthusiastic about your job. I definitely agree that enthusiasm shows through and I think that enthusiasm for your job makes for a better work environment. I also liked your friend Kelly’s advice about doing your very best no matter how much you hate the job. Laura’s tip about not giving into the casualness of your work environment was really good advice too. I think it’s important to be as professional as possible when it comes to your internship. If you have any advice for me about interning at Savannah Magazine please let me know. I would love to know more about what to expect!

Comment # 5

What to wear to a PR job interview – Jessica Cameron

http://jcam19.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

Hey Jessica! I thought you found some good tips for what one should and should not to wear to an interview. The advice about what to wear seems pretty standard; just like what our teachers have been telling us all along. The what not to wear tips were kind of funny. I can imagine someone walking into a job interview with a fanny pack on their waist, huge headphones around their neck and a tongue ring – hah! I guess unless that person were interviewing for a position at a tattoo parlor or something like that they probably wouldn’t get the job. Thanks for the tips!  

Comment # 6

Social Media: Is It A Job Seeker’s Best Friend? – Jeff Carter

http://jeffcarter3.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

Hey Jeff! I thought your post was really informative. I liked the real life examples you used about how Twitter and Facebook can cost you a job. I think that today we have to be so careful about what we write on our Facebook statuses and how we comment on our friends’ walls and pictures. It’s frightening to know that we put so much information out there and we really can’t control who will see that information. I thought that Rachel’s three tips were really helpful and I’ll make sure to keep them in mind when I’m using social networking sites.

Comment # 7

PR Real World 2010: Who Owns Social Media ? – Haley Higgs

http://hhiggs.wordpress.com/

April 10, 2010

Hi Haley! I thought that PR Real World was so informative. I didn’t go to the Hospitality, Travel and Tourism session and I think I may have missed out. I pretty much stuck to the sessions about getting a job and what to put on your resume, but that one sound like it was pretty interesting. I’ve never thought about the fact that the effectiveness of social media really can’t be measured before. I think it’s such a powerful tool though. Plus, most social networking sites are free! Companies should be rushing to get their names out there in the social media world.  Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Comment # 8

Career Services Workshop Reaction: Cover Letters and Resumes – Micaela Carter

http://micaelacarter.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hi Micaela! I’ve been to a couple of resume seminars lately, though not the one that you attended, and I learned a lot of the same things. I think that going to these workshops is one of the best things that we can do as soon-to-be grads to aid us in finding a job as soon as possible. I liked the idea about making a list of everything that you can do and then tailoring that list to the job that you’re applying for. Someone at another workshop I went to mentioned doing that but I had forgotten about it until I read your post. I was also surprised by the fact that the person leading your workshop said that it was ok to have a resume that was longer than one page. Like you, I’d always heard that you had to earn more than one page. Thanks for all the great advice!

Comment # 9

Benefits and Pitfalls of Social Media for Job Seekers – Phillip Edwards

http://pedward4.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hi Phillip! I agree that social media has many good aspects as well as bad aspects. I also agree that the good and bad parts of social media are based mostly on opinion. Personally, I really enjoy social media. I love using Facebook to connect with friends from high school who I haven’t seen in a while. I also really enjoy Twitter and I find that Twitter tends to be where I get some of my national and world news from. For example, I learned about the earthquakes in Chili and the latest one in China from Twitter before I heard about them anywhere else. It’s amazing what we can learn from social media. However, I understand that the “cons” of social media that you listed are pretty big downfalls. Advertisements and spam are beyond annoying and social media does feel very impersonal.

Comment # 10

Learn from my mistake… – Candice Hall

http://candimichelle.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hey Candice – I think it’s so great that you posted your internship mistake on your blog. We all make mistakes and the best thing we can do is learn from them, and it’s even better if we can share our mistakes with others so that they can learn from them as well. I will be interning this summer and I’m willing to accept any advice that anyone has to give me so thanks for the tip. I have five different email addresses for some reason and I often neglect a few of them. It’s tough to remember to check them all! However, I will definitely try to learn from you and remember to check my email accounts. Thanks for the great advice!

Comment # 11

How to make your business POP with PODcasting! – Meshae Hankerson

http://meshae.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hey Meshae – I really have no idea what a podcast is. I’ve heard of them and I’ve even thought about trying to watch one or figure out how they work, but I’ve never gotten around to it. However, thanks to your blog post, I now have a much better idea. You explained the basics of a podcast in a clear and concise manner and that is exactly how I like my explanations. I also never knew that podcasts could be so great for a business. I think it would be a great idea for a company to create a podcast describing an upcoming campaign or product launch. It’s also really cool that “fans” of companies can sign up for “podcatching” and watch podcasts at their convenience. That seems like such a great way to build brand loyalty. Thanks for the explanation and I will definitely check out some podcasts now!

Comment # 12

Cover Letter Tips – John Keith

http://jkeith1906.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hi John – I think you gave some really good advice. Cover letters are not exactly my forte. I never seem to know what to say and I struggle with, like you said, selling myself without selling myself. It’s a difficult balance to strike. I liked how you suggested thinking of your cover letter as a commercial for yourself. I’d never really thought of it that way but it is very similar to a commercial. Commercials tell consumers why the products that they’re selling are so great and why consumers should purchase them. I guess in much the same way your cover letter is explaining to a potential employer all of your great attributes and why he or she should hire you. I also thought that it was good advice to suggest making your cover letter as professional as possible. A cover letter that is unprofessional could prevent a potential employer from even glancing at your resume. Great advice! Thanks!

Comment # 13

The PR Pro: Rachel Miller – Kristen Kelley

http://kris10ly.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hey Kristen! Rachel seems like a really great mentor with some excellent advice. I feel like I’ve been beaten over the head with the word “networking,” but I guess that since everyone continues to talk about it, it must be pretty important. I liked your advice about writing down where you met the person, what they looked like and what you talked about on the back of their business card. That information would be really helpful if you decided to send them a follow up email or if you saw them at another event. I also liked Rachel’s comment about remembering that customer service is key. I think that is great advice no matter what industry you’re in. I’m currently a server at a restaurant in Savannah and I rely on tips for income, so I know firsthand that if your customers aren’t happy then you will not make money.  Thanks for the advice!  

Comment # 14

What comes up when YOU are “Googled”? – Sarah Kemp

http://skemp1.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hey Sarah! Social media is such a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and learning about what’s going on in the world. However, it’s so scary that what we post on our Facebook pages could prevent us from getting a job! I never thought about the fact that employers think of us as representatives of their companies, and if we are careless with the information we post about ourselves online, then that could reflect badly on our companies. It’s so important to be careful about what we write on Twitter and Facebook and to screen any pictures of us that are posted on the Internet. I really liked the slideshow that you posted. I liked her advice about using the Internet to your advantage and learning how to obtain jobs that aren’t posted on Websites like Monster.com. I was unaware that so many jobs were not advertised on the Internet and were instead mainly advertised via word of mouth. Thanks for the tips!

Comment # 15

Interviewing a PR Professional – Ally Kupcewicz

http://allykup123.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Hi Ally – I think that it’s awesome that your mom is in PR. I think that will really give you a head start on your career because you’ve seen what she goes through on a daily basis and how she learns to deal with crises and other major PR events. I’m jealous! I liked that your mom basically reaffirmed what all of our teachers have been telling us about how important writing is in PR. I also appreciated the three tips she gave to soon-to-be grads. I absolutely agree that getting as much experience as possible is the best way for us to land a great job after graduation. I also liked her tip about not being afraid to call an employer after an interview. I’m hesitant to do something like that because I don’t want to seem pushy, but I liked that your mom said it was good to show initiative. Thanks for all the tips!

Comment # 16

Interview with PR Pro Christie Richardson – Lauren Lee

http://laurenashelylee.wordpress.com

April 18, 2010

Hi Lauren – I think Christie’s job sounds like a lot of fun but also a lot of work! I can’t imagine working 6 AM to 11 PM every day even if it were only for a week at a time. I’ve heard many stories about how difficult it can be to find a public relations position in a small town and Christie is lucky to have found such a great one. I liked her three tips for those of us preparing to start our careers. It seems to be a recurring theme for PR pros to recommend doing as many internships as possible and also to network, however, I liked Christie’s advice about volunteering. I haven’t heard too many people suggest that but I think it is such a great thing for everyone to do.

Comment # 17

Non-Verbal Communication in an Interview Setting – Brittney Lindsay

http://brittlindsay.wordpress.com/

April 18, 2010

Hi Brittney – I am fascinated by nonverbal communication. I think it is by far one of the most interesting topics I’ve studied during my college career. I liked the do’s and don’ts you found for nonverbal communication during an interview. Personally, if I were preparing to interview someone for a job and they were eating lunch in the lobby of my office or primping in a mirror while I were watching then I would, well, first I’d laugh, but then I’d probably just not even bother interviewing them. Nonverbal comm. makes such a huge impression, and most of the time we don’t even realize that we are sending or receiving these messages. That’s crazy!

Comment # 18

Informational Interview – Carter Salley – Marilyn Lintel

http://marilynpr.wordpress.com/

April 18, 2010

Hey Marilyn! I think it was pretty innovative to interview a PR pro who hasn’t even graduated yet. Carter seems to really be making the most out of his education and putting everything he’s learning to work while he’s still learning it. I wish that I were more like him! I liked Carter’s three tips for people just starting out in PR. He gave a different perspective from the tips that I’ve read from others’ PR pro interviews. I liked that he talked about personality being such an important factor, because I think that your personality is a major part of why people get hired. If you have a personality that’s too boring or too wild for the position that you’re interviewing for, then you most likely will not get the job. Great interview – thanks!

Comment # 19

Hula and Interning…A Lot More in Common Than You Would Think – Shannon McCloud

http://smccloud.wordpress.com/

April 18, 2010

Hey Shannon! I’m glad to hear that you like your internship, but I’m sorry you’re not enjoying Atlanta. Not that I blame you! I’m from Savannah and I think I would go nuts if I had to live without the river and the beach. I think it’s really cool that you went to Hawaii for vacation and picked up a new hobby; especially a hobby that is so “Hawaii” like hula. I also like how you’ve learned such important life lessons from studying your new craft. The hula proverb you gave was pretty great advice. I’m impressed by how you were able to apply hula to your schoolwork and to your life. Great job! 

Comment # 20

Internships – Stephanie Medlin

http://stephaniemedlin.wordpress.com/

April 18, 2010

Hey Stephanie! I thought this blog was really informative. I keep hearing how important internships are for getting your career started. I’ll start my first internship next month and I’m really excited! I was lucky enough to kind of just fall into my internship, but I really want to do more than one and your idea about prospecting was helpful. It sounds like a good bit of work but definitely worth it. I looked into the Disney College Program last year and that sounded like a lot of fun and I may try looking back into that for my second internship. Thanks for all the great tips!

Comment # 21

Social networking beneficial for Long Beach businesses – Lauren Parr

http://laur22.wordpress.com/

April 18, 2010

Hi Lauren! It is insane how important social networking has become in today’s world. Just a few years ago MySpace and Facebook were used almost exclusively by middle and highschoolers and college students just to talk and express themselves, and now businesses thrive on them! That’s nuts. I think that the restaurant’s idea about asking a question on a social networking site and rewarding correct answers with free desserts and other coupons is such a great idea. I work at a restaurant in Savannah and my boss uses Facebook to advertise the daily lunch specials, upcoming bands, and drink specials. He also uses it to keep in touch with “regulars” and to build a bigger customer base for the restaurant. He’s been in the restaurant business for a long time and swears that Facebook is a better advertising tool than any other form he’s ever used before including TV, radio and print ads. I think that’s pretty impressive.

Comment # 22

Sometimes things don’t have to be said at all… – Sarah Monahan

http://samonahan.wordpress.com/

April 19, 2010

Hi Sarah – I think that nonverbal communication is such an interesting topic. I love learning more about it and trying to pick up on other people’s nonverbal cues. I think it helps to learn about the impact of nonverbal communication so that we can be more aware of our own nonverbal cues and prevent ourselves from sending out negative messages; especially in an interview setting. It’s good that you were able to pick up on your changing nonverbal signals as well as your boyfriend’s during your argument. I think that if we can learn to recognize the nonverbal messages we’re sending out to the people that we’re most comfortable with, then we’ll be better able to control those messages when we are in situations with people that we are less comfortable around (i.e. a potential employer).

Comment # 23

Cover Letter: PRCA 3711 – Ashley Renfroe

http://ashleyprisfunrenfroe.wordpress.com/

April 19, 2010

Hi Ashley – A cover letter is such an important part of the job seeking process. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the hardest parts of getting a job. It’s so difficult to know what a potential employer wants to see in a cover letter and what will keep them interested and make them want to call you in for an interview. I wish that we could just write one generic cover letter that told a little about ourselves (all of the great things, of course), and we could just send that out to a bunch of different companies. Unfortunately, like you said, we have to customize each cover letter for the position we’re applying for and hope that the person reading it likes what we have to say. However, I think that being in a major that requires us to write so much will give us an advantage over people in other majors with less writing experience.

Comment # 24

PR Popping Up Everywhere – Meg Tidmore

http://matidmore.wordpress.com/

April 19, 2010

Hi Meg – I really liked what you said about living for yourself and not living through celebrities. I think most of us have a tendency to get caught up in the glamour and drama of celebrities’ lives. I have to admit I’m a bit of an entertainment news fan and I do enjoy a celebrity scandal. However, I hate how the media has to beat a story to death. I am MORE than sick of hearing about Tiger Woods and all of his mistresses, and I really don’t care about how he comes across in his press conferences. He is an awesome golfer, not the president. So what if he gives a less than believable public apology? He didn’t win the Masters but he played well and I applaud him for continuing with his sport and getting on with his life.

Comment # 25

Social Media in a Job Seeker’s Life – Lindsey Townson

http://prstudent2professional.wordpress.com/

April 19, 2010

Hey Lindsey – That is more than cool that you got a job interview via Twitter! I’m so impressed. I have a Twitter account but I really don’t use it very much. However, I think now I might test out your method and follow some companies to see if I can find a job after graduation. Social media is such an interesting phenomenon. I can’t believe how powerful these sites are that we use to talk to our friends and post pictures from the weekend. They have the ability to make or break our careers. It seems like you are using social media to your advantage and I think we should all take a tip from you. Thanks and congratulations!

Job interviews are insanely nerve-racking. You want to impress your potential employer so you prepare…or you fake it. It’s easy to fake many parts of a job interview. You can fake your resumé by adding a few simple phrases that make you sound like you have tons of PR experience (even if all you’ve ever done is create a Facebook “event” for a friend’s party), or by slightly tweaking your volunteer work (you voluntarily clean out your closet twice a year and donate to Goodwill). You can also fake confidence by dressing the part. Buying the perfect outfit that is impeccably tailored to fit you and shows off your personal style while still looking professional. There are many ways to fake it during an interview, but there are two things that are nearly impossible to fake: body language and nonverbal communication.  Nonverbals speak volumes. For example, I have a bad habit of twirling my hair when I’m uncomfortable. I used to think I just did it because I was bored or lost in thought, but recently I’ve begun to notice that when I’m in a situation where I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed I immediately reach for a strand of hair and twirl away. This is not something that I would like to do during a job interview. Learning what your body language and nonverbal habits really communicate to others is very important; especially when you’re job hunting.

According to careerbuilder.com, “a lot of job candidates spend a significant amount of time worrying about what they will say during their interview, only to blow it all with their body language.” The Website offers a body language guide for job interviews. The first tip is “have them at ‘hello.’” This means to come prepared to the interview. Know background information about the company and be ready to answer questions about how you can contribute to the company. Also, don’t walk into the interview adjusting your tie or your panty-hose; nobody wants to see that. Next, “shake your hand, watch yourself.” Basically, this means to control your body movements. Don’t drum your fingers on the chair or bite your fingernails. Don’t cross your arms, lean towards the door, or scratch. Scratching brings to mind all kinds of bad things – drug addiction, lice, hygiene issues – that you really don’t want a potential employer to connect with you. Finally, “say goodbye gracefully.” When the interview is over, give your interviewer a firm, confident handshake and walk out of the building just as cool, calm and collected as you came in. Only after you are a safe distance away from the interview site are you allowed to breathe again. You’re even allowed a victory dance if it went well; maybe to the tune of “Shake it Fast, Watch Yourself” by Mystikal… Just a suggestion. For a more in-depth list of body language dos and don’ts visit careerbuilder.com.

An about.com article by Alison Doyle explains how nonverbal communication can be used to impress a potential employer at a job interview. According to the article, “the evaluation of your nonverbal communication will start as soon as you walk into the company’s lobby and continue until the interview is finished. If your nonverbal communication skills aren’t up to par, it won’t matter how well you answer the questions.” Doyle stresses the importance of how you wait for an interview. I doubt many people consider that how you greet the receptionist and what you do while you wait for your interviewer can have an impact on whether or not you’re considered for the position. Doyle says that you can impress an employer by being friendly to the receptionist and any other people you speak to while waiting. It’s also important to sit quietly while waiting for the interview and refrain from talking or texting on your cell phone. She offers lists of things that you should and should not bring to an interview. For example, you should bring a portfolio, resumes, a pen and notepad, and breath mints. You should not bring your cell phone, iPod, cigarettes, gum, soda or coffee, or scuffed shoes and/or dirty clothes. I can’t imagine an employer taking a job candidate very seriously if he or she walks in reeking of cigarettes, popping gum, and listening to their iPod so loud that everyone in the office can hear the lyrics to the new Lady GaGa song. Finally, Doyle gives a list of good nonverbal communication to use during the interview.

  • “Make eye contact with the interviewer for a few seconds at a time.
  • Smile and nod (at appropriate times) when the interviewer is talking, but, don’t overdo it. Don’t laugh unless the interviewer does first.
  • Be polite and keep an even tone to your speech. Don’t be too loud or too quiet.
  • Don’t slouch.
  • Do relax and lean forward a little towards the interviewer so you appear interested and engaged.
  • Don’t lean back. You will look too casual and relaxed.
  • Keep your feet on the floor and your back against the lower back of the chair.
  • Pay attention, be attentive and interested.
  • Listen.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Stay calm. Even if you had a bad experience at a previous position or were fired, keep your emotions to yourself and do not show anger or frown.
  • Not sure what to do with your hands? Hold a pen and your notepad or rest an arm on the chair or on your lap, so you look comfortable. Don’t let your arms fly around the room when you’re making a point.”

An article on mindtools.com titled “Body Language: Understanding non-verbal communication” explains how body language is used in different situations. The first topic is first impressions and confidence. How a person enters the room can tell you a lot about the confidence level of that person. The article lists five characteristics of confident people.

  • Posture – confident people stand up straight with their shoulders pushed back
  • Eye contact – they keep solid eye contact with a “’smiling’ face”
  • The use of gestures – confident people gesture with purpose
  • Speech – confident people speak slowly and clearly
  • Tone of voice – they speak in a moderate to low tone

The next topic is defensiveness. According to the article if a person is feeling like they’re being attacked they will go on the defensive and stop listening to you. The article lists five signs of someone who is feeling defensive.

  • “Hand/arm gestures are small and close to his or her body.
  • Facial expressions are minimal.
  • Body is physically turned away from you.
  • Arms are crossed in front of body.
  • Eyes maintain little contact, or are downcast.”

Finally, the article discusses body language during interviews. If you are in an interview and are asked a tough question there are ways that you can nonverbally tell your interviewer that you are truly pondering the question (even if you’re just faking again…). Typical signs of serious thinking include:

  • “Eyes look away and return to engage contact only when answering.
  • Finger stroking on chin.
  • Hand to cheek.
  • Head tilted with eyes looking up.”

There are many more body language and nonverbal communication topics discussed on this Webpage but I thought that these three were the best for interview preparation. Following these three tips can help you nonverbally tell your interviewer that you are confident, help you avoid looking defensive if you feel slightly offended, and let them know that you are truly considering the best answer to a tough question.

So, as you can see, it’s pretty darn tough to fake your nonverbal communication. It speaks louder than words and your interviewer will read a lot more from that than he or she will from your resumé – no matter how good you “faked” it to sound. Good luck!

– Allison

A cover letter is the prelude to your resumé. It can be a potential employer’s first impression of you, and in this job market, that first impression better be a good one. Pat Kendall has created a Website fully dedicated to job searching. She’s included job search support, Web resume information, sample resumes and much more. She also included a section with cover letter tips. According to Kendall, the cover letter “adds a personal touch to your application and shows employers that you are a serious, professional candidate.” Kendall offers four tips:

  • “Customize to fit”: make sure that your cover letter fits the requirements of the employer.
  • “Meet the employer’s needs”: clearly describe what you can do to meet the employer’s needs. Don’t just assume that they will know what you mean; be very direct.
  • “Actively sell yourself”: tell the employer what you have to offer and why they should hire you.
  • “Keep it simple”: keep it to one page, use a basic format, and avoid pretentious words or phrases.

All of this information and much more can be found on Advanced Resume Concepts.

Is a cover letter always necessary? Not according to Accent Resume Writing. The author of this Website believes that “if you are not shaking hands with the hiring decision maker and introducing yourself, then you  need a cover letter to introduce you. If you are shaking hands with the hiring manager, you are introducing yourself verbally and requesting an interview. In this case, hand them your resume without a  cover letter.” I think this is good advice because a cover letter is pretty much just a brief overview of who you are. It’d probably be awkward to sit across from a potential employer while he/she, essentially, reads your 3-5 paragraph autobiography.

What if you’re applying for a job online? How about in an e-mail? Is a cover letter necessary, and if so, then how do you submit it? The following YouTube video posted by collegegrad.com answers these questions and also offers a few other cover letter tips in this Job Search Minute.

I hope this information is helpful. I certainly learned some new things; especially since I have very little experience in the cover letter department. Talk to you soon!

– Allison



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