By Natalie Meek
I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Miami, FL at PRSSA's National Assembly. This is a three day meeting where delegates from Chapters across the nation meet to elect the next academic year's National Chapter officers.
PRSSA's mission is to enhance members' education, broaden their networks and launch their careers. These three factors drove the conversations and platforms of the meeting, and I really think you'll see that in next year's programming and initiatives.
It is so awesome to hear about other Chapters and their events and ideas; people always ask about PRSSA Kent and I was able to share some of the things we've accomplished this school year, too!
What's important to understand about all of this is that, yes, you are one of the 60-some members of PRSSA Kent. But you are also one of the 10,398 members of PRSSA internationally. We are one of 360 chapters-- think about what that means for networking opportunities! There are 10,397 other students out there that you can relate to and share your love of PR with.
Become involved on a national level, it is the BEST way to meet some of these other students. As a member, you have the opportunity to write for the national publication Forum, serve on subcommittee, become part of the regional ambassadors program and so much more.
Also keep in mind that National Conference is an incredible way to make those connections and grow closer with our Kent Chapter. The 2018 National Conference is in Austin, TX and it will be Oct. 5-9. Members need to have 15 points to attend the conference with PRSSA Kent, and we want you to be there with us! Come talk to any of the officers for more information on how to earn those points. I can personally tell you that the experience of being at National Conference shaped the student and future professional that I've become. It is so worth it.
Overall, PRSSA National Chapter is growing and enhancing every day. Check out their website to learn more about all of the resources that are available to you!
By: Ellie Dundics
Coming into a school like Kent, with over 40,000 students enrolled, is very overwhelming when taking your first steps as a freshman. My first thoughts were “how am I going to stand out from the crowd,” or “how am I going to find my place at this university?” Luckily, I attended the CCI showcase Kent State has every year, which is where I was navigated to PRSSA. Sitting in the first meeting of PRSSA, I was automatically inspired as a public relations student, but there were a ton of questions I still had, which is why I wanted to seize the opportunity of having an experienced upperclassman to answer those questions. All the board members and upperclassmen welcomed me and the rest of the new comers with open arms, but one woman in particular, Alex Seibt, sparked interest for me because of the fact she was the social media coordinator for PRSSA and I wanted to be apart of that. When filling out the application to be a PR Pal, I requested Alex and was ecstatic when she emailed me that she was my mentor!
The first-time meeting was a little confusing because I was unsure whether it was meant to be a professional relationship or more of a friendship. Once we met, she made me feel very comfortable by describing herself, her background and by answering all the questions I had. She not only answered my questions, but gave me steps and advice to enforce the questions I had. After meeting her, I immediately called my mom expressing how much meeting her meant to me, how inspired I felt and how much I appreciated Kent and PRSSA for bringing her into my life.
Since meeting her, she has given me email addresses of people I can reach out to, helped me construct emails, reminded me of PRSSA meetings and became a very good friend of mine - all while helping me create a network for the future. When telling my friends about this organization and having a PR Pal, I describe her as my “PR big sister,” because that is exactly what she is. We not only talk about school, but we have conversations about life, things going on in the world and things we want to accomplish in the future. Joining PRSSA as a whole has been one of the best decisions I have made so far in college, and having a mentor like Alex is the cherry on top.
Being a part of PR Pals is a win-win situation, you have a person who experienced almost everything you will in your journey of being a public relations student, and you are giving yourself a resource to fall back on when things get confusing. Having Alex as a PR Pal has motivated me by hearing her stories about internships, traveling abroad and currently being in the work force. To PRSSA: thank you for having a program like this because it made such a big school seem very small and helped me find my place very early on in my college career.
By: Sam Ross
Planning any kind of event is stressful, but when it’s over and you take a step back and look at everything you accomplished you realize that it was all worth it.
I just recently planned a silent auction and it was the first event I had ever planned, and even though I thought I was going crazy I realized that event planning is actually something that I enjoy. Here are some of the things I learned while panning my first event.
Do start planning early. You never know when something will go wrong and cause you to stop doing everything. This is going to push everything else back. Getting a head start on everything will also give you less to do as it gets closer to the event.
Do ask for help. You may want to do everything yourself so you know it gets done right, but it’s just going to stress you out even more. There are always people willing to help. Whether it was picking up auction donations on my behalf, or volunteering to help throughout the planning process and the day of, other PRSSA members were always willing to lend a hand.
Do make checklists. This is a great way to stay organized and it helps you remember everything you have to do for that day.
Do stay organized. When planning big events, it’s easy to forget about the little details. A great way I stayed organized was by making lists, documents that said what donations were picked up and which still needed to be pick up and having a folder on my laptop of everything.
Don’t assume anything. If there’s something you are confused or concerned about, ask questions. Reach out to the president or advisor of your organization as they are more than likely have the answers you need.
Don’t get too overwhelmed. In the beginning, it will seem like you have a lot to do, but it will all work out in the end. There were many times where I was so overwhelmed, but I really didn’t need to be because a few days later that thing I was overwhelmed about didn’t matter anymore.
Don’t forget to enjoy the event. Don’t be stressed the day of. Just relax and have a good time at the event!
By Latisha Ellison
Raise your hand if you absolutely dread writing a cover! I imagine many of you raised your hand, just like I have in the past. I used to hate writing cover letters and didn’t understand their importance, especially when I heard that some hiring managers don’t even look at cover letters.
The truth is, sometimes cover letters can be stressful, but they are always important and can make you stand out. I did a little bit of research and reached out to a few hiring managers to help you really nail your next cover letter.
Write a cover letter.
I know, it seems obvious, but Angela Zoes, hiring manager at Falls Communications, says you’d be surprised how many applicants only send in a resume; she gives you bonus points if you send in a cover letter! So, it may seem needless, but the cover letter complements your resume and could actually put you a step ahead of another applicant! Be sure to address the letter to an actual person. If you can’t find the name of a person, say, ‘Dear hiring manager/team,’ never say ‘To whom it may concern.’
Tell a story.
As aspiring PR pros, we know storytelling is the very core of our profession and the same is true when we are advocating for ourselves. Your cover letter is what the hiring manager will see even before they read your resume, so it’s important to make your cover letter informative, yet compelling. What will make them want to keep reading and look at your resume? Start off with a personal or professional story that will help connect you to the position you’re applying for. True Digital Communications Controller, Leah Mussay, says your cover letter allows you to highlight your skills and why you’re a good fit for the position.
Keep it short. PROOFREAD.
The hiring manager at your prospective company will be reading through a bunch of cover letters and resumes, and yours should stand out. Be clear, concise and to the point. Your cover letter shouldn’t be more than 250-300 words and about three to four paragraphs in length. They want to know who you are, why you’re a good fit and why you want a job at their company. Don’t forget to proofread, proofread and proofread! This is your first impression, so don’t let a grammar error stop you from getting the job.
Your cover letter should showcase your relevant experience and what you hope to learn at the company. Really look at the job description, pull out the keywords it used and incorporate them into your letter where it fits. This shows the employer exactly what you can bring to the table and shows a willingness to learn new projects too.
Don’t be too formal.
Remember! The cover letter is your first impression on a prospective employer and they want to see some personality. Show your personality and enthusiasm for the job with your word choice and experience you show--don’t use jargon, especially when it doesn’t make sense.
By Nicole Zahn
What do you think of when you hear the words “Corporate World”? Most of us would think of a dull, grey cubicle, imagining ourselves doing nothing but the same task each day with the only excitement being casual Fridays. It wasn’t until I had my experience at the 2017 PRSSA National Conference in Boston that I held this same perception.
After attending the “Taking the ‘Corporate’ out of Corporate Communications” session with General Motors Global Advanced Technology Communications Coordinator Chris Bonelli, I realized that the corporate worlds’ bland perception is false.
Casual dress attire? Engaging work environments with no cubicles? Executives working alongside you? Are you sure you’re working in corporate, Chris Bonelli?
Bonelli described many aspects of corporate life that spiked my interest and has made me think differently about my future career choices. For starters, having an engaging work environment is one of the first things I seek in an office culture. I want to work somewhere where we collaborate as a team and bounce ideas off one another; not resort to cubicle seclusion and communicate solely through email.
Throughout this session, Bonelli broke down what exactly Corporate Communications is. I thought this was an excellent topic that needed to be addressed due to the negative corporate perceptions, and because many external audiences have no idea that a business would be nothing without its communications team. Where else do you think you receive company news and information from? The Great Oz of General Motors?
Corporate Communications is a multi-functional approach with open engagement among different departments to create more effective work. This approach includes communications with the different departments such as sales, marketing, advertising, investor relations, finance, legal, etc. These different departments are what make up one entire corporation and its successes.
One point Bonelli made that struck my interest, is that while communications stems from collaboration among the different departments, it stems solely from culture. The CEO and Chairman of General Motors, Mary Barbara, is the first female CEO of a major automotive company. Because GE has been around for nearly 110 years, having a female at the top of the company is a major cultural advancement that we can expect to see more of.
After attending this session about corporate communications, I have a better understanding of how different departments and team members can engage and work as a team to accomplish goals. I also understand that the perceptions of corporate life are not what they seem to be. As a final reminder when job hunting, find a company that fits your needs, wants, and lifestyle because there’s no such thing as a bland cubicle job in the communications world.