By: Max Campbell, Account Executive

With my summer internship coming to a close in the next two weeks, I have had some time to reflect on the past year and how I ended up at a company that was nearly a perfect fit for me. To say the path here was easy or stress-free would be a bold-faced lie, but I can’t say I didn’t learn some things along the way that greatly benefited me for the future. With summer coming to an end, the job search is likely the last thing on student’s minds, but time flies at school and there is never a bad time to start looking ahead. Here are five tips to provide some guidance for rising sophomores and juniors who will be in the same position I was in a year ago.

There is never a bad time to start searching. When looking for jobs it doesn’t hurt to apply to as many as you possibly can. That means starting early. I dedicated about 15-20 minutes a day in the fall semester doing research on jobs and internships and applying to many as well. Even if you get the classic “Sorry, we are only looking to hire for the winter,” the worst thing you did was make a potential contact for a few months down the road.

Seek any and all guidance. It never hurts to ask for help. Whether it is from an older friend, a parent, a teacher, people are happy to lend a few minutes to give advice. No one is truly an expert on the job search, but getting many perspectives on a daunting task like finding a summer internship is extremely beneficial.

LinkedIn is your friend.When I started my job search I had no idea where to even look for internships. By using LinkedIn I was able to not only search for jobs anywhere, I was able to find people in advertising and set up calls for advice on how to go about the job search.

Be persistent. If you get into contact with a person from a company, do not be afraid to reach out to them with questions. You may feel as though you are being annoying, but most people will understand your position and will be willing to help. Don’t go overboard, but checking in once every month or two doesn’t hurt.

Never turn down an interview. You may apply to jobs and realize it is not the best situation for yourself. This doesn’t mean you should turn down an interview if given a chance. You may find out they have a different position open, or you may get helpful advice. The people interviewing you are giving you their time and attention, so having a conversation is worthwhile.

The job search is stressful, but by using these tips can help it feel less daunting. As for myself, I’ll be applying these as I search for a full-time position this year.

 

By Kendra Paro, Director of Business Affairs

Trying to equate past work experience to working in “corporate America” seemed like a daunting task. Previously, I had only worked jobs dealing with children and had no office experience –I had no idea how to navigate my way around a fortune 200 company for a whole summer. Here are a few things I’ve learned throughout my time at a big company:

Ask a lot of questions. In meetings, to your coworkers, in any situation you can, ask questions. It shows that you’re paying attention, eager to learn more and it helps you understand the way things at the company work.

Bring a pen and paper! If you don’t already, always keep a notebook in tow and write down as much as you can. You can reference something someone said, write down questions to ask later and keep yourself more organized. Try to take notes in a respectful way when someone is telling you something, but be sure to take notes that you’ll be able to understand later (or why take them at all?)

Build relationships. Just simply talking to other employees and finding things in common can go a long way. If you’re searching for a full-time position when you’re an intern, you want as many people as possible to vouch for you if warranted–even if it’s just to say that you’re an enjoyable person to be work with. Even if you do a great job and get amazing work done, it won’t matter unless the people you work with like and remember you.

Work hard. Even if in the end you did something wrong but it was noticed that you worked as hard as you could to get there, it will look positive. Don’t be on your phone throughout the day and don’t slack on your duties. People notice when you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be, and one bad interaction can last.

Fake it ‘til you make it. Let’s face it–in every job, there are going to be times when you have no idea what’s going on. I had many instances when meeting with high level employees or attending important meetings where clear expectations were not readily laid out. By simply observing people around you and acting like you know what you are doing, it can help others take you seriously as a professional instead of just an intern.

When you’re in a new environment surrounding by new people, it can be tough to navigate situations perfectly. Being in a big office as an intern might seem like you’re the lowest on the totem pole (which is true), but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Being an intern is a great excuse to not know what’s going on—and that’s totally okay. Use your status as an intern to learn as much as you can, ask hundreds of questions and be a little clueless at times.

By Sara Salter, Director of Consulting

This year is turning out to be a bust for many summer festivals. Karoondinha, a Centre Hall first-year festival slated to have many big names like Chance the Rapper, Paramore and John Legend, has been added to the list of unsuccessful festivals that have caught the attention of news outlets recently. A few months ago, we all witnessed the disaster that was Fyre Festival, as well as the cancelation of Canada’s Pemberton festival last month. Karoondinha, looking to be held late July at Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park, caused a PR storm when then they took down the festival’s website and deleted their Twitter account in late June.

The festival had lots of promise–co-founders Paul and Kaleena Rallis went to great lengths to ensure that the festival had an impressive lineup and ample marketing by hiring four different agencies to get the job done. So, what went wrong? It all comes down to low ticket sales and high costs.

Ticket sales were estimated to exceed 25,000 but drastically fell short where Rallis suggested they should have projected for 8,000 instead. It’s easy to see that this misstep in addition to the budget for marketing, nearly 20,000 per agency, as well as the cost to pay for the featured artists spelled doom for Karoondinha.

Crisis often brings out a brand’s true colors and from a PR standpoint that can make or break a consumer’s loyalty and prevent them from ever coming back. For a brand in its infancy, this was a blow to Karoondinha’s reputation. In the crises spectrum, the founders handled things decently as they collaborated with Eventbrite to refund everyone’s ticket purchases, apologized, and offered complete transparency when interviewed. They remained hopeful that maybe Karoondinha is just postponed – until when is still a mystery. Either way, it remains as a reminder that having big names doesn’t guarantee a festival’s success but rather a sustainable business model and proper PR management can make all the difference.

By Lara Good, Account Executive

Before my internship this summer, I never considered writing a blog for LinkedIn. However, it was one of the first things my manager suggested I do this summer when he assigned me to do a writing sample for him. It was a great assignment, and I learned a lot in the process about how to do it and the benefits of blogging.

Utilize pictures. Having an interesting cover photo for your blog increases the likelihood of somebody engaging with it. Photos or videos can also be used to break up the text within a blog.

Less is more (within reason). Most people on LinkedIn do not want to read a long, drawn out blog. Keeping it between 500 and 800 words will help you keep it short, while also helping you practice being concise and precise.

End your blog with a call to action. Keep it simple–for example, “Comment about your experiences, and feel free to connect with me.” This will drive up the number of people who will like or comment on your blog and you might even gain some connections.

Have a plan for sharing your blog. Know that when you post your blog it will appear in the news feeds of all of your 1st connections. When any of these individuals comment, like or share, the blog will then expand beyond your own network. A great way to get engagement is by reaching out to mentors like professors or bosses and sharing the blog with them personally. It’s a great way to foster that connection, as well as increase the likelihood of them sharing it to their connections.

The last (and most important!) question–what do you write about? Choose something relevant to working, your career path, your network or something that you could be considered an expert in. Personally, I don’t feel experienced enough to call myself an “expert” on anything, so I wrote about my current internship. I also learned that even though your subject might be general, it should be written from the perspective that only you could write–one of the easiest ways to do this is with anecdotes!

It may be scary to write your first LinkedIn blog, but it is great practice and great experience. Go write and connect!

 

By Marisa DeGennaro, Executive Director

If you’re like me, hearing the “S” word (senior) is bittersweet and a little scary. Suddenly, we are thrown into the real world of paying bills and finding a career. That can seem daunting, but planning may keep you (a little) sane as you end your college career.

Stay Organized

Searching for a job after college can be a job in itself. Tailoring your resume, researching companies and making time for interviews can leave you exhausted! Make the job search easier on yourself by staying organized. Having an updated resume and cover letter that can be easily tailored is a good start. Over the summer, take the time to map out possible companies you want to work for and do some research; be sure to take notes to reference back to as job fairs roll around. Maintain a list of application deadlines and networking events so you never miss an opportunity!

Manage Expectations

I am all for dreaming, and dreaming big for that matter; but, it is important to realize there may be some steps between you and achieving your goals. Probably one of the scariest things I have seen are seniors getting internships instead of full-time positions after graduation! However, it can be better to find an internship because of the better insight you’ll gain of what a full-time position with that company will look like (not to mention it’ll make your chances greater for receiving a full-time position offer).

Look for Mentorship

There is a reason why everyone asks about the company culture during the first interview. How your company manages itself has a huge impact on your career. People are getting busier and busier, meaning there is less time for mentors to teach and enrich. Find a company that is capable of proper training and willing to make the time investment in you. Don’t forget, you are choosing the company just as much as the company is choosing you!

By: Sophia Nitsolas, Account Executive. Sophia was a Social Media Coordinator Intern at Philly PR Girl during the summer of 2016.

“There was no stopping it,” said entrepreneur, Kate Marlys.

A Jersey girl, who graduated from a small suburban high school in the southern part of the state, Marlys went to college up north by the Big Apple. Her first job lead her to travel from coast to coast, yet she was still in love with one city and one city only–Philadelphia.

Just looking for a way to channel the stress of the cold, corporate world, Marlys began to blog.

Little did she know that a minuscule blog on her favorite places to wine and dine in the city would be a redefining catalyst to her future.

“The blog took off, and I was being asked by many for event planning and PR help,” said Marlys.

Hiring her cousin as her accountant, her other cousin as her lawyer, an editor, and an intern or two, Kate began to embark on a new career path–heck, a new life path.

Drawing from the success of her special events blog, Philly PR Girl LLC, a full time public relations firm for event planning, social media management, marketing and promotions, was born.

Its roots were planted in rich soil from the start in a 20 ft by 20 ft office space in the Philadelphia Building, which lies in the heart of Center City. Beginning with only a handful of employees but with a network of hundreds of connections locally and nationally, Kate Marlys, 5’6 with her highlighted brown hair, piercing blue eyes, warming smile and driven nature, transformed into the Philly PR Girl.

“Is this really happening?” said Marlys throughout the entire process.

Philly PR girl is now a home for about 20 employees and interns and 50 clients.

Still located in the Philadelphia building, but now in a larger space, Marlys and the company can’t even begin to fathom when it got the chance to expand so fruitfully.

Although there are over 20 competing firms in the area, Marlys believes it is their social media presence that sets them apart.

“I always say there’s enough work for us all,” said Marlys.

Brandon Szecker, working alongside Marlys as a PR manager at the firm said, “We’re a team who’s super local and very connected with various people in the city. We have a firm pulse on everything going on.”

Missing only the time off and bonuses of the corporate world, Marlys expresses that being an entrepreneur is no easy task, but can lead to irreplaceable happiness.

Helping with the PR for the PA Conference for Women was a huge career moment for her. Her favorite event is Preakness in the Piazza, a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) benefit where guests attend with their best hats and fun suites to watch the Kentucky Derby rain or shine.

“When you work for over 6 months and pour your heart and soul into an event and then it rains, no down pours the minute your event starts,” said Marlys, “that sums up last year’s Preakness at the Piazza- but guess what? It was an amazing event that raised over $150,000 for the MS society.”

Marlys is described by one of her PR student interns, Stephanie Rocha, as someone who does not let anyone take her down. Her company has thrived on supporting other women entrepreneurs just like her.

Every day in the PR world is different, but Marlys shares that working events and being on site is her favorite part of her day. With humility and great success, Marlys credits mentoring college students to being her greatest accomplishment.

 

By Caitlin Gailey, Director of Staff Relations

In the public relations industry, who you know is sometimes just as important as what you know.  Throughout the course of our careers, we are fortunate enough to meet dozens of talented people in our industry. These incredible opportunities are something to take advantage of, not to waste. While networking can feel awkward at times it’s never as bad as you think! Here are a few things to remember when networking your way to the top:

LinkedIn Is Your Friend

Don’t overthink things and grow your network through LinkedIn. After meeting with someone at a company event or through a mutual friend, a great and professional way to keep in touch is through LinkedIn. Asking to connect with someone is always more intimidating than it seems, but it’s a great tool to utilize in your networking toolbox.  

Master The Email

Mastering emails is crucial to building your network during and after college. Whether you are updating a previous employer, introducing yourself to a potential one or thanking someone for your time, email is the way to go. It’s a short 15 minutes out of your day, but it can mean a lot to someone who wasn’t expecting it.

Everyone Wants You To Succeed

The best thing to remember when walking into a networking opportunity is that everyone wants you to succeed. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or reconnecting those in the public relations industry want to share their knowledge with you and see you put it into practice. Their kindness is your key to success and something that you should never be intimidated by. When you walk into a room realizing everyone wants you to do well, it makes introducing yourself to strangers a lot easier.

Branch Out

Networking with people outside of your inner bubble is a great way to make unexpected connections and experiences. Reaching out to those outside of your internship department or team is a fantastic way to expand your skill set and take advantage of unique opportunities others may never have.

If you have learned nothing new about networking at least think about this. Remember back to your first day of college freshman year. Moving into a new building, a new town, potentially a new state was intimidating. However you put your best foot forward, put yourself out there and made an entirely new life for yourself in just four short years. If you can do that, you can do anything, so get out there and network.  

By Shayna Rogoff, Account Executive 

With summer internship season underway, it is time to get down to business and start working on being a star intern! During your internship, you will develop skills, gain experience and have a great opportunity to network with people working in your field. To help make the most of your experience, here are six ways to stand out and be the best intern you can be.

Have a “Can-Do” Attitude

Employers want to work with people who have a strong work ethic and make their lives easier. Strive to always have a positive attitude, be involved and go the extra mile. Don’t just talk about taking on an extra task – actually volunteer to do it!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions  

As an intern, employers do not expect you to know everything about the job. From time to time, you will probably be instructed to do several assignments at once and you may miss a detail or two. It is no help to anyone when assignments do not get handled properly and time gets wasted, so ask right away when you are confused. Internships are a great learning experience and the more questions you ask, the more you will learn.

Stay On Top of Assignments

Make sure when you are assigned a project you jot down details and deadlines. It is easy brush aside an assignment when you are unclear on what to do. As mentioned before, don’t be afraid to ask questions when this happens! If a project seems overwhelming you could ask, “Is there a specific amount of time I should aim to spend on this project?” In addition, make sure to provide project status updates to your boss– don’t wait to be asked.

Stay Focused

Refrain from playing on social media and other phone activities until your lunch break! You are interning to learn, so devote your time to developing your skills and gaining valuable experience. Remember, social media is not going anywhere – it will be there when you are on your time, not your company’s.  

Network & Socialize

It is important you make a conscious effort to build quality relationships and make connections with fellow interns and co-workers. From the janitor to the CEO, make sure you exhibit a friendly attitude to everyone in the company. Interning is a great opportunity to meet new people you may never had has the opportunity to meet otherwise. Your supervisors and co-workers may be immersed in projects and deadlines and not take notice that you are new to the company; so make sure you take the initiative to introduce yourself! Also, try to take time to socialize outside the work environment, but remember to behave – you are treating the internship as a real job, so always be professional.

Ask For Feedback

Last and definitely not least, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback throughout your time with the company. This shows your employer you are eager to do a great job and improve yourself. In addition, you will discover what your strengths and weaknesses are going forward.

These six tips will set you on track to a great internship experience and potentially a full-time job. Good luck and happy interning! 

5 Ways To Make The Most Out of Your Internship

By: Samantha Lassen, Account Associate for What’sPoppin

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Image Credit: Pexels

According to a recent article in the New York Times’ Education Life, more and more companies are hiring internally when they need to fill open spaces. They are starting to draw from their intern pool, because they have already worked within the business and have an understanding of its culture and operations. In my personal experiences, interviewers stressed the idea that they they think long-term when hiring interns. This means that how you act/perform throughout your summer internships could potentially result in getting hired or not. Here are five ways to make the most out of your summer internship:

1. Volunteer to Help with Additional Projects

Although many times interns are typically assigned to a specific team or department, it is crucial to volunteer and offer help in other areas. If you have a light work day, explore projects that are occurring throughout the office and see if they need additional assistance. This makes you seem interested and eager to learn about the entire company. It also shows that you are a go-getter who is diligent and dedicated to the organization. In addition, it helps you form connections with employees that you may not have previously known.

2. Build Your Network Within the Company

While most internships are about eight weeks, it is important to get to know as many people as possible in that short period of time. Walk around the office occasionally and introduce yourself to employees in other departments. You can chat with them or set up an informal interview to talk about their department’s work. It is important to share your goals with them. You would be surprised at how many people are connected due to networking. This could potentially open you up to more opportunities within your company and outside of it. You might also explore an area that may not have been of interest to you previously.

3. Get to Know Your Fellow Interns

It is important to become friendly with the other interns within your company. You will be working as a group throughout projects, presentations and other day-to-day operations.  You can help each other grow and succeed within the company, so don’t always treat it like a competition. Your fellow interns will also be entering the industry or field of interest at the same time as you. It is important to network with these people so that every door possible can stay open. You never know who may know who. Plus, you want summer to be a fun and enjoyable experience.  

4. Be Diligent

When completing any work or task, it is important to put forth your best effort. Ask questions if you do not understand or need something clarified. You need to stay organized and manage your time wisely to ensure that you are clearly communicating and completing your assigned work. You should arrive to the office on time and stay for the full day. It is courteous to check in with your supervisor before leaving to see if they need help with anything else.

5. Show Your Passions

Your attitude and behaviors within the office tell your bosses and fellow employees a lot about you. Be happy to have an internship, because many other students are not as lucky. When you are passionate about something, it will show how much you love what you are doing. Enjoy your summer and learn as much as you can within these few short weeks.

Your First Job Isn’t Your Forever Job

By: Lauren Haag, Account Executive for What’sPoppin

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When I was growing up, I used to dream about working for a Fortune 500 company one day. Don’t get me wrong, that is still my ultimate goal. However, I have come to the realization that it may be a longer process than I had originally planned and that is okay.

Now that I am a senior in college, the pressure to graduate with an impressive job and move away from home into a beautiful city is very overwhelming. With each passing day I see more and more of my friends and peers posting about their exciting new job opportunity.

If you are in the same situation that I am, you can understand the pain. Trying to balance academics, school commitments, internships, social life, AND apply for jobs is exhausting. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t get discouraged because looking for a job is like a full-time job. Graduating without a job is not the end of the world, and in hindsight it may even allow you to find a better opportunity down the road.

We also have been guilty of sending out resumes and cover letters as quickly as possible, with the hope that this may help us to beat out the competition, but it won’t. Your resume will be sent to an automated system that will filter you out depending if you meet the qualifications or not. So where do you go from here? The answer is networking.

The only way to ensure that your resume is personally received is if you have a contact within the company. Take the time to seriously network with professionals and get a better understanding on their job responsibilities. This may require more work, but the end result will be worth it.

I understand having a job secured after college is very crucial for some. However, it doesn’t need to be the “perfect” job. Don’t be afraid to apply for a lower paying job or even a post-graduation internship. Nowadays, internships are the gateway into many corporate companies.

If your favorite company never calls you for an interview and if your first job isn’t what you envisioned–don’t get discouraged. Your first job is not forever. It is just a stepping stone in acquiring that dream position you always wanted.