Tips for Landing Your Dream Internship

Melanie Richard, Account Associate

1. Make a standout resume specific to the position you are applying for

Your resume should be crafted perfectly to highlight experience that is relevant to tasks that are in the internship description. In order to get an interview, your resume should be able to speak to who you are without you being present. Make sure your resume has an objective section that states your goal and make sure that the goal adheres exactly to your dream internship description. Also, make sure you have multiple people proofread and review your resume. Many employers say they will not hire someone who sends a resume with a typo, even if they are an excellent candidate.

2. Dress for success

When going to an interview, it is important to dress professionally in order to make a lasting impression. Even if you know that the company’s dress code allows jeans, still come dressed in at least business casual clothes. Make sure you’re wearing dress pants and a blouse or a knee length dress and a nice pair of shoes. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed!

3. Ask questions in your interview

Before going to your interview, you should have researched the company and have pre-written questions to show your interest in the company! Show that you are confident, enthusiastic and determined to put your best foot forward. It also doesn’t hurt to ask the interviewer about their experience and their company–people love to talk about themselves.

4. Write a handwritten thank you note

After your interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and make sure to reaffirm your enthusiasm for the internship position. In this day and age, it seems that everything is electronic. Sending a written thank you note in the mail adds a personal touch that can’t be achieved through an email. It also shows that you are putting in extra effort and paying attention to detail, which are qualities that employers look for.

5. Accept your dream internship!

If you know that this position is the right fit for you and that it will further your career goals, then say yes! An internship will give you valuable “real world” experience that will not only enhance your resume, but will also shape you into a confident young professional.

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5 Easy Ways to Limit Distractions and Boost Your Focus

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Rachel Aul, Account Associate

As a busy college student, it can be hard to sit down and get right to work – especially with all the notifications and alerts present in today’s media age. Here are some tips and tricks that should help when it’s time to buckle down and get to work.

1. Set reasonable expectations for yourself

Writing a to-do list of every task that needs done for the entire week is going to feel too overwhelming and impossible to complete. Instead, set reachable goals and provide yourself with enough time to reach those goals.

2. Silence your phone

It’s hard to stay focused when your phone is buzzing with notifications. Consider turning your phone on silent, and placing it within walking distance from where you are working. That way, you will be less tempted to reach for it.

3. Stop multitasking

Research continues to prove that humans can only focus on one task at a time. Devote your entire attention to a specific task before moving on to another.

4. Grab a snack before you start

Preparing for your study time will allow you to lessen your distractions. Make yourself a healthy snack, pour yourself a cup of coffee and set up your work area. By the time you’re all set up, you’ll be ready to go.

5. Take short breaks

If you find yourself burning out, take a short break. Go for a walk, doodle or listen to some music. Be sure to set a timer for your break so you don’t spend too much time unfocused.

The Importance of Research and Data Analysis

No Internship_ No worries.

Liam Datwani, Account Associate

Almost every company around the world is advertising in some way. This means that there are millions of different messages being pushed onto audiences around the world via TV, radio, paper, posters, social media, internet, and more. This huge amount of clutter has come to define the advertising and public relations industry. So, the question becomes: how do you reach the audience you desire as accurately and impactful as possible? This is where research and data analysis comes in.

Many individuals inside and outside of the advertising industry do not understand the importance of research and data for insights. Beyond the historiographical research into the companies and competitors, deeper research into consumer attitudes, values, and activities are extremely important. There are entire books dedicated to this topic, including the Advertising Education Foundations book. Ironically, the clutter of the advertising marketplace is perfect for collecting data and research into this field. There are many different measurements and tracking programs on the internet that can be used to collect data and research consumers to be more accurate.

This is the main reason that companies like Facebook and Google are secretive about their data collection- because it is sold to a number of different clients including advertisers. However, buying the data is not always necessary. A number of studies have found that social media has allowed companies to simply talk with clients and understand their value systems more easily. In fact, my friends and I have used social media to do surveys and interviews into the attitudes of different consumers. Along with the traditional tracking of product sales and the historiographical research into companies, social media research refines the consumer model.

Advertising is extremely complicated at times. It requires a bit of creativity, a bit of practicality, a bit of finance, and a bit of luck. The advertisers have to always be looking into things and trying to understand the consumer as much as they understand the products they are going to sell.

5 Snacks To Help Your Brain While Studying

brain fuel

Joey Nocera, Account Associate 

Being a college student can stress and exhaust the body. No matter what school, students can relate to staying up late to study for that big exam or staring at a computer for hours trying to finish a paper.

College students’ brains are constantly firing on all cylinders when learning new information. Students must remember the importance of taking care of their bodies just as much as caring about submitting that assignment before the due date.

Being physically active throughout the school day, getting enough of sleep every night and having three meals a day are essential for college students. These strategies help feed our body with the nutrients and energy needed to get through each day. And, it’s even more important to take care of the brain.

Research conducted by College America uncovered a number of ideal snack foods that help fuel the brain. These snacks are sure to give college students the “brain blast” needed to get through a long day filled with classes and studying.

1. Blueberries

Whether you like them frozen or fresh off the plant, blueberries are one of the best foods to fuel the brain. Known as a superfood, blueberries are filled with antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which is proven to advance brain degeneration.  

2. Avocados

Avocados provide the brain with a number of nutrients that keep the brain healthy and working efficiently. Rich in potassium, vitamin E and vitamin K, avocados lower the risk of having a stroke. In addition, avocados improve blood flow to the brain with the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

3. Eggs

A perfect way to start the morning, eggs are one of the best types of brain food. The yolk is rich in choline which helps strengthen the visual and verbal memory parts of the brain. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start the day off with some eggs and a side of avocado toast, giving the brain the power it needs to get through the day.    

4. Walnuts & Almonds

As strong source of vitamin E and omega 3, nuts are especially helpful in maintaining the brain and nervous system functions. The nutrients in nuts can even help prevent types of memory loss and cognitive decline.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains nutrients such as cacao, iron, magnesium, and polyphenols. Not only are these nutrients filled with antioxidants, they also help blood flow to the brain. Though it may not be a world-famous Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, types of dark chocolate are considered to be one of the best types of brain food.

Next time you have a big exam to study for or a paper to write, consider eating these foods above!

Article cited

4 Resume Essentials That Will Help You Land Your Dream Job

Resume Rescue

Joana Pinzon-Coimbra, Account Executive

Resumes showcase a lot about who you are as an individual, and especially an employee. When writing a resume, you should think of it as a marketing tool to pitch yourself to potential employers. It’s a great way to “brag” about your skills and accomplishments. The point of a resume is to demonstrate your capabilities and show employers what makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants. When composting your resume, make sure to consider these essentials:

1. Use Action-oriented Language

Skills and achievements are best highlighted in a parallel structure. Action verbs and phrases should be included to present yourself as a “doer.” Make sure to avoid passive writing. Some examples of good action words are –– informed, developed, adapted, assisted, etc.

2. Include Transferable Skills

Employers look for someone with both technical/hard skills and soft skills. Soft skills include strong communication, adaptability and flexibility, work ethic, and more. These abilities can be used from one job to another and can make or break your chances of landing that position you want.

3. Showcase Your Strengths

Here’s your chance to shine! However, you need to make sure you don’t overdo it. Make sure to prioritize your advantages and qualifications. What have you done that has given you valuable experience that would help you be a great asset to any company? Any club involvements? Leadership positions? Internships or co-ops? Include all of that information in the sections that highlight your experience. But remember to keep it all in moderation. Your qualifications should be relevant to the job applied for so it all makes sense to the employer.

4. Visually Appealing

There are many resume templates to choose from. When writing your own, allow yourself to use formatting strategies that highlight rather clutter. Be consistent with the the font, sizes, capitalization, etc. Make sure the margins look appropriate and organized for the layout of your resume. The last thing to do is to print it out and confirm that everything looks the way you want it to. Printing the resume out and handing it to an employer, along with your cover letter, is the best way to guarantee that him/her will see it and consider you as an applicant. Although companies are now accepting electronically downloaded resumes, it still shows importance and prioritization when you go above and beyond expectations.

The 3 Keys to a Great Elevator Pitch

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Hannah Moran-Funwela, Account Executive

Interviewing season and networking events are upon us – and you never know when and where you’ll run into that perfect networking connection. So, having an elevator pitch in your arsenal is never a bad thing.

The perfect elevator pitch is composed of three parts:

  1. Who You Are

Are you a student or a recent grad? Is graduation steadily approaching or do you have time to spare? Is your goal an internship or full-time employment? Establishing these facts upfront is key, it will allow recruiters or networking connections know exactly where you stand.

  1. What You Bring to the Table

Your experiences have allowed you to hone your skills in your chosen field – but you need to convey that to a prospective employer in a short and concise manner. Get your foot in the door and save the detailed experience examples for the interview. Pick out key tasks you’ve done in your work that make you stand out, you excelled in or you thoroughly enjoyed! These are a good way for the receiver of your pitch to understand your strengths and interests.

  1. What Makes You Unique

The job market is a competitive one where standing out is a must – what makes you stand apart from the crowd? Find your unique selling point and capitalize on it. Your minor or favorite club may be the difference from you landing that interview or not. Use what makes you, you to your advantage.

4 Easy Steps to Help You Master Your Interview

4 Easy Steps to Help You Master Your Interview

By Kristin Carbone, Account Executive

Every interview is different and nerves build up, but it is important to go in feeling prepared and ready to put your all into it. Here are some tips to help you prepare for that big interview:

1. ) Research the company: Get on google and search the company. Read the mission statement, stalk your interviewer on LinkedIn and find those unique factors that make you want to spend your time there. It will help you become familiar with the practices of the company and you will be all the more knowledgeable!

2.) Rehearse sample questions: Rehearse, but don’t sound scripted. Grab your friends, call your parents and ask someone to go over questions with you. It is imperative to practice and have a general idea of what you may be asked. Go over the basic questions that everyone gets asked and don’t panic when one comes your way that you hadn’t prepped for – it’s all about being able to remain calm, cool and collected.

3.) Pick out your outfit: Make sure your clothes fit you, are clean, wrinkle-free and presentable. You want to make a good impression on your interviewer and look your best!

4.) Be yourself: Interviewing can be a grueling process and it is important that you remember to be yourself.

Bulking up the Resume – Without the Internship

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By Maddi Price, Account Associate

From the time we enter college, sometimes even before, we are expected to build a resume colored with a variety of experiences. But, sometimes things don’t go as planned and we find ourselves farther into our college career than we’d like without that internship experience.

Lucky for Penn State students, you can gain the experience you need to fill the gaps in your resume in ways other than an internship. This includes taking more communications-focused classes that actually help you take a step forward and better your career.

Here are some of my class recommendations!

Intro to Graphic Design

This class is a great way to learn basic skills in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. You will build a foundation to work with in the future and depending on your instructor, you’ll create pieces to start to build a portfolio to display your array of skills to a potential future employer.

Digital Media Trends

What you learn in this class is important to include during an interview, whether it be for an internship or a full-time job. This class allows you to get your Google Analytics certification for free and teaches the concepts behind Google Analytics, giving you a deeper understanding of one of the primary methods of tracking communications campaign success.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This class is the follow up to Digital Media Trends and goes more in-depth on tracking online progress of a campaign, specifically in the realm of search engines like Google. The course provides in-depth experience with the largest online advertising platform—Google Adwords.

You will participate in a firm-based project that gives you the same experience of business consulting for a future advertising job.

Digital Public Relations

This class gives you multiple experiences to use on your resume. The content focuses on non-paid digital activities, most importantly social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+, and how these activities can be successfully integrated into a communications campaign.

First of all, you become Hootsuite certified, an online platform for scheduling social media posts. You also complete the Twitter Flight School, Twitter’s free online education program.

This class provides students real-world experience with a project in which you create and/or maintain a social media site of some kind and create an analysis of successes and downfalls throughout the process.

Magazine Writing

This class is very helpful if you have no experience in the world of magazines but think you may want to work for one in the future. The class teaches you how to freelance. You build a website, if you don’t already have one, and create posts to add to it. You pitch stories to real editors to try to have your work published, and if it works, you have published pieces to add to your portfolio. I would highly advise this class for students that know they won’t have an internship but need to continue working on a portfolio or a resume.

If many of the above classes seem to be of interest to you, I would advise adding the Digital Media Trends and Analytics, Minor to your Penn State degree. For more information on the classes, visit the Penn State Undergraduate Bulletin at bulletins.psu.edu.

 

Audience Targeting in The Digital Age

1stparty-1080x628By Lara Good

For a long time people have been concerned about how the digital platforms and tools reduce our personal privacy. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, are one key contributor to this.

We are the ones who share our information with Facebook because we want it to know us and we want our friends to know us. All of this information makes Facebook a powerful tool for brands to use to reach us. Advertisers on Facebook have the unique ability to target audiences based on all the known information we give them, and sometimes more.

Using targeting, brands and businesses make sure their messages are reaching the most valuable audience for them. The most common type of targeting that brands use is what Facebook business calls “core audiences.” These core audiences are described by their demographics (age, gender, relationship status, education etc.), locations, interests and even trackable behaviors (like purchases and device usage). This gives brands a great power to engage the “right” audience.

It is not just about privacy anymore; there is now a new part of the debate. There is controversy over how targeting is being used to exclude certain groups from specific brand messages.

A recent incident, Facebook Business had job ads that were instructed to only target male users. This has been described as gender discrimination. Targeting such as this can help keep women out of traditionally male dominated fields. Gender discrimination is only the beginning of the issue. Age is another piece of information that could be used to exclude and discriminate people.

The Lesson: There is nothing inherently wrong with targeting and many consumers appreciate having messages that are relevant to them. However, as marketers we need to be aware of the implications of our actions and our messages; just because a medium has a capability, it does not mean that we can ethically use it in every case. We have to be sure that with the rise of more powerful communication tools we are using these tools ethically. In the digital age, often times regulation has to play catch up, and if your brand is not careful it could become the example of “what not to do.”

Sources:

Vanian, J. (2018, September 18). ACLU and Labor Group Allege Facebook’s Ad Targeting Discriminates By Gender. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from http://fortune.com/2018/09/18/facebook-gender-discrimination-aclu-ads/

Tobin, A., & Merrill, J. B. (2018, September 21). How some companies’ ads on Facebook exclude women applicants. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from https://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/09/facebook_ads_target_men.html

 

By: Shane Teklits, Account Associate
By our junior year in college, we have had heard the word “experience” hundreds of times from family, friends and professors alike. But how do you get this so-called “experience” if you’re taking your first steps into the PR field? If you’re anywhere near how I was last spring, it can be an incredibly unsettling feeling watching your friends and classmates speak about their second, third, or even fourth internship while you haven’t even obtained your first! It may not feel like it, but time is certainly on your side and there are plenty of ways to impress a potential employer in order to land your dream internship opportunity. Here are five of the best things you can do.
1. Network! Network! Network!
This is the most important thing you can do to market yourself! It’s vital in PR that you make long-lasting, meaningful connections. If you want to work in fashion, start looking for Penn State graduates working in the industry. Want to work in sports? Begin searching for Penn State alumni working for major sports teams or sports leagues. For me personally, I have always wanted to do PR for a professional football team. I was able to get in touch with Penn State graduates who are in the communications departments of four NFL teams. What I found is that Penn State alumni always want to help you. Even though I didn’t land an internship, I was able to plant a seed and practice marketing myself for the first time. It’s important to keep in touch with those you reach out to, as you never know what may open up down the line.
2. Create a LinkedIn profile
In many ways, this is an extension of number one. Going into the spring semester of my
sophomore year, I barely knew what LinkedIn was, much less have a profile. What I’ve learned is that having a LinkedIn profile allows employers to see your experience they would otherwise not see. After you create your profile, search for connections such as fellow classmates or professors to grow your network. It’s also important to add your most important skills and to have your connections ‘endorse’ them.

3. Look for additional ways to gain experience
Even if you didn’t land that dream internship, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and make an impact on a future employer. Penn State is one of the best universities at offering students different ways to get involved. Perhaps, you can join one of the many communications-related clubs on-campus or take a class you didn’t even know existed. When I spoke with one of the NFL PR pros, he suggested I get involved with Penn State’s athletic department. I applied three consecutive semesters for what I considered to be my dream position, but ultimately didn’t get in. However, this summer I found about COMM 478 (Sports Information), which is a class geared toward Sports PR majors. I was able to cover a Men’s Basketball game and write a game recap, work on writing game previews, and even learned new skills like using Adobe InDesign,
Photoshop, and Premiere to make a Heisman campaign for Saquon Barkley. These are skills I would have learned if I interned with the athletic department, but would have missed out on if I didn’t add COMM 478 as my 18th credit. I had to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Getting involved shows a potential employer you took initiative and that can sometimes be important than experience itself.

4. Make your social media profile look professional

Social media is about being yourself, but don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your employer to see. According to a 2015 survey by CareerBuilder, 52% of employers check the social media profiles of job applicants before hiring them. This means you should be professional on social media. Don’t post embarrassing photos of yourself or use offensive language. If you’re in PR, there’s a high probability that you’re obsessed with social media. You should know more about the impact of social media than your friends, so don’t hold yourself back! Read more about employers and social media here. 
5. Stay confident, and as my Philadelphia friends would say “Trust the Process”
Even if you aren’t as fortunate as some of your classmates with three or four internships, there are always ways to gain experience. Don’t be discouraged and stay confident. Whether it be through a club, class, or internship, there are always multiple different ways to get out and impress a potential employer. Step out of your comfort zone, take risks, and be professional. It’s up to you to unlock the doors to your future!

By Shayna Rogoff, Account Executive

When you find out you got the interview, it is a pretty exciting feeling…then the nerves
settle in. Will they think your experienced enough? What should you wear? What if you
say ‘um’ too many times? The fact is, no matter how many times you go through the
interview process, it is still a nerve-racking experience. Walking into a new place with
new people and asking to be judged can be difficult! So how can you give yourself the
upper hand? Here are 5 ways to overcome the interview jitters:
1. Do the research
Research the company and your interviewer as much as possible before hand. When
setting up the interview, make sure to get the name (or names) of the people who you’ll
be interviewing with. Then use your internet stalking – Er I mean sleuthing…- skills to
get to know them. Getting to know your interviewer as a person can make them seem
less intimidating. This practice can also help you with talking points during the interview. Having a good grasp on the company and their mission is also important for answering interview questions like “Why do you want to work here?” or “why should we hire you?”
2. Choose your look 24 hours in advance
Check the weather report and think about how you will wear your hair. Pick your outfit
out and try it on in a brightly lit room to make sure nothing is see-through or has stains.
If you typically twirl your hair when it’s down, wear it up to limit distractions. The key here is to plan every detail of your appearance out (and do a test run) to make sure you
are as comfortable and confident as possible.
3. Workout the morning of the interview
If you can, get to the gym the morning of the interview. Working out some of the
adrenaline and endorphins will help you be more grounded. When your body can
release the excess energy, your mind will relax and stay clear too!
4. Don’t forget interviewing is a two-way street
Interviewing is a two-way street! This is just as much your chance to figure out if the
company is a good fit for you. Sometimes we know a lot of excitement about a
company, and assume it will be our dream job, that we forget to interview them during
the interview too. Make sure you have thoughtful questions prepared to ask your
interviewer, and you keep an eye out for how the employees seem while walking around
the office. Too often, people get so focused on leaving a good impression on the
interviewer, then accept the job, and end up unhappy because they did not take the
time to interview the company.

5. Avoid your cell phone and think positive
Do your best to stay off your phone for an hour before the interview, the last thing you
need is to get a text or see something that will irk you or get in your head. Once you
step into the company’s office doors, you will definitely want to stay off your phone and
use that time to be calm and give yourself a mental pep talk. Don’t worry about
reviewing your answers or talking points, just focus on what an awesome catch you are.
Your enthusiasm will be contagious!

By Andrea Melgar, Account Executive

At some point during your 4 (maybe 5) years of college, you’ll most likely find yourself in a leadership position. Whether that be in your student organization, sorority, fraternity etc., simply thinking about a leadership position can be intimidating. Being nervous is common when it comes to obtaining a position of power, but mastering your communication skills can be huge determining factor between excelling or failing.

Communication skills play a huge role in our day to day lives, but when it comes to leadership it really can help us “make it or break it.” As a student leader I have found that there are 5 skills in particular that have really made a positive impact in my experience.

  1. Listen

Communication is a two way street. Not only must your team listen to you, but you too must listen to your team members. Listening is not only a sign of respect, but it also helps build positive relationships while creating an efficient working environment.

  1. Delegate

Use your team members and delegate tasks. No one is expecting you to do everything yourself. Sure it may be more comfortable to only depend on yourself to get the job done, but in the end you’re really only hurting yourself. Don’t add on more stress, and don’t take away a valuable learning experience from your team members. A good leader takes advantage of their resources, and when working on a team it’s members are one of the most valuable resources.

  1. Be open minded

Though it is important to be organized and plan everything out, being open minded can make a huge difference when something may not go as planned. Being open minded can also help encourage your team to speak up and collaborate on ideas. Some of the best ideas my teams have come up with were attributed to team brainstorming sessions.

  1. Be respectful

If you show respect your team will respect you as well. Also, when conducting meetings make sure to respect your team’s time. We all have so much going on in college, so try to not waste time by being unproductive.

  1. Be CONFIDENT

Fake it till you make it, and don’t let your nerves get the best of you! Confidence shows that you know what you’re doing, and it will lead to others trusting you. When in doubt show confidence- make eye contact, show good posture, dress to impress. Always remember you got to your position for a reason, and now it’s your time to shine!