A note from Jeff Morosoff: Hofstra Honors College students in my PR Fundamentals class are required to submit guest blog posts throughout the semester. The following was written by public relations sophomore Nathalie Salazar. For my regular post, keep scrolling after Natalie’s guest blog.
An internship is a short-term, (usually) unpaid job experience. That’s right—unpaid. So, why do an internship if it really is “all work, no pay?” The reason is that internships provide real world career experience. Many college students do internships to gain experience in a particular field as well as to find out whether or not that career field is right for them. Internships are also a great way to begin building a professional network. Although they may be unpaid, internships are where most students acquire the most beneficial knowledge and develop crucial skills that will later be used in real jobs.
Lauren Berger, CEO of internqueen.com and author of All Work, No Pay, states that getting your first internship, or any internship, will be challenging but you cannot take no for an answer. “It is your job to find a yes,” she said at PRSSA’s November 18th event where she spoke to Hofstra students about internships, careers and connections as part of her #LimitedonCampus tour. For an hour, she shared her experiences interning and gave tips that she has learned from the 15 internships she had throughout college, such as, “You have to get comfortable being a little uncomfortable.” Going outside of your comfort zone is the key to landing an internship, whether it’s through attending networking events or calling up the professionals for whom you would like to work. As for rejection…don’t let it get in the way! “You are going to be rejected for the rest of your life!” exclaimed Berger. The key is to accept it, get over it and move on—and continue searching for that “yes.”
Internships are so important in figuring out what we want to do career-wise. And honestly, it’s better to learn now, when we are in college and still figuring out what we want, then later, when we have graduated and are dependent on a job.
What do you think about internships? Do you have any internship tips you’ve learned from personal experience? Your thoughts on Lauren’s tips for interns?
I visited the Highline Ballroom the night after Thanksgiving for an “All-Star Tribute to George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh” during which the band performed George’s moving and onerous “Beware of Darkness.” I later went to lyricsfreak.com to re-visit the song, which seemed terribly appropriate to what we now experience on Thanksgiving. The lyrics include:
Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While weeping atlas cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
I then watched an Eyewitness News report describing horrific fights that broke out at various Walmarts and other stores all over the country, as people mindlessly battled each other for discounted merchandise.
It seems millions of American consumers have become quite irrational about holiday shopping, having been moved to action by “greedy leaders.” Too many of us are going along with the trend of starting Black Friday earlier and earlier (now 8 p.m.) on Thanksgiving Day. We’re clamoring to join the rush of anxious and sometimes dangerous crowds. In reality, we’re witnessing and sometimes falling victim to dark behavior for the sake of quickly boosting retailers’ bottom lines.
Propagandists believe if you repeat anything often enough, it becomes truth. Retailers spend lots of advertising dollars to sell products this time of year, in turn obligating the news media to beat the pre-Black Friday drums. And so we march. Now, I’m not suggesting that retailers shouldn’t make profits or that we don’t look for bargains this time of year, but the barrage of ads and news stories about starting our holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day are designed to influence our attitudes and actions. We’ve become convinced that it’s OK to leave family and friends earlier so we can shop till we drop.
Perhaps we’re being led where we shouldn’t follow. Thanksgiving was never a day to buy gifts, until the retail gods recently decided otherwise. George Harrison was right: Beware of those who take us where we should not go. Your thoughts?
We should be pretty thankful that our profession continues to grow in numbers and stature as a means to effectively communicate between organizations, individuals, institutions, and their publics.
I’m pretty thankful for the PR students who inspire me through their enthusiasm and their desire to succeed.
We should be pretty thankful that “public relations specialist” ranked number one in a Yahoo Education article this week titled, “High-earning jobs to help pay off student loans faster.”
I’m pretty thankful for my colleagues because they are incredibly supportive and helpful, and they allow me to develop new coursework and programs, and to grow as an educator.
We should be pretty thankful for our nation’s First Amendment, which enables us to disagree with authority, report the truth, worship (or not) without consequence, gather in protest, and have freedoms unmatched under any other government.
I’m pretty thankful for feeling fulfilled each day whether it’s by helping family members work through a decision or a challenge, matching a student with an internship, assisting a colleague with a project, or making my wife feel happy and loved.
We should all be pretty thankful for the opportunity to spend much of our time in a quality institution of higher learning. Two-thirds of American high school grads go to college, and just one-third of them earn a bachelor’s degree. This gives my students and my colleagues a distinct professional advantage over most.
I’m pretty thankful that while they’re quite busy with their own lives, my grown-up children still seem to like spending time with their father. And one of them brings along my two baby grandsons!
Finally, all of us should be pretty thankful for being among the most secure, well-fed, nicely clothed, supremely sheltered people on planet earth. We live better than about 95% of the rest of the world. We must always be grateful for this and wish the same for others less fortunate.
What are you pretty thankful for this Thanksgiving? Your thoughts?
A note from Jeff Morosoff: Hofstra Honors College students in my PR Fundamentals class are required to submit guest blog posts throughout the semester. The following was written by public relations major Danielle Zolezzi. For my regular post, scroll past this guest column.
So much has happened in the last few days, it’s got my head spinning. Last Thursday night, Hofstra’s PRSSA held its annual Networking Dinner and Monday the “Intern Queen” spoke to students. Both events were so informative and helpful, and I’m grateful for having been in attendance.
Last Thursday night, over 70 students and business professionals filled the Plaza Room in the Hofstra University Student Center with the objective to build professional business relationships. PRSSA has been hosting this event for the last seven years and this year’s program was a huge success. I went into it without really knowing what to expect. I had no idea that it would be so easy to connect with the professionals and that we would actually have a lot in common. Even more shocking still was just how young almost all of them were. It is extremely motivating watching someone about your age doing exactly what you want to do. They had some great advice, stories, and experience to share and it was much appreciated.
On Monday, Lauren Berger (aka the “Intern Queen”) spoke to Hofstra students about internships, careers, and connections. I was excited to hear her speak because as a PR student, internships are all I can manage to think about. However, she touched topics that went beyond all that. Ms. Berger was truly inspirational and empowered everyone to become a go-getter and never take “no” for an answer. The Limited sponsored her visit and the representatives also had great fashion tips for the audience. Ms. Berger even signed my copy of her book! Kudos to Isabella Jacobsen and her right hand man Cody Dano, and with the help of PRSSA, for putting together such a great event.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is a saying I never fully understood or believed before Thursday night. After hearing testimony from multiple people, I am now completely convinced of the cliché. Getting involved, meeting new people, and staying connected is a challenging yet exciting part of what public relations is all about.
This coming week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy and there are countless TV specials and articles about his life and death, some are focusing on the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting. A new Gallop survey says 61% of us believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.
The regurgitation of JFK conspiracies got me thinking about the botched roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. As the Obama administration struggles to get the web site working properly, millions of people received letters telling them their health insurance has been cancelled because their policies could not meet the requirements of the new law. Because I’m having a hard time believing the president has been lying all along about his health care plan, I got to wondering — could the massive problems with the launch be the result of a conspiracy?
In his tell-all book Deadly Spin, Wendell Potter claimed that insurance companies used unethical PR tactics and conspired to try to stop President Obama’s plan from becoming law. Potter had a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive at CIGNA, one the nation’s largest health insurers. He recently blogged, “Having played a role in similar campaigns designed to mislead the public by spreading fear in hopes of defeating profit-threatening legislation, the anti-Obamacare care folks are frantic…In many cases, however, the policyholders getting those (cancellation) letters are simply victims of a business practice insurers have engaged in for years: discontinuing policies because they’re no longer sufficiently profitable.” Keeping in mind that the insurance companies never wanted Obamacare to happen in the first place, could they be terminating policies at people’s expense to hurt Obama?
And what about that troubled website? Could it be that its initial launch was sabotaged? Might unethical people in high places be working to hurt the president’s hallmark plan? Or was this truly–and only–botched planning and lack of foresight on the part of the president?
As we still wonder about JFK a half-century later, is an anti-Obamacare conspiracy also a possibility? Your thoughts?
A note from Jeff Morosoff: Hofstra Honors College students in my PR Fundamentals class are required to submit guest blog posts throughout the semester. The following was written by public relations sophomore Nathalie Salazar. For my regular post, keep scrolling after the guest column.
Networking is an important aspect of any professional’s life, especially public relations professionals. Our job consists of communicating and building relationships with others. However, the question is whether you, as a public relations professional or an aspiring one, can network effectively.
Hofstra’s PRSSA chapter recently hosted a networking how-to at which PR Professor Laurie Bloom presented “Start Networking in 5 Easy Steps!”—an introduction to effective networking.
The first step is all about whom you know. “Think about the people you know: friends, college classmates, professors, your parents and their friends,” said Bloom. These are your connections. Beginning with already established relationships can help you get your foot in the door.
The second step is “Step Out!” You have to put yourself out there by looking for opportunities to network. Attending programs or conferences and joining organizations are great ways to begin networking among the professional field. For example, PRSSA is holding a Networking Dinner on Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Plaza Room. Attending events like this can help you begin making connections and gathering contacts for internships or job opportunities.
The third is “Do Your Homework!” When networking, it is always important to know with whom you are networking. Find as much out about the organizations you want to join and if you attend a program or conference, research the professionals who will be there. Being well-informed will help you connect effectively.
The fourth step is “Prepare and Practice your Elevator Speech,” meaning, if you walk into an elevator and happen to run into a well-established professional who could possibly be your ticket to an internship or job, what will you say? It’s crucial to prepare and practice a short and effective summary of who you are and what your goals are. In an elevator speech, “think about what is most important for you to convey,” said Bloom. Have a key message and deliver it effectively when networking with professionals. Be concise and clear.
The fifth and final step is “Follow Up and Follow Through.” Effective networkers find a way to turn their contacts into real connections. “Ask if you can send a resume, call for an appointment…talk more over coffee,” said Bloom. During the first point of contact, nothing ever really happens besides an exchange of numbers or e-mail addresses. For this reason, the follow up is crucial in making a connection—and follow through with what you say you will do! “Most people do not!” noted Bloom.
Every professional networks. But effective networking is what will set a professional apart from the rest.
What are your thoughts on networking? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Successes? Failures? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
But TIME magazine referred to him as such this week. On the venerable publication’s cover was a shadowy, Hitchcockian profile of New Jersey’s stout governor headlined, “THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.”
The elephant became the symbol of the Republican Party in 1874 when, according to factmonster.com, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a donkey (the Democrats’ symbol) clothed in lion’s skin, scaring away animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” “That’s all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party,” noted the site.
With the Republican Christie re-elected last week in a landslide, TIME published the cover and created controversy–and got lots of publicity. Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in Salon: “Nobody needs to tiptoe around the reality of what Chris Christie looks like . . . but…you don’t need to call him a pachyderm. And anybody who does is just a big fat jerk.” New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse also tweeted his disappointment: “These cheap shots are decidedly uncool.” And Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren tweeted: “TIME MAGAZINE EDITOR is SLIMY SNAKE!”
TIME Executive Editor Michael Duffy went into full spin mode, telling MSNBC: “Well, he’s obviously a big guy. He’s obviously a big Republican. But he’s also done a really huge thing here this week. He stood astride the Republican Party and said, ‘Stop. We don’t have to make our whole appeal about narrow base issues.’ And that campaign showed it with the demographics you talked about.”
The folks at Business Insider aligned their opinion with Duffy: “The new issue of TIME features a brilliant triple entendre featuring Chris Christie.” And the thick-skinned Christie has made light of his weight on national TV many times.
But comparing a heavy man to an elephant so you can sell more magazines has created a (positive? negative?) public relations “situation” for TIME. Duffy may think it’s worth it if, in fact, all the attention results in selling more magazines this week. Its cover certainly has people talking about TIME, which must have been its editors’ ultimate goal. Your thoughts?
When something goes wrong, our first instinct is to point fingers and place blame. Such is the case with the technical mess associated with the roll out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”
This was an awful week for President Obama. The rollout of the health care law has been an unmitigated disaster and could not have been more ill-timed. Just a few days after winning political points by refusing to yield to the pressure of a threatened government shutdown over Obamacare, its web site launched and failed miserably. The same people who tried to de-fund the plan last month were now screaming about its failure to work. Obama’s political and PR victory of a couple of weeks ago quickly turned to a highly visible crisis. Some members of Congress, always ready to show they’re working hard to solve important problems through the magic of sound bites, scheduled hearings so they could spend much of the week pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame.
In crises like these, particularly after something has gone wrong, is it really important to place blame? Is it helpful to find a scapegoat, someone to take the hit and be disciplined, fired, or even jailed?
When a leader needs protection from negative public opinion, some believe that a good crisis PR plan includes forcing an individual to dutifully fall on the proverbial knife. There’s indeed a PR expert or two who think that naming a scapegoat is a way the president could defer at least some of the blame for the bungled Affordable Care Act launch. But so far Mr. Obama is backing his staff. This past week his Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified in Congress, accepted blame for the mess, but didn’t offer her resignation, despite several harsh political voices calling for it.
President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.” But maybe it shouldn’t be a PR strategy. Your thoughts?
One of my students recently wrote in her weekly internship journal that she had been learning how to speak to clients on the phone. It occurred to me that what to say and how to say it as a professional on the job is not a skill we usually teach in a classroom.
Much of the discussion at PRSSA’s conference I’m attending in Philadelphia this weekend is focused on developing student leaders through campus PRSSA chapters, which in turn will help them become managers and leaders in the real world.
Professional verbal and leadership skills are not always found in a syllabus or learned through a lecture. But whenever I’ve assigned a group project, a leader inevitably emerges when a student in each group steps up and takes charge. However, despite these students’ instinct to lead, she or he can sometimes lack the life skills to motivate the other group members, or may be unable to solve work distribution problems that can crop up.
Organizational leadership is taught as part of some college curricula, but not all. Such skills are also taught to students in student affairs roles such as a resident assistant or an officer in the student government. But not every college student gets such training, and some of the training they get doesn’t always prepare them for an office environment. Any management or leadership experience I had happened on the job as my level of responsibility increased. This is ultimately the case with most people, whether they’re high school graduates or have advanced degrees.
Business training guru Jim Rohn said, ”The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” I also like this quote from President John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Easy to agree with, but what might teachers be doing to prep future public relations leaders which we may not already be doing? Your thoughts?
A note from Jeff Morosoff: Hofstra Honors Program students in my PR Fundamentals class are required to submit guest blog posts throughout the semester. My regular post follows the guest column. Today’s guest post is written by public relations sophomore Daniella Zolezzi:
The semester being halfway complete can only mean one thing: midterm exams. Students expect that each semester they will deal with an absurd amount of stress. Twice in the semester that stress amplifies exponentially; one of these occasions happens to be midterms. Midterms mark the halfway point in the semester between syllabus week to the most stressful time of all: finals week. Working in public relations is also a huge stress inducer. However, keep in mind why you are putting yourself through these experiences and to stay positive.
Although it’s easy to get caught up in things that cause frustration, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and relax. You’re in school to become educated and enrich your life, not to stress over exams. Similarly, in a public relations campaign, the payoff is not necessarily immediate. Often the goal of a PR campaign is in fact long term because building a positive public image does not happen overnight.
When getting stressed over exams, homework, working, etc., becoming overwhelmed may seem unavoidable. However, there are a lot of steps you can take to maintain your sanity. Time management and staying organized are both a huge part of public relations. Learning to avoid procrastination is crucial when trying to manage a busy schedule. While studying for exams, having concise and organized notes makes studying a lot easier and quicker. So in order to work efficiently and productively, be organized and timely.
During these stressful weeks also remember to take a break. Step away from your work and get a breath of fresh air. Do something that you enjoy like watch an episode of your favorite show, go on Facebook, or have a mini dance party. Just give yourself a little time to unwind. The key to doing this: don’t come back to consciousness hours later and realize you finished an entire NetFlix series.
Whether in your internship, at school, or at work, getting overwhelmed is inevitable. Remember: take a step back and breathe. You got this far; you’ll get further. This, too, shall pass.