Author Archives: Amy O'Connell

Member of the Week: Kristie Evans Franco

1507632_10155174526415637_6874569415762559829_nThis week’s Chapter member of the week is Kristie Evans Franco. Kristie is a junior in COM originally from Bogota, Colombia. She is majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. She became involved with the PR Advanced planning committee for the first time this year. Kristie was on the sponsorship and speaker outreach sub-committees and secured speakers for the Innovative and Engaging Campaigns breakout session. She has been helping the PR Advanced team all year, and was an important asset during the conference. She is also involved with BU PRSSA’s student run firm, Unleashed PR, as the social media coordinator.

Congratulations, Kristie!!

Stand For Something; Believe In What You Do

“Purpose is not nice. It is about having edges.”

– Polly LaBarre, Founding Member, Fast Company, Editorial Director, MIX

 

I think for many students, one of the biggest fears is finding themselves working day after day at a job they absolutely hate. When we’re in college, it’s all about “what do you want to do after graduation?” Most students, when asked that question, won’t have an answer. How could we possible have already identified one specific job that we’re ready to commit our lives to? After attending the PRSSA 2014 National Conference, I don’t think we’re really asking the right questions. Instead of frantically trying to discover the job that we want to do, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves what goals we have and what purpose we have?

Polly LaBarre, founding member of Fast Company and Editorial Director of MIX, said that her first piece of advice is to stand for something. Find a purpose, find something you want to achieve, and then do it. Finding that purpose won’t necessarily make things easier, but it will make things clearer. We’re all searching for our “dream job”, but I think we forget that a major part of that is the dream. What do we really want to do in this world. Once we have purpose and goals, we can set out to achieve it. What companies are in that industry? How can I contribute with the skills I have?

Maril Gagen MacDonald, CEO and Founder of Gagen MacDonald, said “Don’t just have a job. Have a dream, have a goal, have a mission.” Like Polly, she knows that the only way we’re ever going to truly want to work hard at the same thing every day is to believe in what we’re doing. Our jobs shouldn’t just be something we do to earn money. They should be something we are motivated to do every day in order to achieve our goals.

As future Communication Professionals, we have the skills that every company in every industry needs. We have the opportunity to work for the restaurant industry, the entertainment industry, and everything in-between. We’re the ones who help our companies be the company they want to be. We make sure their actions match their mission, and we make sure that everyone knows about it. We have the opportunity to make an impact. As Savannah Fox, Field Organizer for Amnesty International said, “Changing the world is part of the job description.”

Surviving Your First Interview

interviewEveryone in the world goes through their first interview at some point, and getting ready for it is stressful. I recently had my first interview for a summer internship and I know how difficult it is when you have no idea what to expect. Here are a few tips that might help take away some of those first interview jitters.

Tip 1: Breathe. The best thing to do is stay calm and just be you! It’s easier said than done of course, but the interviewer will want to see a person that they feel they and the other employees can work well with.

Tip 2: Don’t stress over what is or isn’t on your resume. As a freshman, I knew I had next to nothing on my resume, not even high level PR classes, but if you’ve got an interview they’re already interested in you! Chances are you had to submit a cover letter and resume that they’ve already looked over, so they’re fully aware of any lack of experience and are okay with it.

Tip 3: Know your strengths and weaknesses. People get skills from all sorts of experiences that you can’t put on a resume. Maybe you’re great at working with a team because you’ve always played team sports. Maybe you’re very organized and you have great time management skills. Those are all valuable skills that employers like to see. It’s also okay to acknowledge that you don’t have much concrete experience yet but that you’re willing to learn. That will show your interviewer that you’ll be easy to work with and willing to learn from those around you.

Tip 4: Give yourself extra time for a pep talk right before your interview. I’m not lying when I say that before my first interview I stepped into the building’s bathroom and gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror. Whether it’s an actual pep talk or just some deep breaths to yourself, it’s good to calm yourself down and get grounded. I know it’s way to easy for me to get sucked up into my own nerves.

Tip 5: Smile! Smiling gives off a great natural expression and can actually help calm you down. Remember how happy you are to have gotten the interview and focus on the positive. They already like you, so be glad for it!

 

Unfortunately there’s no secret to nailing an interview and getting the job or the internship, but these little tips can help make it a better experience for you. Keep up your attitude and remember why you love what you do. Interviews are a really great sign when you apply for a job, so even if it doesn’t work out you can be proud that they were interested.

Good luck!

The Profit of Non-Profit Branding

RedcrossWe’ve all heard about how important it is for companies to have a solid “brand”, but why is this especially important for nonprofits? Well, as I mentioned in my last post, nonprofits have missions and goals that are often difficult to measure. When you buy a pair of Nike shoes, you have a physical item that you’re getting for your money. It’s much harder to track the results of your donations to nonprofit companies. Having a great brand can inform the donors about the company and help form trust.

I think a great example of a nonprofit company with a great brand is the American Red Cross. When I think of the company, the first thing that comes to mind is health. The Red Cross helps those in need in so many ways that it can be hard to track everything, but they have a trusted brand. People who donate money know that their donation is going to be used in a productive way, whether its used for buying supplies to help with disaster relief or going towards safety training and certification. The American Red Cross association has built up a great deal of trust with the public so that all you need to do is see the Red Cross logo and you know exactly what the company does and how your donation will be used.
Building up strong trust with the public is the best way for a brand to get the support it needs to achieve it’s goals and continue running. You know a company has great branding when you can simply look at the logo or the name and know:
1. The company itself. Recognition is important.
2. What the company’s ultimate mission is.
3. The impact your donation will make on the company.
Of course branding is important for all companies, but it is especially important to nonprofits because nonprofits rely so heavily on the support of the public.
There’s extra profit in non-profit branding.

What is Non-Profit PR and Why is it Important?

ImageAs a first year PR student I, like many others, had a pretty tough time figuring out all the different types of PR jobs there are out there. Based on the fact that my goal is to do PR for an opera company, I’ve become interested in what it means to do PR for a nonprofit organization. The first step is to understand what a nonprofit organization really is. Basically, it’s a company that puts any extra revenues towards a specific goal or purpose. This doesn’t mean that their staff isn’t paid, but any money that is more than the amount needed to be self-sufficient goes toward a specific goal. Often nonprofit organizations have a really great mission, like health or education, and need a good PR team to get the public involved with their mission.

When getting a message out there, it’s important to make it very clear to the viewer why the organization deserves their attention. Since a lot of nonprofits operate on donations from the public, it’s important to keep the public included in everything that’s going on behind the scenes. This does a few things:

  1. It captures the public’s attention. If they see you all over social media, you’ve got their attention and are present in their thoughts. You’ll also be increasing the word of mouth about your organization when donators talk to friends and family who could become your next donators.
  2. It allows the public to see what the organization is actually doing with their money. No one wants to just give away their hard earned money to a organization of empty promises, so show them that they’re making a difference. They’ll really feel that they’re making a difference with the organization’s goal!

Without a great PR team showing the public how the organization is making a difference, it’s less likely that people will donate money to help the organization reach it’s goals. It’s true that when working for a nonprofit organization your income might be less than if you worked at a multimillion dollar agency, but joining the right nonprofit can allow you work with an organization that does work you really care about, and there’s a huge benefit in that.