Blog Archives

Take Initiative: Finding the Perfect Internship

Last semester, I wrote about taking the initiative to discover doors full of opportunities. I’ve applied that mantra to several aspects of my life since then and have discovered that mustering the courage to take that first step can lead to many directions. This semester I wanted to challenge myself by securing an internship, but I had no idea where to begin. I knew it would be difficult for a freshman to get an internship let alone an interview, but I took the initiative and not only have secured one, but two internships this semester.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Follow your passion: I live and breathe fashion on a daily basis. I’m no Eva Chen, but I keep track of trends and constantly read style articles. While I might not know how to write the perfect pitch letter, I knew my knowledge and interest in fashion would my biggest assets.

Save those Contacts: I save all of my contact information from networking on an Excel sheet with the person’s name, email address and a quick note about them such as where we met or something we had talked about. I saved the contact information from a speaker that I had met last September and wrote him an email about my interest in interning, which proved to be a smart move on my part.

Speak Up: The wonderful part about having friends is that they are always there to help. Speak up to your friends, professors and peers, asking if they have any ideas or contacts they may be able to share. I spent two weeks asking every person I know if they had any ideas—not one of them turned me down.

Do Your Homework: Before I went for an interview, I made sure to research the company to get a general understanding of its background, goals and reputation. Interning should be taken as seriously as working a job; it’s a big commitment and a lot of work. Also, it is useful to take the time to practice answers to questions before interviewing and have friends give feedback.

Believe in Yourself: Easier said than done, but do not sell yourself short. You might not have a lot of professional skills under your belt, especially if you are a freshman like me, but the skills and lessons you may have learned from sports, summer jobs or campus clubs can be used to your advantage. Make sure to include those activities on your resume.

Is All Publicity Good Publicity for the NFL?

nflThe NFL may be one of the largest non-profit organizations, but will it be able to survive the negative press that it receives? With recent understanding of the intensity of concussions that players suffer from, the NFL has received a large amount of backlash for its inability to inform the players and the public. While most viewers are likely to continue watching their favorite teams, people are still taking notice of the NFL’s significant blunders. Let’s take a look at some ways the NFL and other sports organizations can handle negative press:

1.    Accept the blame.

In order for the NFL to appear reliable once more, it is important that the it stop ignoring the elephant in the room and acknowledge the issues that are developing each day. Paying attention to concussions, drug abuse and other legal infractions can help restore faith in viewers.

2.    Be transparent.

Open communication is a key element of any successful organization, but in times of crisis it is essential. Creating a clear and honest statement will help emphasize the fundamentals of the affected entity and hopefully prevent future crises. If employees are trained in crisis communication and issues management, then the attitudes of and statements made by officials will benefit the NFL to a greater degree.

3.    Set an example.

In order to become a thought-leader in the industry, the NFL must implement new regulations to help prevent concussions as well as negative behavior from players. This will show the public that a change is occurring. The organization must go beyond making claims. The NFL must take action.

Until the NFL develops a game plan for handling of its current issues, the league will continue to suffer in terms of its reputation and following. By implementing these and other ideas, the organization is likely to recover and regain the trust of both players and fans.

Learn Content Creation at PRAdvanced: #FuelTheFuture

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 5.29.34 PMWith PRAdavanced:#FuelTheFuture is just a few days away, there is no hiding there are some great speakers on the roster.  From breakout speakers to keynote speakers to career fair attendees, PRAdvanced: #FuelTheFuture will have some of the best names in the public relations industry represented.

Has any ever asked you, “What is your personal brand?” and you have no idea what the answer is? Many of us feel that way.  And that’s why Tamsen Webster (@tamadear) is going to change your mind about that in the Content Creation breakout session.  Instead, ask yourself “What’s your story?” Because that’s what’s important. Webster’s session focuses on the power of content creation as a branding tool, as well as what your individual strengths are within this important topic.

Follow Tamsen on Twitter @tamadear, and register for her session at PRAdvanced: #FuelTheFuture on Saturday!

Haven’t registered for PRAdvanced: #FuelTheFuture yet? Register here!

A Summer with Brynn Capella

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This past summer, I spent my days with leather samples, die-cuts and handbags. I had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in fashion PR while working with Brynn Capella, a Chicago-based handbag designer who sells products online and through various boutiques. As the only intern in the public relations department, I quickly learned the ins-and-outs of the jobs and tasks related to the field.

A large part of my job as an intern revolved around handling social media and product promotion. Brynn is an independent designer who produces all of her products in the United States to ensure high quality and customer service. Another important part of my duties were to get the brand more involved in philanthropic groups around Chicago. We were able to partner with a local animal rights group, PAWS, for black tie events on Lake Michigan.

Working with Brynn, I was also able to learn about the fashion business, aside from the PR side, as well. I was able to gain first hand experience for what goes into preparing and executing a fall photo shoot as well as understanding HTML coding. When coding with HTML, I helped reformat the company’s blog and website, outfitting it with modern updates. These were both areas that I had no experience with prior to starting the internship, but with Brynn’s help I was able to quickly learn how to effectively plan for a photo shoot and learn the language of HTML.

Another large part of my summer experience was focused in working on upcoming events. It was extremely important to promote events and trunk shows to let customers know where they could purchase Brynn Capella handbags around the Chicagoland area. The largest event we participated in was Chicago’s Annual Sidewalk Sale, which featured various local designers who came together to share their designs with the city. During the event, a fashion show was also presented to showcase featured designers. Prior to the event, we made sure to promote the Sidewalk Sale to our friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Even during the event we tweeted and shared photos on Instagram, which helped remind our customers to stop by.

By the end of the summer, I had learned so much about the fashion industry as well as the challenges that an individual business owner faces each day. Expanding beyond PR, I also gained experience with marketing, sales and design. Overall, the internship encompassed a variety of fields that helped me to get a better grasp of the industry as well as my role in the brand. The skills I learned were invaluable and have even helped me succeed in my current internship.

Feel free to tweet me at @jenprobst23 if you have any questions about the challenges or experiences with fashion PR.