Tips For College Seniors

It has been a full year since I’ve graduated from the University of Oregon which also means it has been a full year of working in the “real world.” Though it has not been as scary as I imagined it would, I definitely can attribute much of my success to my actions during my senior year at the UO. Although many of my peers have just graduated, I thought it might be helpful to create a list of tips for what I thought benefited me while I was at school.

1. Internships. During my junior and senior year, I was involved in several internships — often more than one at a time. Yes, I was busy, but I also gained extremely valuable experience during the time when I needed it the most. Nearly all were unpaid but in the long run, it doesn’t matter. Take advantage of this experience while you can. Businesses will favor potential employees that have experience (unpaid or not) and it is much harder to work at an unpaid internship after you finish school when you have to start paying back student loans. Tip: There are many ways to find an internship — such as through your school, online, or social media. If you are still having trouble, find a local non-profit organization that you are passionate about. E-mail them and see if they could benefit from some of your skills!

2.Get involved on campus. Whatever your passion is, get involved in groups and activities with other people that share your passion. Though this is something I wish I did more of at the U of O, I had plenty of opportunity. For me, I could have become involved in my school’s PRSSA chapter or even Allen Hall Public Relations, a student-run PR firm at the U of O. If you don’t know of any activities that you can get involved in, ask your professor or talk to an advisor. These extracurricular activities look great on a resume.

3. Get to know your peers, professors and advisors — and stay in touch! Luckily for me, my classes senior year were all small and intimate, allowing me to get to know many of my peers and professors. These people are a great resource for you now and in the future. Everyone goes their separate way when they graduate and in the long run, that separation provides you to have resources in many different places. Not only can these people inform you about potential new opportunities but it’s always easier to get involved in a company if you already know someone who is connected. And, with social media now-a-days, it’s easy to keep in touch with these people.

4. Be involved and knowledgeable about new media. Technology is ever-changing and its growth will not stop anytime soon. Understanding and being involved in current and new technology just adds more to your personal branding. It’s even more important to know how to use this technology to benefit you in your field of interest. I personally have a strong interest in social media and have made an effort to incorporated my knowledge and interest in social media to use strategically for brand management. An updated and constant knowledge and understanding of new media, especially because it’s always changing, will set you apart from colleagues who lack this skill.

Although there are an infinite amount of tips for college seniors, these are my best four. What other tips would you recommend?

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Droid Eris Review

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to upgrade my cell phone from a LG enV2 to a HTC Droid Eris. I’ve never before had a smartphone, let alone any internet capabilities. A lot of people have been asking me how I like it, so I decided to write a review of the phone (from what I’ve experienced so far).

As I said, in the past I used to own an enV2. I also have an iPod Touch that I use pretty regularly. I know that the iPod Touch is not an iPhone but because they have so many similarities I will use some comparisons.

First off, the Eris was free so that’s an awesome start. I’m on a family plan and my dad wanted to buy the Moto Droid, so we were able to use the “Double Your Droid” deal (he bought a Droid for regular price and I got the Eris for free). I would definitely recommend paying attention to these Verizon deals because sometimes they are amazing! Anyway, the Eris, with the new-every-2 is $100 less than the regular Droid. Yeah, over the course of a few years that one hundred bucks won’t really matter but it’s just a bonus for a poor, post-college student (and I wanted this phone anyway).

Second, I don’t know if you’ve seen the Moto Droid but it’s pretty hefty. I think that has something to do with the slide out keyboard which personally, I didn’t need or want. It might have some benefit, especially for people who aren’t used to using a touch screen, but I feel it’s unnecessary. Because I don’t like big, fat phones, I was definitely drawn to the Eris’ sleek, light design. I mean, the Droid advertises that “It isn’t pretty but it’s fast,” and I agree. The Eris on the other hand is pretty and cute, similar to many of HTC’s phones. All the goods and a little better packaging if you ask me! The Eris also has a little TrackBall similar to the Blackberry. Not a huge deal but it’s different, a bit useful, and you can set it up to light up when you get a text/notification.

The Moto Droid does have a bit better specs, as far as having Android 2.0 OS and flash on the camera while the Eris has the Android 1.5 OS and no flash. But from what I’ve heard, the Eris will be getting the 2.0 OS (or possibly even 2.1, like the Nexus One) within the next few weeks (speculated Jan. 20). From some of the research I’ve done, the reasoning behind having a 1.5 OS has something to do with the HTC Sense UI not quite syncing with 2.0 (which the UI is supposedly awesome) and that HTC is taking their time to make it work. Anyway, 2.0/2.1 should be up and running on the Eris soon anyway, so no big deal (the main difference from 1.5 and 2.0, or so I hear, is turn-by-turn Google navigation).

The Eris is completely customizable. Like the iPhone/iPod touch, it has sliding pages. There are only 7 pages but there is also a pop-up menu that has all the apps. Unlike the iPhone, you can decide how you want apps to look. You can make apps have little boxes, if that’s what you want — but many apps can be made bigger or shaped different based on what it is (like my Google Calendar can take up it’s own screen). Another difference from the iPhone/iPod Touch is that the Eris can run several apps simultaneously. Notifications (text messages, e-mails, Facebook updates, etc.) show up and scroll in the header, so you don’t have to stop what you are doing to read a message. So many different possibilities but for example, you can listen to Pandora while writing an e-mail and reading a text message.

One thing that compelled me to choose the Eris over a Blackberry was the Google integration. Overall, I wanted something easy, something that I could use to go online, update social media, and have apps. Both phones can do that. But I personally use Gmail, Google Calendar, and all those goods and the Eris is completely synced with these. I also liked the Eris design better than the Blackberrys that are currently on the market.

A few other quick things

  • It has a USB charger, so you can charge your phone on the computer. I guess this is the new, more common thing to happen to cell phones but it’s a big difference from my old phone.
  • It has a fun people shortcut so that you can easily text/call the people you talk to the most.
  • Information can be organized based on a person, so I can see everything that someone sent me and their info in one place.
  • I really could go on, but I don’t want to take all the fun and surprises out of getting a new phone. BUT, one more thing I like is the Google Search via voice recognition. Press a button, say “Taylor Swift” and it’ll search it for you on Google!

Hopefully that covered it. Any questions? Leave me a comment!

Celebrities on Twitter

nytimestwitterEveryone is on Twitter, especially celebrities. Watching the playoffs, I had to laugh out loud when I heard Dwight Howard thank his Twitter followers. And then I had to add him. There are hundreds of different Web sites that give out “authentic” celebrity Twitter accounts, including CelebrityTweet, TIMES online and The Guardian online. But why are celebrities so hooked on Twitter? I’ve been thinking about this.

Celebrities usually want to keep their lives private, so why are they constantly updating their status on Twitter? Maybe it is a marketing technique for celebrities and it allows them to up their status in Hollywood — the person with the most followers is the most popular. Or it could be that Twitter allows them to share information with fans in a controlled way. Or maybe they are just doing because everyone is doing it. Could they simply be doing it because Twitter is… fun? Whatever the reason is, celebrities are joining at an alarming rate.

However, it may not be all that it seems. Celebrities are joining Twitter, but they are also on other social networks like Facebook or Myspace. While hundreds of celebrities are on Facebook, it doesn’t seem to make as much of an impact as Twitter does. This is because of the social aspects of Twitter. Fans are able to follow and even interact with their favorite celebrities unlike Facebook and Myspace where there is a slight chance that their response is even looked at. Twitter allows “normal people” to get close with celebrities. Good for fans, good PR for celebrities.

You can follow me on twitter: @nikimae

New Dreamweaver Web site

I just finished my first Web site! I am so excited. Check it out at here.

It was an assignment for my ART408 seminar, which focused on Adobe Dreamweaver. Our professor taught us the basics, and we had to apply everything we learned into our Web site. I decided to create an online Portfolio since I know it will come in handy now that I’m about to graduate. I recommend everyone taking some sort of Dreamweaver class. It’s a lot of fun to use the program (even though it can get frustrating at times), and I guarantee that you will feel accomplished when you are finished. Happy Web designing!

Informational Interviews

 

interview-reducedOver the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to have an informational interview with two prominent public relations professionals in Eugene, Ore. I wanted to share some key points that I learned from them.

I first interviewed Bridget Baker, Director of Corporate Public Relations at The Register-Guard. Ms. Baker described how the newspaper industry is severely affected by the economy and had a few recommendations for standing out from other grads trying to find a job. She strongly suggested learning Web design programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver and believed that it is extremely important to know how to create and manage Web sites. She then told me that The Register-Guard is not hiring, except for in the area of Web design and management. Ms. Baker believed that although job opportunities are slim with the current economy, there are still Web-based jobs that are hiring. From this information I immediately enrolled myself in several ART408 seminars at the UO, which teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced Dreamweaver. It is extremely interesting (and fun), and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to learn Web design tools.

My second informational interview was with Monica Shovlin, Vice-President of the Ulum Group. From this informational interview, I received an internship interview that led to a part-time internship at which I am currently involved. Informational interviews are an outstanding and easy way to network and get your name out there. From this interview I learned more about the Ulum Group as an organization and discovered that it was a place that I wanted to gain experience from. Although public relations has been taking a hit from the economy, there are many companies still investing in PR because it is a cost effective way of creating awareness. Something that Monica felt was extremely important in public relations is knowledge of social media and how to use it in marketing. Everyone can use social media for personal use but it’s important (in the PR world) to know how to effectively use it for a company. From this advice, I decided to take a Social Media Marketing course at the UO to help me build these skills. 

I wanted to end this blog post with a list of the top 5 things I’d recommend to do at an informational interview:

5. Do your research. Make sure you know information about the person and the company before you go into the interview. Google them. It’s important that you go into the interview knowing basic information so that you aren’t asking irrelevant questions (and wasting you and the interviewer’s time). 

4. Dress nicely. Dress so that the company you are interviewing for would want you to work for them. When the situation comes, you’ll want to be more overdressed than underdressed.

3. Bring a polished copy of your resume and possibly a few writing samples to leave behind. Bring your portfolio. Even if you don’t end up giving them to your interviewer, it’s important to be prepared.

2. ASK QUESTIONS! This is why you are there! And don’t be afraid to ask certain question either. However, be reasonable and polite.

1. Lastly, make sure that you ask the interviewer two things: 1) Do you recommend anyone else to talk to? and 2) What can I do to present myself better? Both of these questions will not only show that you are professional and care about your doing, but they will help you in the future. Maybe this interview led to a dead-end but the next interview may lead to a job!

Don’t forget to send a thank you note and maintain contact after the interview.

Quick Update on my Life

Busy Woman

Busy Woman

It has been forever since I’ve written a post, I’m so sorry! This is going to be a quick little update on my life.

Right now I’m interning at the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society. I am the publicity intern for the ACS, and I have a feeling that it is going to be a lot of work. I’m going to be doing the publicity for the Eugene Relay for Life as well as the UO Relay for Life. It will be an amazing experience, and I hope to build some great relationships with people in Eugene.

I’m also interning at the American Red Cross. This internship will be fun and not as stressful because it is very flexible. I’m going to be able to set my own hours and gain a wide range of experience. I’ve already created a PSA and a teaser for the local newspaper here. Very exciting.

I only have two more terms left here at the University of Oregon, and I’m a little stressed out. I need to start looking for a job and with this economy, I am feeling a bit worried. Classes this term are interesting. I’m taking two breadth classes for the journalism school as well as campaigns, the final public relations class in the sequence. In my campaigns class, we are put into groups and work with a real nonprofit organizations around Eugene. Our client is the Network Charter School, a charter school in this area. Their goal is to increase enrollment, and we as a group are figuring out ways to do this.

I have so many projects going on, it’s hard to keep them all straight! But I hope to write more blog posts in the near future. I’ll definitely be keeping updates on my projects including all my problems and successes. Check back soon!

PR Help?

thinking_woman4

I have a PR problem that I need help with.

A nonprofit organization that I intern at set a huge goal of fundraising a million dollars last year. They did not reach that goal. This year, they are trying to set a new goal, and they are contemplating setting a goal for a smaller, more reasonable amount of $800,000. Last year they brought in nearly $750,000.

Now, in the eyes of the public, does this look like a cop out? Does it look the the organization is giving up hope? Even though achieving a $800,000 goal would be outstanding, it still is less than the original. In my eyes, moving the goal downward is a bad sign.

But on the other side, it makes sense to set the goal at a reasonable amount. This lowered goal gives the organization an easier chance to achieve it. And, there is still the possibly of completely surpassing the goal.

Does anyone have any knowledge on what to do in this situation? I’m not sure what to do. As of right now, I’m leaning towards keeping the goal at a million dollars. Even though I don’t know if they will achieve this amount, I still feel that the higher goal will make people reach and strive to achieve it. What do you think?