Thursday, July 24, 2014

XOXO PR Girl: Avoiding Gossip in the Office

(Source: Tumblr)

With a small office, open cubicles and chatty co-workers, inner-office gossip is bound to happen. It can be a fun distraction during a stressful work day to exchange stories churning in the rumor mill. But this bad habit could end you in hot water. When gossip comes up in conversation at the office, be mindful of these few points to avoid getting caught up in workplace gossip.

Be aware. Gossip is defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” But gossip isn’t always that obvious. To help you determine if you’re participating in harmful rumor spreading, consider how you would feel if the person you were discussing heard your conversation.
Have a strategy. Create and commit to a strategy for steering the conversation away from rumors. Try to subtly change the direction of the discussion by asking your co-worker how their weekend was or what big project they’re working on.
Stay positive. Gossip is almost always negative which creates a toxic work environment. When comments come up, it’s important to stay positive. By countering the gossip with something productive, you diffuse the negativity and stay out of the drama.
Stay focused. It can be disruptive to your workday and even affect your performance. Try not to get sidetracked by gossip; it won’t serve your overall path to success. It may seem like a harmless rumor but by participating in hurtful gossip, you could be risking your job and even career.
Don’t perpetuate rumors. Spreading the gossip that you’ve heard is just as bad as starting it in the first place. Rumors can only end when those they are shared with refrain from repeating them.

At the end of the day, gossiping at work just appears unprofessional and immature. Staying out of inner-office chatter will benefit you by increasing your credibility and trustworthiness while helping you avoid harmful drama.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Senior Year Prep 101

As the weeks of Summer continue to pass, students everywhere are starting to prep for their return back to campus. Among those students are a very special group --the seniors. The one's who are prepping to make this return from Summer for the last time.

There are many challenges that incoming seniors face as they prepare to complete their last semesters in college. From crafting and sending out resume and cover letters, to wondering if "x amount of internships is really enough to get me a job," to the endless answering of the daunting question "so what are you going to do post-grad?" All while dealing with the realization that, in just a few months, the real world awaits.

As one of those incoming seniors, I'm here to attest: this season is a lot.

Rather than stress over the situation, the best way to walk into a new, albeit nerve racking, experience is by taking the time to do a little preparation beforehand. Here are some easy ways that you can prepare to enter your senior year with a little less stress.

Start reviewing job applications. You don't necessarily need to start applying this far in advance, but knowing how job postings and applications are worded and where to find them will be incredibly helpful a few months down the line. Look into different companies that you may not be as familiar with and see what kinds of openings they have, and where you may be interested in applying later.

Reach out to old supervisors and mentors. Now is the time to take advantage of the network you've been creating for yourself. Reach out to your old internship supervisors, managers or any mentors that you've met over the years. Ask them for advice, any strengths or weaknesses they observed in you, and suggestions that they have for your last few semesters.

Discover your interests. While most seniors tense up and roll their eyes each time they're asked 'so, what do you want to do?', it's a question worth exploring. And if you don't have a concrete answer right away, that is more than normal and totally acceptable. Rather than beat yourself up over this, take some time to explore your interests. Social media, media relations, internal communications, corporate communications --the PR world is vast and expansive and has a place for everyone.

Next time someone inquirers about your post grad plans, instead of answering with stutters and uncertainty, explain your interests. Saying "I have an interest in community management and corporate communication" or even, "I'm taking time to explore all of the opportunities my field has to offer," sounds much more confident than "I don't want to think about it."

Review your list of work. Chances are, you've done a lot in your previous semesters that employers would love to hear about. Did you coordinate an event for a student organization? Did you join the student run PR firm on campus? All of these things add up and they matter! Take some time to list all of your work, breaking down your individual work on each project --including the results! Once you've done this, rework your resume to make it come to life as a living portfolio.

Create a portfolio. Speaking of portfolios, if you don't already have one, now's the time to create it! A portfolio is a compilation of all of your work, put together in an organized and easy-to-follow format. Spend some time collecting writing samples and projects you've worked on in a binder or digital format that you can take with you on interviews.

Seniors, we could spend months and weeks preparing for our last lap, but in the midst of all of this, it is equally important that we celebrate the fact that we've made it this far, and that we are close to accomplishing a huge milestone in life. Remember that all work and no play isn't a recipe for success. Make the memories of your last year good ones, and know that you can handle whatever lies ahead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Make the Most of Your Morning

Whether it's the summer and your responsibilities seem slimmer, or the fall when you have no choice but to be awake earlier than you would like - the morning is an important step towards a successful day. Before you get caught up in checking your email for 30 minutes, consider dabbling in any or all of these activities for a brighter a.m.

( Source: Flickr )
Work out - Going on a run or heading to the gym during the first half of your day is a guaranteed source of energy. If you value fitness, then chances are going to the gym is on your to-do list anyway, so why not think about going after you wake up? Running an aesthetically-pleasing route in the morning under the sun is also a source of inspiration!

Drink up - No, no, not that kind of drinking up. Make your favorite coffee, latte, juice, or smoothie to put a little pep in your step. Think of it as treating yourself, but also something you need! Depending on your beverage, you'll receive the proper nutrients or energy boost to start your day on the right foot.

Chit chat - Personally, my favorite part of the morning is sitting down with my roommates over coffee and chit-chatting before we get the day started. Especially during the academic year, everyone has somewhere to be and it's good to remind yourself that you're not the only one with what seems like a 4-page to-do list. Sit outside and call a friend, or wish a good morning to your neighbors.

The morning hours are often associated with a living nightmare, but with the proper sleep and scheduling, you can wake up and love the morning just as much as you love your night life. Hopefully these three short & sweet activities will leave you with a smile on your face when you walk out the front door!

Have any other tips or tricks for getting the morning started off right? Let us know; we could all use them!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Give a Little: How you can Start your Career in Non-Profit PR

As an aspiring PR professional, there are many fields that you can chose to gain experience in.

Do you enjoy helping others? Are you passionate about fighting for social justice?

If so, non-profit public relations may be the field for you.

Some people chose fashion/entertainment PR, others chose agency, but if you answered yes to either of the above questions, you may just find your passion in the non-profit realm.

Even though the name suggests otherwise, non-profit organizations do have the ability to pay their employees. The name “non-profit” merely means that the organization isn't primarily concerned with making a profit for themselves (meaning they give their profits to other organizations or groups of people).

If you are interested in breaking into the non-profit PR field, volunteering is key.

It’s great to have an internship, but if you are an underclassmen or you don’t have the time to fully commit to one, volunteering can be your saving grace.

Also, in many cases, non-profit organizations look to people that they know are great workers when a job opens, and often times, the hiring manager looks at the organization's pool of volunteers.

The other benefit associated with volunteering is that you will be able to narrow down your field of interest even further. As there are many different kinds of PR, there are many different kinds of non-profit organizations.

Are you interested in helping people, the environment, or animals? What about all three?

Luckily, there are many different non-profits in the world, so you may be able to find your perfect match! By volunteering at multiple organizations, you may be able to narrow down your search and find the type of non-profit PR that is right for you.

The other great thing about volunteering is that you can still build your professional portfolio. Even if you don’t have a for-credit internship, any of the work that you do for the organization is yours to use professionally. Any types of press outreach that you do while volunteering can add to your qualifications.

Have you volunteered at a non-profit organization? If so, please share your experience below in the comments!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Method To An Over Achiever's Madness


Have you ever wondered how certain people can be involved in a million things at once? How do people hold double majors, have e-board positions in different organizations and intern? These people used to amaze me.  I was convinced that they either didn’t sleep or weren’t fully human. It wasn’t until last semester that I learned their secret to juggling so many things at once. Last spring was my craziest semester so far;I decided to declare a double major, intern, serve on various e-boards and work two jobs. If that wasn’t enough, I dealt with an injury part way through the semester. It was then that I learned this so-called secret wasn’t much of a secret after all. It all boils down to one thing: prior planning. 

·      Look Ahead- Look ahead at the next two weeks and write everything down in a planner. What nights are you working? Which days are you interning? When are papers due? If you know you’re free this Tuesday night and you have a paper due the Friday of next week, work on it then. Working little by little on projects prevents you from pulling an all-nighter or cramming at the last minute.

·      Prep For the Next Day- Getting everything ready the night before eliminates the stress of rushing around in the morning. Pack your bag and make sure your laptop, charger and any other necessary items are in there. Lay out your clothes. If you are interning the next day, pack your lunch. That way, you can use your lunch break to do homework instead of running out for food. (Side-note: Packing a nutritious lunch is also beneficial. Fruits and veggies give you that extra boost of energy whereas heavy carbs tend to make you feel tired and worn down).

·      Remember Sunday Morning- Everyone dreads the anxiety that comes when Sunday rolls around and you realize that you not only have to go back to school, but that you also achieved NOTHING over the weekend. It is understandable that by the time Friday afternoon hits, you are probably exhausted and ready to have fun. But don’t wait until Sunday to start your weekend work. Set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to get any busy work out of the way. It’s okay to go out Friday night and relax Saturday afternoon as long as you don’t let the whole day go to waste. Use that Saturday afternoon to work on a paper or knock out any assigned readings. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, you will not feel as stressed or rushed to get things done. Plus you can enjoy going out on the weekends without having work hanging over your head!

Setting aside time to plan out your day may not seem like the most exciting thing to do, but the pay off is huge. Find a planning method that works for you and stick with it. What are your tips for juggling multiple responsibilities?

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Lauren Bentley.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lessons In Event Planning


If you search “Event Planning” in Google, you get flooded with links to hundreds of party planners and extravagant wedding photos. For the past year, I was given the opportunity to intern as a Public Relations intern for an office that puts on some of Philadelphia’s largest events, none of which entailed a wedding or your typical club-party. From Marathons to Mayor’s ceremonies to the largest free concert in America, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of events that taught me so much more about event planning than I could ever learn in a Google search. Here are just some of the things I learned:

Stay Calm Under Pressure
As much as you wish they would, the reality of events is that they never go on without at least one unanticipated bump in the road. Whether that means having to come up with an alternative solution, being thrown into a task you did not anticipate having to do or feeling completely lost, I have learned that the best thing to do is to stay calm. Staying calm helps others around you stay calm too, it makes it easier for you to come up with solutions and it shows that you can handle just about anything that gets asked of you.

Stay Organized
More often than not, an event won’t be taking place right next door to your office, meaning that running back to get something you forgot is not always an option. By staying organized, not only can you ensure that you have everything that you need, but it also makes things easier to find when you’re in the heat of the moment while working the event itself.

Be Prepared To Work Long Hours
Working in events for the first time, I never anticipated just how much work and just how many hours go into planning for and working an event. Whether it is pre-event planning in the office or early call-times, be prepared to devote a lot of time to an event. The plus side is, that though you may be working long and strenuous hours, there is no better feeling than watching your event come alive before your eyes and waking up the next morning (after your first full night of sleep in a while) and feeling extremely accomplished.

Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be on your way to event planning success! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rute Barkai. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 6

This week, unfortunately, has been riddled with tragedy. From Israel continuing to attack Gaza to the recent shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight,  this week's news headlines have been grim to say the least. In an effort to give both of these ongoing issues their proper respect, This Week In PR will focus solely on these developments.

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  • Earlier this week, Israel ended its cease-fire and continued its air strike attack against Gaza. The death toll has risen to over 260 civilians and shows no sign of slowing down. Efforts to quell the aggression between the two countries have yet to prove successful (CNN).  Since the end of the cease-fire, Israel has also bombed a Gaza beach, killing four young boys of the Bakr family (Wall Street Journal). Most recently, a CNN live segment was interrupted when Israeli onlookers cheered as bombs rocketed across the sky over Gaza (Buzzfeed). It remains unclear whether or not U.S. involvement will happen in the near future. 
  • Just yesterday, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky from over 30,000 feet in the air. Although the event is still under investigation, it is clear that the explosion was caused by a ground to air missile. Because the plane wreckage is above ground (as opposed to submerged underwater), answers about the cause of the crash are coming more quickly (TIME). It's also been revealed that the plane held some of the greatest minds and pioneers in the fight against HIV/AIDS who were on their way to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia (Buzzfeed). Hopefully the loss of these researchers will not slow the ongoing battle in the AIDS community.