Archive for Career Advice

Sep
16

For Here All Are One

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Today’s guest post is by current Peppercomm intern and future industry star, Alexis Tedesco.

As a recent college graduate the feelings of adjusting to life after college are still more than fresh in my mind.  The echoes of “welcome to the Real World” are still bouncing around my ear drums.  Even my mother’s constant reminder that “the party’s over” still puts me into shock.

Sitting in Alumni Stadium, about to be finished with my 4 years at Boston College, I could not comprehend what post-grad life would really entail.  As I surreally walked across the stage for my diploma, completely packed up my small dorm on campus, and said goodbye to my roommates (more like sisters), I felt like I was being thrust out of the community that I had so lovingly called home.  I was worried because so many of the people that surrounded me for four years encompassed the same values that I held at the center of my life.  What would life be like without these people?

Not that all Boston College kids are the same, but there is a bit of a classic B.C. persona that usually holds true amongst students.  I took pride in the fact that my fellow Superfans were so filled with school spirit that they rarely missed a B.C. game.  I enjoyed being surrounded by people who were type-A overachievers, but still wanted to have fun together on the weekends.  As nerdy as it sounds, I loved being in class with students who enjoyed learning for the sake of learning and always wanted to be part of the discussion.

But most importantly, I would not be able to live without my Eagles who always lived by the moto “For Here All Are One”, this bonding sentiment that we are all united, working together for the same cause, and with each other for every step or fall we take.  This phrase was printed on t-shirts, chanted at sports games, and constantly repeated by faculty.

Needless to say, I was more than ecstatic to visit B.C. for the first time following graduation this weekend; So much so that Grace, a fellow intern, had to ask me at lunch on Friday why I kept randomly grinning during our conversation.  But when I finally arrived and talked with the friends I missed so much about the internship I just began with, I started to realize how much of these same B.C. values Peppercomm embodied.

My friends of course asked me, “What is your favorite part of working with the company?” And I could tell them that I loved Peppercomm for the same reasons I love B.C.: The People.  Peppercomm, like my alma mater, is still filled with hard-working, driven, spirited, but still fun-loving people.  My co-workers who plug away on their accounts and ensure their clients success, are still the same people who eagerly decorate t-shirts for their office-wide softball game.  My fellow interns Grace and Nicole, who I watch crank out pitches and media lists like it’s their job (Oh wait. It is.), will chat to me about their friends and weekends over lunch and happy hour.

Still most importantly, I can say that at Peppercomm “Here All Are One”.  Everyone is happy to work together.  This supportive environment is the same exact thing I experienced at B.C. where I am encouraged to ask questions and learn as much as possible.   Everyone is so willing to make sure that any other co-worker/intern gains the skills we need to grow our careers and help keep this agency at the top.  In this way, every person that I work with truly has the entire company’s interests at heart, and they are willing to do it while having some fun.

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That title sounds like a unicorn, right? We always doubt that our résumé are perfect and it’s scary to hit “send” when applying for jobs.

  • Are there any typos?
  • Did I provide enough details?
  • Did I provide too many details?
  • Am I using the best adjectives? Are they strong enough to get me hired?

Answer those questions and maybe a few that you didn’t think of with this great infographic in PR News.

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imagesAre you still searching for an internship or job? There are plenty of sites that claim to be the definitive source for that quest, but are they all the best? We’ve compiled a list of go-to sites for you that we think will help:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 300 million members in more than 200 countries. You can connect with colleagues, network with potential employers, do research on the industries and companies you may want to approach—joining this site is a no-brainer. And with any interview, you know your potential employer would be searching for your online presence, so having a strong LinkedIn profile can only help with that first impression.

Indeed

Why bother with other job searching sites when Indeed.com exists? This website combs all job listings. Basically, if the job is posted online, Indeed will find it for you.

It’s easy to search, apply for jobs right through the platform and, if you’re looking to hire someone, you can easily list, too.

This site currently boasts 140 million unique visitors every month.

Glassdoor

This website is a great supplement to LinkedIn and Indeed. With Glassdoor—which is touted as the most “transparent career community”—you have access not only to job postings, but you can look at company reviews, salaries, etc. It’s a great resource for your research.

One word of caution, like with other review sites, keep in mind that some may post inaccurate content. If you’re a disgruntled employee, you can easily take to Glassdoor to post an anonymous review. On the flip side, perhaps some happy employees may post extremely positive reviews/experiences to combat other reviews. While these could be true, good thing to keep in mind and all the more important to go for informational interviews at any prospective company.

Twitter

It’s no secret that those of us at PRiscope love Twitter. We’re all pretty avid tweeters, but you’re probably wondering why we think this could be good for your career. Well, we’ll tell you:

1)      You can do great research on the companies and employers you’re targeting. The tone, news and basic content their sharing is a good indication of the company culture.

2)      This is a great way to network with different companies and professionals. You can interact with them by replying to tweets, taking part in Twitter chats, etc.

3)      You can search for jobs here, too. Use the hashtag #HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) as some listings are posted with this.

4)      Your own following and the content you share may or may not be impressive to potential employers. Whether you have a slew of journalists following you or you’re great at sharing relevant content, this is a talent and will potentially be part of your job in the industry.

So, those are our top sites. Any that you think we’re missing?

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Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm business affairs supervisor, Kelly Lorenz

 

IMG_8492 Early to rise! That phrase is never music to a teenager’s ears, especially during summer break. However, I was an anomaly. My first job when I was 14-years-old was working on a horse farm, starting in the wee hours of the morning, often before the sun even came up. Translation: I shoveled horse poop and avoided getting kicked in the face by aggressive stud horses. But that’s not all my work experience chalked up to be – it was only the beginning.

To be clear, I had my own horses growing up so I was accustomed to cleaning stalls, throwing large bales of hay and all of the dirty work that comes with these incredible animals. But that was for three horses, not 30, and I was riding solo in this job.

Even though temperatures were in the 90s by early-morning and I wore jeans and boots, I look back on this work experience for giving me the most fun and rewarding summer of my youth. In fact, I’d do this every summer if I could. In the meantime, I carry a few lessons with me to this day:

-          Take pride in your work, no matter the task. Nobody wants to shovel s%#t, but somebody has to. So do it right, and do it well. I could have had a negative attitude and complained about the task, but instead I shoveled that dung like a rock star. My supervisor noticed and said the stalls had never been cleaner, done so quickly or without complaint. She hired two more people to take over most of that work so I could focus on other (less smelly) tasks.

-          Seek out opportunities. Growing up I mostly rode for pleasure and recreation, and my horses were well-trained. Many of the horses at the farm were owned by renowned riders and trainers who had a lot of expertise to share. As I built a rapport with the owners that summer, they saw how I handled their animals. So, they offered me complimentary training and most allowed me to train on their horses. Additionally, many offered me side jobs to exercise their horses at an hourly rate that’s nearly triple today’s minimum wage.

-          Capitalize on your strengths. There were many moving pieces and varying factors to completing this work in timely manner each day. For one, just like people, horses can be somewhat temperamental. Some horses can’t be around other horses (especially studs with mares…hello baby colts!), other horses can’t be removed from their stalls and the damn donkey that bites everyone/thing, but begs to socialize is another story. Not to mention the large ground you’re covering and the amounts of manual labor you’re required to complete in a short period of time. Here, organization and efficiency was everything. This is when I realized I had a strength for process and execution which are skills I use to this day in my professional life. I can steer a wheelbarrow while in a full sprint like a champ.

So, what was the biggest lesson learnt while shoveling dung? Turn work into play and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’d be fooling myself if I said this job wasn’t exhausting and dirty. This job was also a blast! Aside from working with horses, my one true love – horses –, I watched the sunrise over the mountains each morning, dunked friends in horse troughs of ice cold water and made human electric fence shock chains (not advised, and I was only 14). Not to mention my toned biceps, blond hair and killer farmers tan were the envy of every country girl when we returned to school in the fall.

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You’ve done it. You may have just graduated from college or perhaps finished a post-college internship, but either way, it’s your first entry-level job. There are so many factors to consider, many of which we cover in this blog, but wanted to share this great piece from US News & World Report on the 10 things you need to know when beginning that first job.

These are also great tips for those in an internship.

Any other tips you’d add?

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Aug
22

There, there, it’ll be okay

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It’s Friday and we saw this and thought it was hilarious. We love our interns and definitely work to mentor them, not do this (which we found on #iworkinpr):

Trying to comfort a stressed intern

Trying to comfort a stressed intern

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Aug
08

My First Job: In A Nutshell

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Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm associate, Madeline Skahill. 

While I have had my fair share of babysitting jobs and teaching younger kids the ropes of soccer at camp, my first “real” job all began during the warm summer months of Williamsburg. When you say “Williamsburg” to a group of New Yorkers, they automatically assume the trendy neighborhood of New York. However, when you say “Williamsburg” to anyone who has ever been on a field trip or have grandparents who live in the south, they think of Colonial Williamsburg; the mecca of bonnets, cannons, and daily reenactments  of 18th century life.

The summers in Colonial Williamsburg were where the tourists went to play and the high school students sought summer jobs. As a majority of my friends obtained jobs as hostesses at neighboring restaurants, I was lucky enough to land a job as a Sales Associate at “The Williamsburg Peanut Shop.” While I can’t say I ever felt a true passion behind how peanuts were made and seasoned, I can say that my summer months spent in the small store located on the corner of a bustling street, taught me a few lessons I will always be able to apply in my career.

  • Perform at your best, no matter what task you are completing: My first day on the job consisted of grabbing a fork from the back room and picking out the melted chocolate covered peanuts from the cracks of the wooden floor. While some may say this may not seem like the most ideal task, I knew if I did not get this job done right, my entire summer would be spent performing similar tasks.  Dedicating myself to this task, left the floors clean and my manager happy about my positive attitude and efficient works style. This was the last time I ever scrubbed the floors.
  • The customer is always right: This may not be entirely true, but for the most part dealing with an unhappy customer, or client, makes the task at hand, much more challenging. Understanding the needs of the customer, not only makes your job easier, but allows you to complete the job right and in a timely manner.
  • Never under-estimate your skills: Although I worked with a fair amount of people my age, the managers of the store were much older. That being said, I quickly learned that in order to gain more responsibly in the store, I had to show the managers I could think and act on their level.  By contributing to conversations about what products to buy for the store or how to handle the store operations when a summer storm knocks the power out, I was able to close the age gap between my co-workers and myself. While my ideas and thoughts may not have always been right, I did not let the age gap hinder the jobs I deserved to manage.

These are just a few tips I learned along the way, though I have many more stories to share. Unfortunately for you all, there is not enough time in the day to discuss the life lesson I learned from standing outside the store in a peanut hat for 2 hours.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future communications star, Marlee Murphy

 

1)     Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

My name is Marlee Murphy and I am a week away from beginning my senior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill! I am double majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication, and Political Science. My specific track within the journalism school is Strategic Communications (a mix of advertising and public relations). During this past school year, I was a nanny for a few families, worked at QSR Magazine as an editorial intern and led Wyldlife—part of Young Life for those of you who are familiar with the organization.

Now that you’re filled in on my professional background, here are some fun facts about me! I am the oldest of four children, I think coffee’s the best thing since sliced bread, my face is in a Coca-Cola commercial and I adore the color blue. Good start?

I’m from a fairly small town in Rowan County, North Carolina named Salisbury. Ever heard of Cheerwine (the soft drink), Food Lion or F&M Bank? All of these originated in Salisbury. While growing up in small town USA could be boring at times (a “raging” Friday night is considered swinging by fast food restaurant Cook Out and possibly hitting up the local movie theater), I wouldn’t trade my experiences there for the world. I will confess Salisbury has certainly left its mark on my personality. For example, I love country music, hate techno-y dance clubs, love homemade tea and Bojangles’, hate Snapple and croissants, love being outdoors, hate huge crowds. Now I know what you’re thinking; how in the world did you end up at Peppercomm—aka the heart of New York City?

The story began with an email to Peppercomm in early January inquiring about the internship and company as a whole. I had noticed their name on a list of national top 25 public relations agencies and decided to do some further research. I took note of their awards for great company culture and work environment, and decided the internship was worth pursuing. Unlike many other New York firms, I felt Peppercomm aligned with my personal values and better suited me in terms of company culture and agency size. When I heard back from Peppercomm in March, I was elated! I skyped in for an interview and a few weeks later, I was offered the internship.

Fast forward to today, this has been the summer of a lifetime. Peppercomm exceeded my expectations and is truly a phenomenal place to work and learn. This summer I not only learned more about the industry and agency life, but by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I also learned a lot about myself and have become a more well-rounded individual. I will be forever grateful to Peppercomm for giving me this internship opportunity.

2)     What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

As of now, I am not drawn to a specific sector within PR. While at Peppercomm, I’ve enjoyed working on an array of projects that incorporated a variety of industries. Due to a lighter load of account work, I was able to complete at least a dozen one-offs for an array of clients. All of the interns have appreciated the opportunity to explore the world of PR rather than being pigeonholed in one sector. I’ve also found that I enjoy the strategy and branding side of communications more so than media relations.

3)     Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

Peppercomm’s office culture and inclusive environment surprised me. Every company claims to have great culture and a welcoming workforce; however, in Peppercomm’s case, the claim was 100 percent true. Peppercomm organizes workout events, hosts pub nights, encourages stand-up comedy, and recognizes birthdays and births. They include the interns in every facet of the company and are happy to help us understand new concepts even if it inconveniences them. They put intern row (our line of open cubicles) in the center of one of the floors. We sit right outside the executives’ office doors, which is an incredible opportunity. Not only do we work side-by-side with account teams, but we also are able to see what the day-to-day is like for communications and PR agency executives. On the first day, we (the six interns) hit the deck running, each on multiple client accounts. I jump from one client to another, creating media lists, drafting tweets, monitoring social media and press mentions, researching, writing blogs, editing, etc. The work never ends (which is a good thing in my opinion), and I’ve loved every minute of it.

4)     Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Post-graduation, I see myself working for a public relations agency. Interning with Peppercomm this summer demonstrated how important it is to have agency experience when launching a communications career. In most agency settings, you are able to work with a variety of clients with an assortment of unique needs. While working for an agency, you are able to dabble in event planning, branding, strategy, media relations, social media and more. No work day is the same at an agency. In addition to acquiring new skills on a daily basis, you’re constantly learning more about how to better communicate and work as a team. After working at an agency for a while, I would like to open my own small marketing firm or event-planning boutique.

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Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm’s Jade Moore, manager, client relationships.

My very first job didn’t feel much like one.  My aunt had a friend who ran an upscale (read: overpriced) boutique in my neighborhood in Staten Island, and asked if I’d be interested in working one or two days a week after school.  This place had all of the trappings you might expect from a Staten Island outfitter.  Sequins galore.  I said sure, why not?!  I was a junior in high school and could use some extra cash for buying acrylic nails or whatever horrible thing I was into back then.  Plus, she was a friend of my dear aunt, so she had to be nice to me.

If you’ve ever seen “Happy Endings,” this shop was precisely like the boutique owned by ditzy Alex (played by Elisha Cuthbert) – that is, there were no customers.  Perhaps this place was bustling during prom and wedding season but when I started in the fall – crickets.  I quickly learned that I would be responsible for a few things:  vacuuming, steaming clothes – which, admittedly, I love to do (ironing, not so much) – and affixing price tags onto said clothing items.  The little price-tag gun was fun to use.  Maybe the highlight of my time there.

To be quite honest, given the fact that there was not much to do beyond the tasks outlined above – and the fact that there were, again, no customers – I don’t think I took the job too seriously, in hindsight.  I played with the owners dog.  I challenged myself to find normal-ish clothes for myself among the bedazzled frocks.  I may have napped once.  Yes, you heard correctly.  As a conscientious and responsible adult, I would never pull a George Costanza today.  I’m ashamed to say I did then, but I had a good reason!  See, the night before, I was at Yankee Stadium, watching the Yankees play the Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series.  An epic, 12-inning win for the Yanks.  I was tired.  I don’t think anyone noticed, but I still feel bad about that.

After a few months,  the owner decided she didn’t really need me anymore and stopped calling me in for work.  Probably for the best that we parted ways.  In the end, I definitely hadn’t learned how to be a master salesperson.  Or even how to use a cash register.  The “no customers” part kind of made these things challenging.  I didn’t really look up to the Boss either.  Let’s just say, she was a little gossipy.  But I took a couple of key lessons away from my brief foray in retail:

  • Put your best foot forward.  Even if you don’t feel like you can contribute much, there’s always something you can do to go above and beyond and add value.  I could’ve used the opportunity to think of and share ways to bring in new customers.  Or ask my boss to give me a lesson in making a sale.
  • Don’t sleep on the job.

There’s something to be learned from every job.  What may not seem like a worthwhile experience can be full of surprises if you keep your eyes and ears open and make the most of it.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC Business Outcomes intern and future industry star, Liz DePlautt

 

1) Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

My name is Liz DePlautt and I am a rising senior at Washington and Lee University majoring in Economics. I spent the last semester abroad studying in the Netherlands and only a few days after my return I quickly transitioned into working and commuting into the city every day from my hometown Ridgewood, NJ.  My journey to Peppercomm actually started last spring when I applied for a position here my sophomore year. I had heard about the firm through friends who took a trip to the office with our school and saw that they had a Research and Analytics internship. I thought it would be perfect way to combine my experience with economics and my interest in communications. While last summer did not work out I was hooked on the company. When I saw the same position posted for a Research and Analytics intern this past spring I reconnected with Nicole, the head of the Business Outcomes group, right away and sent in my resume hoping that my increased experience this time around would land me the job.

I have previously worked as a business development intern for a non-profit education advocacy organization, a cause I have always been passionate about. I also worked as a marketing intern for a startup internet company helping to build up the presence of a new company. I spent my junior year as part of the Venture Club, an entrepreneurship based group at W&L, as part of their Consulting team, doing research for startups and small business owners to help them expand their businesses. All these experiences have taught me so much but I wanted to work for a company such as Peppercomm, to really get to understand Public Relations and to get to know the ins and outs of a full service agency.

At this point I am more than halfway through my internship and am loving my job, my team and the whole atmosphere here at Peppercomm.

2) What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

As a Business Outcomes team intern I am very interested in the numbers behind a lot of what is going on in Public Relations. I am fascinated by the media’s influence on consumer behavior and why people do what they do. Although data cannot tell us the psychology behind consumer behavior it allows us to piece together the actions of many and then analyze any trends that are happening. From this sort of measurement you can pull insights on how the media and the public are interacting with a company and focus in on things that might be relevant to help a business to better understand their practices and improve.

On my interview for Peppercomm I was asked the question, “Do you tend to look at the big picture or are you more detail oriented?” This question really got me thinking and while my initial reaction was to say detail oriented I realized that the best part about data is how it can accurately depict the big picture. Starting from scouring the web and inputting data into a spreadsheet to then seeing the power of all the small details coming together to an end result is really great and seems to be an increasingly important part of Public Relations.

3) Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

Peppercomm is my first real experience with PR so just being here, experiencing the  day-to-day, and observing what goes on around me has all been very new and surprising. One aspect is the fact that Peppercomm represents so many different types of clients ranging from TGI Fridays to Ernst & Young. The versatility of all the staff members who are able to juggle so many differing accounts is really awesome to see. I have also been surprised by how much I learn about a new industry just by working on their account. With each account I have worked on so far I have found that I am not only becoming more knowledgeable about the PR industry but also about the industries of the clients as well. Thanks to my work at Peppercomm so far I now know a lot more than I ever would have thought about securities regulation, trash-to-energy technology, and hedge funds, to name a few.

4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Though I still have a lot more to learn about Peppercomm and PR in general I am excited about what I have been exposed to so far. I can definitely see myself getting more involved with behind the scenes analytics and measurement and growing with this niche inside the industry. The unique innovations and new ways to analyze and interpret data going on here in the Business Outcomes division have me excited about the future for data and analytics for Peppercomm and for the PR industry as a whole.

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Intern Podcast

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this podcast produced by former Peppercom interns who share their experiences. Click Here