Archive for Career Advice
Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Hughes.
As you can imagine from where I left off in my last post, television news is not as glamorous as most people think. Everyone has their favorite anchor, or weather person that they allow into their lives every day to keep them up to date on the world around them, but not many people think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to pull off one 30-minute show that will never be aired again.
Despite the hard hours and your work often going unnoticed or underappreciated, a well-oiled newsroom is a thing of beauty. One show depends on so many people, and as the producer you have to keep everyone happy – from the photographers, to reporters, anchors and the control room. Everyone wants to put on a great show, but no one can do it alone. It is a unique job, putting all your hard work and emotions into each story you write just to start all over again the next day, and the only people that really understand that is your team.
After two years in Michigan, working every show from the morning to evening, from Fox to NBC, I aimed for bigger and better things and moved to San Francisco, CA. Jumping from a 114 market to a top 10, I had visions of amazing benefits, a higher pay and a great schedule. No more being underappreciated and overworked, no more working every holiday and having to sleep while everyone else is out enjoying their lives. Boy was I wrong. Of course working for a national network had its perks, such as higher pay, a much nicer newsroom, bigger staff and even a helicopter for breaking news. Yet the decline of the newsroom is hitting the country – no matter what market you’re in. The days of getting your news from your favorite local anchor is over.
Newsrooms aren’t just competing with each other anymore– they are up against twitter, news apps, Google – a world where news is instant. That means more work for a smaller staff and having to work at a station for many years before having off holidays or being on your dream show. For most that dream show is the 5 o’clock evening shows – meaning having a shift of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — normal working hours!
Needless to say, I quickly realized I needed to get out of the news industry. It took me three years and two stations, but I finally believed what older anchors and producers (lifers) kept telling me – “get out now while you’re still young.” I started dreaming of normal work hours, of not having to sleep during the day and walk through the city at two in the morning for work.
After secretly interviewing at many public relations firms in the city, I found Peppercomm and tried to let my news director down easy. I ended up working both jobs for a few months and am still a freelance writer at the news station; despite my new and exciting career it is hard to cut ties with an industry that feels so familiar. As I get ready for work in the morning, I still get excited hearing the morning news intro music and often find myself trying to catch errors in the slugs (writing on the screen).
As I work on the other side of the media now, I realize how much the news industry taught me, and how much I learned from lifers that I first thought were just trying to scare me off. I have a new life now in PR, but the local news will always have a special place in my heart.
Hopefully you’ll keep this post in mind next time you’re pitching a broadcast reporter or producer – who is probably over worked and very tired. When they snap at you or delete your emails without even reading them, don’t take it personally. And one last thing – when you’re on your way home at 5:30 to see your family or enjoying a paid holiday, try not to take it for granted – I know I never will.
Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm associate, Chris Piedmont
To help land the coveted first job, young professionals spend their entire college careers laying the building blocks of their professional network. But, the networking that was oh so important to get hired is pivotal in building a successful, long lasting career in public relations. Your newest contact could be a new business lead, job opportunity or best friend in the making. Having people who understand the daily life of a PR pro also gives you an outlet to bounce ideas off of someone for a fresh perspective. As a fairly recent southern transplant to New York City, I’ve also found networking events to be one of the best ways to make new connections with common interests and goals. Here’s a few tips for continuing to grow your network in the early stages of your PR career.
4 Tips for Building Your Network as a Young Professional
- Join a Professional Organization: Organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) are a great way to meet other professionals in the field while also building your skill set through professional development opportunities. PRSA also has a section specific to New Professionals to network with others beginning their careers.
- Connect With Your College Alumni Groups: Most colleges have active alumni groups in major cities. Getting involved with your alma mater’s alumni base can introduce you to others outside of the communication industry.
- Utilize Social Media: Embrace the power of social media to expand your network and continue learning. Follow and interact with the leading minds in the industry and participate in regular Twitter chats sponsored by PR News, PRSA and others.
- Continue to foster existing relationships: There’s an old song that goes “make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” The same can be said for network connections. Stay in touch with those you met during your time in college and continue nurturing those relationships.
What other tips do you have for building your network?
In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm Boulder, CO intern and future industry star, Eric Graff.
I graduated from the University of Colorado Denver. I am from Parker, Colorado a little suburb area outside of Denver. I began my college career at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas on a baseball scholarship. I pursued broadcast journalism where my speaking and writing skills improved. After 2 years, I transferred to Washburn University to continue a Journalism degree and a baseball career. During my year-and-a-half stay at Washburn I became homesick and came to a quick realization that journalism was not the best fit for me. So, I transferred to the University of Colorado Denver and graduated with a communications degree with an emphasis in public relations. Graduating and earning a degree that is applicable to many businesses as well as my personality, was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Persistently searching on LinkedIn for an internship/job in my related field is what brought me to Peppercomm. One day, I stumbled upon an open internship position at Peppercomm posted to LinkedIn. I saw the number of applicants and said, “why not?” After submitting my resume, I did my research and found that Peppercomm has an all-around great atmosphere. At Peppercomm I found a humorous and personal work environment that still maintains a high standard of professionalism.
What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
I find the concept of understanding the clients’ needs and strategizing ways to better their overall brand image to be the most appealing. This is appealing to me because I am a spirited individual that enjoys engaging and interacting with different types of people and problems. “Listen, Engage and Repeat” is the vocal point of my interactions with clients and staff in this industry.
Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?
The biggest surprise was the amount of time given to multiple projects. I found it hard to believe that everyone could wear multiple hats and still maintain a balance. I admire this attribute because this is an area I need to improve. The surprise of it all was seeing everyone at Peppercomm maintain sanity as well as being positive about the multiple tasks at hand.
Where do you see yourself going in the industry?
The tools I have developed here throughout my internship at Peppercomm have truly been essential to my growth in this industry. It taught me the importance of researching and to never take one solution and run with it.
The path in the industry I wish to pursue further is client relations and creative branding strategies. I am very talkative, personable and enjoys understanding the true message of the client and developing that idea for others to understand. Also, I believe creativity is the juncture of critical thinking and originality that connects all those involved in one exciting project. Thank you Peppercomm for this opportunity!
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re trying to get work done. Maybe you are at your job or internship and a friend sends you a link that you just have to read. You click on that one link and before you know it you have spent more than 30 minutes browsing through random articles.
What can you do to help prevent distractions like this? Here are several ideas:
- Temporarily disable your personal emails on your phone.
- Do not sign into your personal email accounts while working.
- Set a specific time in your schedule, about 10-15 minutes that you can use to check personal emails and social media.
- Watch the below video about how to disable or block websites on your web browser.
Time management is key when working in public relations or any industry for that matter. It’s up to you to figure out what system and practices work best to help you stay on track when you need to get work done.
What are you time management tricks and secrets?