Archive for job training
Today’s post is by Peppercomm intern, Mandy Roth.
Senioritis symptoms escalate uncontrollably as the familiar aromas of chlorine and sunscreen ally to invade the residence halls. You procrastinate from studying for finals by determining the exact fashion in which you will dispose of the plethora of lecture notes that has accumulated throughout the semester; whether burning, shredding, or ripping will elicit the most satisfaction. It’s finally May, and in a few days, the freedom of summer will be upon you; all will be right with the world. Suddenly you’re confronted with a petrifying epiphany: your textbook sell back failed to cover your Dave Matthews summer tour ticket and your lifeguard certifications expired months ago. The taste of freedom that has inhabited your mouth since spring break is instantly tainted with the bitter zest of reality. It’s not long before you regret the hours you spent perfecting your beer pong form and re-tweeting @UnluckyBrian when you should’ve been applying for jobs.
“Taking the summer off won’t be so bad,” you console yourself. “I’ll get a ‘real’ job in the fall anyways.” Great pep-talk, except that everyone with previous interning experience is suddenly ahead of you in the job market. “It’s ok,” you reason, “I’ve still got a few days before summer vacation. That leaves plenty of time to land an internship before June!” Your confidence is wonderful, but you’ve failed to consider where you’ll be applying and what you’re qualified for, let alone the millions of other students who made the same classic error you did.
I was fortunate enough to have been advised by my former boss, “Start your job search in the fall.” I’ll admit it seemed a bit premature at the time, especially considering that entry-level positions are often looking to be filled ASAP. In any case, I soon realized the brilliance in my boss’s advice: I now had the opportunity to familiarize myself with companies and programs to figure out exactly what I wanted and what I had to do to get there. An early start turned out to be especially crucial when I realized that many of the agencies I was interested in happened to be in New York City. Since my graduation date was still but a figment of the future, I was able to visit NYC to determine whether I could in fact call home to the city that never sleeps.
While it might be classy to arrive fashionably late to a party, it’s nothing short of dowdy to apply to a job past the deadline. Even if a company notes that they are looking for an immediate hire, it’ll never hurt to put your name in the hat. Doing so might open up a door for the future; perhaps the company can’t hire you now, but will keep your resume on file for future opportunities. Internships are in high demand, especially in this economy, and the number of intern applicants grows exponentially in the months leading up to summer. Instead of applying at rush hour, give yourself the chance to stand out by applying before the traffic gets too heavy.
Bottom line: a job isn’t going to come after you. It all comes down to being proactive, making connections, taking the time to do your research, and ultimately giving yourself the best chance possible. If you take some time throughout the year to break-away from Facebook stalking your Economics TA and research potential job opportunities instead, suddenly your last months of college might bear a rhythm of relaxation rather than a period of panic.
Today’s post is from Peppercomm intern, Madeline Skahill.
It started as a typical Tuesday morning. Rush hour, bustling streets, and a bright New York sky paved the way for three Peppercomm interns on their way to attend Workforce Live 2013, an event that gives thoughtful insights into becoming an employer of choice. Grabbing the only open chairs in the back of the conference room, Stephanie, Madeline, and Jessica were able to apply their fast-thinking and texting skills to live-tweet the event as well as learn an important comedic lesson from two of the best.
Steve Cody, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Peppercomm and Clayton Fletcher, full-time comedian and Chief Comedy Officer, took the stage at the event to discuss the importance of comedy in the workplace. According to Steve, “Peppercomm is a place where it’s OK to laugh and OK to have fun”, allowing the atmosphere of Peppercomm to truly embody the four elements of a successful business: trust, authenticity, openness and teamwork. From the company’s website to client meetings, these four elements are evident in daily life at Peppercomm.
Embracing these four elements is the fundamental goal of a stand-up comedy experience within the workplace. Steve and Clayton stressed the fact that stand-up comedy is not a monologue of your favorite knock-knock jokes or Popsicle stick puns. It is the ability to relax, tell a story, and build a relationship with your audience. This relationship with the audience, or in our case, fellow employees, is a true factor in what makes Peppercomm stand apart from other PR agencies. It is an atmosphere filled with encouragement, motivation, and success all because we can sit back, relax, and share a good laugh.
Whether or not you love or hate the media relations aspect of the industry, you typically need to have it mastered to be able to successfully progress in communications.
So how do you get to mastering this “art”? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.
Here are a few tips to help you get your pitch perfect before you reach out to anyone:
- Write out the key points you want to make; you can keep them in front of you when making calls, but writing it down will help you to figure out what you want to say and help identify the most important points you need to discuss.
- Practice! Ask another account team member or even just mumble it to yourself. If you can’t keep concisely convey the point, you are not ready to call anyone, especially not a busy person in the media. This will also help you to make sure you don’t stumble over any points.
- Be sure to keep your initial pitch down to 20-30 seconds. If the person you’ve called keeps you on the phone longer and asks, questions, that’s great, but keep it short when first trying to sell the idea.
- Do your research. Make sure the person you’re calling is the BEST person at that particular outlet, which means you should be reading what they typically cover and all recent articles.
- Emailing a pitch? Common sense says that you should proofread it, but it also never hurts to have someone else from your team take a quick look to make sure it’s informative, yet to the point.
These are just a few items to keep in mind when pitching. If you get nervous, just remember, you’re pitching via email and/or the phone, no one can see you.
This guest blog series is by Ellie Jesse. Stay tuned throughout the summer to hear more from Ellie.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know how important internships are.
What you might not realize, is how awesome they are. It has taken me three summers and five rounds of internships to truly appreciate the art of it all. When I began my first internship at Peppercom in the summer of 2010, I had little to no experience and absolutely no idea how lucky I was. Feeling like you are at the bottom of the totem pole is not necessarily a confidence booster.
My point: sometimes interns take for granted what they have. Let’s break it down:
- First and Foremost, You’re in College. When you’re done with your summer internship, while everyone else is continuing on the daily grind, you get to go back to school with experience under your belt. Need I say more?
- Internships are like Trial Runs. If by the end of your internship, you realize you don’t like what you are doing, don’t do it again! Being able to check something off your list is priceless. Figuring out what you don’t want to do will lead you to what you do want to do.
- A Wealth of Knowledge. Interns are certainly hired to increase productivity, but good internship programs hire interns so they can learn. As an intern, you are in a position to ask questions, explore the company, and try something you don’t know anything about. People want you to succeed; they want to help you learn new things.
- Resume, Portfolio, Website–You Name It. Internships are automatic generators for your personal brand. By the time you finish your college internships, you should be proud to type your name into Google.
When I started my internship journey, I didn’t appreciate what I had. When else are you going to have an excuse to change jobs every summer? Probably not too often. So wave your intern flag high, I certainly do.
Ellie Jesse is a senior studying public relations at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a former Peppercom intern, having completed two internships at the agency. Currently, Ellie is a marketing intern for MBA@UNC, which is a distance MBA offered through UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Ellie also blogs for InternQueen.com and myPRconnection.
Peppercom has prided itself on having a fantastic in-house education program. These programs are agency-wide and vary in topics from crisis communications to a year-long intensive writing program.
For better . . . or for better, part of that program consists of stand-up comedy training. Yes, you heard that right. Comedy training.
It sounds like a strange concept, but it’s certainly another factor that makes Peppercom unique. The training helps to further foster growth in presentation skills and the ability to think on one’s feet. Oh, and the whole agency is now great at ‘knock-knock’ jokes.
So, yes, the entire agency goes through this training–whether they want to or not. With sessions throughout the year, everyone gets up on that stage in front of a microphone and hopes for the best. Some learn that they are funnier than they imagined, others really get to test how quickly they can think on their feet and react to an audience while others learn that nothing can be as intimidating after getting up on a stage by yourself and attempting to be funny. Some of the veteran trainees have even gone on to perform in comedy shows, and some, like Peppercom’s co-founder and managing partner, Steve Cody, perform stand-up regularly.
Want to learn more about our comedy sessions in the workplace? Check out the article about our most recent training session (which I participated in) from the October issue of Inc. Magazine.