Archive for July, 2011

Guest post by Scottie Ellis, Peppercom intern

What's good for Daisy Mae Duke may not be good for the office . . .

Cat calls on the way to work, ladies? Probably not something one should take pride in. Yet, as I leave my dorm every morning for my commute to work, I am shocked to see that my peers are happy to show the streets of NYC, along with their office, “what they’ve got.” Literally.

See-though, circulation-cutting, short outfits are what fill the elevators of the dorm every morning. The dorm elevator is one thing, but what about the office? Unfortunately for my elevator friends, this could really put a damper on their career. People judge by what you wear. You could be the most skilled intern in the place, but when it comes to an opportunity, they will likely pick the intern who is dressed more appropriately—assuming the other intern is also not a complete failure workwise. Unfair? Not if you’re representing the face of the company.

Dress for success. You have heard the saying a thousand times, but when it comes to interning, you have to live by it. It can make you appear more professional, and help you take a step forward in your career. Adjusting from college campus attire to work attire can be difficult, but it is doable. Even on the intern budget.

Invest in classic separates; nice pants, blouses, skirts, etc. Now, mix and match. You can make a lot of outfits out of a few pieces. Want to add your personal style? Use accessories, but don’t overdo it. You don’t have to spend your savings on a whole new wardrobe, just invest in a few pieces that will last a long time. Still lost? Places like JCrew allow you to make appointments with their personal stylists, for free! It is a great way to pick up a few things to help with your transition.

Take pride in your office attire, and leave the cat calls for another time. Now, when you are showing the office what you’ve got, they will take notice!

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Sorry, didn’t mean to go all “Seinfeld” on that title, but seriously, what’s the deal with resumes these days?

The Rosetta Stone is amazing. What is not amazing is when a resume resembles it.

As a new member of the intern committee, I am now looking at a large number of them coming through for our internships. It seems like the newest trend is to jam as much information as possible on to one page, even if it means having to spread the margins. And yes, everyone can tell that you spread the margins and it does not look good.

I’m not sure if college career services recommend this to students, but doing this just is not visually appealing and shows that you cannot concisely convey your ideas.

You may have a ton of experience that you want to make sure your possible future employer gets to see, but put your best and most relevant experience on your resume, not EVERYTHING you have experienced.

A cover letter, thank you note and the interview itself is a great place to make note of any additional experience you feel the need to share. Just because you have a page to write something, doesn’t mean you should add text to the edges.

Am I the only one noticing this trend or are you a culprit? Let’s hear it on the next generation of resumes.

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On Wednesday, our NYC interns- Ashleigh, Ellie, Scottie, Julianne, and Natalie- spent the afternoon at Internfest, hosted by the Council of PR Firms. During their stay they were able to hear from a variety of industry professionals about the value of networking and how to make the transition from intern to entry-level PR pro.

Below, they share with you some of the lessons they learned:

“The HR panel told us to have a competitive advantage: POV, passion, educated on digital, network and stay in touch, be formal and professional.” – Natalie

“Former interns turned employees spoke, all of them again emphasizing the power of networking and how it helped them to get their jobs. They advised us to keep in touch with everyone from the company even after we leave out internships! Tips: exceed expectations, find connections with co-workers, read the news, etc.” – Julianne

“PR is a very dynamic industry and interviewers look to see if candidates are ‘cultural fits’ for their company.” – Ashleigh

“Travis Rexroad, an account executive at Taylor, stated his main goal when leaving his internship to return to college was to leave a hole. Make sure that every time they are working on the project, they notice your absence, and wish you were there.” – Scottie

If you attended the event or have a question for our interns about their experience, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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Tomorrow, our interns in our New York office will be spending the afternoon at Internfest, the annual event hosted by the Council of Public Relations Firms. During the event they’ll be hearing from a variety of industry professionals, including Andy Polansky, President, Weber Shandwick and 2011 Chair, Council of Public Relations Firms. They’ll also be given the chance to network with additional speakers and fellow interns.

We’ll be sharing feedback from our interns tomorrow in another post, so be sure to stay tuned and let us know if you’ll also be attending the event!

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Excited much, I am.

For all of you non-Star Wars lovers out there, that was Yoda for “I am truly excited about this news.”

I am an avid reader of a blog called “Death Star PR.” They arguably have one of the most humorous fictional Twitter accounts– @DeathStarPR –out in the social media sphere (my second favorite being @Lord_Voldemort7).

With their profile set as: “The Galactic Empire has been getting a bad rap recently. We’re here to set the record straight,” and tweets such as:

  • Love is like a Stormtrooper: it usually misses. #StarWars
  • Ke$ha has written 200 songs for her new album. That’s 200 reasons why your death by explosion will be merciful. #DeathStarCares
  • Han, Leia & Luke deaths by Stormtrooper: 0. Stormtrooper deaths by Han, Luke & Leia: 76442. Sorry, who are the bad guys again?

Who can help but love this account? It’s witty, topical and most importantly, ridiculous.

Mashable recently compiled the top 10 best fictional Twitter accounts to follow. Luckily for my ego, the two accounts I mentioned made the list (now I feel validated for having good taste). While my two favorites may reveal my inner nerd, you’ll note that all of those that made this list are worthy of any ComicCon-type convention. And to quote @DeathStarPR, with several accounts being “bad guys” such as Death Star, Darth Vader and Lord Voldermort, the Dark Side is #winning. Another account that is worth checking out that is missing from the article: @DepressedDarth. What better way to break up the day and your news feed with some fantastic humor?

Check out Mashable’s article. Any other accounts that should have made the list?

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Q&A Friday: Danielle Rumore

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Danielle Rumore serves as Management Supervisor at Peppercom. In addition to a wide variety of experience, she also is a mentor and trainer for the in-house writing program.

Q. What led you to PR?

A.  I started my career as a journalist, first as a sports writer and later as a financial writer. I did that for about five years and then decided I wanted a change, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to stay in the communications world, surrounded by words and stories and media, but I didn’t know anything outside of magazines and newspapers. I had a few friends working at PR firms at the time, and I thought their day-to-day sounded interesting and maybe a natural next step for me. I would still get to work with media, but also touch many other areas of communications. Sounded perfect. I was lucky enough to get hired by an amazing firm, BlissPR, where I met so many great teachers and colleagues, people like Abby Carr and John Bliss. I learned so much and found a new career that I have grown and advanced in (very happily) since then.

Q. As a Management Supervisor, what’s a typical day for you?

A. There’s no such thing as a typical day! That’s one of the things I really like about what we do – the fact that every day is so different. If I had to try to boil it down to something, I would say it’s a mix of high-level strategy and execution, creative storytelling and message development, managing and mentoring junior staff, and budgeting. I especially like working with junior staff and cultivating young talent. And I really like that this field has evolved so much from the days of just picking up the phone and calling a reporter with a story. It’s really all about being storytellers today – finding creative, strategic ways to tell our clients’ stories, contribute to the news cycle and drive results for their businesses.

Q. What are some concerns entry-level PR pros have come to you about?

A. They worry that they’re not doing enough or learning quickly enough. I think many struggle to find their “voice” or be proactive because they’re afraid of stepping on other people’s toes. As a team leader, I try to alleviate these fears and hurdles by working with entry-level PR pros on my teams to carve out specific roles and jobs for them to “own” so I can help them find their voices as soon as they join an account. I’m a firm believer that it takes a team to make an account, so it’s critical that everyone contribute and feel like  they are part of something. Everyone, from the most senior to the most junior team members, has different skill sets that when brought together, create a cohesive whole. Junior team members are a critical part of this.

Q. What qualities make a young PR professional stand out to you?

A. Positive attitude, team player, willingness to learn, intellectual curiosity and anticipating client needs.

Q. What one piece of advice do you have for those just starting their careers in PR?

A. Jump in with both feet. Work with more seasoned team members to learn critical skill sets, like media relations and writing, and always think about ways you can take a piece of an account and own it, make it better and make it your own. Come to your teams and supervisors with ideas. Even if they don’t work for that particular account or project, your supervisors will love your initiative. This is also a great way to help you start thinking critically.

On the digital media front, this is a critical skill set and truly the future our industry. Many young PR professionals have a distinct advantage to senior PR professionals here, and they should use their savvy and experiences to teach digital skills at their firms (e.g. how to pitch reporters on Twitter). I think your colleagues will thank you. And think about your interests and things you like to do in your personal lives. In a lot of cases, you might find that there’s a way to infuse those passions into your PR work to create a real value-add for you teams and clients.

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Blog team back again

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You may have noticed that we haven’t posted in a while. That’s for a few reasons. First, we may have gotten distracted by the suddenly beautiful NYC weather this past month. The better and more excusable reason is that we’ve been out working hard for our clients (which serves as fodder for some great posts).

So stay tuned for some great stories, tips and obscure references to songs that were popular in the early-90s. We hope you’re enjoying the start of summer and take time to check out our new posts when taking an AC break from the summer heat.

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Intern Video

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