Seal the Deal: What You Need to Know to Land the Job: Real World PR

For the third session at Real World PR in Atlanta, I attended Seal the Deal: What You Need to Know to Land the Job.  There, Sharon Jones from Ketchum and Tia Jackson from Porter Novelli gave tips on how to land a job.  Below is the list of tips that Sharon gave us:

  1. Start by networking.
  2. Start social networking- Twitter, LinkedIn.
  3. Research the company beyond the Web site.
  4. Send your resume to the company and make it PERFECT. (Sharon said that she rarely looked at the objective on a resume.)
  5. Send a cover letter (but Sharon reads the cover letter LAST).
  6. Follow up after sending in your cover letter and resume.
  7. Rehearse your elevator speech.
  8. When you get the interview, arrive 15 minutes early.  Thirty minutes early is too early.

WHEN you’re in the interview:

  1. Practice being calm, yet energetic.
  2. Listen to the question that you are asked.
  3. Maintain comfy eye contact.
  4. Mirror the formality of the interview and maintain an appropriate level of business.
  5. Come with thoughtfully prepared questions- at least 3.
  6. Write hand-written thank-you notes after the interview.

Tia Jackson from Porter Novelli then spoke about how to behave once you’ve landed the job:

  1. Go the extra mile.  Meeting expectations isn’t enough.
  2. Network.
  3. Meet with your manager and team.
  4. Set goals.
  5. Find our your expectations.
  6. Become actively engaged.
  7. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities.
  8. Meet deadlines.

Tia also gave two tips for phone interviews:

  1. Put a mirror in front of you during the interview so you feel like you’re actually talking to someone.
  2. Smile. You can hear the smile in someone’s voice over the phone.

My experience at Real World PR was very helpful.  Below is a picture of all of the Clemson PRSSA members who attended the conference. 

Real World PR- Social Media’s Place in Public Relations

The first session that I attended was “Social Media’s Place in Public Relations”.  The panel of speakers included Ashley Payne from the Georgia Aquarium, Stephen Brown from MS&L Worldwide, and Nick Ayres from The Home Depot.  This session allowed for all questions to be answered.  

How has your company handling social media a year ago?

Ashley explained that the Georgia Aquarium used to use all traditional public relations and now use Facebook, Twitter, and E-Marketing.  They’ve researched how people use social media.  Now, they give away free tickets and announce exciting events that are occurring at the aquarium.  Nick said that last year, Home Depot was involved with social media, but now they have a specific team that is specific for just social media.  Stephen explained that MS&L has realized what blogger relations is and is working on connecting with the correct audiences.  For example, they set up a Coca-Cola Free-Style and Osh Kosh Biggosh Facebook pages.

How do you use Twitter and Facebook for business?

Ashley said to make everything personal account private, look at what’s being said about your company, and if your company isn’t using social media, tell them why they should. 

How to balance friends and business on Twitter?

Nick said that just using it for talking to friends is not business-like.  If you add something special about yourself, it adds personality.  He also reminded us not to just re-tweet because you’re not really using your own thoughts.

What types of things do you tweet about?

Ashley said to tweet about very cool things (a celebrity comes to the aquarium) or new news (a new animal joins the aquarium).  

When employers look at possible new employees, do they follow the candidates or just take a glance at their Twitter page?

Ashley- glance at your page for personality.  Nick- Glance, but Googles the candidates first.

How do you pull in older audiences to social media?

Stephen said that it may or may not be helpful.  For example if one of your clients is a senior living facility, they will not be on Facebook right now.  Nick explained that PRos have to know traditional PR as well.

How do you monitor social media?

Stephen mentioned Radian 6 and said that you can measure it by the brand sentiment over time.  Nick said that he keeps a report of what people care about and what’s hot.  He counts the positive and negative tweets.  He uses YouTube views, Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers and pictures in blog posts and tweets in his social media reports.

How is social media organized in your company?

Ashley said that the Georgia Aquarium has integrated social media into all aspects of the company.  She explained that employees are the best advocates because they stick of for their organization without being told to do so.

Session three post next: “Seal the Deal: What You Need to Know to Land the Job”.

Real World PR- Remember to SMILE :-)

Last Friday, I, along with nine other Clemson University PRSSA members, woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Atlanta for REAL WORLD PR at the Loudermilk Center.  Lauren, Bryson, Laura, Ansley, Jo Anna, Casey, Shelley, Kelly, and Caroline all arrived with me around 7 a.m.

When we arrived, we ate were greeted, signed in, and ate a wonderful breakfast in the ballroom.  The opening/welcome speaker was Ellen Hartman of Weber Shandwick.  Ellen spoke to us about the value of networking and gave us a few tips.  Listed below are Ellen’s tips for great networking:

  1. SMILE. 🙂 People remember a smile.
  2. Have a great elevator speech.  Have the basics– name, school, major. Talk about your internships– Mention your name and what brands you’ve worked with.  Mention your skill sets– Possible skill sets can be creating media lists, writing press releases, tracking media, and knowledge of social media.
  3. When a person gives you a business card, write a note on the back of it with a few words about what you both spoke about.  This way, when you get home and have 5 business cards, you will remember what you talked about with whom.
  4. Follow-up with the people that you meet.
  5. Network with new friends.
  6. Build your own board of directors-  
  7. Join PRSA. Jacob Hawkins of Ogilvy PR also spoke about the benefits of joining PRSA.  He reminded us that education does not end after school and graduation.  He said it is important to get involved so that you’re recognized throughout the community and you are better able to network.

More posts to come about Social Media’s Place in PR, tips on how to land a job, and tips for interviews.

Real World PR: Session 4- Sports and Entertainment PR

The last panel session of Real World PR was one of my favorites.  Petro Kacur (The Coca-Cola Company), Jenny Schmitt (CloudSpark), and James Anderson (Cartoon Network) all spoke about the main things that one needed to get into PR in sports and entertainment.  Each of them had 3 specific suggestions for those of us who want to get into PR in sports and entertainment.


  1. Passion for what you do
  2. Good at your craft and skill set- build through your skill set
  3. Experience, experience, experience


  1. Have great writing skills
  2. Read everything that you can get your hands on


  1. Volunteering matters and shows that you are committed
  2. Be a “WILL-do person, not a CAN-do” person.
  3. Top two goals of people in sports PR: generate revenue and increase attendance

Overall, Real World PR was a great experience.  I look forward to keeping in touch with the people that I met and continuing to let our relationships grow through reading their blogs, following them on Twitter, and friending them on Facebook.

Real World PR: Session 3-Professional Services

In session 3, Health care, Technology and Professional Services PR, three ladies spoke about their particular job and how PR fit into each one of their jobs.  The three PRo’s were Tiffany Brott (Accenture), Judy Wicks (APR, Fiserv), and Debbie Bloom (APR, Crawford Long/Emory Hospital).  It was interesting listening to each of their backgrounds.  I was inspired by all of their hard work and persistence that got them to where they are today.  Debbie shared things that need to be taken into account while working in health care PR:

  • Media Relations- positioning of hospital/physicians, rapid response ensures repeat inquires
  • Confidentially, consent to photograph
  • Cross pitching
  • On-site escort and parking
  • Proper ID of patient, physician, hospital
  • Plan: names and numbers of local, state, and federal agencies
  • Check out visual appeal (trash, dirty uniforms, upside down logos)
  • Notification of administration, security
  • Tape the broadcast
  • Photographs for in-house publications/archives
  • Media badges.

Real World PR- Resume Critique and Lunch

For session two of Real World PR, I chose to have my resume critiqued.  I spoke with Dave from MS&L in Atlanta.  He only had a couple of critiques.  I wrote mini paragraphs under my accompishments and leadership roles.  Instead, he said to put bullets with short sentences that were easier to read and understand.  I then was able to talk to Dave about his background, his company, and internships that MS&L offered.

After session two, we were treated to a nice lunch.  This time a PR professional, Meghann Gibbons from the Georgia Aquarium, joined us.  She was very open and answered all of our questions.

During lunch, Heather Oldani (Director, U.S. Communications, McDonald’s) spoke about how McDonald’s has jumped on the social media train.  Did you know that someone writes about McDonald’s every 5 seconds? mcdonShe talked about how social media is going to happen with you or without you.  It’s not going to stop because you don’t have time or you don’t want to try something new.  After realizing that McDonald’s needed to start using social media, they made a list that presented the key tips for learning social media:

  • Be strategic
  • Have a fun and informal tone
  • Be transparent
  • Leverage online and use traditional tactics
  • Create alignment among internal departments.

Heather then presented the foundation for success: media, insights, creativity, and communications.

Her presentation was very interesting because her company is a well known one and her situation of figuring out social media is probably one that is effecting many large companies throughout the world.

Real World PR: Session 1- Agency or Corporate?

In the first session, I attended the panel titled Agency or Corporate.  This panel consisted of 3 PRos who all work in different types of PR firms.  Renee Kopkowski works in a corporate setting (Mars, Inc.).  Don Rountree works in a small boutique (Rountree Group).  Hilary McKean worked in an agency (APR, Ketchum Public Relations).

Hillary explained that she liked working in an agency because it was a lot of variety and it was fast paced.  She said that if you like to go deep and like to be an expert on specific companies, then you should go into corporate PR.  If you like skimming the surface and think that you would like to work on 5 to 6 different accounts, an agency is for you.

Renee explained that when she worked at an agency, she never really understood the depth of the company and how she personally was helping the company.  Now that she works in corporate PR, she feels like she has a value and can see how she is actually helping the company.

Don stated that he thrives for diversity which is what you get in an agency.  He talked about the two different things that you need to have to work in agency PR: time management and teamwork.  Don also handed out a paper that explained the “Agency Career Path”.  In order to prepare for an agency career you must:

  1. Enhance your communication skills.
  2. Be “up” on the continuous communications revolution.
  3. Develop project management skill/be organized.

I felt as though the major message of the whole agency/corporate session was:

Try a variety and find out what you personally like.

Real World PR Breakfast: Social Media = Pair of New Running Shoes

On our way to Atlanta for Real World PR EARLY Friday morning, while listening to Michael Buble and talking with @laurenzahn and @rachel_366, I wondered what the day would bring.  I did not know what to expect and was excited that I was going to such a big event.  After parking and checking in, we grabbed delicious muffins and fruit and gathered around circular tables in the ballroom of the Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta.  Since there were six Clemson students that came together, we had room at our table for three more friends.

The first girl who asked to sit with us was Kate Stice from FSU.  After talking to Kate for a few minutes, we learned that she recently was hired at a PR boutique firm in DT Atlanta, she traveled the world (20 different countries) for five months after graduating, and she had an outgoing personality that drew us all into her stories and comments.  The last two ladies who filled our table up were Ally Edge and Laura Mealor of Valdosta in Georgia.  Both are recent graduates who are looking for jobs around the Atlanta area, and Laura is engaged!

During breakfast, the president of PRSA Georgia, Mike Neumeier, introduced the panel that talked about the impact of social media on politics.  The panelists were all part of the CNN organization: Victor Hernandez (Director of Coverage, CNN U.S.), Lila King (Senior Producer of User Participation, and and Jennifer Martin, Director of PR (New Media and Digital Networks, CNN).  The panelists talked about the connection with politics and social media in the ’08 election.  Here are a few of the questions and the most important parts of the answers that I remember:

  1. How did social media differ between the ’04 election and the ’08 election? Victor: In 2004 the Internet was used for new media in presidential campaigns for fund raising, blogging, and grassroots.  Now, it’s evolved into real time updates connecting people with real time events.  Lila: The rise of social journalism is a major difference between the two elections- people are telling the story as they see it and giving a new perspective.  Jen: A major difference is in ’04, the candidates were pushing their messages.  For the ’08 campaign, fans and followers are pushing the message through social media.
  2. What were your AHA ideas that you got from social media? Lila:  Saw a new way for news coverage and found out what questions citizens wanted to ask.  Victor: Saw that Twitter was used in different ways by each campaign.  Obama “brought people with him” on the campaign and McCain rarely updated.
  3. What was the social media tool that advanced the most? Victor: WiFi (3-G Network)
  4. What is the greatest social media tool?  Victor: Social media applications are like buying new running shoes- you have to try them on and run with them before you know whether they are the right fit.  Lila: Tools that let people talk to one another.  Jen: Tools that bridge people together are the best.
  5. TV vs. Online journalism thoughts? Jen: most people are now watching TV while reading news on their laptops.  TV is known as lean back media while Internet is more of a lean forward type of media.  For example, people were watching President Obama’s speech on TV while commenting on it on the Internet.
  6. What are the major contributions of citizen journalism?  Lila: CNN is learning that they can get more information from citizens because they depend on the relationships with their viewers.  Now, it’s more of a two-way type of communication.

So… go test out your new running shoes (social media) and find the best ones that fit you! Below is a song that will pump you up when you find that perfect fit.


Yesterday I attended Real World PR 2009 in Atlanta Georgia.  It was such a good experience and I met a lot of good PRos. I also met new friends who are interested in the same sort of career path as me.  We got the opportunity to listen to many speakers and were able to pick four different sessions to attend that interested us.  100385In each session, there were three key speakers that explained their background and then spoke about the topic presented.  Throughout the week I plan on posting my thoughts on the sessions that I attended and the speakers that I heard at the conference.  I’m looking forward to reading my classmates’  and new friends’ blogs to see their feedback on the sessions that I did not attend.