If you’re a member of PRSSA, you’re likely familiar with the Executive Board.  The head honchos of our student chapter.   Our fearless, flawless leaders.  Our brilliant, overqualified, super-human overachievers.  Or at least, that’s what we like  to tell ourselves.

In reality, every board member got their start with an ordinary membership.  We just knew we wanted to get more involved, felt like we were ready for the responsibility, and took the steps we needed to take to move forward with the election process.  

How Do You Start the Process?

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Running for the board might sound intimidating, but really all you do is choose the position or positions that you think you’d be best suited for, attend one of our open board meetings (the last one is on March 10, mark your calendar if interested), and submit your application and resume.  From there, you go through an interview process and give a speech to your chapter about why you think you’d be the best fit for your role of choice, and then the EB members are determined by popular vote.

But this begs the question: Why run for the Executive Board in the first place? To answer that question, I’ve outlined a couple of major benefits I’ve found from my experience on the board.

1. Resume-building Experience

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To say that a position on the e-board offers a breadth of experience would be an understatement.  Depending on the position you’re in, you might become proficient in social media management, writing, event planning, or networking with professionals. 

Regardless of what position you’re in, however, what remains consistent across the board is that you will learn how to work in a team and represent something bigger than yourself.  You have to learn to coordinate with and depend on your fellow members, while in many cases, also being the leader of your own committee.  

On your resume, a leadership position in PRSSA shows you’re dedicated to the industry.  It shows you’re ambitious and know how to thrive in a professional environment (plus the flashy “VP of ________”  title really catches the eye).

2. Long-lasting Friendships

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A great aspect of being a part of the board is the relationships you make along the way.  You work with your fellow board members to meet deadlines, advance PRSSA as an organization, and, through those tasks, bond with them on a regular basis.  Once everything’s said and done, you’ve likely made some meaningful friendships.  For example, I’m nearing the end of my experience with the board and can confidently say I’d recommend any of my fellow members to a future employer; if only because I would be ecstatic to have a chance to work with them again.

You’d think that what you’d miss most from your board position would be the professional perks or the opportunities that follow, but what you actually end up mourning the most is that you don’t have another biweekly board meeting scheduled where you get to catch up and work alongside your friends.

Conclusion

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Running for board can be intimidating, but the experience you receive from your position is more than worth it.  It puts you in a position to make professional connections, beef up your resume, and create lasting friendships with your fellow board members.

If I had one recommendation for anyone on the fence about applying for a board position, it would be: Just give it a shot!  You won’t regret it.

What is your name, age, and major?

My name is Analleli Penaloza, I’m 21 years old, and my major is Business- Marketing.

How many years have you been at CSUF?

Three and a half years.

How long have you been part of PRSSA?

Since Fall 2020.

How did you hear about the organization?

From a friend who was on the Executive Board who encouraged me to join!

What is your favorite part about PRSSA?

The Committees! I’ve learned and developed my personal and professional skills, while also making amazing friendships being part of committees.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram- I love exploring, sharing, and seeing unique and funny content on the platform!

Where do you see your career taking you after graduation?

I see myself working as a Senior Marketing Manager at Spotify!

February 22, 2021 ︱By: Elizabeth Williams 

The management team is the foundation of a successful PR company. Without strong leadership and communication, most companies would fall under. As a college student, you should start learning how to become a better leader. 

Here are some tips on how to improve your leadership skills. 

1. Delegation

A person in a leadership position needs to know how to delegate. One person in a team can’t do all of the work on their own. It’s just inefficient and can result in burnout.  This is where your delegation comes in.  Determine what tasks need to be done, assign them to your members along with deadlines, and then make sure to check in with them along the way.  

You can start practicing this skill by volunteering to be the head of any group project. Then you can begin to practice delegating tasks to your group members.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also be doing your share of the work.  Delegate some tasks, but not everything.  You also want to lead by example, but more on that later.

2. Get Involved

It might go without saying, but the best way to gain leadership skills is to get involved and volunteer yourself for leadership positions.  For example, you could apply to become an account executive in Titan Public Relations, CSUF PRSSA’s student-run PR firm, or run for a position on our Executive Board.  

However, if those kinds of positions sound intimidating, start smaller.  It doesn’t even have to be PR related.  Take charge by starting a study group with some of your classmates, or by creating a book club and designating meeting times on Discord.  The important thing is that you make progress!

3. Lead by example 

A great  leader has good ethics. They don’t just dictate all of the work to their team members.  When you’re in charge, you don’t want to assign any task that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.  This means you want to be reliable and consistent. When your team sees you working hard and doing your best, they will likely be compelled to do the same.  And remember, you’re supposed to be the backbone of your team, so if you aren’t being consistent, it’s likely that your team will follow suit.

To elaborate more on this concept, if you want someone to listen to you more, make sure you are a good listener. If you want your team to try their best, make sure you’re also giving it your all.  You can also try this at your work. If you ask a coworker to do something, make sure you can return the favor.  It earns respect and appreciation.

Conclusion

Being a leader is something that you’re going to have to get good at if you want to make it far in the PR industry.  If you ever want to be in charge of your own client or even your own agency one day, you need to put yourself out there and hone your ability to take charge.  To that end, it’s best that you sharpen those leadership skills now, while you’re still in college, rather than later, when your job depends on you.

Out of all of the benefits of becoming a member of PRSSA, the one I’m most grateful for was the opportunity to participate in Titan Public Relations, CSUF’s student-run PR firm.  It was an experience that taught and challenged me, whilst introducing me to colleagues that I now call my friends.  For that reason, if you’ve heard about TPR and are on the fence as to whether you should apply, I encourage you to join.  Take a leap of faith.  Give it a shot.  You won’t regret it.  

And if my word alone wasn’t enough to persuade you, I’ve outlined four reasons why you should join Titan Public Relations below.

1. Hands-On Experience

One of the hardest things about starting a career in any industry is getting your foot in the door.  Many entry-level PR jobs require that you have years of experience to qualify.  This can make your first job-search a nightmare, and it’s the reason why some of my colleagues had to spend over six months after college looking for a job before they got their big break.  This is also why TPR is so valuable: no experience is required to join.

For me, this was a game changer.  Prior to TPR, I had no experience other than learning about public relations theoretically in a classroom setting.  After I joined, however, I was dropped right into the PR industry, doing actual work for real clients that depended on our team.  Though it might sound like a lot of pressure, the experience that I got gave me confidence in myself and my resume moving forward.

2. Make Your Resume Stand Out

This point heavily relates to the last one.  That’s because I really wanted to hammer home the fact that: Employers want their employees to know what they’re doing.  The more experience you have prior to your first job search, the more competitive your resume will be.  The more competitive your resume, the quicker you can score a well-paying job and start paying off those pesky student loans. 

During my internship interviews, all hiring managers I talked to wanted to know the extent of my past experience.  Had it not been for TPR, I would have been stuck telling them solely about projects I completed in my classrooms.  Now, this isn’t necessarily the worst thing.  School projects are valid experiences, however, TPR is on another level.  It gave me experience in drafting PR proposals, crafting and sending out media pitches, and running full-blown social media campaigns for actual businesses.  These experiences are what made me stand out from the crowd and are the reason I have the internship I have today.

3. Networking

Sometimes, living in the virtual world can make it seem as though networking is impossible.  Though that isn’t the case, it sure is a lot more difficult to form those deep bonds with colleagues when you aren’t in person.  This is part of what makes TPR such a great opportunity: it’s an environment that facilitates the creation of personal and professional connections.

When you are working in a team of proactive students toward a common goal, it’s hard to not become friends by the time you finish.  The best part is, I’ve found the more rapport I build with my team, the more motivation I have to produce quality work, and the more fun I have doing so.

4. Leadership Skills

If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, I recommend you apply to be an account executive.  This role requires that you head communication with your client, set deadlines for your team’s goals, and delegate tasks to the account coordinators working under you.

Prior to TPR, I had zero experience when it came to being a leader.  Becoming an Account Executive changed that.  I had to oversee everyone else’s tasks, keep them on track, and make decisions to pivot our goals when necessary.   For me, being in charge was a challenge, but it was also the most rewarding experience I received from the firm.  I highly recommend that any CSUF student interested in owning their own agency or freelance team one day starts by applying to be an account executive for TPR.

February 1, 2021 ︱By: Elizabeth Williams 

Welcome to Spring 2021! I know right now things can be nerve wracking, especially for our seniors about to graduate, but PRSSA is here for you! We have resources that will help you expand your network, gain hands on experience, and jumpstart your career in PR.

To get started, let’s name a few:

1. Virtual Panels

Each semester PRSSA brings in guest speakers from different relevant industries who share their insights and experiences about PR with our members. After each panel discussion you are able to reach out to the panelists. This is a great way to network and expand your connections within the industry. 

This year, nine PRSSA chapters joined together to form the SoCal Coalition, a partnership where they would share panels and collaborate on networking events with one another.  This means that as a member of CSUF PRSSA, your network is larger than ever before.  You have access to panels from chapters including CSULB, CSULA, Cal Poly Pomona, Biola University, CSU Northridge, San Diego State University, USC and CSUDH

2. Committees

If you are trying to get more involved, committees are a great place to start. They help you network, gain experience, and give you a better understanding of what it takes to be an effective member of the executive board.  

The Digital Communications Committee will help you gain experience in social media, marketing, and website design. Each member dedicates at least one hour per week to learning how to increase content engagement across social media platforms. This committee focuses on content creation, graphic design, photography, and social media engagement. 

The Outreach Committee gives you the opportunity to learn how to pitch and network with different target audiences. This committee focuses on creating blogs, making email pitches, video pitches, and classroom pitches. You will gain experience in public speaking, time management, and networking.

If you love to plan, you can join the Events Committee where you will gain organizational skills and knowledge in using Excel. Since we are currently virtual, you will mainly work on social media campaigns for various platforms like Instagram and Facebook. 

Join the Professional Development Committee if you want to improve on your networking skills, which are essential to every PR practitioner As a member, you will be helping the VP of Professional Development research future panelists and help come up with questions to ask them. 

The Sponsorship & Fundraising Committee will give you a chance to create and execute a professional campaign to gain more donors for PRSSA. This is a perfect opportunity to gain real world experience in dealing with professionals, local businesses, and major companies. 

3. PR Certificate 

By joining PRSSA you have the chance to take a test for the Certificate in Principles in Public Relations. You can take it either 6 months before you graduate or 6 months after you graduate. The certification exhibits your proficiency in social media management, crisis communications, media relations and more.  Additionally, once you have this certificate, you are able to join PRSA, our parent organization,  immediately after graduating. Passing the test means OCPRSA will sponsor your one-year membership into their chapter!

4. Exclusive Internships

Internships are competitive these days, especially during the pandemic.  For California University Fullerton PR students, you need an internship to graduate. To help out, PRSSA has an exclusive internship database that will give you opportunities to apply for internships and some might even be paid. In addition, becoming a member gives you access to PRSSA Nationals Internship & Job Center, which has opportunities from all over and in all fields! 

When you join PRSSA, you get hands on experience and networking opportunities with PR professionals. If you aren’t already a member, don’t let these opportunities pass you by! Take charge of your future and sign up here: https://csufprssa.org/become-a-member/

By: Analleli Penaloza

After Cal State Fullerton transitioned to virtual instruction, many were uncertain about how life would unfold due to the impact of COVID- 19 and its subsequent. Although a virtual setting would entail challenges, CSUF PRSSA took measures early on to ensure their members would still receive a valuable experience. Here’s a run down of what they did to accommodate the virtual transition.


1. Continuing with Outreach Virtually

With it being announced that the Fall 2020 semester would be fully virtual, many clubs and organizations had to figure out quickly how to reach new members. 

CSUF’s club rush, known as DiscoverFest, exposes students to existing clubs and organizations on campus. This Fall 2020, Discoverfest was something entirely new for everyone under a virtual setting, but CSUF’s PRSSA took full advantage of the event. Executive Board members were on the Zoom call awaiting for students to enter their organization’s session, and were ready to share with students the benefits that PRSSA had  to offer. Many board members were unsure how things would go, but also thought that being able to speak to prospective members was a great experience. 

Outreach efforts also extended to doing PRSSA pitches within virtual class settings. PRSSA’s VP of Outreach, Rhett Rivera, stopped by virtual classes via Zoom and let CSUF students know about PRSSA and the possibilities it had to offer. 

I spoke to him to get his take and he stated, “Zoom pitching this year was something that was intimidating, but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad.  I know I was nervous at first because oftentimes almost no students have their cameras turned on so it can feel as though you are talking to yourself.  On the other hand, however, not having a ‘real’ audience in front of you kinda takes the pressure off.  After pitching in front of a couple of Zoom classrooms, it actually became fun to relate my experience with PRSSA to other students!” I couldn’t even imagine, but I commend him for his hard work and continuing outreach efforts as best he could.

I had actually attended virtual Discoverfest and stumbled across PRSSA’s Zoom Link and decided to join. For me, virtual Discoverfest was a new experience and I didn’t even know what to expect upon joining the call. Once I joined, I spoke with a few Executive Board members who informed me of what PRSSA was and the benefits it had to offer. I learned about their events and committees and from there, I decided to become a PRSSA member and get involved. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 


2. Hosting Virtual Events 

On September 16th, 2020 CSUF PRSSA hosted its event on Diversity & Inclusion. Being the first official virtual event to be hosted, there was a lot of uncertainty about how it would go, but the Executive Board remained optimistic. They had high hopes after they had a big turnout for their virtual Kickoff event. Even though they had expected a drop in memberships after the virtual transition, they ended the semester with over 130 members!

      The Diversity and Inclusion event also had a huge turnout and members were still able to engage with the panelists. The virtual event was held via Zoom, with the link being provided to attend. As someone who attended their virtual events, I can truthfully say it was great to still be able to attend virtually, listen to each speaker, and ask questions to the panelists. Virtual events are unique and wonderful experiences!  


3. Participating in PRSSA’s SoCal Coalition 

Due to the virtual transition, CSUF and other PRSSA chapters within Southern California united to provide students with more content by hosting virtual panels for one another. This proved to be a great way to stay connected and network with other PR individuals across SoCal. CSUF participated and hosted an event on October 14th about Personal Branding. There was a mixture of event attendees from variousPRSSA chapters. Also, other chapters, such as Biola’s PRSSA chapter, hosted an event and in attendance there were CSUF PRSSA members, taking advantage of the new opportunity offered and listening attentively to what the panel speakers at the event had to offer. The great thing about things being virtual was that it opens up new opportunities for people to take advantage of, otherwise not being possible as if events were in person. 

Overall, even though virtual transitions proved to be challenging, CSUF’s PRSSA chapter continued to excel in their efforts to provide students with great experience throughout this semester!

December 5, 2020 | By: Elizabeth Williams 

Content engagement is a type of measurement in public relations that justifies the impact of content that has been published. Most public relations companies measure the success of content by likes, shares and comments. 

While it can be challenging figuring out how to create engaging content, here are 4 ways to make your content more engaging with social media.

1. Figure Out Your Brand

If you want people to continue to like and follow your page, you need to give them a reason to do just that. You can start creating your brand by looking at your past content and seeing how well your audience engaged with it. Then figure out whether or not you can replicate similar content and if this is something you can do long term. It is really important to keep your page consistent. No one likes a messy page, so make sure all your posts connect with each other and your brand.  

For instance, if you look at Chloe Ting’s Instagram you can tell off the bat that she’s into fitness and it looks aesthetically pleasing. 

2. Know Your Audience 

Another way to increase your content engagement is by finding out who your target audience is. You can find your audience by doing your own personal research. If you are trying to sell workout clothes, look at some demographics and psychographics of who is buying workout clothes. Are women or men buying it? Are they a certain age?

You can also use your social media platforms to engage with your audience by replying to their comments. When you interact with your followers you will start to see what kinds of people like your page and can create content more relatable to them. 

Right now there’s a trend about body positivity and people are loving that influencers are opening up about their insecurities. 

3. Make Content More Interactive 

Let’s be real, no one wants to follow someone who is boring. You need to switch up the content of your posts. Make your content more interactive by coming up with polls, quizzes, slideshows or videos. With Instagram, influencers are incorporating Reels to engage with their audience. 

4. Create Content With a Purpose

When you write a caption for social media think about the meaning behind it. Is it telling a story? Does it relate to your brand? 

People like to see more real posts about you, so make your posts personal. For example, if you are talking about a fitness routine, keep it real. You can tell them that you were struggling with it.  It makes you more relatable. 

Make content that is well thought out and true to your brand. Remember you got to keep up with it, so make sure you are looking at it daily. Interact with your audience and keep the page consistent. 

Work Cited

DMI, Simon @. “10 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand on Social Media.” Digital Marketing Institute, Digital Marketing Institute, 15 Nov. 2019, digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/10-steps-to-building-your-personal-brand-on-social-media.

Henderson, Gary. “How to Create Engaging Content .” Digital Marketing.org,2020,www.digitalmarketing.org/blog/how-to-create-engaging-content. https://www.digitalmarketing.org/blog/how-to-create-engaging-content

Sutter, Brian. “6 Ways To Make Your Content More Engaging.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine,14 Sept. 2017, forbes.com/sites/briansutter/2017/09/14/6-ways-to-make-your-content-more-engaging/?sh=1bb7f4738f67

What company did you receive an internship for?  What are they known for?

Grocery Outlet, they are known for their opportunistic buying practices and low prices.

What was your favorite part of the job?

I was in the Marketing department and through my project I got to interact with many different departments like Distribution, Planning and Logistics. The person in HR overseeing the interns set up many group zoom meetings so all of the interns could talk with the executive teams.  She also set up fun games and trivia nights.

Did you feel as though your experience with PRSSA helped prepare you for this internship?  If so, in what way?

Yes, because even though I didn’t do much PR work I was still included in all of the PR meetings with Grocery Outlet. I think being in PRSSA helped prepare me for what PR work is like in the working world.

Would you recommend this internship to other people? Why or why not?

Yes, Grocery Outlet was an amazing place to have an internship. Everyone I interacted with was nice and would answer any and all questions I had. I never had a bad experience working there over my ten weeks. They had many educational meetings to learn all about their business.

How has this internship impacted the trajectory of your future?  Career-wise, where are you headed next?

I’m not sure what is next for me career wise. The internship was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone. It has given me a good look at what a career in marketing or PR would be like and it was a valuable experience.

November 19, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera 

Being a public relations professional could mean a lot of different things for different people.  For one person it could mean writing for a blog and social media management, whilst for another person it might mean creating newsletters and engaging in employee relations.  There’s an assortment of different types of jobs in PR and you want to find the one ideally suited to your skills and interests.  You want to find your niche.

This is something, however, that is easier said than done.  That’s why I’ve decided to write this article on how we could get you started.

Familiarize Yourself with the Different Categories of PR

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Before you jump into your first position, it would be a smart idea to evaluate the different career paths people typically take in the PR industry.  Some of the categories that first come to mind are:

  • Media relations
  • Crisis management
  • Social media communications
  • Strategic communications
  • Public Affairs

Once you do some research about what each of these job types entails, you’ll have a better idea of which one you’d like to focus on moving forward.  In fact, if one of them really interests you, it might be a good idea to reach out to someone in your network who does just that.  Ask them about what a day in their workplace entails.  

Additionally, if you don’t already know someone who works in the industry you’re searching for, I would recommend connecting with some of our PRSSA panelists.  We have a diverse network of PR professionals who work in all sorts of industries who would love to connect to students and answer any questions they might have.

Think About Your Passions and Interests

If you want a successful, long-term career in PR, you’re going to want to enjoy whatever work it is you’re doing.  A good indicator that you’re passionate about a certain type of work is that it seems to make the hours fly by.  

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To this end, I suggest you think about your hobbies.  What is it that you love to do?  Do any of those skills translate to public relations? For example, I have a friend who used to love painting.  Then, when they got into PR, they found that their skill in art translated over to graphic design and content creation.

Additionally, you should also consider the school assignments that you have completed in the past.  Have you ever found yourself investing an exorbitant amount of time into a project even though you didn’t need to?  For example, when I was younger, whenever we would have a creative writing assignment I would go all out.  I would spend hours working on my assigned story and neglect any other assignments I had because I found that I loved to write.  For me, that same passion translates into creating press releases, email pitches, and even blog posts.  This has helped me realize that my ideal PR position would have a writing requirement.

Seek Out Hands-On Experience

Obvious, right?  To learn more about which PR niche tickles your fancy, you might want to get some hands on experience for reference.  

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The prospect of this can be intimidating.  You might be thinking to yourself that you aren’t ready nor qualified for your first professional PR position.  However, to get experience, you don’t need to commit to a full-blown internship or job search if you feel you aren’t ready.  

There are plenty of other ways to start gaining experience right now.  For example, you could join one of PRSSA’s committees or participate in Titan Public Relations, CSUF’s student-run PR firm.  There are countless resources from which you could gain experience, you just need to keep your ears perked and listen for the opportunities as they come.

November 12, 2020 ︱By: Elizabeth Williams 

It is important now more than ever to have a strong resume. An employer will use your resume to learn more about you and to see if you are a good fit. That being said, you need to make sure your resume is well written and formatted. To give you some ideas on how to build your resume, I have put together 5 helpful tips.

1. Keywords in the job listing

The first step for preparing your resume is to CAREFULLY read the job posting

that interests you. When you start to apply to multiple jobs, you should study each job description for keywords that show what the employer wants. Then, incorporate those keywords into your resume. Pay very close attention to sections in the job description that say “Requirements” or “Qualifications.” 

2. Resume Examples

When writing a resume, you should look up examples of resumes from the field you are applying to. It will help give you an idea of what employers are looking for in that field. There are so many ways you can use resume samples, but there are three main points you should see on the resumes. 

The first point is to make it simple and easy to read. Resume samples should be straightforward because employers have a small amount of time to review your resume. 

The second point is to make it brief, no employer wants to read an essay. Include only key points and relevant information. 

The third point is to include numbers because employers are highly responsive to proven value. Numbers can give them a better understanding of the value you may bring to the job.  

You should keep in mind that resume examples are not meant to be copied exactly. They are a tool you can use to help get started on writing a resume. 

3. Format

Having a clear and easy to read resume is very important because you have to keep in mind that employers only have a short time to review it. Start by keeping your font size between 10 and 12 points. Only use basic, clean fonts like Times New Roman or Arial to make your resume appear more professional.  You also need to reduce or eliminate any extra whitespace.  By eliminating whitespace, the employer can focus on the content of your resume instead of all the extra blank space.

4. Most relevant and important information first

You may want to include everything you have done your whole life and show every accomplishment you have, but that won’t get you a job. Employers are looking for what skills can be used for the job. Only put jobs you have worked for in the past couple of years and the current college you go to. 

As much of an accomplishment it is to graduate high school and get a AA in community college, employers don’t care about it. To them it is extra information they don’t need to know. Just keep in mind what is the most recent and important information they need to know that relates to their open position. 

5. Proofread and Revise

Before you send your resume, make sure you have looked it over at least three times. You need to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.  Try to find a trusted family member or friend to proofread. It is always a good idea to have another set of eyes on the document. If you download Grammarly it will let you know if you spell something wrong or if you messed up on punctuation. 

Resumes don’t have to be stressful, as long as you follow these tips. Make sure to give yourself some time to brainstorm, research, and outline your resume. Remember that this is a reflection of you, so make sure it is good.

Works Cited:

10 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job. (2020). Retrieved November 09, 2020, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/10-resume-writing-tips