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 ︱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

November 10, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera 

Oftentimes in PR, the quality of your content is going to depend on how good you are at storytelling.  Whether you are publishing a press release, writing a blog, or even creating content for social media, you’re telling a story.  That being said, you are going to want to brush up on what makes for a compelling narrative.

1. Understand Your Purpose

Before you start contributing to your company’s narrative, you want to determine what it is that you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.  Your mission statement is going to determine the tone of the stories you decide to publish.  

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A great example of a company that exhibits a strong purpose through the stories they tell is Nike.  It’s a company whose purpose involves “expanding human potential,” something that directly relates to the top-performing athletes that they sponsor.  This is apparent in their social media posts and their commercials, which often involve people overcoming adversity in the pursuit of achieving greatness.  

In contrast, if you are representing a company that sells Barbie Playhouses, it’s unlikely that you’re going to want them to publish anything like a Nike commercial.  This is why it’s important to determine your purpose before you create content for your company.  

2. Consider Your Audience

Ever wonder why Hasbro never runs commercials featuring senior citizens playing with action figures?  That’s right. Other than the fact that it would be downright weird, it also just wouldn’t cater to their target audience: kids.  Hasbro knows that the people who typically engage with their toys are younger, so that’s why children are always the focal point of their advertisements.

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Similarly, this is something that you’re going to want to consider whenever you are marketing a new story for your brand.  Think about the demographics and psychographics of your audience.  Are they older or younger?  Is your audience a specific gender?  What are their values?  All of these questions are going to help determine your brand narrative.

3. Determine Your Main Character

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Every story needs a main character.  Someone to drive the story forward and overcome the issue at hand.  This might end up being the CEO of your company, like how Steve Jobs became the face of Apple, or how Tesla marketed the story of Elon Musk.  

Regardless of who you choose, you want to be sure that your audience can relate to them.  The more your audience relates to your hero’s story, the more invested they will be in its outcome.

4. Follow Tried-and-True Story Templates

There’s a famous quote by Mark Twain: “There is no such thing as a new idea.”  If Hollywood’s ubiquitous use of recycled plotlines in movies proves anything, it’s that this quote rings true today.  

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In fact, best-selling author and journalist Christopher Booker, in his book, “The Seven Basic Plots,” outlines the seven categories of story which appear most often in media today.  They are as follows: 

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. The Quest
  4. Voyage and Return
  5. Comedy
  6. Tragedy
  7. Rebirth or Renewal

Once you become more familiar with these archetypes, it becomes easier to craft compelling stories of your own.  When you read more about the seven plots, it can help inspire you and get you started.
That being said, don’t feel as though your story has to fit into one of these categories.  You don’t want your knowledge of these templates to stifle your creativity.

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

The company I received an internship for is called ProMazo.  It is a college student consulting technology platform that gets students out in the field to learn more than they would  with a traditional internship. It’s a recruitment company that gets college students the experience they need to get hired.

What was your favorite part of the job?

I am still in my role at ProMazo, but my favorite part is setting up meetings with professionals such as reporters and journalists. We learn from them how we can improve, hear about their experiences and how they got to where they are. I also enjoy applying the skills I’ve learned in my PR courses to my job. I’ve written pitch letters, press kits and well-thought-out, professional email sequences.

Did you face any challenges that you didn’t expect?  If so, how did you handle them?

I didn’t expect to be the head of our PR Media team. It was a lot to grasp at first and I felt pressure, but it was worth it to be uncomfortable for a bit in order to push myself and apply what I’ve learned to my job. Every day I just do more research and go back through my school notes if I need help. Communication is also key in my role, so if I need help my teammates are there for me. I can do a lot more than I thought I could.

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

Yes, most definitely. Learning how to speak and ask questions to professionals is so important. PRSSA has made me feel more confident and get outside of my shell. PRSSA makes me feel involved, motivated, and connected to the PR world. It has opened my eyes to where I want to go in my career and ways to get there. Networking is one of the most important things anyone can do in college.  It’s just as, if not more important than, your actual coursework.

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

Yes, although I’m not sure if my employer is just having interns for this specific project we’re working on. I’m not sure if he usually takes on interns every semester or not, but if he does, I would definitely recommend it for PR.

What was the biggest takeaway/lesson-learned you got from your experience?

I have learned how to professionally construct a meeting, communicate effectively, use spreadsheets, make media contact lists, and do extensive research to find journalist contact information. Also, I’ve realized how important it is to read people’s articles and know what they do before asking them to cover your story or give advice on pitching angles to the media. It creates that initial relationship before the ask.

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

This internship has made me feel confident that being in PR is right for me and makes me want to apply to PR agencies and careers during my final semester of college. I love to write and make meaningful connections, so this is what I was meant to do.

October 23, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera

Nowadays, everyone has a personal brand, even if they don’t realize it.  Whether you like it or not, your social media accounts create a story about who you are.  

Therefore, you want to be an active participant in weaving that narrative.  To give you some ideas on how to start mindfully developing your brand, I’ve compiled these five tips.

Clarify Your Purpose

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First off, you want to think about why your personal brand matters in the first place.  Are you trying to impress employers? Are you hoping to expand your professional network?  Or are you tackling the lofty goal of trying to become a professional influencer? Regardless of what the answer is, determining your purpose is going to influence the aesthetic and overall vibe of your brand.

Determine Your Audience

After you nail down the purpose of your brand, you want to start considering who it is you’re trying to reach. Your pages cannot appeal to everyone.  

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For example, if your objective is to expand your brand to attain your dream job, think about what your employer would be looking for in an employee.  Go as far as creating a profile for what this employer would be like.  Analyze their demographic and psychographic as if you were executing a PR proposal.  Then, after you’ve figured out who you want to market yourself to, it narrows down what kinds of content you’re going to produce.

Follow Experts in Your Industry

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When you follow influential people in your industry, you’re doing a couple of things.  

One, you are giving yourself a chance to network.  You can like and comment on their posts.  Shoot them a DM asking for advice.  Do something to give them that little notification that you exist.  You would be surprised at the powerful relationships you can build online.

Develop Your Personal Image

We’ve all seen those profiles that don’t think twice about the kinds of photos they post of themselves.  In fact, some people’s socials solely consist of bathroom selfies.  It’s unlikely that this is the brand image you want to develop.

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Instead, think about sprucing up your profile pics.  Get some professional headshots taken.  More importantly, don’t mindlessly post photos that could damage the overall image of what you’re going for.  

Be Authentic

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Ideally, you want your brand to be an extension of yourself.  While it’s okay to find inspiration with others, you don’t want to become a carbon copy of someone you’re not.  You want your socials to represent you in an honest way.  If you aren’t passionate about something, you shouldn’t feel obligated to post about it.

Instead, be vulnerable and feel free to share what you’re interested in.  If you’re passionate about art, post some stories showcasing your work.  If you play an instrument, consider sharing your talent with your followers.  This gives you something to bond with others about, and it gives people a better perspective on what a well-rounded person you are.

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

The company I interned with over summer 2020 was Integrity Public Relations Inc. They are a public relations agency known for working with tech companies. IPR helps clients reach their sales and marketing objectives by offering professional help from their senior account team who each have around 20 years of experience in the field. 

What was your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of working with Integrity Public Relations Inc. was getting the opportunity to have my first experience in the public relation world while being surrounded by a team with amazing insight on the career field I will shortly be diving into Doing research, making media lists and contacting potential collaborators was all exciting for me as this was the first time I got to take part in anything PR related, apart from PRSSA. 

Did you face any challenges that you didn’t expect?  If so, how did you handle them?

I did not face any challenges thankfully, but little bumps in the road. When contacting those on our media list, there was more denial than acceptance when it came to working with any company. Learning how to handle a “no” or simply no response is something that is completely normal and I learned that it just may not be the right time to work with everyone. 

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

Yes, my experience with PRSSA 100% helped prepare me for my internship with IPR. I was on CSUF’s PRSSA 2019-2020 board as VP of Administration and because of that I was able to get my internship with IPR. Also, being VP of Admin. helped me greatly because I was able to transfer what I learned in my position to adapt quickly to what was needed of me at my internship. 

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

I would definitely recommend this internship to other people if the position became available again. PR is not always glitz and glam, there is hard work that needs to be done to get a company to where it is, the way Ken Hagihara has. He built IPR and continues to work with clients and keep the company running with an amazing work ethic from him and his colleague. Working for an agency gives you the opportunity to work with multiple clients without having to be an independent contractor. 

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

This internship has impacted me because I now know that an agency could be something to consider when I graduate and begin looking for a job. Having my internship with an agency was exciting, there was always something to do for one company or another and it kept me on my toes. As for where I am headed next, I will be graduating in Fall 2020 and will possibly take a small break to enjoy the road and then begin looking for a job. 

October 2, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera

Ahh, yes.  The feeling of student loans breathing down your neck.  The nagging feeling that you aren’t doing anything with your life and nobody would ever want to hire you. The pressure from your parents to stop wasting time, get off your butt, and dust the cobwebs off your resume.  

That’s it: the feeling of searching for a job after graduation.

It should go without saying, these are feelings you probably want to avoid.  To that end, it’s imperative that you be proactive about a job search prior to graduation.  

But how should you go about doing so? 

To answer this question, I’ve outlined these four tips to help you find potential employment options before graduating.

1. Research

Before you mindlessly spam your resume to hundreds of companies, it’s first a good idea to know where you would like to work in the first place.  PR is a versatile industry where you could land in completely different job positions depending on which company you decide to roll with.

For this reason, it’s important to have a vision for what your ideal job would look like.  Ask yourself questions.  What type of work do you enjoy most? Content creation? Writing?  What types of brands resonate with you?  Are you into fashion? Or is sports your passion?

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After you’ve narrowed things down, seek out the companies where you think you would be a good fit.  Then read their mission statements.  Figure out what they are looking for, and then become that.  Cater your resume to that job position.

Sure, you might not get your ideal position as Senior Director of Marketing for Pixar on your first go, but having that as a long-term goal gives you a place to start.  Maybe you could apply to a PR position at a smaller animation company first, and then use that experience to leverage yourself into the job that you actually want later.

2. Leverage Your Internships

Usually students get an internship their Junior or Senior year of college, but they don’t always make the most of it.  Sometimes, students choose to do the bare-minimum, and treat it like a graduation requirement.  Which it is.  But it’s also more than that.

An internship is a place to get experience, but it’s also a place to show what you’re made of.  Show off those skills you learned from your coursework. 

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 Treat your internship like a 120-hour-long job interview, because it sort of is.  According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship and Co-op survey, 60% of paid internships result in job offers.

This means that you should: one, consider going the extra mile to acquire a paid internship, and two, make yourself as indispensable as possible after you acquire one.  Your efforts might just be rewarded with a job offer.

3. Network

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It feels as though no matter what I write about, it always comes back to networking.  Put simply, that’s because networking is to PR as the Whopper is to Burger King.  It’s an industry staple.  You can’t avoid it. 

Depending on who you ask, 70%-85% of positions are filled through networking.  So yeah, I would say it’s a skill you should be honing sooner rather than later. 

But let’s say you already knew that.  Where do you get started?  Well, first off, you can start by reading the blog post I wrote to answer that exact question.

If you don’t have the attention span for that, however, let me give you the sparknotes version.

  • Attend virtual events, like our PRSSA Virtual Panels
  • Use LinkedIn to connect with our professional panelists
  • Ask around, talk to classmates and professors
  • Make a study group
  • Get more involved, join a committee or a new club

The bottom-line is this: if you want to be successful in PR you have to network.  It might be tempting to make the excuse that, because things are virtual, networking is impossible.  However, it’s not, and it might just land you the first job of your career.

4. Attend Career Fairs

This is probably the most straightforward advice I can give when it comes to searching for a job.  Career fairs are the place where employers are actively searching for new employees.  This can be intimidating, however, since it’s the most obvious place to search for a job, meaning it can be competitive.

That being said, if you aren’t willing to put yourself out there, you aren’t going to see any results.  Understand that finding a job is a numbers game.  The more career fairs and virtual events you attend, the more potential employers you will meet.  The more employers you meet, the higher the likelihood becomes that you will get hired!

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If you’re excited and ready to immerse yourself in the now-virtual world of career-fairs, but don’t know where to start, do not fret.  I am here to help.

A good place to start would be at CSU Fullerton’s Career Center website, where they have a full list of upcoming virtual career fairs and workshops.  Additionally, the website for National Career Fairs also has a diverse selection of virtual career fairs.  Just look under the Southern California section to find a myriad of options.

September 18, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera

These days, everyone in the business world seems to be using LinkedIn.  Professionals use it to land jobs, recruiters use it to scout employees, and others use it to strengthen their brand image.  

Regardless of how you are using it, there is no question that LinkedIn has an abundance of untapped potential.  Many students, however, create their profile as a requirement for a college class, or because they were pressured into it by a colleague, and then allow their profile to gather dust.  

When this happens, it’s no wonder that their profile isn’t getting any views or connection requests.  To prevent this from happening to you, I devised this list of 3 key ways that will help you make the most of LinkedIn.

1. Keep Your Profile Active

It’s obvious advice, but nobody wants to reach out to a dead profile. When you are active and engaged with your network, you show that you are dedicated to growing professionally.  

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Okay, maybe you don’t have to post EVERY day.  But once a week wouldn’t kill ya.

While this can be intimidating, just don’t overthink things.  Not all of your posts have to be original, handwritten, color-coded thesis papers on the current economic climate.  You can just share a business article you think is interesting, or post a graphic you created for class, or congratulate your friend on their new job.  

It really is as simple as that.

2. Research Companies That Interest You

The ultimate goal of maintaining a LinkedIn profile is to get you on the road to your dream job.  This being the case, you can be proactive right now by making connections with the companies that you dream of a future with.

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Study their mission statements, what they value in employees, and think about what you could bring to the table to their company.  In the future, should you score yourself an interview, this knowledge will show them your dedication and desire to work for their company.

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3. Be Authentic

Ahh yes, the oldest advice in the book: “Be yourself.”  It’s a tad cliche, sure, but people on LinkedIn need to hear it.  People all too often associate “professionalism” with “being an emotionless robot.”  

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Instead, it’s better that you put some personality into your profile.  If you want to make a sarcastic quip in your profile, do so!  If you are really passionate about zodiac signs, mention it! If you have an obsession with Disneyland, own it!

This isn’t to say you should exclude your professional experience from your profile.  Make sure you sell yourself and your abilities, but also be sure to sell your personality!

And don’t mindlessly send connections to people you don’t even know.  Treat your connections with care, and personalize a request to connect every once in a while.  Show that they are more than just a number on your connection count.

September 10, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera

While nothing quite beats connecting with people in person over a cup of coffee, the global pandemic means we have to adapt. 

On the bright side, digital networking is a necessary skill, and now you have no excuse to neglect it.  There has never been a better time to learn how to network from the comfort of your own home.  

“But how do I get started?” you might ask.  Without further ado, I present to you 3 different ways you can start expanding your digital network today.

1. Take Advantage of LinkedIn

You probably knew this was coming.  There was no way I was about to write an article about digital networking and not include the largest professional network in the world.  

While it is an obvious networking tool, many students let their LinkedIn profiles gather dust.  They don’t post, make connections, and they let their profiles die.

Instead, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’re going to want to be as active as possible.  

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Whether it be sharing a graphic you created for a school project, sending a personalized connection request to an old coworker, or simply just slapping a “like” on someone else’s post, you want to be active in order to attract others into your network.

2. Join Titan Public Relations

If you didn’t already know, CSU Fullerton has its own virtual, student-run PR firm, Titan PR, and it is the perfect place to create professional and personal relationships. 

 You at Titan PR, probably.

As a transfer student with no experience in PR, applying for TPR ended up being the most important decision for my college career.  Not only did it provide me with my first taste of hands-on experience, but I also made solid friendships with the students on my team. 

 Furthermore, it helped me build relationships with the executive board members in the class, which inspired me to run for a position on the executive board myself.  

All in all, I couldn’t recommend TPR more.

3. Attend Virtual Events

This semester, there are numerous virtual opportunities that you can take advantage of.  You can sign up for workshops, panels, and career tours, all from the comfort of your own home.

By simply showing up, you are strengthening your network.  All you have to do is follow up. 

 If you attend one of our biweekly virtual panels, for example, afterwards, you should send our panelists a request on LinkedIn.  Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and start a conversation. 

It goes far to put yourself out there. Established PR professionals were once in your shoes, and love seeing students show initiative.

If you are diligent about following up after attending virtual events, your network is going to expand at a rate you couldn’t imagine.  

Now put yourself out there and get to networking!