Archive | November 2011

“The Skills Employers Desire in Today’s PR Professional”

Recently, Ragan’s PR Daily wrote and one of the most unique articles I’ve read about PR professionals.

Arik Hanson asked agency owners, recruiters, and HR people across the industry three key questions:

1. What’s one skill that every PR pro needs today and why?
2. What’s one PR skill that you see evolving—and becoming critical to success—in the years ahead?
3. What’s the one skill you currently have the hardest time finding in the marketplace as you recruit for new talent?

Check out the article for the answers!

This article was posted by Kelsey Darnall (@KelseyJDarnall).


The Next Big Thing: Red Frog Events


For you lucky members heading to Chicago in December prepare yourself to tour Red Frog Events, a local event planning company that’s starting to boom in the Chicago area! For those of you hoping to network and possibly gain a job out of this trip expect to put all your skills out on the table. They receive around 2,000 resumes EACH MONTH! Once someone is accepted into the company they are fortunate enough to call themselves one of the “Frog Army” members and become part of the office family.

Red Frog puts on events like the Warrior Dash, The Great Urban Race scavenger hunt, Beach Palooza and Red Frog Bar Crawl! Check out Red Frog’s website (linked above) and make sure to follow them on Twitter at @RedFrogEvents before you arrive in Chicago. Have questions ready for Red Frog and make sure you bring your ‘A GAME!’

This post was written and edited by Kelsey Darnall ( KelseyJDarnall).

5 Resume Tips from Jon Pushkin, APR

Last Thursday I took a trip to Denver and sat down with Jon Pushkin from Pushkin PR for a helpful informational interview. After talking about the Denver PR market, and different companies in the area, we talked about resumes and portfolios. Jon sees multiple resumes come across his desk on a weekly basis. Here’s 5 tips from Jon on how to make your own resume and cover letter stand out among the many:

1. Do your homework: Before sending a company or a professional your cover letter do your homework and check out their website, blog or any social media they are on. Find a way to connect instead of sending a general cover letter that you send out to everyone. Saying something along the lines of, “I’m interested in this client of yours because it’s similar to the work I’ve done on so and so..” will make your cover letter much more personal.

2. Talk about your extracurricular activities: Your resume should include more than just what school you went to, what your major was and when you plan on graduating. Any outside activities (like a sorority or fraternity, PRSSA, volunteer work) makes your resume stand out more. If you’ve traveled abroad make sure this is also included on your resume and talk about your oversea experiences.

3. Show how you’ve actually been active: If you are in any of the activities I mentioned above show what you’ve done and how this applies to the line of work you’d like to get in to. Just because you have a membership in PRSSA doesn’t mean you are more qualified then someone who isn’t a member. Explain how these organizations have benefited you and explain what you’ve done in them and what you’ve learned from them.

4. Show that you have interest in the world around you: Include information about what news you read and from what news outlets you get your news from. If you can’t include it in your resume because it doesn’t fit anywhere include this information on your cover letter. Jon said it’s a rare occurrence to find a young professional that shows that they stay up-to-date on news, but it’s appreciated when he does see it. Whether you watch CNN every night, or have a subscription to the New York Times, talk about it.

5. Have an easily accessed portfolio: Many of us in PRSSA know the importance of a portfolio. It’s beneficial to take to interviews and it shows the work you’ve done. But, when sending out a cover letter or a resume online, you can’t show your tangible portfolio. So, create one online. Your online portfolio can either be a link to a PDF file, or to your blog, or to an actual website of your own. Either way, show off what you’ve done so far in your PR field.

This post was written by Kelsey Darnall (@KelseyJDarnall). These tips were given by Jon Pushkin (@Jon_Pushkin).

The Importance of “You, Inc.”

We all work, or will work with brands.  That is what we do in public relations.  In order to understand the goals of our client, we must first understand who they are, what they represent and use these characteristics to craft a goal reflective of that brand’s identity.  But as we all begin to enter the professional workplace, some of us—myself included—seem to have forgotten what may be the most important brand we will ever work with: YOU.  What separates you, as a brand, from the person competing with you for your ideal, picturesque job?

Last week we had the pleasure of having Ryan May, Principal of RDM Consulting and Editor of the Minnesota Public Relations blog, join our weekly PRSSA meeting to give us invaluable insight to the world of public relations.  Ryan is a seasoned veteran of the public relations industry, having served as Vice President for Risdall McKinney Public relations—now Risdall Public Relations—along with other very notable entities in public relations.  On a side note, if you are on the hunt for a job in public relations you should definitely follow Ryan’s blog, MNPR for frequent updates on job openings and internship opportunities!

If you were not at the meeting last Wednesday I urge you to listen to Ryan speak.  He has an air of confidence, not because he is conceited or feels that he is above students, but because he knows who he is, what is important to him and why we should listen to what he has to say.  In my opinion, I feel that this poise is uncommon in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication because we are all trying so hard to prove what we have done to employers and have forgotten to include who we are, what makes us special.  Ryan stressed the need to be yourself, to stand up for your beliefs and before all else, think about the traits that make your brand unique and above the rest.

One of the most interesting points Ryan discussed in his presentation is the question, “What makes you who you are?”  If you were sitting on an airplane and a complete stranger asked you, how would you answer?  He said to choose five traits, five things that distinguish you and practice how to present these points in a speech.  What worked best for Ryan was to create an acronym highlighting what makes “Ryan Inc.” a brand different from the rest.  LUCKI.

L representing leadership.

U representing unity.

C representing communication.

K representing knowledge.

I representing integrity.

So what would make up your acronym?  How would you describe yourself?  What I cannot emphasize enough is the need to be real.  Be real to yourself, be real to others.

People recognize that.

Ryan May can be contacted through his Twitter account @MNPR.

This post was written by Jens R. Heig (@JensRHeig) and edited by Kelsey Darnall (@KelseyJDarnall).

PRSSA Has Lunch with John Puckett

On Friday, October 7 a few members from the Philanthropy Committee had the opportunity to meet and have lunch with business extraordinaire John Puckett. Not quite sure who he is? Ever heard of Caribou Coffee? Of course you have! He and his wife, Kim, founded the company back in 1992 with their first shop right here in Edina. They then sold their interest in the late 90’s.

Now he is co-owner of Punch Pizza, where our group was treated to delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas and listened to John discuss his thoughts on life and business. He talked to us about the idea that you “should love what you’re doing because life’s too short.” He decided to follow his dreams with his wife in creating Caribou. By the time they sold their interest in the company they were already loyal patrons to Punch and friendly with its creator, John Sorrano. The two Johns became partners in 2001 and opened Punch’s second restaurant in 2002 and he hasn’t looked back since.

John discussed his ideal that every business needs a focus on detail and commitment before it’s created in order to succeed. For Punch, that meant focusing on the product – which is quite different from our mainstream processed pizzas – and the business side, where John shined in placing the eatery just right.

Punch now has seven metro area locations. While expansion is in mind, they would much rather have a smaller and extremely loyal fan base than global ambition. This is what makes a great business versus a good one.

Meeting John Puckett was an amazing experience. He is down-to-earth, welcoming and was eager to share with us his experiences which have lead him down an amazingly successful road. PRSSA is so excited to be working with John and Punch Pizza this year!

For more information on Punch Pizza check out their website:

This post was written by StacyFahey (@StacyKFahey) and edited by Kelsey Darnall (@KelseyJDarnall).

A Day In The Life of a Former PRSSA Member

I recently interviewed Lindsey Jablonic, a former PRSSA student and now a successful graduate from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Lindsey went into a unique career field and I hope you all find this interview beneficial!

During your time in PRSSA, what executive positions did you hold?

I was Director of Event Planning my senior year.

What valuable experience did you take in because you held an executive position in PRSSA?

I learned to delegate and how to ask for help. I like doing things my way because that way I know it’s done right, and by delegating tasks to committee members it not only alleviated a lot of my stress but also taught me that I can’t do everything by myself- it’s perfectly okay to ask for help and to be helped. This is so important when you get out of college, because you learn even more after college, and it’s what pays your bills. If you’re struggling at work and  you need help, it is so important to be able to ask for it, because you don’t get what you don’t ask for!

Since graduating, what have you found the “real working world” to be like?

The real word is challenging, rewarding, fast pasted and has a lot more free time than college. And you have a lot more money, which isn’t bad.

Where are you currently working? Do you enjoy the company?
I work for Cintas Corporation, the largest uniform provider in the country.  The company is fantastic! The culture is really what makes the company a joy to work for, and it’s also what sets us apart from our competitors. They take good care of me as well.

What is your position there?

I’m a uniform sales representative.

On a day-to-day basis, what do you tend to do for them?

Life as an outside sales rep isn’t for everyone, but I love it! I call on both current customers and look for new business. I’m only in the office ten or so hours a week, and during that time I have meetings and “phone block”, which is where you make as many phone calls as you can during four hour time blocks to set up your appointment schedule. The rest of the week I go on appointments with prospects or current customers and find their needs, wants and provide them with a Cintas solution. Yes, I sell pants, shirts, floor mats, toilet paper, soap, etc. but they’re using it, so they may as well get it from me! My job essentially is to go out every day, meet with as many people as I can, get them to like me, and show them how I can help their business. Then of course selling the products and services, making sure they’re installed properly and on time and that their weekly service is set up for success.

Has any of your experiences from PRSSA assisted you at your current employer?

I’m sure the correct answer would be “yes” but honestly, no. I had every intention of going into sales out of college, but also liked PR. I knew PR wasn’t for me, but it was fun, the people were great and I liked planning fun trips to keep me busy. I went a 13 week training program at Cintas for them to mold me into exactly the rep they wanted me to be.

If you had to give any advice to a senior student in PRSSA about graduation and working in the real world, what advice would you give?

Be prepared to work your butt off, especially in your first year. Put in the hours, ask questions, and get your career off the ground. At Cintas there is definitely a work hard, play hard mentality. You work hard during the week, meet your numbers, and enjoy your weekends. No more studying at night, or wasting your time in the library on the weekend when you should be acting your age! But more importantly, and especially in a corporate setting, it is really easy to get caught up in the corporate BS and the day to day stuff you need to do. Don’t forget who you are, what you like and what your goals are. You’d be surprised at how much you can change after you leave campus. Know who you are and stick to it, because a lot of the time it’s what makes people like you and how you get to the top!

If you’d like to get in contact with Lindsey, or have any other questions you can follow her on Twitter @Linds_Jablo. This interview was conducted by Kelsey Darnall (@KelseyJDarnall).