prepare for an internship
1. Sit down, relax and soul search. Find a productive workspace, brew some coffee and start to think about what career path you want to take. Ask yourself questions about what you are looking for. If you’re in college, but still unsure of what career path you want to take, think about what classes you’re most passionate about and go from there.
2. Research. Once you have decided on a career that might interest you, use as many resources as you can to learn about that industry. It’s important even if you’re entering in as an intern to know a lot about the field that you are trying to break in to.
3. Make a resume/cover letter. Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and that you have a good template for your cover letter. Depending on each internship you apply for, your cover letter could change based on the skill set the company requires. Also, make sure to have references handy and to contact them in enough time if a letter of recommendation is required.
4. Clean up your social media presence. Google yourself and make sure there’s nothing online that could potentially be deemed inappropriate by your future employer. Delete everything that you would have trouble explaining to your conservative grandmother. Always keep in mind the difference between tweeting for professional reasons and for pleasure.
5. Prepare for interviews. Learn interview etiquette, look up tips online and have your questions prepared. Look up the proper dress code in order to dress for success and utilize sites like Pinterest to organize your resources. Always wear something that is professional, but fits your personality too.
Now that you’re prepared and have done your research, go out and start applying. Stay confident and remember what you’ve learned along the way. Good luck!
79% Of People 18-44 Have Their Smartphones With Them 22 Hours A Day
By Allison Stadd on April 2, 2013 12:00 PM
Quick: what’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Yawn? Hit the snooze button? Go to the bathroom? Brush your teeth?
If you’re like 80% of 18-44-year-olds, the answer is “check my smartphone.”
A new IDC Research report, conducted online with data from 7,446 Android and iPhone users ages 18 to 44 during a week in March, reveals some eye-opening mobile social media intel.
Facebook sponsored the report, so our sister site AllFacebook.com has the story from that angle, if you’re interested.
But here’s the lowdown from a less Facebook-specific perspective:
49% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone. By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68%.
Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. 80% of those say it’s the first thing they do in the morning.
79% of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of their waking day; 63% keep it with them for all but one hour. A full quarter of respondents couldn’t recall a single time of the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room as them.
Friday through Sunday, smartphone users spend 163 minutes communicating and using social media on their phones. Monday through Thursday, they spend 87 minutes.
So weekends are more social than ever, probably because social media is just that – social, connecting people in person and from afar online. And as Shea shared recently, another study showed that smartphone owners are considerably more social than their desktop counterparts.
The average number of social/communication apps that smartphone users have on their phones is 7.4.
The most common sentiment regarding smartphone is one of “connectedness,” far surpassing “overwhelmed,” “stressed out,” “burdened/anxious,” or “lonely.”
That connectedness engendered by smartphone use is followed closely by excitement, curiosity, and productivity.
Basically, smartphones have become pocketable personal computers rather than cell phones. And no matter the social networking you’re doing, chances are you’re doing it more deeply and often if you’re doing it on the go.
7 traits of a solid PR professional
By Scott Signore | Posted: April 30, 2013
Having been around the block a few times, I have a good understanding of the traits of a successful PR professional. At a minimum, these are the traits we seek when filling key positions at our firm. In my humble opinion, PR people need to be…
What’s the end goal? That’s what PR people need to consider more often than they do typically. The PR activities we execute daily put a company on the map or contribute to a larger initiative designed to help it do more business. While vague, that’s appropriately described. Before acting, a PR person needs to determine how the desired result contributes to the bigger picture of business success.
I can’t think of a career that requires as much flexibility as public relations and social media. Plans, particularly those of clients, change with nutty regularity. The successful PR pro needs to adapt and, throughout any transition, help clients achieve communications and business success no matter the direction.
Social media channels present the very obvious need to be nimble: One Facebook post can change the tone of a day. In addition to being reactive and responsive, PR pros need to have the ability to deal with whatever comes their way in a professional manner.
3. Strong writers
To be great at PR, one needs to have writing skills. While content development has taken on a more expansive meaning of late, the foundation of the PR agency job is still in keystrokes. The ability to articulate, think creatively, and maintain a positive personality are all obvious characteristics for any profession, but in PR above average writing skills are imperative, with colleagues and clients demanding everything from compelling blog posts to finely-crafted press releases and everything in between.
4. Sponges (early in their careers, at least)
Becoming a well rounded, consistently reliable and savvy PR person takes work. The ramp-up to achieving such a standard varies greatly depending on the individual, but no entry-level professional punches into a new job and immediately begins counseling the world’s biggest brands on high-profile communications issues.
Most newbies make an impact, but there’s a difference between that impact and the decision making of other more senior staff members. There’s so much to learn in PR on a daily basis, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve loved being a PR guy since I first interned in the field.
The best young professionals understand that experience can be gained from closely watching co-workers, carefully noting their accomplishments, and learning from their challenges.
5. Unafraid of learning more (later in their careers)
Learning is endless and that’s so true when it comes to the ever-evolving PR field. There’s so much to gain in every interaction with a colleague or a client, and in every first-hand experience—from a methodical, well laid out plan to a crisis situation. The best PR pros know to embrace all that is happening around them and best leverage that data to improve as professionals.
6. News junkies
PR people need to care about what is happening in the news in both their core sector and in the broader world. They need to be on top of news and trends, so that they can harness what they know to craft story ideas that best position their client, topic, etc., within the most timely, topical conversations in the media and on the street.
PR people get shot-down often. It’s a common occurrence and there’s nothing wrong with that. Amid great editorial success, we get turned away pitching more than our fair share of story ideas, bylined articles, and profile pieces. While we enjoy much strategic and tactical success when working with clients, we also get shot-down presenting ideas for new programs or programmatic approaches.
It’s part of the business, and you need to roll with the circumstance. Critique and criticism are common, and it is something that needs to be embraced and learned from to survive happily at any PR firm.
12 things to expect from a PR firm
By Beth Monaghan | Posted: January 25, 2013
How should I choose a PR firm?
Each time someone asks me this, dozens of answers flutter to the forefront of my mind, but I always choose two fairly tangible criteria: fit and experience.
On the surface, it can be easy for all agencies to sound similar, which makes fit and experience crucial. You need an agency that understands your audience and your market, and the reporters you need to reach. Fit is equally important. You’ll be working closely with the PR agency every single day (and many evenings), so you’ll need to be able to work well with the assigned account team.
However, fit and experience alone will not make your agency successful on your behalf. Here are some important qualities you should expect form an agency that is committed to your success. You need an agency that:
1. Owns the process. You want an agency that will never say, “Well, we sent you the guidelines for the Forbes contributed article three months ago and never heard back.” Your agency should be a professional nagger—they should never let you be the reason for a missed deadline.
2. Pushes back. You are hiring a PR firm for its expertise, so find one that provides firm recommendations. If your account team is constantly nodding their heads and yessing you, there is a problem. The success of your PR program requires a team leader who can adamantly say no in the face of tough scrutiny when something just won’t work.
3. Knows when to give in. There are times when other company goals, such as sales campaigns, take priority over PR (for example, when a sales team is under the gun to meet quarterly goals and needs to push out a direct email campaign in advance of the press release). Your PR firm should tell you the optimal plan for getting great media coverage, but should also accept it when PR is not at the top of the list.
4. Makes it happen. Only clients should have the luxury of asking big questions without offering solutions, such as, “How can we maximize our attendance at an upcoming trade show?” Good PR firms know that the right response is a list of viable options, not more questions.
5. Surprises you with unexpected and creative ideas. Your PR firm should march to the beat of the PR plan, but they should also bring you unexpected and creative ideas. This demonstrates that they are paying active attention. Only intellectually hungry people will tie the right pieces together to make you relevant in a way that matters to the press.
6. Owns mistakes. If your agency needs to be right all of the time, it’s a problem. You need an agency that abides by the rules of crisis PR (even when the crisis is a very small one): tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. This takes confidence and humility, but it is the sign of a great communicator.
7. Hustles. Look for an agency that is pushing you, not the other way around.
8. Writes well. Content marketing has changed PR forever. Adequate press release writing skills are no longer enough. You need an agency that can sift through mountains of information, zero in on the interesting angle, and ghost author an article for your spokesperson. Ask for samples, and look at the agency’s blog.
9. Listens intently. PR people are renowned great talkers. We need to be. However, we need to know how to listen, too. You need a PR agency full of the kind of analytical and open minds that can scan the conversation for points of interest, drive the discussion toward them and relate them to your broader industry.
10. Empathizes. You need a PR agency team that can imagine what it’s like to be you. What pressures do you face internally, from your board, from competitors, others? Is PR central to your role or tangential? Coincidentally, this skill also makes PR people great at media relations—we must imagine what it’s like to be each reporter if we have a prayer of selling a story.
11. Navigates options and contingencies like an attorney. There are many decisions we must make along the winding route between the pitch and the placement. You need an agency that understands the media landscape—which outlets (and journalists) compete, which reporters require exclusives, which ones care about embargoes, and which angles will compel coverage.
Sifting through these and responding appropriately when an embargo is broken or an exclusive falls through tests the skills of the best PR professionals, so make sure you have a team that can bend gracefully when a critical relationship is at stake, and hold firm when your company goals require it.
12. Thick skin. PR people sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.
Journalists identify the worst PR jargon
By Gini Dietrich | Posted: January 17, 2013
In little time, terms such as “at the end of the day,” “with all due respect,” “frankly,” and “win win” became the top culprits.
In fact, we filled up that whiteboard and added big sheets of poster paper on either side to keep the game going.
MBAs and wannabe executives were often the ones uttering these mind-numbing words, but they’re not the only professionals who speak this language.
According to a report by twelve thirty eight, PR professionals are the worst at using buzzwords that have no real meaning. Each year, the firm surveys 500 journalists to find out which buzzwords, jargon, and terms PR pros use when working with them.
The survey taps British reporters and editors from media outlets such as the BBC, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, and more.
The results of the survey revealed what twelve thirty eight calls the “hipsterization” of PR terminology, exemplified by the rise of words such as “awesome” and “super excited.” I have a journalist friend who shares this feeling; she’s fed up with “amazing” (which, of course, makes me use it every other word when I email her).
Journalists in the U.K. also bemoaned the influx of American terminology, including “circle back” or “reach out.”
Twelve thirty eight compiled this list of the top 20 buzzwords identified in the survey. The words and phrases in parenthesis are an attempt to define the meaning.
1. Issues (problems)
2. Dynamic (likely not to be)
3. Paradigm (a “silk purse” word)
4. Elite (you wouldn’t normally get to attend)
5. Hotly anticipated (never heard of it)
6. End-user (customer)
7. Influencer (a person who probably doesn’t have influence)
8. Evangelist (a tendency to tweet with loads of hashtags)
9. Deliverables (tasks)
10. Icon/iconic (use before 01.01.01 or never)
11. Rocketed (made modest progress)
12. “An astonishing x per cent” (it rarely is astonishing)
13. Marquee event/marquee client (probably “very local”)
14. Going forward (in the future)
15. Ongoing (a bit behind schedule)
16. Optimized (changed by consultants then changed back)
17. Horizontal, vertical, etc. (two words in lieu of a strategy)
18. Phygital (easy to press or swipe, we guess)
19. SoLoMo (no idea)
20. Well-positioned (hopeful but a bit scared)
And one of my very favorites: I loathe it when a business is described as “providing solutions.” We see this time and again and it tells us nothing.
And social media continues to benefit companies that use it as part an integrated marketing campaign.
All of that and more is represented in this snapshot of social media statistics from 2012 (curiously absent is mention of Pinterest):
Catherine Ivy discusses what motivated her to create The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and why it is so close to her heart on “The Morning Scramble,” on AZTV in Phoenix.
Today’s Arizona Republic article announces The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation making big advancements with funding for a five-year study.
$10 million in grants to TGen will target brain cancer
A local brain-cancer foundation’s $10 million in grants to TGen started with a question: Why do 2 percent of people with an aggressive type of brain cancer defy the odds and live much longer than others?
Researchers at Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, will use funding from Scottsdale-based Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation to complete a five-year study that aims to uncover genetic clues to glioblastoma multiforme. The aggressive brain cancer has a median survival rate of about 18 months, though about 2 percent of disease-sufferers live longer.
“Everyone asks how we can cure this disease by focusing on the 98 percent” of people who die within 18 months of diagnosis, said Catherine (Bracken) Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “Nobody has researched why the 2 percent live longer. Genomically, what is the difference?”
The Ivy Foundation will also underwrite a personalized medicine study by TGen that will match brain-cancer patients with drugs based on their genetic makeup.
A pilot study will start with 15 people diagnosed with brain cancer and use whole genome sequencing, which compares the genetic sequence of tumor cells with healthy cells to uncover genetic triggers for the disease. Based on that genetic information, people will likely receive investigational drugs in hopes of halting the disease.
After researchers gather information from the first 15 patients, they will conduct a feasibility study of 30 patients followed by a clinical trial with 70 patients, according to TGen. The study will involve a clinical-trials consortium of more than a half-dozen universities and groups funded by the Ivy Foundation.
Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s president and research director, said that a study with 100 or more people would make it one of the largest personalized-medicine trials.
Trent said that foundations focused on specific diseases will be an increasingly important source of funding for clinical trials that use personalized medicine. Research involving whole genome sequencing, in particular, can be painstaking and expensive, although technology has driven costs lower.
“Groups that fund research that augment (National Institutes of Health) are a huge part of the landscape,” Trent said.
The Ivy Foundation moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Scottsdale earlier this year and has funded more than $50 million in brain-cancer research in the U.S. and Canada. Its goal is to double life expectancy of glioblastoma patients from 18 to 36 months over the next seven years.
Ivy, a Phoenix native, launched the foundation in 2005 to honor her late husband, Ben Ivy, who died four months after being diagnosed with glioblastoma. She wants to expand access to clinical trails for Arizona residents with brain cancer.
“When you are sick, you want to be home,” Ivy said. “One of my primary objectives is to provide access to top clinical trials in Arizona.
“I want more available for the people of Arizona.”