Shelley Spector, president of Spector & Associates, as well as the founder and director of the Museum of Public Relations, spoke to the members of The University of Alabama’s PRSSA chapter on Oct. 17, 2017. Spector focused on the interview process, as most of those in attendance are working on their internship and job applications for the upcoming year. Spector spoke to the students on “10 ways to stand out from your competition.”
With years of experience working at Hill & Knowlton, RuderFinn and the American Stock Exchange, Spector has seen her fair share of interviews. Before she began explaining the top 10 things to do to master an interview, she stated, “Those who have the most internships and have the most results from those internships are going to be the most successful.” This advice further emphasized how important it is for students to go into an interview prepared so that they can land the internship they want.
Spector also highlighted the importance of thoroughly researching the potential employer and having customized answers, showing active engagement in current events, and having a basic elevator pitch already prepared.
“When potential employers ask why you want a job in this firm, do not say ‘because I like people’ or give a general answer. Have an answer specific to that company’s specific work,” Spector said. “Researching a company beforehand shows intuition and a certain level of care that is required. Having a thorough knowledge of the company is pertinent to any interview!”
Having a knowledge of the world and the things happening in it gives the individual interviewing not only a talking point, but also shows the potential employer a certain level of constant intellectual growth, Spector said.
“You need to have an elevator pitch that lists all your writing and speaking qualities, public relations experience, and includes your ‘brand,’ or Unique Selling Proposition,” Spector said. Potential employers will more than likely ask you to give them a short pitch, which should be well thought out and perfected, she explained.
Spector finished by telling students to just be bold, confident and know what you’re doing. With those three things, she said, the interview is sure to be a success.
By Caroline Wigley, General Member
About the Whitney Project: The project is focused on honoring Captain George “Alexi” Whitney, USMC. Captain Whitney served in 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion and later as a paramilitary officer in the C.I.A. He was killed in action while serving in the C.I.A. last December. A petition was created to urge Bates College to honor Captain Whitney at their school.
Job description: Pitch stories about the project to journalists and organizations via traditional media pitching methods and social media.
To apply, please contact Steven J. Arango.
Culture, culture, culture. That’s what it’s all about these days. We focus so much on what happens at work when we’re not working. So many places now pride themselves on their organizational culture, their relationship with employees and the overall quality of happiness and productivity of the environments.
As Millennials and Gen Zers, we expect a certain level of excellence. We expect to work at a place that encourages ethical work, fosters intelligence and has a lively setting. That’s one thing my summer internship boss discovered out about me. She noticed that I would refuse to be in a place where I felt that I could not flourish.
Throughout my summer, people at my place of work would ask me questions about how I decided to go to Alabama. I explained that when I went through the application and acceptance process, I was immediately accepted to Alabama, but I was waitlisted for South Carolina. In that moment, I decided if they didn’t want me, they didn’t get to have me. This is the first time my boss pointed out my desire to be desired and eagerness to be in a place that was anything but ordinary.
This idea is now being built into business plans. Companies are not only promoting what the day-to-day office life is like, but also what they do to make work enjoyable. For example, Porter Novelli in Atlanta has a culture tab on its website, and it promotes its friendly environment, service day initiatives and even the “Turn-Up Trolley,” an employee favorite.
Outreach.io in Seattle promotes culture by having wine and beer on tap in its office all day, every day. It also does not have a limit on employee vacation time. If you ask me, this is a pretty good plan. When employees love their place of work, their work is better, the quality of life and enjoyment are through the roof, and everthing comes together to build the brand and reputation of the company.
There are a few companies that have discovered this key to success, but I think more will soon be hopping on that train. The more a company can show that it cares about its people, the more the company will succeed. Creating a plan to include service days or company outings is bound to boost the morale of the organization.
You heard it here first, folks. Culture is the future.
By Erica Cooke, Vice President
I haven’t failed at much in life. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but throughout high school, I was selected or hired for nearly everything I wanted.
And then I came to UA. Instead of competing against my high school classmates, I was competing against nearly 40,000 other students. And these weren’t just any students; they were college students. They were smart. They had experience. Suddenly, I wasn’t the star pupil. I was just another name on the roll sheet.
To be honest, I was scared.
Not failing much in high school can make college downright terrifying. Real life is closer and the competition is better. But what I learned, and what you will learn too (if you haven’t already), is that a fear of failure can be quite dangerous.
I almost didn’t apply for a PRSSA executive board position. I thought I wasn’t involved enough. I figured there were students much more prepared than I was. I counted myself out before I even gave myself a shot. If it weren’t for the kind words of my family, friends and peers—as well as some gentle nudging from the current UA PRSSA President Bethany Corne (thank you)—I probably wouldn’t have even filled out the application.
But I did, and here I am.
Fast-forward a few months to the start of the school year. I had just gotten out of our first PRSSA executive board meeting, and I remember thinking what a great group of people I had been given the opportunity to work with. I had already learned so much, and it felt silly to think that I almost hadn’t applied.
In that moment, I realized how ridiculous fearing failure was. When I thought back to my most rewarding experiences, I remembered how scary they seemed at first. A fear of failure just means you care. You don’t worry about getting rejected for a position you don’t want. But your dream internship? You get a little nervous submitting that application. So, I’m here to tell you that you should never be ashamed to care about something. And if you care, you’re most likely scared to fail.
Just remember, the things that scare you the most often end up being the most beneficial.
So, I encourage all of you to go do something that scares you. Apply for Capstone Agency this spring. Run for SGA. Interview for that internship you really want.
Maybe it’ll work out as you would hope; maybe it won’t.
Just don’t let fear hold you back.
By Alyssa Comins, Vice President of Web-Based Communication
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.