Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is Your Mind Ready for that Entry-Level Job?

What’s an entry-level job like? Is it a lot different than an internship?

Honestly, the answer is yes and no. The actual projects and tasks I was doing as an in-school and then post-grad intern are relatively the same: develop a media list, write a pitch or press release, social media content creation (just to name a few). What is different is your mindset!

You have to stop thinking about the short-term goals and going from project to project. Change how your mind thinks from “Okay, I finished this task. Now what? What’s my next task?” to “How is this task going to play into the bigger picture? How is it going to better my client’s reputation and brand? What can we do differently to have a better experience for the customer?”

See the difference? Instead of being task-oriented, you need to start thinking in more of a strategic and long-term way. This isn’t just a three-month internship that will end and then you’ll move onto the next thing. This is your job! And hopefully you’ll be there for at least a few years, so you have to start thinking like it.

So you’ll still be doing those same tasks at the beginning of your career, but now you should know why you are doing them and what bigger purpose they serve for the client. Now it does take time to transition your thinking, trust me. I’m still getting the hang of it! But here’s a few pointers that I’ve learned down the line at this job that have really helped me begin to change my mindset.
When developing a media list, consider how it’s going to be used. Will this be just a one-time distribution or should you constantly be updating it and making sure all the contacts are correct so it’s always ready? Then, take it upon yourself to do that without having to be told to do it!

So your client wants to get coverage? Have you thought about other verticals (or markets) the product or service could fit into? Who know – there might be an entire audience segment that you could be missing. Think outside of the box. Worst case is, you pitch a story and no one picks it up. At least you tried!

Instead of just posting on the client’s Facebook or Twitter, look at the reach and impressions of the posts. Does the audience engage more with photos or links? Really analyze what is working successfully on the pages and recommend adjusting the content accordingly. (Bonus: you’ll look like a social media guru if you are the one recommending changes to the pages!)

Speak up in brainstorms! One of the best ways you are going show your team that you are thinking about what’s best for the client is to actually offer valuable suggestions in team brainstorms. If you know you have one tomorrow, spend some time today doing your own research on what other brands have done, what worked and what didn’t. Go ahead and start making a list of possible ideas. You’ll walk into the meeting already prepared with some ideas to kick things off instead of staring at your hands because you can’t think of anything at that moment.

These are just a few to get you started in thinking like a PR professional rather than an intern. In fact, to get ahead of your competition, I would encourage you to show your future employer during the interview process that you are already thinking this way. You’ll definitely impress them and show that you are one strong candidate for that job if you are already thinking strategically. So start thinking about the bigger picture and end game now. If you do, I’m sure you’ll be a pro in no time!

Guest post by: Jennifer Powell is a PR Coordinator at M/C/C, an integrated marketing agency in Dallas, Texas. She assists the PR team on a variety of tasks including traditional media and blogger relations as well as managing social media channels for the clients she represents. When she's not being a little busy bee, you can probably find her desperately trying to turn her Pinterest closet into a reality without breaking the bank!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Dating Chronicles – What is Your App of Choice?

Look, I’m an advocate for both meeting someone while you’re out, and doing the whole online dating thing. To be perfectly honest, there isn’t a guy I’ve gone out with who I didn’t meet online. Part of it’s the schedule I keep (I can return someone’s message at my convenience) and the other part’s my personality. I’m not that girl who goes somewhere and just strikes up a conversation with someone. (Although, people seem to have no problem talking to me). But, that’s neither here nor there, so I digress, and will save those stories for when I start a blog series about all of the random conversations I have with people, simply by making eye contact!

The times have changed. When my parents were my age, meeting someone organically was all they had because the internet didn’t exist. Now, there are a plethora of dating sites, and even phone apps to help you find that special someone. Heck, in my immediate group of friends (7), four are in relationships that began online, and they’re just as happy as the ones who met in person first.
While there are certainly risks with online dating, just like there are with “regular” dating, you have to be careful, regardless.

Why I like online dating –
Sites will not publish your first name without your permission. The username’s what others see, so it’s up to you to give your name to someone you’re talking to.

While sites want to know the city you’re from, your personal address isn’t broadcast for the world to see, and if a person only has your first name, Google searching you becomes that much more difficult.
Blocking – If someone’s giving you a creepy vibe, or you’re trying to tell them they’re just not the one for you and they’re arguing with you (seriously, it happens) simply select that handy dandy “Block User” option, and voila, creep be gone.

It buys you time. I don’t expect to sit there and message back and forth with someone for months on end, but having the online buffer gives me more time to get some information from the guy, including a last name, hopefully. Once I have the basics, I can do some research. I admit here and now that I’ve Google or Facebook searched guys before…I want to know what I’m getting into before I take the risk of meeting up with someone. Ex: If I Googled a name and one of the top results was a police report, I’d block him. Since he doesn’t have my number, that’s the end of it.
I’m sure I could go on, but you get the point. Obviously there’s something romantic about the notion of a chance meeting where that spark is all you need. This is just my preference based on experience. So, which do you prefer? Online or chance meeting?

Next Post – Your stories! Readers share some of their experiences with dating apps. Check back to see what they have to say. If you’d like to share yours, just shoot us a message.

About the Author: Alyssa is a 2011 graduate of High Point University with a degree in Communication - Journalism. Originally from the NY/NJ area, Alyssa currently resides in NC. She loves movies, music, wine (With a new affinity towards chocolate wine), and making the most out of life. Alyssa’s a writer by means of a hobby, one she absolutely loves, and published her first two-part novel series, The Wish and Always just last year. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Intern PRofile: Elise Sabak

Meet Elise Sabak
Tell me about yourself.
Well, I'm a soon-to-be graduate! May 1st is the day. I'll have my B.A. in English from Wayne State University in Michigan. I adore reading and writing along with the fashion and beauty industries. Fashion and beauty are industries I'm inspired by every day. I'm a really visual person. 

My two main vices are a great iced latte and a gorgeous shade of lipstick. I own so many lipsticks and other beauty products...I could rival a Sephora or Blue Mercury. Like so many PR girls, I'm a total caffeine addict, and I find that my need for coffee only grows stronger every day. I don't really think of myself as a typical "PR girl" though, but the coffee addiction is my boldest "PR girl" trait.

Tell me about your internship. What are you enjoying the most about your internship?
I actually am in two internships right now. One is in fashion PR and one is with a career resource for Gen Y women called Levo League. They're very different, but call on the same set of skills so I get to exercise my writing and analytical and research skills just about every day. They're helping me balance out my natural left-brained way of thinking by infusing more creativity. One thing I love about both of my internships is the opportunity to be mentored. There are amazing women at both of these companies who have really taken the time to give me useful advice and push me to do my best work, and I'm so grateful for that!

What is the most difficult part of your internship? How do you deal with this?
I think the most difficult part is managing my time and trying to be as productive as possible. Since at the moment I'm working both of these internships remotely, there are always things I can keep doing. I have to remind myself that I don't need to be plugged in 24/7 and that if I properly prioritize my time, I can be wildly productive on the days I'm assigned to work.
What is a project you have worked on that you are especially proud of?
I'm so proud of my blog. I really am. My friend Jasmine and I have put a lot of time and thought into creating it and sharing our stories with our readers. Another thing I'm so proud of is an event that I helped with while interning in New York. I spent the summer in New York interning at the PR firm I'm with now remotely. We had a huge event in August and another in February called Lingerie Fashion Week and I was so glad to be of a part of this growing event and having a hand in the research and planning for it. 

You said you freelance in other fields. What fields? How do you balance interning, freelance, blogging and classes?
I do. I freelance write for a digital media company that has a variety of clients as well freelance blog for a pretty well known beauty company. I love that I get to exercise different voices based on the clients. It's great practice. 

I'm a really big believer of putting yourself in the right mindset. I sit down every morning and go through my schedule and give myself a little pep talk to mentally prepare myself for the day. I schedule my days by the hour, trying to build in time to read and plenty of time for homework. My Erin Condren Life Planner has been an indispensable tool. It's difficult, I don't want to sugar coat things. But writing, interning, blogging, and school are my primary priorities right now, and it's important for me to make sure I dedicate time and give them my all. Sometimes that means spending Friday and Saturday nights in, but I don't mind because I love what I'm doing. 

What is your favorite part of PR?
That's tough! I really love pitching, particularly when someone answers you and wants to feature products! And of course, placements are the best. It's so exciting especially in the fashion world. Also, I love the social media aspect and how it's being infused into PR more and more. I've done a lot of academic research on social media and its effects, so getting to put it into play in the work world is really cool.

What is your dream job? (I'm guessing something in fashion and/or beauty? ;) )
Yes, definitely! My dream job is to be the Editor-in-Chief at a fashion publication. I'd also love being in beauty editorial, though! I'm really inspired by Eva Chen, the Editor-in-Chief of Lucky. She's built a fantastic career and she's so young. I hope to be able to have that level of success and to work as hard as she does while still being relatable to readers.

Your blog, Under PRessure, is fantastic! What motivates you while blogging?
Thank you so much! The readers are my motivation. That sounds so sappy but it's true. I'm the oldest in my family so I didn't really have siblings to look up to for advice, and so whenever I can share advice, I do. That's my purpose for the blog. I want to share with the readers, and I want to give back the way so many people have given me advice and guidance. It's easy to give tips and facts, but it isn't so easy to share your own story. My goal is to give advice and practical information from my standpoint and with a connection to what I've done. That way, I can say, "This is what you should do or what you shouldn't do, because I've been there and I learned the hard way." I think that puts an interesting spin on things--it isn't something everyone does. Plus, that means there's always a lot of experience to draw from and I'm usually not at a loss for ideas.

Is there any advice you would give to future interns?
Yes! Never take on an internship simply because it sounds fun and glamorous. That's where workplace problems happen and where expectations are shattered. A willingness to work hard is probably the best trait you can display. When you go on an interview--and this is especially important if you're trying for a start-up or a smaller agency because interns are very hands on in those cases--realize that the company is someone's vision. Put yourself in his or her place and think about what you would look for or what you would need and be that person for the company. 

Where can we find you online?
I'm all over the place! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, email, and of course, on my blog, Under PRessure. I also have a Spotify account where I share all of my PR Girl Playlists from the blog!

Thanks so much for featuring me! I'm so happy to share with all of you and encourage you to connect!
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{New This Week} Pizza Grilled Cheese

Sandwiches. Pizza. Grilled cheese. What happens if you blend all three of these tasty and amazing things? PIZZA GRILLED CHEESE, that's what! 

So, in honor of National Grilled Cheese Day (tomorrow) I wanted to share a fantastic Pizza Grilled Cheese recipe with you. This is one you will want to make over and over!
What you need:
4 slices of bread
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce

What to do:
Butter each piece of bread on one side and create your sandwiches in layers.

Start with mozzarella, Italian seasoning and parmesan, 

Add a layer of sliced pepperoni and top with mozzarella (if any other toppings are desired, add now) and a slice of bread. 

Repeat with second sandwich.  

Grill in a skillet, on medium heat, until crispy and golden brown. When bottom slice is golden brown then flip over carefully. Once both sides are brown remove from pan cut and serve with pizza sauce if desired. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Heartbleed Bug Questions Answered by Mashable

 By now we have all heard, and been reading, about this Heartbleed bug. One of my favorite websites, Mashable, posted a really great article, Your Heartbleed Bug Questions, Answered, that I thought would be a good read for all of you, so I decided to repost and share with you, if you hadn't seen it yet.

(And definitely check out, and follow Mashable's social pages and posts!)


Multiple popular websites were exposed to a major Internet bug called Heartbleed earlier this week. The bug was discovered by a member of Google's security team and the software security firm Codenomicon.

Heartbleed is a serious security threat that has the potential to expose users' private information, including passwords, financial details and instant messages, among other things. 

To help you understand the bug and what you should be doing to protect your information, Mashable editor-at-large Lance Ulanoff answered user questions on our Facebook page

Here are highlights from the chat:

What is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is a bug in the code running on the servers of millions of websites. It leaves open a hole that allows hackers to get in and around the encryption between you and the site. This means that the information stored on the servers, and passed between you, could be stolen.

Is this strictly a threat that is only on the Internet?

Just the Internet: Sites running OpenSSL.

Is Heartbleed a virus?

Not exactly. It is a hole that could leave websites and user information open to attack.

Why wasn't it discovered until now?

The code error was small. It was not an attack; it was simply some bad code written by the people who built OpenSSL. It sounds like more of an accident.

Has a list of the major sites using OpenSSL been compiled?

There are millions of sites that use OpenSSL, so a full list might not be that easy to peruse. LastPass unveiled a tool to help you search for specific websites to find out if there are issues. [Update: We've compiled a list of popular sites and whether they were affected.]

When should we change our passwords?

Changing passwords right now might be a pointless exercise. The sites you visit could still have the vulnerability and your new password could be stolen.

If I'm running my own website, how do I protect it?

If you run OpenSSL, update it as soon as possible.

Has it affected most firewalls?

It's not really a firewall attack. If the vulnerability exists (on a site or service), the communication between you and it is open to compromise.

How safe is the Internet anymore?

It's pretty safe.

Do you think the latest bug was somehow related to the NSA?


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Writing, It's What I Do

In the summer of 2012, I began writing my first novel. The story of what inspired me to do so is fairly short –

I had just finished reading Fifty Shades Freed, The third installment of E.L James’s Fifty Shades trilogy). And I mean I literally closed the book, thought about the ending of the story for a minute or two, then said, “I can do this, I can write a book.” I’d had a story brewing in my head since spring 2010, so I opened my laptop, got a fresh Word document ready, and began typing. I knew how I wanted the story to start and end, it was the gray space in-between that needed to be fleshed out.

The first draft was completed in exactly a month and a day. When I say that I wrote every spare minute I had, I’m not lying; I’m talking late nights, on my lunch break, giving up really any semblance of a social life type of dedication and drive. While people I’ve told always seem to be impressed by that, I freely admit that the only reason it was possible, it because I used my own study abroad experience as the bare-bones basics for the storyline.

The crux of the story is that during a semester abroad, an American girl falls in love with a British actor studying at the same university in Rome. I used my study abroad experiences to shape the outline, and inserted a fictitious romance. Part two of the story took about four months to complete, mostly because aside from some elements of my own life, the entire novel was written from shear imagination. 

I self-published The Wish in May 2013, and Always followed in September. The writing, agent querying, self-publishing, marketing, and networking processes have been eye-opening experiences, and I look forward to sharing them with you and if you’re teetering between going down one of these paths, or a similar one, help to push you in what will ultimately be the right direction.

Writing has always been a hobby that I hope to turn into a full-time career. Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

{Guest post by Alyssa Romeo.}
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Dating Chronicles - Going Ghost

The Dating Chronicles – Going Ghost

I can say that without a doubt, one of the biggest frustrations I have with dating is when a guy goes ghost on me. You know, things are moving along nicely, you’re getting along as dates progress, you haven’t said anything to scare him away, he hasn’t indicated that he has a problem with something, and then BAM, you send him a text that goes unanswered for a few days; you think about it, but try not to obsess, you’re not a clingy person, so you give it some time. After about a week, and subsequently some conversations with friends because now you are starting to wonder, you send another text, but keep it casual, hoping the anxiety you’re feeling because now you’re analyzing every little thing you did, doesn’t translate through the message.

Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while. How are things with you? Then you sit there, waiting (About as patiently as a NYC driver does while stuck in traffic, I might add) for a response… it never comes; it’s like he’s just disappeared off the face of the earth. That, ladies, is how you know a guy’s gone ghost on you.

For me, going ghost is one of the most disrespectful things one person can do to another.

  1. If I did something wrong, tell me so that I don’t do it again (To you or the next guy who comes along)
  2. If you’re just not feeling it, please, let me know so that I can stop wasting my time hoping and waiting to hear from you

I was recently seeing a guy who I thought things were going well with. We met online, had a really nice first date, which ended with both of us not only saying we’d like to see each other again, but him also telling me when he’d be free to do something. After just over a month, the last time I saw him was Super Bowl Sunday. Neither one of us were rooting for either of the teams, so he invited me over for pizza and a movie. I sensed no weird tension, and he gave no indication that he wasn’t interested anymore. He told me he’d be traveling the next weekend, so I waiting until Thursday afternoon to wish him a good trip. I never got a response. I knew when he was due to get back into town, but decided not to initiate a conversation, if he wanted me to know he was back, he’d tell me. Nada. The following Friday was Valentine’s Day, so in order to circumvent any notions he may have had that I was expecting him to do anything (I wasn’t. I actually had no desire to go out with him that night because I thought it’d be awkward) I sent him a text Thursday afternoon, asking if he’d like to go ice skating on Saturday, which was something we’d talked about doing. So, not only did I completely jump over Valentine’s Day, I also gave him yet another opportunity to just tell me the truth, or at least what I assume was the truth, which was that he just stopped being interested in me.

Now, when a guy goes ghost on me, and I give my final bit of effort, to which he doesn’t respond, I delete his number out of my phone, as well as any text messages that are still in there, then move on. I used to save a guy’s number, you know, just in case he ever wanted to get back in touch, but the truth is, why would I ever give a guy who’s already been disrespectful the chance to do it again?

About the Author: Alyssa is a 2011 graduate of High Point University with a degree in Communication - Journalism. Originally from the NY/NJ area, Alyssa currently resides in NC. She loves movies, music, wine (With a new affinity towards chocolate wine), and making the most out of life. Alyssa’s a writer by means of a hobby, one she absolutely loves, and published her first two-part novel series, The Wish and Always just last year. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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