Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Millennials are Misunderstood

Today I decided to go down to the Kansas City Plaza Public Library, my favorite one in the area. I sat down, did some research, read my book, applied for some jobs and then I came across this interesting article called The millennials- ever optimistic about jobs, by Allen Chernoff, CNN correspondent.

The article, prudently arriving near graduation, discusses how the millennial generation is not worried about jobs, that we are demanding for our job and salary and we are all about the "140 character" world.

Quoting leaders of big companies, Chernoff depicts my generation as a hard- working, yet "demanding" audience because of our up- bringing.

Alison Brod, from "Alison Brod Public Relations, a beauty and fashion marketing firm," describes the generation, from which I am from.
She says, "'They want to celebrate, they want bonuses, they want presents, it's Friday afternoon they want pizza parties and things like that. So there's this constant sense of number one.'"

As I sit here reading this article, I am trying to imagine what business would be like without this attitude. What would facebook and Craig's list done without the confidence to pursue new entrepreneurship? Perhaps we did grow up in a generation of praise and winning but confidence has always been a strong point, especially in business. The one disagreement I would have with Brod is in fact, we do still have to take responsibility. We have to face reality but we can try to enjoy ourselves in the midst of it.

I have no job at the moment. I came into public relations late in my college career, so I have been involved in internships during and after college, instead of just during. I have help so I am lucky (perhaps it's my generation) and I have family that can help me while I hunt for a job but I know many others who are in my generation who can't.

I think that my generation is "demanding" and feels "entitled" if they know what they want. For me, it took a while. I started off as a dance major and musical theater minor and then changed my major at least two times preceding. I feel that internships are important and they do help you figure out what they want but they provide me no financial stability - even having a large amount of social media experience. Is it so demanding to want a salary when you have seen the effects on the generation before you?

Brod also says in Chernoff's article, that the generation doesn't like to read any more than 140 characters.This trend is annoying to me but necessary. With all the information we are given do you think there is another way to filter? Although, I don't agree completely with Brod in her opinions of my generation, I do think that there is a word of caution to Chernoff's article. I think that my generation should be worried. I think they should network, apply and write as much as possible and not rely on the facebook, twitter and foursquare because they will not be there forever.

I don't think that this is a teaching error either. The whole faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, taught me "same rules, new tools," which I'm sure many students of my generation have heard in their college career. We just know how to adapt. We travel more, we read differently, we explore more options and it has helped take our generation to the next level.

Being from a fast- paced, "demanding" and "trophy kid" generation, I'd say some of us are worried but we know one thing - if we keep learning, keep confidence and keep up we'll certainly be on top.

Friday, April 29, 2011

To Get the Master's or Not?

This week has been dedicated to my full- time job of finding a job. Luckily, I can savor my job- finding time for this week because I have financial means but what if I didn't? What if opportunities didn't work out or what if I can't find one in an appropriate amount of time?

As I am sitting here with my lap full of cover letters and resumes I came across an interesting article, Experience vs. Education for young PR pros by Julie Walsh, a Media Relations Specialist for Walker Sands.

She uses the common communications technique of SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, Opportunities and threats) to show her experience getting her masters and having a job at the same time.

I have heard of many people doing both at the same time. They both compliment each other and can help you learn about each side of the spectrum. However, this poses a major, "weakness of time management," said Walsh. Basically you will have two full- time jobs. This is possible but will you get the most out of both?

Unlike Walsh, I can't necessarily justify a master's degree at the moment. I will pursue a masters eventually but I feel like real work experience will help me figure out what I want and then I can target my aspirations from there.

Recently, I just finished a rigorous full- time internship for international communications company, Fleishman Hillard. It taught me so much being in the real field. I know now that perhaps the real way to figure out what you really want in a career, is to find internships in between undergrad and graduate school. I have seen similar experiences from professionals in my field. Another option is to find different types of jobs in between undergrad and graduate. I have been looking mostly at non- profit and corporate companies and organizations to find out which atmosphere works best.

Through the variety in my internships, I have learned work environment can never be repeated in a classroom, especially in a full- time setting. In my agency experience there isn't much of a way to hold a full- time position while attending school. It is a required 50-70 hour week for a full- time position and a lot of your work is done outside of office hours (especially travel). This is an example of how this experience can only be found working full- time at this office. This is only one example of a demanding job but there are many jobs that it would be possible to do both at the same time.

As I sit here desperately writing and hoping for that one email that will take me out of unemployment, I think about how easy it would be to go back to school and to have a fresh start. Though I would learn a lot, I believe a little experience before a masters is the path for most. To target what you really want, you need to gain a little experience in the field first before you sign your life on the dotted line.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's not Brain Surgery- Just 5 things to remember!

Since January of this year, I have learned quite a lot at my internship with Fleishman- Hillard in Kansas City. I had started a long post throughout my internship about the dos and don'ts in public relations but the whole part about our writing is the simplicity and how we write straight to the point adding our own color. I decided as a result, to add just the 5 things to remember for an internship.

1. Love the Research

At my internship at FH, I learned the most through research. If you aren't s
ure about something, research it first. Go to their website, call numbers, ask questions and gather all possible information before ever reporting to your project directors. They will not only be impressed with your knowledge on the company, reporter, product, person...etc, they will trust you with larger information next time. Sometimes the most fu
n in an internship is through the research. You learn so much in general just by some basic research.

2. Know

One of the first steps in public relations, marketing, advertising or probably most communications/business fields is strategic planning. Know what your goals are. Know what your audiences are. Ask those questions to your project managers. Ask for examples others on how they plan their campaigns. Does your group use objectives, strategies and tactics? Do they use more? Do they make a general chart or is it full in detail? When looking for a job this is crucial to know because you never know when you will need to step in and interactively contribute a plan and you will certainly want to over prepare all the information you will need, especially if it is a pitch for a client.

3. Ask for Other Eyes

In an agency world, I found that a lot of time your project managers don't have time to edit. As scary as it is they want something right away for the client so they can manage other things. Because time is so precious, it is imperative that you have as many others check your work as possible. Everything that you put out there is YOUR work. If the client sees a mistake in the work that was given, it is usually because of a mistake that could have been seen earlier. We are all human so we all make mistakes but it is important to have others close to you check with fresh eyes, so you are able to give the most professional product. I learned it was helpful to even have the other intern look at my work. We helped each other, caught mistakes and sometimes it was less painful because we were in the same position and could work things out easier that way.

4. Make it Painless

One of the things most interns don't think about when they are just starting is how to make it in the most final draft possible. Often your supervisor submits emails, having to convert what you said in their words, taking precious time. In a world like FH, I learned to try to make it as "ready send" as possible. If you know how they usually write emails (and if you don't they are usually happy to send you an example), create them in that tone, with the quality and voice that your supervisor/project manager usually uses. This will save time and show your project manager that you are capable of the responsibility of working with clients. This is important to progressing in the future.

5. Use Everyone You Meet as Much as Possible

The best part about working at FH was the diversity of
all the staff. The most important part of an internship is learning right? This is your chance to ask as many questions as possible. Email at their convenience, questions that you might have about their specialty. Meet for coffee or lunch. Ask if you can sit in on their client meetings. Ask if you can contribute to their work if you are interested, or even if you aren't - you never know. I found that I was interested in things that I would have never known, had I not tried.

The second part of number five is to meet as much people as possible in your area. Network. Often college graduates and interns hear this but you never know what you will learn or what opportunities will present themselves if you meet others. I have learned this the most. The more people you know, the better chances you have getting a job and hopefully a job you like.

In my three
months with FH in
Kansas City, I learned a great deal but I felt like these points helped me the most. I think it is important to try more than an agency perspective because different working environments add to everything - your success, your happiness and your work ethic. I am currently looking for a job now but I have found that using these tools and knowing them during an internship is one of the most important parts of all communications jobs.