Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Is blogging dead?

Check out this week’s episode of the FlashCast podcast, where we attempt to answer the question of whether or not blogging is still alive:

 

Are you interested in starting your own blog or improving a blog you already have? Here are some blogging best practices from Digital Information World.

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Which Flash Communications Staff Member Are You?

The Flash Communications staff had some fun this week and decided to come up with their own Buzzfeed personality quiz. Check out the quiz by clicking on the picture below and comment with your results!

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What are you really getting out of your education?

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With the beginning of the new semester comes a new batch of students to Flash Communications. As I write this, we’re just wrapping up our third week of the semester.

Already I sense the excitement they emote about new classes, this new job, other internships, graduation and – of course – starting their careers.

Some of them are too cool to admit it, but some of them are openly stating it: “I can’t believe we’re graduating this semester…” I remember the feeling (yes, it was a long time ago), a sense of excitement and dread and introspection in the form of “am I prepared for this?”

And that’s what your education is supposed to do: Prepare you for this. And we are doing this, but I’m not certain you know that.

One thing I’ve been hearing lately from students at work and in class is “how does this apply to me?” and I find it a tad disturbing. Oh, sure, there are the obvious subjects and tasks we cover in class, creating media lists, writing exercises, media and blogger outreach, developing SMART objectives, etc. But there are so many other concepts, lessons and skills we teach that seem to go over the heads of many students.

So let me assure you of this, students. It applies to you. Whatever it is, if it’s taught in one of our JMC classes, it applies to you in some way. You may not apply it on the first day of your job or even within the first year, but when you’re suddenly asked to concept and design an event or put together a strategic plan framework for a new client based on an obscure problem statement, you will start to recognize the “hidden” value of your education. Our classes are designed to prepare you. Our lessons are designed to challenge you. Our discussions are designed to inspire you. Ask some alumni; I think it works.

So my suggestions to you: Go to a conference. Go to a networking event. Join a club. Be an officer. Go on interviews (informational or employment).Go to a job fair. All of these will help you. And remember, you get more out of it, when you put something into it. So turn on your brains and explore. It will pay off.

photo credit: j.o.h.n. walker via photopin cc


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Interviewing interns for agency work

I interviewed some strong student candidates last week. I’m always impressed with how professional and poised Kent State public relations students are.

We began interviewing for student positions for Flash Communications when I assumed this role in August 2008. I thought it made sense to be a little more selective in choosing students, but more importantly, I thought it would be a good learning experience for students on both sides of the table.

Students who apply are asked to bring in a portfolio and writing samples. This forces them to work on their resume and organize their clips.  Then they are asked a series of interview questions by a panel of interviewers. This is good practice for students who will be interviewing for other internships and positions in the public relations field. It forces students to do their “homework” and prepare for an interview.

Interviewers usually consist of University Communications and Marketing staff and current agency students. Agency students gain a lot from the experience because they can see what we’re looking for in candidates and how the students measure up. It gives them a chance to sit on the “other” side of the table and evaluate candidates, and it gives them an opportunity to think about how they might answer similar questions.

Students, it’s natural to be nervous when you’re “on the spot.” But there are steps you can take to help you prepare. Check out this video highlighting some basic interview tips:  

Also, check out this recent post by Benjamin Piper on Bizcovering, which includes some good interview resources: Secrets to Nailing Every Job Interview Every Time.

But even before the interview, comes the resume. Here are some resume tips.

It’s so important to triple check your resume before submitting it. Errors on the resume can prevent you from even getting a chance. Typos are grounds for disqualification. 

Here’s how students win my heart. First, I look for a well-written resume free of errors. In the interview, I look for solid writers, who are accountable and can work in a deadline-driven environment. I look for students who “sell” themselves. I am passionate about my job and look for passionate people. I look for a willingness to learn and the ability to generate ideas.

PR pros: What qualities do you look for in a public relations intern? What skills do you want your students to have?  Do you have other interview tips to share with students?

Students: What do you want to gain from an internship?