Career Fair Recap

By: Tiffany Lin

Bustling with professionally-dressed students, the College of Communications Career Fair is an opportunity for students of all majors to begin or extend their network among the largely connected field.

Hosted at Darrel K. Royal Stadium, students were given a chance to meet and impress several potential employers and ask for more information about internship and job openings, exchanging their resumes for information packets. To strategize how they would use their time among a busy environment with multiple intriguing employers, many students had printed their own map layout before arriving at the fair.

From social media internships to script reading internships, each of the majors in the College of Communications was covered as the different companies had something unique to offer. Both large and small companies had elaborate set ups to entice the eager crowd, and many brought out t-shirts and their own products to further showcase their firms.

General Mills supplied snacks such as chips and nutrition bars, while the Walt Disney Company passed out information-printed notebooks and pens. Austin Monthly even gave out several copies of their magazines, while showing that they had several journalism and social media internships. Before long, lines formed at most of the tables including T3, iHeartMedia, and PulsePoint.

At the fair, students should be open to approach any organization that appeals to them and learn more about what they have to offer. In order for students to be able to start up a more extensive conversation with recruiters and at the same time, avoid the awkward, “So… what does your company do?” question, they should research companies beforehand.

The College of Communications Career Fair is an excellent resource for students of all graduating classes and majors. Students should take the initiative to introduce themselves to each of the companies of their interest and learn about the diverse opportunities they provide. The next fair is scheduled on March 11, 2015 in the same venue, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so mark your calendars!

PRSSA National Conference: Network, Learn, and Explore

By: Elizabeth Chavez

photo 2Two week ago, three UT PRSSA officers returned to their normal routines after a long weekend in the nation’s capital for the PRSSA National Conference. Every conference day included sessions that varied from a first job survival guide to understanding what the media want, but there was one theme that was consistent throughout the entire conference – step outside of your comfort zone.

The public relations industry is rapidly growing on a global level and each session was tailored to fit current needs. Attendees were exposed to new trends such as a better understanding of wearable technologies, how to pitch to different types of media and understand how to adapt communication across all industries.

photo 3 (1)PRSSA conferences not only allow students the ability to learn more about the public relations industry, but it’s also an opportunity to network with professionals and students from other chapters – my favorite part of the entire weekend. I can safely say that I now know at least one PR pre-pro from each region in the nation!

It was helpful to discuss and analyze sessions with newfound friends, who were going through similar challenges and eager to learn organically from UT PRSSA and other chapters in attendance.  The opportunity to pick the brains of our peers and professionals was truly the cherry on top of a great weekend. We even found ourselves bumping elbows with distinguished Public Relations fellows who gave us advice on upcoming endeavors.

photo 1 (1)This was my first time attending a National Conference, and it was such a great experience, which allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone to learn more about the industry in a cool city. If I had the opportunity, I would love to go again.. My advice to students who will be members of UT PRSSA in fall of 2015 is to GO! It is a great way to network, learn, and to explore. Plus, next year’s conference is in Atlanta!

5 Must-Have Apps for UT Students

By: Caterina Nasr

Staying connected – that is what college is all about. Having access to information, tips and upcoming events is what will get you through these four vital years of life and help you gain the most out of your college experience.

The easiest way to get and stay connected is through our universal, modern-day crutch: the cell phone. In this day in age, it seems our cell phones have become another limb. It’s interesting to think that getting around and managing our lives is done through a device that fits comfortably in our hand. Both a curse and a blessing, Smartphones are our most efficient way to stay connected with a touch of a screen.

There are five vital apps I keep on my phone to help me stay up to date. From food to transportation to academics, these apps have helped me survive the last two months of university life.

1. Hooked Deals

Hooked Deals is a coupon app on steroids. Taking into account your location on campus and the places around you, this app gives real time yet short-term deals for restaurants, coffee shops and more, and it’ll show you how much time is left to “hook them,” or use them, at the participating restaurants. The deals vary from getting a free cookie at Potbelly on the drag to $1 Tall drinks at Starbucks in the Union to free drinks at Austin’s Pizza. Not only is the coupon instant publicity for the business, but it’s also an easy way to get free treats with your meals. Sign me up!

2. Favor

The title essentially gives away the purpose of this genius app and service. Only operating in central Boston and Austin, the whole intention of Favor is to, well, do any favor you. Whether that’s bringing you a #3 off the Chic-Fil-A menu or grabbing candy at CVS, Favor “runners,” as they call them, will do anything for you. With a $5.00 delivery free, your request is at your doorstep within minutes. The runners wear blue tuxedo T-shirts and even give you updates to let you know what stage of the process your favor is at. Torchy’s Tacos or JuiceLand brought to me personally without having to leave my room? Yes, please.

3. Uber/Lyft

Uber and Lyft are modern-day taxi services. All you do is set your pick up and drop off locations on the app, and in a matter of minutes a driver is at your side ready to drive you wherever you please. You can also customize the size of the car to accommodate how many people are hopping on for a ride and even split the cost with other Uber or Lyft users. These means of transportation are a great way to get off campus if needed because they’re simple, safe and efficient.

4. UT Austin App

Complete with tabs on sports, news and events, the UT Austin app is the perfect way to stay updated on all things Burnt Orange. It has a fully-functioning map with all the names and abbreviations of buildings on campus that directly connects to the GPS on your phone. This app will route you to any building within seconds, which in fact, has saved me from getting incredibly lost multiple times. In addition, you can also log in with your UT EID and check out your weekly class schedule. The application has everything you need to be a happily informed Longhorn.

 5. Evernote

Evernote is a clever app that helps you organize all your class notes. You can sync existing notes from your other devices to your phone and have them with you at all times with just the tap of a screen. Additionally, you’re able to record reminders and jot down ideas with ease. It’s a way to efficiently and effectively review on the go as you trek down West Campus for that test you have in on the other side of campus.

How to Crush Your Next Career Fair

By: Samantha Branson

Career Fair meeting pic

Debbie Kubena (center) with Vi Tran and Landon Horan before Kubena’s presentation at the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

To many students, a career fair can seem foreboding, confusing, and sometimes, downright scary. There are so many things to remember, from what to wear to what not to say. Director of Communication Career Services Debbie Kubena stopped by to give PRSSA helpful advice on how to stand out at any career fair.

Before the fair:

  1. Practice your elevator speech

An elevator speech is a short, introductory speech that you may give to a recruiter. To keep their interest, it’s usually recommended that this remain concise. An example of this may be, “Hi, my name is Sam. I’m a junior advertising major looking for an internship this spring.” In this short sentence the student’s name, area of study, classification, and intent are revealed.

  1. Wear business professional attire

The goal of a career fair is to land an internship, or even better, a job. So go the extra mile when deciding what to wear in order to impress a future employer. Avoid t-shirts and shorts, or any athletic wear. Visit this article by CCS to further learn about proper attire.

  1. Research the companies

There will be 90 companies present at this career fair. That’s a lot of people to talk to, so narrow that number down. Make an A-List, B-List, and even a C-List of who you want to talk to. “Have an idea of what each company does and what their service is,” said Kubena.

  1. Bring enough resumes

Be sure to have enough resumes on hand for each company you plan to talk to, and then add five. Also, bring something to hold your resumes and to take notes with – like a padfolio – because you may find a company interesting at the fair that you were not interested in or overlooked when making your list.

During the fair:

  1. Make a game plan

There will be a map provided upon your arrival, so it’d be a good idea to start your career fair journey by surveying the room and finding the booths you want to visit. Bonus tip: get your nerves out by practicing your elevator pitch and conversing with the companies that aren’t on your A-List!

  1. Do not monopolize the recruiters’ time

As Kubena said, “Nothing will [annoy] them more than if they can’t get rid of you.” Therefore, plan five minutes per recruiter as a general rule.

  1. Do a little eavesdropping

Listen to the questions the person in front of you asks the recruiter. This will prevent you from asking the same questions.

  1. Do not pass out business cards

These are usually superfluous anyways because the same information is available on your resume.

After the fair:

  1. Follow up with the recruiter

Don’t forget to ask for each recruiter you visit at the fair for their name and contact info, so that you can send an email reminding them where they met you and about your interest in their company. Don’t forget to attach a resume because they may forward your email to the company’s head of recruitment. Do this ASAP; the sooner the better.

Follow this advice and you’ll walk into the career fair with confidence. But above all, remember to be yourself. The career fair is designed to help students, and what university has better students than The University of Texas at Austin? Hook ‘em!

9/30 Agency Tour – McGarrah Jessee

By: Tiffany Lin

McGarrah Jessee is on the corner of 6th and Colorado (photo: McKinney York Architects).

McGarrah Jessee is on the corner of Sixth and Colorado (photo: McKinney York Architects).

Best known for its work with Frost, Shiner Bock and Whataburger, McGarrah Jessee is a local full service ad agency founded in 1996. Their cozy yet spacious workplace is made to house no more than 150 people, which they believe is large enough to efficiently operate while still being able to interpersonally communicate with each other. Our guides, Marketing Director Heather Snow and HR Manager Jennifer Blank, explained that the agency favors face-to-face interactions versus emailing each other, which would be preferred in larger agencies. “When we do our best, we do it together,” said Snow. And when an agency gets too big, communication tends to suffer.

A view of the escalators, lobby and mural (photo: Lost Laurel).

A view of the escalators, lobby and mural (photo: Lost Laurel).

Originally built for the American National Bank in 1954, the agency’s five-story building has a lot of history behind it, including Austin’s first escalator and a three ton mural by Seymour Fogel, which is the centerpiece of the lobby. The building has even been featured in Architect magazine for its restoration. Located upstairs is Chicago-based media agency, Kelly Scott Madison. The KSM office performs the media buying aspect of the PR business, allowing McJ to focus on the media planning. The rooftop of the McJ Building has chairs on an island of artificial grass, a mini helicopter, and a beautiful view of downtown Austin, making it the perfect setting for hosting the agency’s monthly happy hour.

McJ's rooftop (photo: Michelle Hill).

McJ’s rooftop (photo: Michelle Hill).

As the tour winded down, we met with Eric Webber, the public relations and social media director. Webber mentioned that some of the greatest challenges of PR are the misconceptions of the field such as how PR doesn’t cost money – which leads to budgeting and control issues. Unlike paid media, PR associates have to work smarter, not costlier. To be at the right spot at the right time is difficult; after all, what is a great story if there is no one to tell it to? PR isn’t just about the great story though; it is also about the storytelling.

McGarrah Jessee treats social media as a creative outlet – similar to a print ad. What is exposed out on social media stays indefinitely in an Internet database. Webber favors the immediacy of social media because of how quickly one can respond to a complaint and how it directly connects the company to its public. However, he advises against spending too much time on social media because it’s easy to be consumed by it. In terms of damage control, it is important to “man up” and take responsibility. Sometimes, all a company can do is listen, and acknowledge and take responsibility.

Webber says that PR is great for people who have short attention spans because this job can sometimes quickly shifts from one client to another. It’s also a research-heavy industry with plenty of planning and strategy; there are always surveys to be performed and critical thinking on what the brand is all about. It is important to put yourself in the client’s shoes and think about what the client wants and what success looks like to them. Focus on an ultimate goal and leap towards it. Important questions to also ask yourself are: how much leeway is the company giving me and are there specific guidelines to look at? Taking from his experience with Red Cross, Webber recommends working with pro bono clients because it allows you to “do good” and enjoy doing it.

One of Webber’s favorite clients has been Shiner Bock, whose infamous Shiner-Heineken ACL clash has been a writing topic of many UT advertising and PR students. Shiner had mischievously one-upped Heineken, a prominent ACL sponsor, by handing out Shiner Bock printed coozies to ACL attendees, who then used them to keep their Heineken beer cold, so it looked like everyone with a coozie was drinking Shiner. After this promotion, Shiner’s trust for McJ strengthened and McJ started participating in product packaging, publicity, events, and social media.

McGarrah Jessee is an agency that is proud of its diverse and creative staff, whose dedication has allowed the agency to mature and grow. Their offices, each decorated a little differently, paint an atmosphere where ideas and interaction are always welcome, and it is the teams’ experience and resourcefulness that has propelled McJ into the PR spotlight.

The Sixth Street entrance of McJ (photo: AKA Builders).

The Sixth Street entrance of McJ (photo: AKA Builders).

UT Alumni Panel Shares PR Tips Through Personal Experiences

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Ashley Schlosser, Alison Kwong, and Adrienne Newcomb (left to right) posing before the meeting on Sept. 23, 2014.

By: Cody Church

In the wake of a celebration touting the future of public relations for the newly dubbed Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin, UT PRSSA assembled a panel of alumni to speak about the challenges they faced entering the job market as well as to offer advice to current students. The juxtaposition of past, present and future on this day created an environment of hope and passion for those who attended. The panel consisted of Alison Kwong, Adrienne Newcomb, and Ashley Schlosser – each of whom is an established PR professional. Offering differing perspectives, the panel imparted the significance of perseverance and ambition, a theme reinforced throughout the presentation.

Alison Kwong, a PR specialist at National Instruments, spoke first. She was very active in college and kept busy with internships and extracurricular activities. Any college adviser would have been very proud of her, but she emphasized that internships, while impressive, won’t guarantee anyone a job. “The ones that show initiative are the ones I want on my team,” Kwong stated. Earlier in the evening she stressed the importance of honing writing skills while in college. The message she conveyed is clear – though she believes internships are crucial, the quality of work will always outshine the quantity of internships.

The next speaker, Adrienne Newcomb, embodies this idea. In college, she didn’t have the quantity of internships that most students would strive for. Instead, she related the experience gained at her previous jobs to PR in order to create valuable leverage. Newcomb, an assistant account executive at PPR Worldwide today, spoke extensively about how she would organize events for her employers and take charge of their social media accounts; so while she did not have a formal internship, she was still able to demonstrate competency in skills necessary for PR professionals. When asked what advice she would give to herself as a freshman, Newcomb, replied, “I wish I would have gotten involved sooner,” but she was extremely confident that the basic skills she picked up along the way, even from a job that she hated, gave her the solid foundation she needed to find her dream job.

Ashley Schlosser, our chapter’s liaison and the final speaker, focused mostly on confidence for students applying for internships or looking for jobs after graduation. She recalled a time when her voice was so shrill on a conference call that a professor had to stop her and ask her to calm down. Schlosser, the founder and owner of Live Out Loud PR, told UT PRSSA that the best piece of advice she received in college was simply to calm down, regain composure and speak with confidence. She also added that the scramble for jobs and internships can seem like it is a competition at times, but advised the students in the room to remember that “not everyone is running the same race; don’t be intimidated by other people.”

During the Q&A portion of the meeting, all three speakers were in a agreement that being personable during an interview can often make one stand out as the best candidate for the job. Sharing personal stories, finding something in common with the interviewer, or simply making a joke during the interview can set one apart from the others.

As the meeting drew to a close, students lined up on the stage to continue the discussion. The future certainly looks bright for the students of the Stan Richards School and members of PRSSA, thanks in part to our wonderful panel who were willing to share their stories and paint a clearer picture of what life is like after graduation.

Summer Internship Showcase – Non-PR

Aparna (right) and a fellow intern after meeting the star of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" on premiere night.

Aparna (right) and a fellow intern after meeting the star of “Sharknado 2: The Second One” on premiere night.

Aparna Kumar is a senior and is interning at NBCUniversal in the production department at Syfy in New York. Aparna says that she has learned so much more than she could have imagined coming in.

In production, she is mostly working to create graphics overlays and cut clips from movies and television shows for use in promos and sales reels. Aparna is also responsible for digitizing tapes of movies that are sent in by producers for Syfy to air on television. “Even though I don’t watch Syfy’s original content, it’s been great to be a part of the team that works to promote these shows,” Aparna said. “And I’ve definitely had a blast working on the campaign for ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ that came out this month.”

Aparna’s favorite thing about her internship has been getting to perfect her technical skills in programs like Final Cut and After Effects, of which she only knew Final Cut coming in, and of course, getting to work at “30 Rock.” “Sometimes when I’m walking through the door in the morning, I try and channel Tina Fey’s energy and it gets me through my day,” Aparna said. “Plus, it’s great that the production team is so laid-back and I get to come to work in jeans and sneakers if I want to.”

The way she heard about her internship was when NBCUniversal came to recruit at UT back in February. First, Aparna submitted her resume through the Communication Career Services portal. Then, she got called back for an interview with a recruiter. After, she had to record a timed video interview through the NBC portal, and finally she received an email from her current supervisor for a phone interview a few weeks later.

“If I were to give anyone advice on how to land an internship outside the realm of PR or companies in Austin, it would absolutely be to take advantage of Career Services. I never thought I would get to spend my summer working for one of my dream companies and it’s been an incredible experience so far.”

 

Hillary Hurst is a junior and is interning at C3 Presents in Austin, Texas.hillary

C3 has taught her many important skills during the summer, such as thinking on your feet and being open to new experiences.

Hillary is a floater intern, which means she works in all departments. Because of her position, she is able to see how the office runs as a cohesive entity. “Everyone in the office is so friendly and cool,” Hillary said. “I felt so welcomed, and it’s nice to get an idea of the kind of environment I would like to work in once I graduate.”

One of the most interesting things about her internship is that C3 puts on events, including the Austin City Limits Festival and Lollapalooza, so it’s fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at how those intricate events are executed. “I’ve been attending ACL for the past six years, so it’s awesome to see the other side of the music,” Hillary said.