Stephanie Heckman

Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Six Tips for Finding an Internship

In Branding, Career, College, Public Relations on February 27, 2013 at 1:27 am

Finding internships during college is the most important step one can take to starting a career. Internships are the new entry-level jobs, especially in PR. During these challenging economic times, most “entry-level” jobs now require one to two years of experience and many technical skills. The question many recent grads ask is: “How do I gain experience without having experience?”

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1. Increase your marketability. If you are majoring in journalism, communication or public relations, consider adding a minor in another marketable subject such as business or nonprofit management, professional writing, video editing or graphic design. If you have in a liberal arts major such as English, consider increasing your relevance in PR through taking elective courses in editing or business writing with perhaps a double minor in a communication or journalism with one of the above minors. Any courses that can increase your amount of marketable skills should be considered. Try to find a way to connect your education with the specific field you are interested in joining.

2. Keep gaining experience. Writing is the most important skill you can have in PR. By becoming a college reporter for at least a year during college, you can learn important skills in reporting, interviewing, writing and editing that many hopeful PR professionals did not learn in college. After you gain experience as a reporter, considering venturing into becoming an editor or a freelance writing. Many local publications and start-up online magazines do not pay writers or pay very little. However, these writing clips can be used for your portfolio and may lead to paid writing gigs. You should also consider doing volunteer PR, fundraising, social media or event planning work for a local nonprofit that you support. Even a few hours a week can lead to an internship.

3. Develop your personal brand. Even if you are a first-year in college, it’s important to start promoting your personal image and brand. Create a professional Twitter, Facebook. Pinterest and LinkedIn used to follow important brands and organizations in your industry, industry news and media. Use these social media websites to share links to relevant news stories, articles in popular marketing, advertising and PR journals or magazines and recent academic news. Create positive relationships with journalists, communication professionals and others in industry. By having professional social media accounts, you not only demonstrate to your future employers that you have social media experience but you also show that you are a go-getter.

4. Talk to your college’s career service office. Most universities and colleges have an underused career service office. Through career services, you can have your resume improved and learn interviewing skills. Many times, you can also gain information about internships and jobs. Your university may also have a webpage that can be used for job searches.

5. Look through your department’s website. I found my most current PR internship through my university’s School of Communication. There is a huge amount and diversity of organizations seeking interns. You should also be able to find internships through the school of arts and sciences. If you have a minor, it may help open you to even more internships in related subjects.

6. Utilize your resources to find the perfect internship. Think about what industries you would most like to enter. Are you a finance type? Or are you more interested in museums and galleries? Do you want to promote politicians or celebrities? Or are you more interested in book or music publicity? Write a list of companies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and boutique agencies. that you would like to work for in the future. Begin following them on LinkedIn and trying to connect with professionals in these fields. Many times you can find information about internships directly through the organizations’ websites.

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Unequal pay in Public Relations?

In Career, Public Relations, Women's Issues on February 18, 2013 at 5:29 am

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It’s been four years since the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed in 2008. This question has been on every career woman’s mind: is it finally better yet?

In almost every field, men still make around 20 percent more than women do. Back in 2005, women earned 81 percent of what men did, which was an all-time high. This gap has increased in the last eight years and only recently returned to 2005 levels. Black and Latina women have even bigger pay gaps compared. Respectively, they earn 69 and 54 percent of white males, according to pay-equity.org.

Women receive the same education, have the same amount of debt, are more likely to attend college and have higher GPAs (3.11 versus 2.94) on average. Why is there still a gap? Some argue that the pay gap exists because of choices in career in college majors, with men more likely to choose STEM careers. However, studies show that there is still a 7 percent gap on average between men and women in the same occupation. This difference may be due to discrimination, according to USA Today.

According to a recent post by NPR, the jobs with the smallest gaps tend to be the lowest paying. The pay gap varies by profession: it’s 74 cents on the dollar in financial professions and a shocking 53.7 percent in the legal industry, according to Forbes.

What is the gap for women working in PR? The majority of PR professionals are women, including 73 percent of all members of the Public Relations Society of America. However, 80 percent of top PR management consist of men while women continue to make less. As an industry gains a higher percentage of women, the profession’s prestige and pay tends to decrease.

In 2006, women in PR made 69 percent of what men did. In 2010, that difference was down to 60 percent. Female PR professionals with less than 5 years of experience make $29,726 compared to $48,162 for men. In the 15 to 20 year range, it’s $49,270 compared to $69,120.

Worldwide, the pay gap is 16 percent. For adults without children, the gap is only 7 percent but widens to twenty-two percent after women have had at least one child, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) claims that the lack of childcare is the main reason why women without children make lower salaries.

A lack of childcare options can lead to career interruption. Case in point: the cost of childcare is 65 percent of a family’s second wage in the US and UK. Women who take time off work to raise children have the largest pay gaps and are rehired for lower salaries than women who remain in their professions.

What are your thoughts on the wage gap? What can be done to narrow it? What have you experienced in your career?

Welcome all!

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2013 at 5:25 am

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Hello, welcome to my blog! I will be discussing any topics related to public relations, marketing and social media, particularly from a woman’s perspective. Issues discussed will include pay equality, finding internships and jobs, Twitter techniques and more. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions.

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