Category Archives: Public Relations

An Appalling Arrer…errr, (ahem.) Error.

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I read this article, “Hideous query email sparks 6 tips for PR job-seekers,” from the PR Daily News emails (that I receive from Ragan Communications) about students who are a bit careless and don’t take seriously their efforts to reach out into the community for work and experience. They apparently don’t understand that how they present themselves–either in physical form by their dress and manners or in written form by a “letter” (like the one that will be exemplified below)– is a reflection (whether a true one or not) of their name, their rep and their potential (to the eyes of the hirer, employer or future boss) as a worker.

Now, personally I have always been a grammar geek, and with good teaching and being a stickler for details, I have generally had good skills for spelling, punctuation, and proper wording.

Not that I have never made an error, because I have. Almost everyone I think is guilty of some (most likely, pathetic) oversight. And usually it’s always with the silly, stupid mistakes–the ones that would’ve been caught and fixed with a little more attention to detail or maybe even by the eye of a peer, had they asked one.

Below is this “letter”–if you can call it that–by an “anonymous” student that was featured in the above mentioned article plus tips from author Gil Rudawsky on how to avoid having an application or request letter that looks anything like this one.

I copied it because I thought the way he worded it was perfect– I didn’t want to paraphrase, change or minimize his mini lessons in any way.

Here’s the letter, with some details excised to protect the applicant. All misspellings and missing words are preserved:

I am a student from XXX State University I plan on graduating this spring and was very interested in applying at your firm. My major is public but I have had experience in advertisement, campaign management, and social media. I will of course sent you a portfolio and resume upon my graduation I just find it appropriate to contact you early. I extremely respect your business and I feel I have the ability to add to your already sterling reputation.
Thank You
XXX XXX
Sent from my iPhone

OK, now let’s look at the letter a little closer. It prompts real-world tips on what job applicants should do.

It’s clear from the first line that the applicant didn’t target our firm. It’s a form letter that was likely sent hundreds of times. He made no attempt to personalize the letter.

Tip: Form letters never work. Targeted pitches do.

In the second line, the applicant says his major is “public.” Public what? I assume it’s public relations, but it could be public policy or public finance. And he has experience in “advertisement.” Did he mean to say advertising?

Tip: Proofread your cover letter; then have a friend review it.                                                                                              It’s exceedingly easy for a potential employer to delete a cover                                                                                                                                                                     letter if there’s a mistake.

Near the middle of line 3, the applicant says he has experience in social media. At this point, who doesn’t have experience with social media?

Tip: Offer an assessment of your skills, but make them stand out.                                                                             Instead of saying you have social media experience, say what makes                                                                               you different from the 500 million other people on Facebook                                                                                            who can also say they have social media experience.

In the fourth line, I’m just going to assume that there is supposed to be another period somewhere here, along with the start of a new sentence. This applicant again shows that he blindly sent out the letter, as we make it clear that we do not hire, nor have we ever hired, anyone right out of school. This letter affirms the wisdom of that policy.

Tip: Research a company before applying; this will save everyone                                                                      time. There’s a reason why some companies hire candidates with five                                                                                           or ten years of experience.

The final sentence: If this applicant did respect our business, he would have spent five minutes proofing his letter, finding out who we are and what we’re looking for. A mistake-laden letter just shows a lack of respect.

Tip: If you are going to offer hyperbole about a company,                                                                                                    back it up. You have a “sterling reputation” because …

The ultimate insult of the letter is that it was sent from his iPhone. That’s got to be a first. Maybe he thought that it was cool to send the letter from his iPhone because it shows his tech savvy. It’s not a good move; it shows laziness. I bet he sent it from his classroom, having found our address minutes earlier.

Tip: Here’s a new one: Don’t send a cover letter                                                                                                                      from your phone. Guess we had to state the obvious.

(Isa’s Note: Bold points are from me not original author.)

Can you imagine getting this from a student who is applying for the PR position at your company? Even if he may have had all the right qualifications, because of his carelessness, he would be thrown out of the selection pile before even being possibly considered for the position. Especially for PR job: a business cannot hire him as their representation and face of the company if he does not care about such details as his own application letter.

so lets all lurn and realize: if you want 2 show yourself as practiced n profficient, short cuts r nevr a good option for any1, especially in thi situation! It important to chek how ur presentin yurself and make sure that your’e alwayz be professional. A student who truly cares will take the x-tra time to proof-reed there final draft. They may be even get it peer reviewed for a 2nd opinion and 4 heven’s sake: they’ll certinly use spell check!

It could be the different between the ‘yes’ you want and the ‘no’ you dred.*

(*Note:* *In case, you didn’t know… that last part: yeah, that was on purpose. I now…know how to0…to spell…duh.)

Greetings: The Big Mac comes in peace….

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Ok. So see all the yellowish-lime green countries?

All those countries have a McDonald’s within their borders.

Now see all the blue?

Those countries don’t have any golden arches…like, at all.

None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

(It’s a bit hard to grasp. I know.)

Got it? Ok.

Now.

This is Nazareth.

No–not the city–I’m talkin’ bout the man (Over on the right…right hheerree.—>

Coincidently: the man named after that city in Israel.

And he is one of my favorite Christian comedians of all time.

Although born in Nazareth, he grew up in Kuwait and then his family moved to the states when he was 20, and boy, does he love this country.

I know, I know: What does a random Middle Eastern funny man have to do with McD’s-deprived-nations?

Well I shall tell you.

A couple years ago, I saw this video (it’s below) of a comedy show routine he did where he cracks a joke about junk food (starting about 2:10 of the video) and unhealthy food joints. He says that wherever there is junk food, there is peace. He even makes mention of Burger King at around 2:45.

When I saw that map–you know, the green-blue one above?– I immediately thought of his comment.

I took another look at the map.

Sudan. Syria. Iran. Afghanistan. North Korea.

These names popped out at me this time.

I wonder: Is there really a link between peace and the availability of unhealthy junk food? Are companies like McD’s and Burger King aware of this? Have they tried to advertise and put their products in these poor turmoiled countries? And been rejected or run-off and turned away?

Is it because of the stiffness and warring (whether by savage terrorists, restricting government officials or controlling dictators) that a country never gets to enjoy the salty crispiness of golden string fries or the sweet joys of an ice-cold chocolate frosty?

How sad.

So next time you see a billboard advertising a McD’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese or a Burger King Whopper,

…instead of cursing the unrealistic tempting images…

Look to Heaven and thank God for the peace we have been gifted with.

Eye On the Tig…errr…Cheese?

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Someone showed me this video a couple of years ago:

I thought it was hilarious!

It was brilliant marketing on the part of the Nolan company!

They use familiar & catchy tunes that people will hum, sing along to and remember. They throw in an adorable mouse, a dash of comedy and a hint of drama, thus creating an advertisement that you’ll kinda’ enjoy (admit it!) and  want to see over again (you pressed ‘replay,‘ didn’t you?).

They do another one with a squirrel and nuts that I found when looking for this one, but I didn’t think it was as good.

Be Social and UNITE!!

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Interesting.

Future journalists: looks like we need to get a Linkedin account.

I had only heard Linkedin mentioned in class and in a seminar, but with minimal details. So, for my sake and for the sake of anyone else who stumbles across this blog and doesn’t know, I did some research.

  • A professional networking site. (Source1)
  • A huge database of available professionals. (Source2)
  • Commonly misconceived as a site solely for the “professionals.” (2)
  • Allows members to “create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients.” (1)
  • Enables employers searching for employees to pinpoint their ideal candidate based on very specific factors and searches. (2)
  • Insures future career growth for anyone. (2)
  • Lets a person find and be found by potential companies and recruiters (2)
  • Gives members can be a part of “LinkedIn Groups” and “LI Answers,” which give the curious, ignorant, searching and confused job-seekers the “ability to ask questions…and learn a great deal of information that can help” in his/her career. (2)
  • Was founded in 2002; site officially launched in 2003. (Source3)
  • The management team is formed by “seasoned executives” from corporations like Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, PayPal and others. (3)
  • Claims membership of more than 135 million professionals. (3)
  • Has more than 14 million student and graduate members. (Oct. 2011) (3)
  • Counts executives for all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members (Sept. 2011) (3)
  • Organizes entered introductory, descriptive and personal experience info easy categories. (2)
  • Makes it easy to establish business connections with professionals and company recruiters; the more connections, the more your profile will be viewed/found. (2)

From the Characters of Pride and Prejudice Comes… Tips for Public Speaking?

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In my PR class today, we were asked to choose one of our favorite movies and find things from instances or characters in the movie that we could learn from in the area of public speaking tips.

The first movie that came to mind was Pride and Prejudice. You know, the one with Matthew McFadyen and Keira Knightly– <sigh> one of my all-time favs.

Just Oh-So Beautiful!

At first, I didn’t know how I could learn anything about public speaking from a movie.

I know, I know: how could I ever possess such primitive and ignorant thinking?

Well, you can breathe easy now, because I quickly realized that I was wrong.

I really started to think about it and realized how much I actually could get from the iconic characters of Jane Austen’s masterpiece. I thought that the tips I gathered were worth blogging about and sharing.

So without further ado, here’s what I gathered about good or bad public speaking from Pride and Prejudice:

Mrs. Bennet

  • Mrs. Bennet: Don’t talk too much. Pause every once and a while—take a breath. And if all you do is gossip, complain and demand, no one will not only ever want to listen to you, but also not want to be around you in general.

Mr. Bennet

  • Mr. Bennet: Have a mind of your own. Don’t just repeat what others say or demand you to say. Include your own opinion when appropriate. People don’t want to hear what they just heard from the other guy/girl. Be original.

The Charming and Deceptive Foot Soldier Wickham

  • Mr. Wickham: Be charming and know how to draw emotions. It sure worked for him…

Mr. Collins, The Dreaded Cousin

  • Mr. Collins: Please know how to relate to your audience and hold their interest. God forbid you are boring, monotone and bulldoze straight above anyone else about issues that no one cares about.

The Dry, Gray and Depressing Mary Bennet

  • Mary Bennet: Learn to be a bit exciting. Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion…unless its boring and unrelated—then it’s probably best that you hold your tongue. 😉

Fitzwilliam Darcy... oh, Darcy

  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Don’t give the appearance of or gain the reputation of being prideful and egotistical, without a care for anyone or anything. That turns people off right away…or does it? 🙂

Her "Royalness" High-n'-Mighty-(n'-Stuck-Up) Lady Catherine De Bourgh

  •  Lady Catherine de Bourgh: Demand respect but don’t instill fear in your audience. And then, in return, you also be respectful by having tact and not mindlessly offending others just because you think you’re better than them.

And... the unspoken and honest Lizzy.

  • Elizabeth/Lizzy Bennet: Be passionate. Be witty. Be confident. Don’t be ashamed of being yourself. (I wish I could be as beautifully poetic as Lizzy… or any of the Austen Characters really!) Oh, and having un-embarrassing, discreet and graceful family members is a plus…

If anyone thinks of anything else to include or another note-worthy character, please add to the list!!

Nuh-Uh! McD’s Would Never Deceive Me! What!?!

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I think– I would hope– that we all know somewhere deep down that they do it to us… right?

The whole “appealing to the senses” thing they do? Just to get us to walk in and hand them our money for something we know doesn’t look at all like their advertisements?

It’s all a deliberate trap.

They put these images on billboards, TV commercials, magazines, the sides of 18-wheelers truckin’ down the highways past us. And they make it almost irresistible for some.

We (I say the collective “we”; I don’t prefer fast food) start drooling and make an immediate beeline for the nearest sighting of the Golden Arches.

They definitely know what they’re doing.

Looking at these pictures, I just want to laugh. I wonder: if the real pics of the products on the right were posted all over the billboards and ads, would business go down? Or are people just addicted anyway and do not care what it looks like?

(In terms of categories: this is obviously the marketing side of PR.)

Out-of-the-Box Résumés

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I enjoyed looking at these.

With regards to the interests and skills of some of my fellow classmates also involved in marketing and graphic design, I think some of them would too.

Its a slideshow collection of different résumés that people (mostly creative graphic designers) have put together.

I encourage you to take a look. Its quite impressive.

Click HERE to see some ridiculously creative résumés.

(Tip: Make sure you take your mouse of the slideshow after each time you click to the next one so that the black borders disappear. That way you can see the whole thing.)

ENJOY!