What I Wish I Knew Going Into Internship Interviews

Throughout your time at Temple, there’s a good chance you’ll hear how important internships are over and over and over again and it’s true! From learning new skills to discovering your niche, internships are the very foundation that will help establish yourself into a professional in the field.

However, the whole process of applying and interviewing for an internship can be a daunting task and at some times, stressful. Coming from someone who has had about 20 internship interviews in the last year, I completely get it, but as time has gone on, I have learned a lot about myself and the process, slowly becoming more comfortable with it.

That being said, here’s four things I wish I had known going into internship interviews that may be helpful for you!

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  1. Reality Check: You are one of about 75-100 people who applied for the same internship so learn how to make yourself stand out.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given came from TeamWork Online president, Buffy Filippell. “Everyone has a unique backstory…know yours and use it to your advantage.” If you know what makes you different and can prove how it will make you valuable to a company, how many other people applied for the position shouldn’t matter! Employers love meeting someone that’s a bit out of the “norm” from everyone else in their department so let that dictate your confidence going into an interview.

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2. Researching both the organization and employee you will be interviewing with shows a sign of respect and desire.

When you go into an internship interview, most people believe that the same set of standard questions will always be asked, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my experiences, it’s that interviewers love to throw in some curveballs about what you know about the company. Researching the organization shows a true interest on your part and can only benefit you in the long run. Also, researching the person you’re interviewing with can help ease your nerves if you can somehow turn the conversation around and connect with that person on a more individual level.

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3. A first impression is everything. Make it count!

This one might be stating the obvious, but I still think it’s something that can be easily overlooked sometimes! From the moment you step into the headquarters or office of the organization, all eyes will be on you. From how you’re dressed to how you carry yourself, every little detail will be made note of. Now, a lot of people might think this means wearing a real nice blazer, suit or some heels, but if you look uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, people are going to notice. Wear something that is the perfect combination of professionalism, comfortability and yourself and your confidence will come naturally!tenor.gif

4. Sending follow-up emails goes a long way.

This may be something that sounds so minor, but trust me when I say that a follow-up email can make a lasting impression.  By no means does this have to be an extensive email, just simply thank the interviewer for their time and mention one thing you learned about the organization that day. First and far most, this shows that you were actually listening to the interviewer but also shows a sign of professionalism. Along with this, even if you don’t get the internship, reach out and ask for constructive criticism. The only way you can learn is to know what you’re doing wrong and asking for advice from the interviewer can greatly help you in the future!

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Beating the Back to School Blues

Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase of going back to school has come to an abrupt end. With deadlines, agendas and pressures piling up it’s quite easing to find yourself with a case of the back to school blues. With that being said, the reality of the fall semester doesn’t have to be negative. Here are a few tips to help carry you through the semester:

1. Actively plan to prepare

The cause of stress for most students in college is staying on top of assignments, which is why I highly recommend getting a planner. Confession: I am a planner/organization junkie and I can’t make it a single day without my planner on hand. Allowing myself to visually see what needs to be done puts me in control; don’t have the extra stress of exams and papers directing your time. You know exactly what you have to do to prepare and once the tasks are completed, you have time for more important things (like yourself).

2. It’s about the little things

Yesterday I was talking to my mom over the phone and she paused our conversation to ask, “Are you looking forward to anything fun?” In that moment I realized I wasn’t enjoying myself because school was my primary focus. There’s nothing wrong with centralizing your attention on school but don’t forget to treat yourself. When fully appreciated, little things throughout your day can be very valuable. Grab a coffee before class, listen to your favorite podcast or enjoy dinner with friends (my personal favorite). No matter what “little things” you choose all that matters is that you’re providing yourself with little daily doses of happiness.

3. Communicate with yourself and those around you

You know yourself better than anyone, meaning you know what you need and when. Listen to that little voice inside your head: if you need a night in to sort out your agenda, that’s a-OK! But, if you feel as though you’ve been a hermit make sure you get yourself some sun. When you feel overwhelmed and out of place, it can change how you perceive others around you. Take a moment of your day to reach out to people. Call your cousin. Talk to the person who you sit next to in your 8 AM. Vent to your best friend. Anything! When you interact, you’re less likely to feel alone. Remember, everyone around you is probably stressed from the hustle and bustle of the semester. You can get through it together!

Don’t allow the back to school blues to set the tone for your semester. Here’s some food for thought: the things that are causing you stress and anxiety now probably aren’t going to matter once you graduate. Look at the big picture, and take one week at a time. I’ll be cheering all of you on!  

This blog post was written by Account Executive Olivia Bumgardner.

Conflict: Planning Organic PR Moments

Months ago, I purchased a ticket to the Lady Gaga concert at Wells Fargo Center and last week, I finally attended the show. While I was enjoying the performance (and not thinking about public relations) fans threw small gifts and letters onto the stage. At first I thought Gaga’s dancers would clean up the stage and walk off, but instead, the queen herself selected a note and read it to the packed stadium of nearly 20 thousand people.

In the moment, I thought this situation was unplanned and created a safe space for thousands of fans. It was beautiful to watch Gaga emotionally read a very personal letter from an adoring fan. The next day, I spoke about this moment with a friend who saw the show the previous night. It turns out, this same scenario happened at the first concert. After I found this out, it didn’t make the moment any less meaningful, but I did think about how Gaga strategically planned a fan letter reading during her concert.

From a public relations standpoint, Gaga creating time during her set is excellent client relations. Her message of fan appreciation is clearly shown through these intimate moments. After a quick Google search, there are also various articles from national and local publications praising Gaga for her realness. If I were Gaga’s publicist, I would be very proud of a simple tactic that harbors happy customers and good press. Regardless if some planning or premeditation went into the letter reading, the moment was memorable.

This blog post was written by Assistant Firm Director Marissa Reale.

Equifax Breach: Crisis PR Gone Wrong

Crisis PR can make or break a company’s reputation. How the worst possible scenarios are handled by large corporations is looked at as a gateway into the company’s core morals. Recently, consumer credit reporting agency, Equifax, suffered from a large data hack, impacting about 143 million Americans. In a matter so serious, the company has a responsibility to be as clear and concise with those affected. The problem? Equifax failed to do the bare minimum, and in turn, caused a PR nightmare.

Transparency

To put it simply, corporate transparency wasn’t present in the handling of this crisis. The company waited six weeks to announce its breach, and it failed to report the number of citizens in Canada and the UK that were affected. They also failed to reach out to those who were affected directly; instead, they set up a website that wasn’t ready at the initial time it was promised. Though corporate transparency has been up for debate for a long time, this situation is a no-brainer. When handling something as serious as credit, Equifax had the innate responsibility to be as up front as possible about the issue, but instead, they remained mum and failed to keep the few promises that they offered, further breaching the trust between the company and those involved.

Leadership

Or, rather, lack thereof. Equifax’s CEO, Rick Smith, stayed quiet, only to break his silence with an op-ed through USA Today. On top of that, it’s been reported that the company hired multiple communications managers and PR agencies to solve the image crisis. Though this seems like the obvious solution, this strategy doesn’t work for multiple reasons. First of all, there’s no sense of unity between these groups; you can’t just throw people into a group and expect them to fully operate like a well-oiled machine, especially without a leader giving them clear direction. This, combined with Smith’s delayed response, makes the company’s leadership appear confused and out of control, further bewildering the public.

Social Media

The company, overall, has done poorly in terms of social media usage. In today’s age, it’s expected of most internal public relations departments to make a formal statement on social media, as this is the easiest way to reach out to a broad audience. The company released two tweets in response to the breach, which only amounts to a mere 240 characters. This isn’t nearly enough to properly inform their audience of what happened, nor is it enough to formally apologize in such a serious situation. Equifax also made headlines when their customer service inappropriately tweeted the day after they formally announced the breach:

Not only is the timing of the tweet extremely inappropriate, it makes it appear as if there is a disconnect between the differing departments within the company. Or, it simply can look as if they’re brushing off the issue as opposed to addressing it.

How to Fix It

The underlying question is, how does a corporation come back from such a nasty situation? The answer may sound simple, but it’ll be difficult from this point forward. Equifax owes it to every person affected to reach out, and help them freeze their credit, free of charge. The lack of direction and impersonal nature of the response to the crisis just made the company appear bewildered, prompting further panic from those affected. It’s not completely unfixable, but this crisis is an uphill battle for Equifax.

This blog post was written by Account Associate Jasmine Fahmy.

J.J. Watt Redefined Branding, the Internet and Transparency

As everyone knows by now, Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and its surrounding suburbs with record breaking rainfall and flooding. The whole country rallied around Houston with support and donations. But one person used his brand and the internet, while remaining transparent, to take fundraising to epic proportions. As of today, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans has raised an astounding $30 million plus for victims of this horrific disaster.  

Watt has been a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year since he was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011. It is safe to say that Watt is known as one of the best defenders, if not players, in the league. This has made his brand, sponsorships, apparel and social media platforms very well known in Houston, his hometown in Wisconsin and all around the country. This played a huge factor in his fundraising efforts because he was able to reach a large mass of people with just the click of a button.

According to Mary Katherine Ham of The Federalist, Watt has become the second-most well-liked player in the NFL, falling behind New Orleans’ Quarterback, Drew Brees. Brees is not only known for his outstanding plays on the field, but also for his efforts in aiding the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. What is the difference between what Brees did and what Watt has recently done? You’ve got it: the internet. While Watt was in the middle of his fundraising efforts, he posted videos on social media every few hours letting his followers know how much they raised, what his next goal was and where the money was going. This was great because it reached the masses so easily and the people donating and/or thinking of donating were well aware of what was happening exactly. Tie in his brand with the internet and you can see why his original goal of $200,000 was surpassed quite quickly.  

As I scrolled through social media while relief efforts were kicking off, I saw people posting statements letting people know to avoid donations to certain places because the money trail wouldn’t add up. The transparency Watt gave in his video posts made people feel comfortable about donating because he assured them that the money would go directly to the people. I hope this story of heroism will never cast a doubt on the power a positive brand, the internet and complete transparency can have.

This blog post was written by Account Executive Andrew DeVito.

How To Survive Your Senior Year of College

If you’re graduating college this year (and you’re anything like me) then you’re probably feeling scared, nervous, and excited all at once. Personally, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t a student. I have been a student for the past sixteen years of my lifeThe future is blurry. Imagining a life without being in school is difficult, and terrifying.

A part of me can’t wait to graduate and start applying to jobs, expereiencing new places, and meeting new people. Another part of me is overcome by sadness/fear at the mere thought of moving away from all my friends on campus and starting a new chapter of my life.

In the midst of a very overwhelming time in our lives… here are 5 tips on how to survive your last year of college:

1) Make To-Do Lists

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As senioritis begins to kick in, it is easy to lose your organizational skills and productivity. I highly encourage making to-do lists as a way to keep your thoughts and tasks organized. Seniors have a lot on their plates. There is just no way to remember all of our to-dos without keeping track. At night before bed, try making a list on a piece of paper or on your phone of all the things you want to accomplish the next day. You will be able to sleep soundly knowing that all your thoughts are recorded and you don’t have to worry about them until tomorrow.

2) Write

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An english teacher I had in High School always said that his biggest regret in life was not writing. In the future, you’re going to want to remember your time as a college student. Try keeping a journal or starting a blog where you can write about all your favorite college experiences that you don’t want to forget about. This is a great way to reflect on your senior year after graduating without feeling like the year passed you by.

3) Create a senior year bucketlist

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It’s never too late to get involved with that club on campus you never thought you had the time for, or to apply to the dream internship you’ve wanted since freshman year. You have an entire year left to take risks, attend networking events, and form connections before you fly out. Try creating a bucketlist of all the things you want to accomplish before your time in college is over. This will ensure that you have made the most of your last year in school.

4) Make time for a social life

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One of the things you’ll probably miss most about school is the social aspect of it. This is probably the last year that you will be on a campus surrounded by thousands of your peers each and every day. Take advantage of sports events, pep rallies, on-campus happenings, and opportunities to socialize with your friends. It is possible to do well in school while having a social life, as long as you manage your time responsibly.

 

5) Get ready to spread your wings and fly

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It is important to remember that you have time to figure out what your post-grad plan exactly is, but it can’t hurt (no pun intended) to keep brainstorming throughout the year. Try creating a list of what your ideas are so far. Set goals and start working towards them. Begin reseaerching jobs you may be interested in applying to spring semester or start saving money for a post-grad vacation. Whatever your plans may be keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a stressful or tedious task, it should be exciting! The opportunities you have post-grad are endless.

This blog post was written Assistant Firm Director, Marlie Derstine. 

It’s Handled – PR Hero Judy Smith on Crisis Management

If you are attending the upcoming PRSSA National Conference in October, you might have seen the name Judy Smith floating around in the promo emails or in the program brochure as one of the conference speakers. Even though I will not be attending (my bank account laughed at me for even considering it), I am positive that Judy will be imparting some golden gems on crisis management. I mean, she is so experienced in this area that her life has inspired a hit Shonda-Rhimes-produced television show!

In case you didn’t know, I am referring to Scandal (airing Thursday nights at 9:00pm #TGIT), where its lead character, Olivia Pope, portrayed impeccably by Kerry Washington, serves as an in demand “fixer” for public figures when they are dealt with potentially career-ending PR crises. The show is loosely based on Judy Smith’s experiences, as she served as a crisis consultant for high profile clients, ranging from President George H.W. Bush to former White House intern Monica Lewinski and NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

Here are some lessons on crisis management from Judy herself, complemented with direct quotes:

1. Always tell the truth.

“I will say this about the truth, that it’s one of those crisis rules, whether you are a client or someone who’s living their life just every day, is that the truth has a funny way of not going away, and telling the truth is extremely important in dealing with any problem or crisis.”

In today’s digital age, it is so easy to find out if your client is lying. Make sure that as much as you want to frame the story to your client’s advantage, you do not want them to get caught lying – especially in the middle of a crisis. Honesty is key!

2. Be prepared.

“Know your industry’s weaknesses. Certain crises are likely to happen in given industries–like recalls for consumer products. Prepare an advanced game plan and a solid execution strategy for these potential mishaps.”

Keeping an updated communications plan for predicted crises, just in case, is always a good idea. That way, you are not caught by surprise if something goes wrong, and won’t have to scramble to put together a strategy when your client is expected to respond within 24 hours. Instead, you can just make a phone call and say “send the drafted tweets from crisis 4(d)(ii) section 3!”

3. Own the crisis.

“You want to get out there and, as they say, you want to correct anything very quickly that’s wrong. But at the same time, I think that you have to balance it and you want to make sure that you have the facts. It’s one of those things, you can’t put the genie back in a bottle once it’s out. So you just have to try to mitigate it and try to get your side of the facts out quickly.”

When a client is hit with a crisis, you would want them to own the narrative and respond swiftly. Having the 24-hour news media digest, speculate and discuss the issue extensively and create rumors of their own will not be beneficial. Make sure that you are on top of the problem, take it into your own hands and make the narrative what you want it to be. That’s what a gladiator would do!

This blog post was written by Account Associate Hao Yi Kok. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @haoyikok. 

Making the Most of Your Education

Sometimes it can be difficult to be a college student. You may be working, balancing a full credit load and trying to keep your social life intact. Although you may find yourself temporarily overwhelmed, a college education will be worth it in the end. It will help you to secure a great job and future. That being said, it’s always wise to exhaust all of your options since you’re paying to be in school!

Here’s a list of ways you can make sure you’re getting the most for your tuition:

Are there student organizations that relate to your major(s)?

I joined two student organizations because I am a commuter student and wanted to make friends. I had no idea how much I would benefit from each pre-professional organization. Not only have I made friends, but I have learned more about the public relations industry and I strengthened my writing and communication skills.

Most organizations do not require a financial obligation, and you can apply what you’re learning in the classroom to a social setting for some down-time.

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Consider declaring a double major, a minor and/or a concentration

As a double major, sometimes I wonder why I made the decision in the first place. But, I remember that I am paying the exact same amount in tuition, and I am making the most of my course selections. Usually, you declare a major and have general education classes and elective courses. Instead of choosing electives, I fulfilled by elective requirements with another major. This is the same for a minor or concentration. If you are considering any of these options, your academic advisor will become your best friend. They can help you determine the classes you need and ensure you will graduate on time.

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Co Utilize On-Campus Resources

As a commuter I found myself rushing home freshman year to work on my assignments. I later realized I was silly to disregard all that a college campus has to offer. Although it may vary by school, most schools offer some basic resources that can be life savers.

  1. Technology Center: A room full of computers and printers to get work done any hour of the day? What else could you ask for?
  2. Your Personal Coffee Destination: Caffeine can work wonders and for me, Starbucks is my go-to. It’s always great to identify a place on campus to keep you caffeinated.
  3. Health & Counseling Services: Physical and mental health are extremely important! If you ever find yourself in need of some help, these services can help you to be your best self so you can work hard.

It may seem overwhelming to look into more things to do when your schedule is already limited. But, exploring these options can help make your life as a student less stressful and more productive.

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This blog post was written by Assistant Firm Director, Joei DeCarlo. 

Personal vs. Professional: Balancing Your Social Media Identities

There’s no question that social media continues to evolve and innovate each and every day. It’s an easy and effective platform for communication, keeping up with trends, and most importantly, branding yourself. While it is important to maintain a level of professionalism on social media, it is also important to represent your true self.

In order to truly balance your personal and professional identity on social media, it is crucial to establish your voice. What do you want to say? How do you want to say it? There is a reason you are present on social media, so it is important to communicate that message to your connections or followers. This is a great way to keep your content consistent and stay on brand.

A common misconception about maintaining a professional identity on social media is that all of your posts must be professional. Regardless of your career, the content you share on social media can still be fun! There is no need to stick to the same script or post strictly about work related material. If you come across something that personally interests you, share it! Your followers want to learn about you. Even if a post is related to your profession or an industry trend, there is a way to personalize it. If you come across a tweet regarding an industry trend, don’t simply retweet it. Give your followers your personal take on the trend and how it relates to you. Let your followers know what interests you and why.

Social media can be a tricky thing and it certainly is important to watch what you say or post. With that being said, it is a great way to communicate who you are to the world. Don’t sacrifice your individuality for professionalism. Be unique, be creative, be daring. Make content that not only matters to others, but also matters to you!

This blog post was written by PRowl Director of Public Relations Alexa Vecchione.

Welcome Back!

Dear New and Returning PRowlers,

Welcome! I’m so enthusiastic to lead you this year as Firm Director alongside the dedicated and passionate Executive Board members, and I’m eager to get to know you. My goal is to continue PRowl’s success and growth as we will be celebrating the firm’s Tenth Anniversary. This accomplishment will be observed throughout the year, so it is a very exciting time to be a part of PRowl Public Relations.

While this is my third year working for the firm, I hope you come to value this experience as much as I have. I can attest to the fact  being hired by PRowl is a very honorable and exciting accomplishment and shows your passion to expand your experiences beyond the classroom. The Executive Board’s mission is to create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable, as well as fostering a continued experience to help develop your professional careers among your peers.

The Executive Board looks forward to helping you during your transition into PRowl as you grow personally and professionally. Should you have a question regarding room locations or attendance, please reach out to our secretary, Jill. If you would like to share something on our social media platforms, Alexa, our Director of Public Relations, welcomes any suggestions. Lauren, our Director of Finance, will handle any reimbursements should you have to expense  purchases for your client. Each of you will work with one of our experienced Assistant Firm Directors, Marlie, Marissa, or Joei, who will help supervise your account, in addition to our group of knowledgeable and dedicated Account Executives (Caroline, Olivia, Andrew, Matt, Emily, and Jeremy).

During this year, if you have any questions or concerns, I am always at your disposal. Beyond being your Firm Director, I would like to be a peer and friend you can rely on for personal and professional advice. I believe strong relationships make a solid foundation for teamwork which will ultimately reflect the high quality work we produce for our clients.

Again, welcome to PRowl Public Relations!

Warm Regards,

Clarissa Ford