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(November) PRSSA in Action

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The first issue of PRSSA in Action.

Text of (November) PRSSA in Action

  • E-News for Cal Poly Pomonas PRSSA Chapter

    Volume 1, Issue 1 November 2010

    PRSSA Open Forum

    On Tuesday, Nov.2nd, PRSSA held an open forum with Lisa McPheron and Alfred Magallanes. McPheron is director of external

    relations for the Collins College and Magallanes is the marketing communications assistant for Associated Students Incorporateds

    GAS Creative Group.

    They visited the Communication Department to share their professional experience, offer advice and answer questions from students.

    A large contingency of PRSSA club members and officers were at hand to soak up the information.

    Prior to coming to the college, McPheron was the senior communication specialist for Cal Poly Pomonas office of Public Affairs.

    Before pursuing a career in public affairs, McPheron was a journalist at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario and the Press

    Enterprise in Riverside.

    Magallanes background includes, among other public relations positions, a stint at E! Entertainment. He is currently a marketing

    communications assistant for ASI, overseeing a myriad of projects.

    Magallanes said that even though agency workers and public relations practitioners are often seen in a negative light or referred to as

    spinsters, because part of their duties include spinning information, a lot of companies and employers appreciate the current trend

    towards being more open or transparent.

    Some of the key skills both speakers encouraged students to know prior to seeking employment in the industry include:

    Backend web design

    Graphic design and proficiency in software such as Adobe Suite

    Content management programs such as Wordpress or TypePad

    Some photography proficiency

    They also recommended when looking for work, students should tailor their resumes and cover letters to fit the specific positions

    they are applying to.

    Even though working for a non-profit or interning for a company are avenues students can seek out, the speakers also didnt dismiss

    the possibility of graduate school, especially in our current economy, though Magallanes said in his experience, a masters degree is

    not always a requirement to long term employment.

    While McPheron started out in the journalism business, she transitioned over to public relations, though she said she first looked for

    a position in which she didnt feel the information was being controlled, and ended up working in education.

    She was in charge of video, podcasting and creating non-linear content during her various positions and she encourages students to

    learn as much as possible. Both speakers suggested students become jack of all trades for maximum possibilities of landing that

    dream job.

  • Gerard Corbett's career spans four decades and started in Silicon Valley. With only two years of college under his belt, he left Philadelphia to Northern California. He landed in Silicon Valley during the aerospace recession and was able to land an engineering position at NASA Ames in Mountain View, Ca-lif.

    During his stay at NASA, he realized that he didn't want to stay in engineering forever. He decided he would return to college and enrolled in the Public Relations program in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University. After his graduation, he was able to bridge his career into public relations by becoming a technical writer for a few of Silicon Valley technology companies. With this constructive start in PR, he was selected by International Harvester in Chicago as manager of technology communications with the duty of helping build awareness of Harvesters technology credentials with its many constituencies. His technology foundation served as the common thread for his career in PR leading to senior communications roles with a series of technology and industrial companies including Hi-tachi, Loral Corporation, ASARCO Incorporated and Gould Inc. In 1995, he formed a consulting company in 2008 called Redphlag LLC where he focus on helping technol-ogy firms, start-ups and other companies with branding and reputation management issues.

    The following is the interview that was conducted:

    Mr. Corbett, how did you come about your very own company Redphlag? I have always been involved in reputation management in the firms for whom I served. Research is the key tool in keeping track of reputation. So when I moved on from managing brand and corporate market-ing for Hitachi for more than a dozen years, I considered developing a self-serve, web-based reputation management tool. Long story short, I settled on Redphlag since the name is somewhat iconic in terms of a reputation marker. After doing extensive research on the type of web based firms doing reputation ID, I concluded that the market was sufficiently crowded and did not need another underfunded web based repu-tation ID tool. So I decided to establish a strategic consulting firm.

    What is Redphlag? Redphlag LLC is a privately held consulting company focused on marketing, branding, public relations and personal brand coaching.

    How has social media impacted the world of public relations and how important is social media? Social media is yet another important channel through which the PR professional can advocate on behalf of his or her organization. With the proliferation and evolution of social media and social infrastructure, public relations professionals have both the mandate and great opportunity to expand their roles and make a signif-icant positive impact on organizational success, decision-making and advancement. That said, the PR pro-fessional still must use the tried and true techniques that have been the very fabric of our profession since day one.

    Should students be utilizing Twitter seriously? Twitter represents another handy tool in the PR professionals arsenal for advocating on behalf of his or her clients and organization. The key is to employ the right tools for the job. And in doing the research, strate-gic planning and implementation, the PR pro must assess what tools and techniques are best for reaching the target audiences and making the sale.

    Interview with Gerard Corbett

    Research is the key tool in keeping

    track of reputation.

  • Does having a blog help in landing a job? A blog is a handy tool to communicate passion and expertise. It is also a fabulous way to share knowledge, experience and expertise. My advice with respect to job search is to visibly demonstrate who you are, what you represent, what you have accomplished and why you are the best at what you do. So if you have a pas-sion about some aspect of public relations and can demonstrate and sustain your thought leadership, then employ a blog.

    What are some other skills that students can learn and use to better market themselves? Here is my list of traits and characteristics that are part of the formula for success in the public relations field: Understanding of business Team player Grace under pressure Jack of all trades Strong networking capabilities

    What are some things students can do now in order to help them land an internship or a job after graduation (including building their portfolio or adding to their resume)? The working world has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Credential building is no longer just about what jobs you have held. The world today is about what you have accomplished. So it is not good enough to say, this is what I did. Companies want to know what you have achieved. How have you helped your employers move the needle?

    The top to dos to distinguish yourself:

    1. The resume, its about accomplishments

    2. Content, do you have content?

    3. Can you and your content be found in cyberspace?

    4. Its the network Got network? Do you have a network. If not start now.

    5. Portfolio (evidence in cyberspace) Have a place in cyberspace where you can show evidence of

    your value.

    6. Your brand! You have one. It is yours to manage and yours to manage well.

    Do you have brand?

    Do you appear on Google?

    Is your Facebook profile pro?

    Are your tweets instructive or de-structive?

    Is your Linkedin Profile compelling

    Take ownership of your brand , etc.

    Well craft your content

    If you blog, be passionate

    If you tweet, be smart

    Rules of thumb for managing your brand:

  • How important is the type of company (Tech vs. Medical, Agency vs. Corp., Big name PR FIRM vs. small boutique) we intern with to the employers that will be hiring after college?

    The type of company with whom to intern and/or work depends on your own passion. The old saying is find something you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life.

    How much more successful will getting your masters degree make you in the public relations indus-try?

    The decision to get a masters is always a function of your personal goals. Given todays turbulent job mar-ket, my recommendation is to find a position and get some experience under your belt. You can always get a masters on a part time basis.

    What kind of roles should a student in public relations take in clubs or activities at school?

    In my experience, the most successful professionals are those who are engaged in personal and professional development, community building and giving back to society. Furthermore, networks and networking have become critical and vital to personal progress. My advice is, get involved early and often! is not good enough to say this is what I did. Compa