Monday, April 5, 2010

The Art of the Interview: tricks-of-the-trade

Hello all,

In light of our upcoming Regional Activity (April 9-10!) which I know everyone knows about and is most assuredly planning to attend (if not, go to our web site, and register IMMEDIATELY! You don't wana miss out on thiss!!) I've decided not to bore you further with talking about it's infinite benefits ( networking, advice from experts, social media reviews, competition for $400 CASH-in -your-hand on Sat. April 10!) and have decided to touch on a new topic that is or will be affecting us all at one time in the close approaching future.

We dread them. We want them. We need them and they make us want to curl up and hide in a corner just thinking about them.

The gateway to all opportunities is undoubtedly an interview of some kind. How you approcah this gateway could mean the difference between getting or not getting the job of your dreams. There are a few things I learned just this year though that I think have made me a more experienced interviewee and as a fellow soon-to-be post-grad, young, PR professional I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few.

1. First off, it's essential that you be prepared.
I've been told by one of my dearest friends that I am the most prepared person she knows. It's a quality that has helped me a lot when it comes to interviewing and that everyone should decide now to adopt. Preparation is NOT just googling the company, although, that's an important part of it. Preparation means knowing all you can about the company. When did it begin? Where are it's offices? What type of clients do they work with? If you know who the interviewer (s) will be beforehand, google them too! Look at their facebooks and blogs. Get insider info on them. You may not use it, but you might find you have something in common that could be helpful when making a personal connection during your talk. Being prepared also means rehearsing. I have been known to do this before any kind of professional conversation with someone who could help me get a job. Ask a friend to quiz you on potential interview questions. It helps if the person is also in PR or in your same industry so they can ask the right types of questions. I have found that actually saying the words, hearing them, and having an idea how they will sound during the real thing, helps me stay organized. If you're doing a phone interview, you have a huge advantage. Always have notes in front of you to use as a guide (this helps you stay focused and have less rambled answers) and smile the entire time. They can tell. Trust me.

2. I was surprised that some people did not know this, but at the end of an interview, when the person says, "Well______, it was great talking/meeting you. Do you have any questions for me?" The correct response is NOT to say hurriedly, no, thanks, nice to meet you and bye. The correct response is to actually ask questions. I found some good ones on this blog: Ask things that will give you a window to reiterate good things about yourself. Like, "what is the most important quality you're looking for in the ideal candidate for this positions?" "What could I expect on my first day if I was selected for this position?" "Can you describe the office culture at X Company?" Also before ending an interview either on the phone or in person, it's not a bad idea to reinforce or quickly recap why you think they should pick you. If they tell you the most important quality they are looking for in the candidate, assure he or she that you have that quality, that you would love to become a part of their team and feel that you have skills that would benefit X company immensely.

3. The final tidbit I have to offer is about what to do after the interview. Most interviewers will say, "feel free to follow-up." But, what exactly does that mean? It is sometimes difficult to determine if you're being pushy or naggy by calling to see if they have made the decision or by emailing them once a day. Here is how I typically follow-up after an interview and I invite you to copy my strategy (I've gotten positive results with it):

  • When you leave the interview, already have in your car, an addressed and stamped thank you note envelope. Take a few breaths and write out a note thanking them for interviewing you and relating something they said in your meeting. Then, find a post box near the company and mail it so it will get there in a couple of days. It is also professional to type a note on letterhead that matches your resume. Send it the day of or the day after the interview though, no later. If it gets there 2 weeks after the interview, the point is lost.
  • Three business days after the interview send a follow-up email. This email can say similar things to what you said in your note. Thank them for their time, let them know you hope they are keeping your application in mind, maybe ask a question you forgot to ask in the interview (nothing that has to do with salary, paid time off or holidays though. Save those questions for when they offer you the job!) You want them to know you are still thinking about them.
  • A few days after the interview, find your interviewer on Linkedin (you will have already done this in the preparation stage). If they have one, add them.
  • Also, start following them on twitter. You can even tweet and mention them, and that you enjoyed meeting them ( this can be done the day of the interview as well.)
  • Call the person who helped you get the interview and tell them how great it went ( the day of or after the interview).
  • Send a thank you email to anyone at the company who helped you set up the interview. Did a specific HR person have to call or email you a few times to set up the appointment? Thank them for being kind and helpful. Every bit helps!
So there you have it!
Those are about all the tips I have today for how to ace an interview--except of course, for attending our Regional Activity April 9-10. It will help you learn all about how you can highlight social media expertise in your interview and on your resume, in addition to SO much more! Hope that everyone is planning to attend. See you there!


Kate Hunte
PRSSA VP of Membership

Friday, April 2, 2010

Learn from Esteemed Professionals and Walk Away with a $400 Scholarship!! Attend our Regional Activity

Hello All! GREAT NEWS!!
So one of our speakers has graciously agreed to donate money to fund a scholarship opportunity available only to those in attendance at our Regional Activity April 9,
"PeRsonal to PRofessional:Navigating Social Media"

We couldn't think of a better way to make our conference even more phenomenal, than by offering a $400 cash in-your-hand scholarship as an added incentiveto come!

How do you win? By entering our brand development competition!

All conference attendees are eligible to enter simply by developing their personal brand (logo, color scheme, graphics, motto...) and incorporating it into their social media and print materials (twitter, linkedin, online portfolio, resume, business cards, anything!).

Just print out the materials and bring them in. The best brand wins! Our speakers will be the judges.

So, in addition to getting to hear PR executives who have founded their own firms, and worked at huge corporations including Southwest Airlines and boutique agencies including Red Square Agency, conference attendees will have a chance to walk away from the conference with $400 in hand!!

Don't let you, your PRSSA chapter or organization miss out! We would love to have you ALL come. We have extended our registration deadline to Monday April 5 and are willing to accept payment the day of the event, April 9.

Kate Hunte
Registration Chair

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Updates and Deadlines!

Hello all!

Quick post today. Just to let you all know our recent fundraiser with Old Athens Grill was a great success! For our efforts we raised $250 for the USM PRSSA. Also, the deadline to register for the Regional Activity is MARCH 31st!! If you haven't registered yet, please do so today so that you can ensure you have a place! We are bringing in top-notch speakers for our Regional Activity,
"Navigating Social Media: PeRsonal to PRofessional,"
and recently nailed down the location for our Friday night, meet and greet social,
"Accepting Friend Requests @The Bottling Company"
starting after our first day of workshops at 8:30 p.m. at the Bottling Comany in Downtown Hattiesburg!

Admission will be FREE for all conference attendees and speakers. It will be a fantastic opportunity to network with students and professionals in a laid-back, stress-free environment. No shop-talk allowed :) Dress is casual. Come out and enjoy LIVE music and drinks at BOCO with us!

If you have questions about the Regional Activity or to register just visit and click the regional activity link. To register, fill out the application and then pay using PAY PAL or send your money to: 118 College Drive, #5121, Hattiesburg MS 39406!

We are so looking forward to seeing everyone at this event. By registering today, you can help make it be a grand success!

That's it for now,

Kate Hunte

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wana know more on our speakers? Here's one: Mona Amodeo, Ph.D.

Mona A. Amodeo, Ph.D.
Branding from the Core®
idgroup Consulting and Creative

Mona’s passion is helping possibility thinkers turn their dreams into reality. As the creator of Branding from the Core®, Mona believes the most powerful brands are created at the nexus of identity, culture and image. Building on her research and over 20 years of branding experience, her consulting practice blends the intersecting disciplines of branding, culture change and communications to help clients build authentic brands that will propel them to the next level of success.

The idgroup client list includes international corporations to start-up entrepreneurial ventures and everything in-between. All share the common characteristic of being great organizations with strong leaders who share values of integrity, respect, and a basic belief in the possibility of creating profitability within the context of social and environmental responsibility.

As an active researcher, speaker and writer, she frequently presents at national and international conferences on the topics of culture change as it relates to sustainability and her innovative approach to branding: Branding from the Core®. Her research is published as chapters in Practicing Organization Development, 3rd. Ed. (Jossey-Bass), Creating Sustainable Work Systems, 2nd Ed. (Routledge), State of the World (World Watch Institute, 2010) and is referenced in Beyond Good Company (Googins, Mirvis and Rochlin) and Organization Theory, 2nd Ed. (Hatch and Cunliffe).

She and the idgroup team have won over 80 Addy’s given by the American Advertising Federation in recognition of creative excellence, including the AAF 4th District Best of Show Awards in 2009 for the University of Southern Mississippi Brand Video: Creative. Bold. Determined and in 2010 an experiential campaign for the Woodlands Center for Specialized Medicine.

Mona holds a Ph.D. in Organization Development and Change and a Masters degree in Communication Arts. Prior to founding idgroup, she taught broadcast journalism and was a member of the International Documentary Team at the University of West Florida. She feeds her passion for teaching as a frequent guest lecturer on college campuses. Mona lives with her husband Ken, and dog Barney in Gulf Breeze, Florida and spends as much time as possible in sitting on the banks of Fighting-town Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. She is a member of the American Advertising Federation, American Management Association and serves on the Board of Directors for Pensacola Little Theatre.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Now, "Accepting Friend Requests @BottlingCompany"

Great news! For everyone planning to attend the Regional Activity just this afternoon the owner of Bottling Company in downtown Hattiesburg, Miss. has agreed to be the official sponsor and host of our meet-and-greet social on the evening of April 9,
"Accepting Friend Requests @BottlingCompany,"

Everyone needs to come out, mix and mingle with professionals and students and just relax and celebrate the end of the first night of our conference. If you haven't yet registered for our regional activity, "PeRsonal to PRofessional: Navigating Social Media" go ahead and register now, online at activity.

More updates to come! Stay Tuned :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wana Eat? Go Greek!! at Old Athens Grill March 9

PRSSA is partnering with Old Athens Grill on Tues. March 9!

The group will be hosting a social at the restaurant at 5:15 and we encourage all members and friends to come (if possible, wearing their PRSSA Shirts!)!!!

Old Athens Grill is also donating a portion of the day's profits to PRSSA for our efforts in promoting the day. Fliers will be posed before COB today outside the PRSSA Agency Office Door for members to distribute across campus and in the community.

Old Athens Grill is located across from USM on Hwy 49 in the old La Fiesta Brava building.

Let's make our best effort to make this fundraiser a HUGE success!

Also, Registration for the Regional Activity is currently open! It's only $25 for PRSSA members. Register online at and click on Regional Activity!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PRSSA Elects Sammi Greco as VP of Publicity

Hello all!

We had a wonderful turn-out at lastnight's meeting and got some great insight from Cathy who shared her experience working in government public affairs. In a nutshell, here's what happened:

Government PR has many benefits:

  • competitive salary
  • paid holidays!
  • paid vacation days (3 weeks a year)
  • paid sick leave
  • great team of co-workers
  • get to work for a bigger cause

The challenges:

  • transperancy v.s. security
  • old equipment
  • little funding at times

In other news, PRSSA also voted to elect sophomore Sammi Greco to the position of Vice President of Publicity. Congratulations Sammi! And welcome to the PRSSA board! PRSSA also gained a 2 members lastnight, Ms. Jayne Kotter and Ms. Jamie McNeil! Welcome!!

PRSSA has another fundraising event on the horizon as well. We will be promoting Old Athens Grill for March 9th, and in return are earning a portion of the evening's profits. A bunch of you signed up to help last night but anyone else who is eager to get involved please email me. We will have an organizational meeting soon so keep checking your email!

Also! Registration for the Regional Activity is now OPEN so register online on our website, Sign up early and save your spot!

That's for now from me.

Kate Hunte

VP of membership