Sunday, July 19, 2009

Never Stop Learning, Part 2

Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to attend Internfest, an event for public relations interns in New York City hosted by the Council of PR Firms and Fleishman-Hillard. There were about 100 interns there from 14 different firms, all eager for advice about entering the job market. The event consisted of two panels and a session with a recruiter from APCO Worldwide, Jessica Lee. The panel speakers discussed what they like about public relations, how they got into the field, and their recommendations for those of us looking to land that coveted entry-level position (check out my post on Pepperdigital about our discussion on social media).

It was especially interesting to hear from a recruiter and learn a little bit more about what they're truly looking for. One of the first things Jessica said, and this shouldn't surprise any of you, is that when she gets an application one of the first things she does is Google the candidate. This reinforces how important it is to always be aware of what is said about you on the Internet, whether it's on one of your own personal sites or otherwise. She also recommended five sites that anyone trying to build a personal brand should be active on: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, VisualCV, and Google profile. I was proud to realize I'm on four of the five sites (task for today: set up my VisualCV).

Jessica equated establishing a personal brand to the way companies establish their brand. After asking for successful brands that resonate with us, she recommended we figure out how to turn ourselves into a Target or a Starbucks. I also liked her point about building our brand even when we're straight out of school and don't have much experience to reference. "Think of Paris Hilton," she said. She is the perfect example of someone who has built her brand based on basically nothing. Does anyone really know what she's famous for? Probably not. Is she a household name? Absolutely.

I definitely enjoyed hearing from the speakers and was so inspired by meeting successful people in the industry as well as my fellow interns. Now to go work on that Visual CV of mine...

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