Just trying to RELATE…


My Chat with PR PRO, Marla Bruner

Posted in Assignments,PR Praticum by meshae on April 2, 2010
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Recently, I was fortunate enough to sit down and interview Georgia Southern University (GSU) alum and Public Relations professional Marla Bruner.

Ms. Bruner has been in the field since 1999, the year she graduated from Georgia Southern. Currently working as the internal communications manager for GSU, she had a lot of valuable information to offer. I can honestly say that I left her office motivated and even more excited about starting my career.

As Ms. Bruner and I talked, she really confirmed many things that my professors had already said.

She graduated from Georgia Southern with a Communications degree and is now working on her Master’s degree in Literature. Because she is a GSU alum, I felt a real connection to her and was interested in all she had to say.

I started the interview asking how prepared she felt after graduation. Her response was very encouraging. “Coursework gives you an idea of what you’re getting into,” said Bruner. She ensured me that there is “a means to the madness” of the sometimes frustrating coursework of your undergraduate career.

As we began to talk about today’s “college student,” Ms. Bruner emphasized the opportunities college students have these days. She also talked about how students underestimate their experiences and complain about inadequate resumes.

“Students have many opportunities to get experience,” Ms. Bruner said. “The question is, what translates as experience?”

College offers students many opportunities to gain experience for their prospective careers. Students should take advantage of those opportunities and get involved. By doing so, their “experience” could land them great jobs and careers. Ms. Bruner advises students to “put on their PR hats” and thoroughly explain their experience and what they can offer future employers. As PR students, we are trained to do a variety of things and it’s important to be able to get that message across when applying for jobs.

Ms. Bruner’s everyday responsibilities reflect the amount of variety and flexibility needed in the PR world.

At Georgia Southern, Ms. Bruner is the informational “go-to” person. Partnering with Information Technology services, she updates the university calendar with new dates and events. She also populates the university’s homepage and is partly responsible for the new MyGeorgiaSouthern layout and design. Atop her informational responsibilities, Ms. Bruner also works closely with campus departments and organizations. Although the university has its own graphic design department, her knowledge allows her to design things as well.

And when it comes to writing, Ms. Bruner’s remarks were not surprising. “I write every day all day,” said Ms. Bruner. She shared that taking classes that highlight writing for electronic media can be very beneficial. She also emphasized how important it is to be familiar with the different types of formatting involved in public relations writing.

Basically, she was saying, “learn everything.”

The life of a public relations pro is very busy. Ms. Bruner revealed that she completes about 14-15 projects a day.I quickly realized how important it is to be a well-rounded Public Relations professional.

Below, you’ll find Ms. Bruner’s 3 tips to someone just starting out in Public Relations:

  1. Do the work for them. Give your publishers and designers a break by doing most of the work for them. This way you can guarantee a good relationship and also be sure the final product is 100% correct.
  2. Be in contact…constantly. When working with clients, be sure to stay in contact. Being in contact with them ensures that you’re doing the job they expect and are happy with. As the PR professional, your responsibility is to make the client happy.
  3. Prioritize by audience. Know your target audience. Your public relations attempts may go unnoticed if you fail to identify your audience.

When asked what she wished she’d known before graduating, I was a bit surprised by her response. Ms. Bruner spoke of the myths that surround protected salaries and life after college. “Your job won’t be about just public relations or marketing,” Ms. Bruner said. She shared how important it is to be familiar with the entire office/organization. Students should also save their work. “Keep everything,” she advised. This helps the portfolio-building process a lot easier.

Since graduating college, she’s been able to see the “major shift from print to web” firsthand.

“Today’s communication industry is very fast-paced,” she said. “People expect a response immediately these days, so you only get one chance.”

Ms. Bruner said it is a must that a public relations professional be “constantly updated,” because time is of the essence.

I wrapped up my interview with Ms. Bruner with what I think was one of the most important questions I asked.

What makes someone a good candidate for a job? What makes he/she stand out?

“How one would handle certain situations is one of the most important things to learn during the hiring process,” said Ms. Bruner.

She also listed having examples of a candidate’s work in a digital portfolio and the ability to manage crisis as other important factors. When hiring, Ms. Bruner said, “I wanna see it, not hear it.”

Overall, my chat with Ms. Bruner was amazing and she made me really excited about graduating and beginning my career in Public Relations. To view some of her work, visit www.georgiasouthern.edu.

What did I say?

Posted in Assignments,PR Praticum,Social Media by meshae on March 9, 2010
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Here are the links to my comments on my classmates’ blogs:

Let’s Make Whuffie: A reflection on Tara Hunt’s “The Whuffie Factor”

Posted in Assignments by meshae on March 3, 2010
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Check out this brief presentation on Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor:

Your Mouth is saying “this,” but your body is saying “that.”

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on February 16, 2010
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As a veteran communications student, I’ve been able to learn as well as observe the effects body language has on the deliverance of a message.

Ironically, your body language speaks volumes. Through nonverbal communication, we send countless messages all day long. Your gestures and movements can tell a lot about you and how you’re feeling.

For those entering or currently in the job search, here is a piece of advice.

Learn to control and use your body language effectively. It can be the deciding factor in whether you get a job or not.

Today’s employers are looking for confident, engaged employees and if your body language is screaming every thing but that, you may be in trouble.

A firm handshake and eye contact can get you almost as far as a strong resume’.

Often times, when we are anticipating interviews or meetings with potential employers, we get nervous. I’m here to tell you, those nerves aren’t going anywhere. Therefore it is important to prepare yourself.

Take time to write out exactly what it is you want to do and what you plan to get from your efforts. This way, you’re able to communicate your expectations and goals confidently.

And before it’s time for your interview, be sure to do some background research on the organization itself. Know when it was founded, its purpose and how hiring you could be beneficial. Not only does this show how well you prepared, but it also shows just how confident you are.

After all, this could affect the rest of your life. You want to make the best of each opportunity you’re given.

Stand tall.

Shake firmly.

Speak confidently.

Get the Job!

Social Media and the JOB SEARCH

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on February 8, 2010
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Ever been asked by an interviewer whether your FaceBook, MySpace or Twitter accounts were reflective of a potential employee?

Well, I have.

Social media and its utilization is a growing practice in the employment world. Weaning out the “not-so-good” has become a much easier process and now only takes a few clicks.

From spring break to happy hour, employers can see into the lives of job applicants with little to no effort. I am not saying that employers look for “perfect angels,” but there is a certain level of professionalism and responsibility needed when using social media.

Those pictures of you and all your fraternity brothers drinking may not be the best representation of how socially responsible you are. And that photo shoot your friends had with your camera that highlighted your “passing out” may not be a good reflection of your work ethic.

When using social media networks, you must remember that ANYONE ANYWHERE has the potential to view what you post.  Employers use your social network accounts to see you in more social, relaxed environments. They don’t want to see you spending every moment of your free time in the bar.

However, every story has two sides and there are benefits to being involved in social media prior to entering the job market.

I’d even go as far as to say that he benefits of being involved in social media outweigh the pitfalls.

For starters, having a presence in social media can be a way you show employers your “human” side. So often, we lay so much pressure on ourselves to be professional that we forget to live. Employers want well-rounded, versatile employees. Live life, but do so responsibly.

Use social networks, like Twitter and LinkedIn, to show how passionate you are about the career you plan to pursue. These networks allow you to connect to so many different people and promote yourself. Use them to your advantage.

Keeping your cover letter on TARGET

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on January 18, 2010
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It's important to keep your cover letter focused. Know your target.

After reading several different articles on writing a cover letter, I must say that the “top 5” tips I chose were pretty consistent across the sources.

And with that said, here are the TOP 5 things I think your cover letter should do:

  1. Make YOU stand out!
  2. Simply let the reader know who you are and why you’re writing.
  3. Grab the reader’s attention.
  4. Target the right person
  5. SHINE!

Now you may be thinking “how is my cover letter supposed to shine” or “how do I ‘simply’ grab attention?”

No worries. By the end of this post, I promise you’ll know how.

Let’s revisit #1. As with your resume’, your cover letter should also stand out. Your cover letter introduces who YOU are to the reader, who in this case is a potential employer. So go ahead, ask yourself “why am I applying for this job?” What makes you capable and worthy of filling the position? One thing, you must know how to do is market yourself.

On to #2. The key word in #2 is “simply.” Often times, we get carried away with words and “overdo” the cover letter. Remember a cover letter is only an introduction; it should be simple and to the point. When done correctly, the reader will want to continue learning about you and move on to your resume’. A simple cover letter tells who you are and why you’re writing.

Pressing forward to #3. I know. I know. I will admit that it is very hard to simplify, yet keep someone’s attention; however it is possible. Not only is it possible, Accent Resume’ Writing (http://www.accent-resume-writing.com/covertips/ ) suggests using their model and simply answering the following four questions:

1) For what position are you applying?

2) How did you learn of the position or company?

3) Why are you perfect for the position?

4) Who will contact who?

See. It’s not so hard once you target what you need to say.

Almost done. On to #4. If you want to ruin your chances of getting the job/interview, address your cover letter to the WRONG person. Do your research and figure out who you should address the letter to. This takes a little extra work, but you’ll be glad you did it. Dear sir or madame is not enough, nor is it professional. Go the extra mile. After all, at this point you have absolutely nothing to lose.

And last, but certainly not least #5. Though all five tips are important, #5 may be the most important. Make your cover letter shine by using quality paper and printing. The last thing you want to do is send your cover letter in on flimsy, not-so-nice paper. Be sure to use the same type of paper for your cover letter and resume’. Don’t forget to check the printer before you print, either. Your cover letter should be stainless. Professionalism should always be your priority.

Using these 5 tips should keep you on target on creating a stand-out cover letter. Find your target…and ACT! Good luck!

MeeSH: Take 3

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on January 11, 2010
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With graduation only a few short months away, I have been forced to focus on what it is I want to be when I “grow up.”

Being in Professor Barbara Nixon’s class has aided in my quest. Her classes have forced me to step outside my box and explore social media in a way I was not initially comfortable with. I love it now, though. This is my 3rd time making an “About Me” post, so I’m going to change it up a little and talk about who I am now.

I am 22 year old Shequilla “Meesh” Hankerson. I am a Public Relations student at Georgia Southern University, a university I’d like to think is one of the BEST in the nation.

Upon graduating in May, I plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in Sport Management. As a matter of fact, I am currently searching for a dual MBA and Sport Management program, so if anyone has a suggestion, feel free to share it. My goal is to make to the NFL within five years of receiving my Master’s degree. I want nothing more than to work in the marketing department for the NFL.

Besides being super busy with my post-graduation plans, I have been engulfed in my presidency…of my sorority of course. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to see how many people really dislike or misunderstand the Greek community. My personal mission for the rest of the semester is to help foster some change and shed light on the positive aspects of being or “going” Greek.

I have also recently joined an initiative through Georgia Southern’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement that brings college students into local schools to help non-English speaking students with their coursework. For anyone not familiar with Statesboro, Georgia, there is a large Hispanic population along with several other non-English speaking populations. These students barely speak English themselves and have to sit in a classroom where they can not comprehend or understand. I am very excited about helping out. Serving has always been a passion of mine.

For the most part, I can say that I am just enjoying my last semester in college. Take it all in. Enjoy it while it lasts. These are the best times of your life. All those things have been said to me.

So, I’ve enjoying the things I love most. I love being a big kid, hence the NERF wars my friends and I have been having for the past few weeks. I enjoy modeling. By the way, if you’re in the area, GSU’s Black Student Alliance presents “Blaqshion 2010: Once Upon a Blaqshion” on February 6 at 7pm in GSU’s Performing Arts Center. Blaqshion is the organization’s annual fashion show that allows students to model/design in a large-scale production. As a model coach, this large-scale production has been my life for the past few months. It’s sure to be a great show. You should come.

I am fun. I am outgoing. Overinvolved at times. Loving. Ambitious. Most importantly, I am Meesh…all the time. Welcome to my world.