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Intern Blog

Keegan's Story - Public Relations

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Entry 6/Final Entry

As the school year winds downs and my internship is coming to an end, I have begun reflecting on this past semester. I have learned a great deal from the professionals I have been able to work without throughout the entire year and thank them for every opportunity they have given me. As my supervisor began looking for someone to take my place I contributed by stating what I thought the next person should have knowledge of coming into the organization. I also suggested a number of people I know from the St. Cloud State University campus whom I believe would make great candidates. As she began the interview process I got the privilege to sit on the opposite end from where I was only six short months ago. It was great being able to give my input while some of the interviews were going on as well as get a feel for the people who were interested in my current position.

Overall throughout the experience I really learned to value the relationships you make along the way in your professional career. The reason I heard about this internship was through a friend who previously held the position and now many of my friends are able to say the same. It’s great having a personal relationship with those who can help you advance in your career goals and guide you along the way. Although I am going to very sad to leave my current internship I know that they all wish me the best of luck and have insisted we keep in touch. I look forward to connecting with them as time goes on to see where they have gone in their career while I have been away. My suggestion to all of those in college who want a job after graduation is to not only build relationships along the way but also maintain them. It’s easy to become busy and forget to respond to an email or be the first to send an email just to catch up but I assure you that if you have made a lasting impression with those you have worked with, they will appreciate hearing from you.

Entry 5

As President of a student organization here on Campus I am constantly getting questions regarding the interview process. Other students asks all sorts of questions from me how to answer a certain interview question to what one of the most difficult questions I have been asked. Overall I always tell them that the most important thing is to know the organization and position you are applying for, like I said in an earlier entry, do you RESEARCH.

Although research and practice and all of those other common tips are great, I am discovering that as I apply for entry-level positions now the most common suggestion I get for an interview is to simply be myself. When I first had someone suggest this I was sort of put off. Well of course I would be myself in an interview but I wanted details!

After participating in a few interviews since then I really have learned the importance of being yourself. I know when I get in an interview setting I tend to get nervous and only speak when spoken to so I can assure I don’t say something ridiculous. Well my advice for anyone going into an interview truly is to be yourself. Try and not be intimidated by the situation and realize that you are interviewing them just ask much as they are interviewing you.

When your personality shines you really do set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants. The person interviewing you wants to know that they can work with you and that you’ll fit into the culture so being yourself is a great way for both sides to discover if the job is right for them. It’s okay to let your little quirks shine though (as long as they're limited and not inappropriate of course).

The one thing I can assure you is that if you aren’t yourself in the interview and end up getting the job based on a wrong impression, neither you nor your employer are going to feel good about the situation. Make sure you find a place that is right for you. In today’s economy it’s easy to just take the first job opportunity that presents itself but remember it’s okay to be a little picky and take your time pinpointing that one place you can be yourself and gain the most experience.

Entry 4

Today’s post is about a topic that is important not only in any job field but in many aspects of life, cyclical communication. Many of us spend our days talking with our friends and family without even really concentrating on how or why we are communicating. Well on the job site it’s important to pay a little more attention to exactly how and why you are communicating with others.  

The most important aspect of communicating I have learned thus far is making sure it is cyclical. It’s easy to get caught up on the different messages you are displaying to your colleagues as well as your target audience but you must remember to not only speak but also listen. By doing so you enable yourself to make changes in your messages that are necessary to please everyone. You are also able to form stronger bonds with the people you are communicating with and illustrate that you take their concerns and suggestions into consideration.

Anyone will tell you that communication is a large component within their company’s culture and developing credibility and strong bonds can help disseminate your messages on a much larger platform. When people feel as though they can approach you with ideas and suggestions it shows they are comfortable enough with your relationship to confide in you. As time progresses these bonds will become even stronger and open many doors you never knew existed.

 As I stated earlier, listening is not the only important component in communication, you must know why you are communicating. It’s important to do your research and find the best person to display your message to. Having a main goal you want to achieve as a result of your communication will help you stay on track and realize if your methods of action need to be changed or altered depending on your audience. You will also get a better response from those around you when they can tell you have done the homework to find out what they are interested in, the channel in which they like communicating and the times that work best for them.

 Overall, you are never going to be able to completely avoid communicating with other individuals so keep these tips in mind the next time you email a professor, boss or future employer. They will appreciate the time and effort you put in and have confidence that you will be able to communicate in a number of aspects in life.

Entry 3

Most people find the interview process scary, well this week I am going to give you a few experiences I have had with interviews, the one that got me my current internship, and hopefully a few things in between.

First things first, DO YOUR RESEARCH!! There’s nothing worse than walking into an interview knowing nothing about the company. It probably takes the interviewer less than 30 seconds to realize you haven’t done your research when listening to you answer questions. This is going to show that you don’t care very much about the company or the position in general. My advice if you don’t research? Don’t even bother going to the interview! For my interview I researched each radio station the company had as well as what kinds of promotions they do, what their culture is like, etc.

Second, PRACTICE! Make your friend or partner practice with you and ask you sample questions (Google some). This way you can already have ideas of the sort of answers you want to give to your interviewer and the person helping your practice can make suggestions. You should always think of answers to those tricky questions so they don’t take you off guard. I asked the last intern at the broadcasting company what were some questions she was asked in the interview. This gave me great insight because I knew the same person was interviewing me.

Third, DRESS APPROPRIATELY! They always say that you are supposed to dress for the position you want. Even if you know it’s casual Friday, wear a suit! Looking professional shows you are serious and ready to work. Remember, business casual is not appropriate for all interview settings. For my internship interview however, it was. I found this out by speaking with the last intern regarding the dress code of the station. This is where your research comes in handy! It’s better to be over dressed than under dressed.

Fourth, THANK THEM! In most cases I have heard that people prefer hand written "thank yous." Remember that this will be different for each place you interview at but again, do your research! If you aren’t sure I usually do both. I send an email "thank you" the second I can after my interview and often send a hand written one that night as well. For the most part people won’t get angry about too many "thank yous" but remember not to overdo it but be quick about it. Make sure you include something specific you learned from them, this will show them you actually were paying attention!

Follow these four tips and you will be on your way! Remember to act natural and try and be as comfortable as possible. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Find out if it really is a place you are interested in working at. Good luck!

Entry 2

For this entry I decided to give you guys a little insight on what I have learned thus far within my internship. As you know, I work at a local broadcasting station here in St. Cloud. A large part of the organization is building and maintaining positive relationships with the community. This is a very important aspect because it increases the amount of listeners on our radio stations as well as loyalty to our brand (people choosing our radio stations over the competitors). Most of the relationships I have come across have already been built throughout the last few years but it is now my job to maintain those relationships and build on them.

Here is an example: We frequently get requests for donations of money and/or prizes by a number of schools around the area. Upon receiving these requests we must make sure to respond to these letters in a timely manner in order to maintain the current relationship. Most of these places are contacting us because we have previously donated so I concentrate on making the connection with them and taking it from there. I also try and fulfill exactly what they are asking for and think of creative ways to improve what we did in previous years.

We come in contact with members of the community numerous times daily and because these relationships are so important, we focus on not only maintaining the relationships but also building on them. We ask ourselves how we can improve what we do next year, how we can make a bigger and better connection and what are they asking for. 

These attributes are very important in every aspect of life. We are constantly building relationships and networking with one another. Experiences like these teach me unique and valuable ways to make connections with people I may not have previously known. One of the most important tips I can offer when building relationships is to find a common ground. Talk about something that both of you are interested on and use social cues to guide the conversation.

Now get out there and make those connections or build on ones you already have! Good luck!

Introduction/Entry 1

Hey everyone,

My name is Keegan Shoutz. I am a senior here at St. Cloud State University. I am majoring in public relations and my minor is in psychology.  I will be graduating in May of 2010 and am currently looking for a job around the Twin Cities or Chicago area.  After hearing from a number of public relations professionals I have learned that it is very important to gain as much experience and knowledge in the field as possible. In order to do this I began searching for an internship related to public relations in the St. Cloud area.

I started my search online as well as asking my friends who currently had internships about how they landed theirs. In December of 2009, I heard about an internship opening with a local broadcasting station here in St. Cloud and decided to send them my resume. After having a successful interview, I was offered the internship and began in January 2010. I intern roughly around 10 hours a week, varying upon what events are happening and if extra help is needed. Within this internship so far, I have been able to enhance my skills in the public relations and marketing fields by working on a number of events put on by the organization as well as establish and maintain positive relationships with the local community.  I have begun to learn the insider information on how organizations such as these work together to ensure a positive experience for their public. This internship has already proven to be very helpful when searching for full-time public relations jobs. It has given me great insight into the field and provided me with a number of experiences to talk about within interview settings.  My internship has been a great opportunity thus far and I cannot wait to find out what else is in store for the future.


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