6 tips for enhancing your resume

One: Show your creative side.

Sure, Elle Woods went a little overboard when she decided to make her resume on pink, scented paper, but there are definitely appropriate ways to showcase your creativity on paper.

For example, choose an appropriate accent color to use sparingly throughout your document and consider creating a simple logo to set yourself apart.

Two: Quantify your accomplishments.

The more you can quantify previous experience and accomplishments, the better a potential employer can understand your abilities.

According to CareerBuilder, “A job responsibility is something that you do on a daily basis; a quantified achievement is the result of that responsibility.” It is crucial to convey both to potential employers.

Three: Break out the thesaurus. 

Resumes’ work experience sections typically consist of short, bulleted descriptions. We recommend beginning each point with a strong verb that helps potential employers visualize what you’ve done.

Some verbs we chose for our resumes include: designed, developed, composed, informed, interviewed, localized, recruited, researched and supervised.

Four: Check for typos and grammar mistakes.

It is important that your resume and the email it is attached to are free of typos and grammatical errors. Spellcheck does not catch everything. Be aware of the common misuse of homophones, commas and hyphens. 

Five: Double check for typos and grammar mistakes. 

Once you are positive that your resume has zero errors check it again. We are shocked and amused by the amount of candidates that do not know how to spell the name of their city, neglect to spell our names and our firm’s name properly in emails and think the capitalization function on the keyboard should be used as frequently as the spacebar.

 Six: Be honest.

If your resume’s skill section is lacking it may be tempting to add a program in which you are not quite efficient or a language in which you’re not quite fluent, but don’t. Always be honest about your skills and experience. Actually, just always be honest!

Five tips to make the most of your PR internship

So you landed a dream internship with a reputable PR firm. Congratulations! But simply completing an internship alone won’t separate you from the many other students who will soon be applying for full-time jobs upon graduation. So how can you make the most of your experience to gain an edge over your competition? We’ve had our fair share of interns and know what it takes to make it in the PR industry, so we came up with five helpful tips to getting the most out of your internship experience.

One: Always act professional. This should go without saying, but your behavior in person and through technology makes as much of an impression on colleagues and clients as the work you produce. In order to act professionally, you should dress to impress, treat all colleagues and clients with respect and always arrive early or on time to work and meetings.

Two: Let your work speak for itself. If you deliver quality work and give each assignment great care, your boss will notice. It’s always better to go above and beyond with your work than to come up short. There’s nothing worse than getting an email from your supervisor asking you to redo something or put more effort into an assignment. If you don’t put a lot of effort into your projects, not only will you waste time redoing them, or even worse waste someone else’s time, but you will hurt your chances of securing a job with the company in the future.

Three: Never hesitate to communicate your career goals to your boss. After all, he/she has been in the industry longer than you have and would probably love to offer advice and guidance. Also, how will he/she know to contact you for, say, that media relations job opening when you graduate if you don’t tell him/her how passionate you are about that type of work?

Four: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You aren’t expected to know everything. Part of your role as an intern is to soak up as much knowledge about the industry as you possibly can. Find the right balance between asking questions and taking your own initiative, though, because an intern who has to ask a question about every single step of a process may become more of a burden than an asset to the company. Overall, questions are encouraged.

Five: During your internship, don’t be afraid to branch out and begin building relationships with people inside and outside your industry. You never know who could be a useful contact in the future.

All in all, it’s important to look at your internship as more than a 9-5 job with a light at the end of the tunnel. Work hard, take it seriously and treat it like a permanent job, and you will leave with more than just another line on your resume.

Thought Leadership Defined

Like crowdsourcing or search engine optimization, Thought Leadership has become a buzzword in public relations that is often misunderstood and misused. What is Thought Leadership, who writes Thought Leadership posts and why is it important?

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought Leadership was coined 20 years ago in the pages of Strategy+Business after then-Editor-in-Chief Joel Kurtzman stated “those worth talking to were called Thought Leaders.” As the idea spread, lengthier definitions were introduced by a variety of publications intrigued by this new phrase. According to Mashable, when a person’s idea multiplies and distributes itself throughout the Internet, then that leadership becomes Thought Leadership.

Similar to content marketing, the creation of relevant and valuable content, Thought Leadership is crucial for marketing, branding and public relations in today’s age of constantly connected consumers. Thought Leadership can be a blog, white paper or even social media posts that dive deep into issues to establish an individual or a company as a go-to expert.

Who is a Thought Leader?

Anyone can write self-proclaimed Thought Leadership posts. However, the real question is who should write Thought Leadership posts? Forbes says a true Thought Leader is “an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”

At Schroder Public Relations, we couldn’t agree more. We consider ourselves Atlanta’s leader in content marketing and provide daily, hard-hitting content for our clients in their areas of expertise from healthcare to real estate to law. Anyone with a stake in a brand should always be soaking in industry knowledge. However, Thought Leaders take it one step further and have ,unique ideas that transcend traditional industry knowledge.

How does Thought Leadership Benefit a Business?

Thought Leadership isn’t just for experts to share their wealth of knowledge and ideas to help out other industry competitors. Providing Thought Leadership is a lucrative power play that is designed to grow a business.

Though you may already be part of a steady business with great clients, more opportunities are always within reach. Thought Leadership can bring you more press  and respect in your respective industry. “Being seen as an industry leader can bring in press that will give your business more exposure, but it’s also a great way to network and meet potential partners,” said Lauren Hockenson in Mashable. Not only will Thought Leadership solidify your current business as a legitimate player in your industry, it will also open doors for growth.

Newton’s First Law of Motion says every object (in this case, business) tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied. If your content and brand are stagnant, your business will become stagnant, too. To continue to grow your business, you must stay in the forefront of the industry, always asking, and answering, “What’s next?”

It’s not what you know…or is it?

What is media relations really? Is it maintaining strong relationships with local, regional and even national media contacts? Or is it scouring the newspapers, magazines, Internet sites, TV stations, radio stations and all the other outlets out there, until you find a reporter?

To answer that, let me take you back to Auburn University, in Rick Smith’s Mass Communications class. Rick said, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. Now, I, and your other professors will teach you the ‘what,’ but it’s up to you to find the who.”

As PR pros, it is our job to know to whom we are pitching our ideas. Schroder PR prides itself on having strong media contacts. I have met reporters and editors through the firm, my colleagues, through clubs and organizations in which I am involved and even Twitter! I also utilize our subscription to the database of thousands of reporters to find which beats reporters cover and how they liked to be contacted.

Part of the ‘what’ is knowing what the ‘who’ is writing. As Bailee wrote in “Reader of the News,” we are constantly reading publications, websites and any other news sources out there to keep updated with reporters’ works.

Another part of the ‘what’ that I’ve learned at SPR is having a complete story and messaging. We know what is and is not interesting, and so do reporters. Don’t pitch reporters with untimely or boring subjects!

So, does Schroder PR get hired for media relations based solely on our relationships with reporters? No. Do we get hired because we subscribe to every eNewsletter and paper, and read/watch/listen to as many outlets as we can? I don’t think so. I think we understand that media relations is, simply put, not only about who, but also about what you know.…read the full article here.

Visiting PR clients in person should be an easy task, but sometimes it takes that old Southern charm

Common sense would tell you that clients who hire you as their PR consultant would want to meet with you face-to-face on a regular basis, but we’ve learned that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you just have to knock on their doors – several times – and take food.

We have had clients who were just too busy to meet. One hired us to launch several campaigns and paid us for months before they were able to meet with us. We were handcuffed, not able get started until they provided us needed information, in person.

“Food,” I told my PR team in the huddle. “We must take them food.”

So we got up early the next morning and went by our neighborhood Einstein’s Bagels and ordered a dozen bagels, cream cheese and coffee and charmed our way into the office of the marketing contact who had proven especially elusive.

For other clients who were equally reluctant to meet, we offered an upgraded version of that same strategy. These two clients were always too busy to meet, continually refusing our requests to go out for coffee or to join us at a weekend Falcons football.

We ordered lunch and blackberry cobbler for several dozen employees who were working away inside my clients’ offices. We gave the clients one day’s warning and showed up early, filling their buildings with irresistible aromas. Finally, the handful of executives whom we had specifically targeted drifted in and sat down with us for nearly 45 minutes, talking about how we could get things back on track.

Nevertheless, at one of the clients, the president never did actually sit down with us or eat our lunch, though he did stand nearby and chatted amiably with us until he was called away for a phone call. As the rest of us enjoyed our blackberry cobbler, I told the marketing executive I’d prepare a plate for the president and take it to his office, but she warned me not to bother.

“He doesn’t eat,” she said. “He just works.”

And on that day, at least, he also met – with us…read the full article here.

Why that journalist isn’t responding to you

Yes or no. Why don’t they just respond to me?

That’s one of the top complaints PR people have about journalists and it’s no wonder. We all hate to be ignored. Why can’t they just send an email telling you whether they are interested or not. It just takes a few seconds, right?

A lot of journalists, me included, receive more than 300 emails a day. Another thing to remember is that most journalists are working with constant deadlines. They have to remain focused on meeting those deadlines. And that can mean less time to respond to pitches such as yours.

This was a hard reality for me to swallow. I was raised as a well-mannered Southern girl who promptly writes thank-you notes following every occasion. I initially tried to respond to everyone who emailed me. Then I realized I could either take the polite route or I could take the professional route and actually get my work done.

So what can you do about it?

  • Do your homework before you send out a pitch. If you are targeting a few journalists in particular, spend a few minutes checking out their publications and what types of articles they write.
  • Don’t take it personally. If a journalist is not responding, chances are good that he or she is just not that into your pitch. It’s not personal.
  • Follow up, but only to a point. How you should follow up varies by each journalist. I don’t mind a follow-up email asking me if got their press release or the occasional phone call. But a lot of journalists would rather pick up a hissing rattlesnake than answer a follow-up phone call and they will more often than not respond poorly.

I wish I had a magic solution. Journalists and PR folk may often have an uneasy alliance. But we need each other to do our jobs.…read the full article here.

Social media gaining on search engines

How did you find this blog?

An analytics report for this site will show you were most likely brought here by Google, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

A recent post by Buzz Feed titled “Where did all the search traffic go?” explores changes in website traffic. BuzzFeed tracked traffic referrals to more than 200 publishers in their network that include more than 300 million people globally. They found that traffic from Google dropped more than 30 percent from August 2012 through March 2013 and search engines in general dropped by 20 percent in the same period.BuzzFeed's graph illustrating traffic sources

While search-engine-directed traffic decreased, site traffic did not. Traffic from all social media channels combined grew by 25 percent for the site. In March 2013, BuzzFeed found that Facebook sent 1.5 times more traffic than Google – the largest increase they have ever seen.

Increased social traffic proves the influence social platforms can have on users and implies that users’ online experience can be directed from friends and connections on social media as much as it can from highly intelligent Google robots.

As BuzzFeed put it, “We aren’t hunting for content as much as we are foraging from what’s right in front of us.” Whereas people may have once been led to food blogs by searching for a recipe and ingredients online, they are now led by their friend’s Facebook post, Pinterest board, or tweet. Similarly, you were most likely directed to this blog from Facebook, Twitter, or an email than from typing in “public relations blog” as a Google search term.

That’s not to say you wouldn’t have found this blog if you typed that in – but in the world of social, people may be taking less time to type in search terms and decide to read what’s sent to their inbox or included in their newsfeed.…read the full article here.

Some people may run from investigative reporters…but I think they’re nice.

At a recent event, I had the opportunity to speak with Fox 5 I-Team Investigative Reporter Randy Travis. You may have seen his stories on the air – a lot resulting in doors being slammed in his face or people running from him.  Personally, I enjoyed our conversation. He even gave crisis communications advice, which happened to be the same advice we give to our clients!

Crisis communications is needed in each industry. Unfortunately, preparing for a crisis isn’t on the top of the to-do-list, usually until you’re smack dab in the middle of it. When the news crew comes to ask questions, no one is prepared and people’s first instinct is to run away or say the dreaded, “No comment.”

If you thought reporters liked having clips of persons-of-interest driving off in their Mercedes or running into dark rooms and slamming the doors … well they do. However, they also want to hear your side of the story and, when they do hear a well-planned, logical response, often present a much more balanced story, if they air the story at all.

At Schroder PR, we offer Crisis Communications Support for our clients. We train them to be prepared for reporters, negative social media attention and even internally, with employees and other stakeholders. We’ve handled all kinds of crises, for existing and new clients, and while we can support you in most stages of the crisis, it is in your best interest to be proactive.

If you’d like more information about how you can start being proactive with crisis management, or just to hear the advice that Randy Travis thought was so excellent and fitting, give us a call.…read the full article here.

Social media proves it not only connects but also can be a matter of life and death

If you’ve watched TV news in the past week, you saw the constant coverage of the devastating Boston bombings as well as the tireless pursuit of the bombing suspects. If you were on social media this past week, you saw the same thing – but at a faster pace. Following the bombing, more than 500,000 tweets with the hashtag #BostonMarathon were collected by a research group from Syracuse University.

This saturated, unfiltered coverage eventually led to as much, if not more harm than good. Social media users made false accusations after examining photos and made up false headlines to try to take the lead in reporting. Suddenly, the medium that served as a watchdog, alerting the country of tragedy, became an unpredictably wild dog in the overall story.

The impact of social media isn’t new or surprising to PR practitioners. So it is still somewhat surprising – although very welcomed – when clients ask us why it’s important to be on social media.

In future social media presentations, I’ll remember to refer to this past week to demonstrate the impact social media channels can have. It was an example of not only how powerfully social media can engage others but also how quickly the unfiltered medium can take a turn for the worse. As we tell our clients, social media needs to be managed and we are able to train our clients on the importance of a successful crisis plan.

While many are still skeptical of the importance of social media in our lives, it is irrefutable that social media played a major part in our nation’s coverage of last week’s terrorist attack. That proves to me that the same channel of communication that drives traffic to business blogs such as this one, is also giving people vital information that could be a matter of life and death.…read the full article here.

In PR, we are always looking for the next big thing. After the past few weeks, I’m convinced you’re looking at it.

Public Relations professionals are ever diligent about placing their clients in forums that best present their offering to a potential customer audience. We especially appreciate a platform that allows us to control our clients’ message. While social media gets a lot of the attention these days, the best PR work is usually seen in a longer form such as blogs, essays, white papers, columns, op-eds and now Thought Leadership.

Though Leadership is sponsored content columns presented on the right side of SaportaReport’s Weekly Update and on each page of its website. It’s a relatively new concept that positions brands and clients alongside entries from respected journalists.

Last week, I received a call from a prospective client who had been considering hiring a PR firm for years, but had never made the move. When he opened up the SaportaReport Weekly Update and read the journalism columns, his eyes wandered over to our PR column. He clicked through, read through several past weekly entries, picked up his phone and called me to invite me in to talk later that same afternoon. We had a very productive meeting and he’s now considering a proposal to engage us on an annual basis. All because of our Thought Leadership column.

If you are a PR firm and seek to ensure your clients are taking advantage of new opportunities, I strongly recommend you to present this new emerging platform. Not only do your clients get to share an audience of 14,000+ recipients of the Weekly Update and 50,000 unique visitors to the SaportaReport website – they can “own” a topic exclusively.

As SaportaReport grows in stature and influence, your clients’ opportunities will as well. So take the lead and explore this new medium for your clients. Secure their topic before a competitor does. I believe you’ll agree, it’s the next big thing….read the full article here.