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Three Pieces of Advice for Those About to Get Their First Job

PacificAlumni

Last month I wrote about helping students at Pacific find their story to prep for their first job interviews.  I was back this month as part of a panel of alumni hosted by the Pacific American Marketing Association and the Eberhardt School of Business on tips for helping students find that first job.

At the end of the panel we were asked if we had any last pieces of advice to share.  I had three:

  • Be professionally curious – Always keep learning. Especially at your first job. If someone gives you something to copy, read it. If you are searching articles for mentions of a client or competitor, read the articles, don’t just do keyword searches.
  • Find inspiration outside of work – I work in a semi-creative industry, where I’m writing a lot, and increasingly helping pair images and stories.  To stay inspired, I look outside of marketing and PR.  I love museums, have a pile of art books that I look at, and follow Instagram accounts that are inspiring visually.
  • Give back – I was at my alma mater, and to be honest for the first ten years after I graduated I didn’t contribute very much to the community.  Now, I try and help out students when I can by sharing my experiences, acting as a mentor and when possible pointing students in the direction of jobs.

What are your three pieces of advice for those just getting started?

Good interviews rarely “just happen” take it from Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show"

Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jon Stewart from “The Daily Show”

As a PR guy I watch interviews a little bit differently than most people, I look for themes and for what the subject says that gets picked up by the interviewer.   Sometimes this just happens serendipitously but often there’s a lot of preparation by PR folks in the background on what interests the interviewer, how they’ve interacted with subjects etc, but I was impressed with what Neil DeGrasse Tyson said he did before going on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” which I learned from from a great blog post.

He explained that, before getting on the show, he spent a lot of time studying Jon Stewart’s verbal habits. He paid attention to how many sentences Stewart usually grants a guest on his show before inserting a witty comment. He paid attention to what kinds of words or phrases Stewart particularly likes to pick up on. So, when he went on the show, he made sure to describe astronomy using sexually suggestive language, which prompted Stewart to say “WHY IS IT THAT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT SCIENCE YOU TURN ME ON?” and then, “I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE.”

So….next time, before an interview…count the sentences and please watch it.

Being Ready for Anything and Olympic Photographers

Image from Getty Images – Richard Heathcote

 

In 2012, I wrote about how Greg Bull got the iconic shot of Gabby Douglas that was the defining image of the 2012 Summer Games.  There’s a great article on Gizmodo on how photographers from AP, Reuters and Getty Images cover the Winter Olympics, and how they do it differently. A few of the main points:

  • The combined photographic teams will each capture about one million images over the course of the games:
  • AP is focused on images to tell a story that can be in newspapers and news outlets, while Getty is more focused on shots of value to their corporate clientele for things like advertisements;
  • Getty laid 22 KM of ethernet cable for the fastest possible transmission of digital images;
  • Each photographer has up to four camera bodies, each set up with a different lens and different settings so they can switch out quickly and be ready for anything;
  • Planning started well in advance with AP doing a walk around through Sochi two years ago to start scouting out the best shooting locations; and
  • In Getty’s case according to Gizmodo, when the photographer clicks the shutter, the photo goes almost instantly to a team of three editors where “the first selects the best image and crops it for composition; the second editor color corrects; and the third adds metadata. The whole editing process is done in 30-40 seconds.”

How does this apply to PR? With us, we get paid to plan ahead and think of everything that MIGHT happen and be ready for it.  Are you?

  • When planning an event, think of the flow, what will happen, what might happen and how to make that work.
  • Who’s on your team?  Do they know their roles?
  • Plan, plan, plan.  Go to the venue.  Know it.
  • What’s your objective?  AP has their’s, so does Getty.

 

 

Tip for First Time Job Seekers: Find Your Stories – Tell Them

 

Last week, I was at my alma mater, the University of the Pacific, as a proctor for mock interviews for students to help them prepare for finding that first job.

All of the students I met with where very well spoken and I am confident will be in good shape when they start the actual interview process. There was one common thread with all the students in that they had some amazing experience but either forgot to tell me about it until I helped pull it out of them, or they “buried the lead.”

  • In one case, the student had developed a comprehensive social media promotion program for specific campus radio shows and was using Snapchat to drive program engagement and audience.  In this case, Snapchat worked due to the relatively small addressable audience and the need for immediate action and engagement.
  • Another student had taken over marketing for a band, and learned some extremely valuable lessons about working with all stakeholders to develop a marketing plan; and
  • Another had identified when the posts they may on social networks were most likely to get a response, and tailored their activity accordingly.

Any one of the above should be the first thing they are talking about in interviews.  I advised the students to each have 3-4 “stories,” they were ready to tell in their interviews.  Each of these stories could be used to answer the standard interview questions, i.e. talk about a challenge and how you overcame it, how you worked as part of a team…..

Even if you aren’t looking for a job, what are your stories?  How do you describe what you do to friends and family?  What do you tell a prospective business partner or sales lead?  Find your stories. Be ready to tell them.

Just ran across this on a Reddit AMA by Ken Burns.

“First of all, what I do isn’t heart surgery. But I did have this moment in 1999, when I was walking with my daughter across Washington Square Park in New York. A man approached and mournfully said, “My brother’s daughter died. My brother’s daughter died.” I instinctively stepped between him and my daughter. He saw my caution, and said, “SIDS. Crib death.” I knew he was okay. I said, “I’m so sorry. I have daughters too.” He said, “My brother and I were very close, and I didn’t know what to do when my niece died. Then I remembered your Baseball series, and I went and got his old mitt and mine and went to his backdoor and knocked. He came out. We didn’t say a word. We just played catch. And I wanted to thank you, ever since.”

 

Pitchers and catchers report Friday.

Mad Men Returns April 13, 2014

 

Don Draper takes his children to the house he grew up in the final scene from last season.

Don Draper takes his children to the house he grew up in the final scene from last season.

The “final season” of Mad Men from AMC begins on April 13. I put final season in quotes s the last 14 episodes will be split over two years.  So, let’s call it a long goodbye.

In the meantime to get yourself ready, you can check out my posts about Mad Men and agency life over they years.  I’ve written quite a few.

http://donteattheshrimp.com/tag/mad-men-agency-lessons/

2013 in Review for Don’t Eat The Shrimp

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. I didn’t post as often in 2013, but that’s going to change in 2014. Also, at some point this week, I’m going to pass 100,000 total visits.  That’s pretty cool.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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