Thursday, March 29, 2012

Words of Wisdom from a Pro Intern: Part 1

In the stress of searching for (and attaining) the perfect internship, getting through the semester, or figuring out where your passions lie, it's always welcome to hear a story or two from someone who has been exactly in your position and found success.

This is the case for Joey Khalil, a senior at Michigan State University. Joey is a Broadcast Journalism and International Relations double major, and has held a few notable internships in the past year. He offers up some great advice, exclusively for our Under PRessure readers.

Under PRessure: Having gone through both internships and almost all of your undergrad career, what advice would you give students in the fields of journalism or mass communications?

Joey Khalil: Get active, get involved and meet everybody. Anderson Cooper said you should never underestimate the value of out-hustling everybody else. As students, be active; apply for as many internships as possible. Try to meet professors and get involved with student journalism, communications or broadcast programs at your school. If and when you get internships, BE the intern that stands out. During my internships I was given a schedule…ignore it. If you’re supposed to stay until 3:00, stay until 6:00 and FIND something to do, something to learn or someone to shadow at the very least. Go beyond what is asked of you. Make sure that people there know your name and remember you. Don’t be shy about approaching people and saying, “Hey, I’m Joe.” It sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised how many interns I’ve seen who stay quiet. DON’T STAY QUIET!!! Even if you do great stuff, but nobody knows you or remembers you, you’ve wasted a lot of good opportunities. 
When I interned at Detroit’s FOX 2 News there were news meetings every day, where producers, reporters, etc. discuss and decide what goes into the news that day. It was VERY intimidating for interns to speak up during these meetings, it’s true, because it means putting yourself out there in front of people who are more qualified to speak about the day’s news than you are. I tried to speak up at as many of these as I could. I did my homework. The night before and the morning of I’d be scanning newspapers, other TV stations, radio stations to find stories that I could pitch at the meeting. If there’s a big, ongoing story I’d try to find a new angle to it and see what people thought at the meeting. At times you’ll look and feel stupid or ignored by everyone else in the room. That’s okay, by the time I left I was (and still am) on a first name basis with almost everybody at FOX 2. I was told by a lot of people there I stood out because I built relationships with people. It sounds simple, but there are a lot of interns who don’t get what they should out of internships because they’re too quiet or shy or just don’t get to know the people they’re working with. DO MORE, SPEAK UP, MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE, AND KEEP IN TOUCH WITH EVERYBODY YOU MEET!

UP: What was it that led you to choose your field of study?

JK: I was originally an International Relations major without much idea about what I wanted to do after school. I thought about Law School and some other things, not because I was passionate about those ideas, more because I thought these things are what smart people do. I was honestly terrified about the future, and all of the unknown that went with it. It wasn’t until I had sort of a self-analysis and really thought about what I like to do, what I’m good at and how I could combine those things. I felt I was a good writer, I’m definitely a people person and I’ve had a lot of experience speaking in public. I sort of fell on broadcast journalism by coincidence. I started talking to a lot of people in the television news industry, asking a lot of questions (another sign that I was on the right path). I decided to enroll in journalism classes, and I remember at the end of my very first day at my first internship at FOX 2, I knew I made the right choice. 

UP: For you, how important is it to be passionate about what you choose to study/pursue as a career?

JK: For me, being passionate about my career path is everything. It’s the reason I didn’t settle for something else. In my case, passion is also essential to success. I’m going into broadcast with the hopes of being a news reporter/anchor. From the experience I have so far being in front of a camera, if I’m not passionate it shows. Every time I do a stand-up or sit at the desk and read the news, I have to carry myself with a certain level of enthusiasm or else I appear dull and disconnected with the audience. 

UP: How important has it been to establish relationships with your professors?

JK:Thus far establishing a relationship with my professors has been pretty helpful. Your professors have likely been in the field themselves at some point in their careers. They probably have contacts who, for students entering the field, are advantageous to have. Professors are also great sources of advice in general. When I was torn about taking an internship in Atlanta that would have meant dropping all of my courses about a month into the school year, I went to my professors for help. I believe they gave me the right advice. 
UP: Any other general advice or words of wisdom for journalism/communications students? 

JK: A lot of students stress about grades. I’ve seen many peers come to a professor after class and try to argue about a 3.5 on an assignment for which the student believed they deserved a 4.0. By no means am I saying grades are not important –they are. In this field though, grades are actually less important than demonstrated ability. Focus less on grades and more on learning. It’s important in communications and journalism of any kind that students get as much experience as possible. Go out and DO! If that means internships, helping out with a universities journalism programs, or just practicing with video techniques, do it! Whatever it takes to actually become able to do the job well is what students should be aiming to do. If students are proactive about seeking and taking advantage of every opportunity, the grades will probably reflect that. In any case, the kid with no internships and a 4.0 is less likely to score a good reporting job than the kid with a 3.0, three internships and a solid resume tape. Like Anderson Cooper said, don’t ever underestimate the value of out-hustling everyone else. It’s about doing. Get out there and do!

This is some pretty valuable information, no? I think everyone can benefit from the lessons learned by seasoned interns. We hope you got a bit of inspiration from this, and that some of your questions have been answered!

This is a two-part deal, so stick around for his words of wisdom on networking and building your brand.


Girls Under PRessure

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How-To: Get Through a Busy Week

This is my unconventional, but functional, workspace.

With the end of the school year comes plenty of things to do. For example:

Register for fall classes
Meet with internship coordinator
Apply for internships if you haven't already (and if you haven't, you should, SOON!)
Make any necessary appointments

Add all of these with your compounding load of coursework, readings, research, papers, jobs, and the ever dreadful final project, and there is seemingly no time to breathe let alone sleep!

How do you get through such times? I'll outline a small plan for you. Master these skills while you're in school and the whole PR world will be your oyster. Firms love people who can prioritize, organize, and multitask, and getting through weeks like these are perfect practice.

1. Prioritize your work: What's most pressing? What can you get away with NOT doing (this pertains readings for class, mostly, as many professors cover the readings in GREAT detail)?

2. Break huge papers and projects up: Yes, this little nugget of information is cliche. But it's said time and time again for a reason. It works.

3. Use small pockets of free time to your advantage: Little errands, such as making appointments, dropping off or filling out paperwork, and selecting classes can all be done in those awkward few minutes between classes where there isn't enough time to get any real studying done, but there is too much time to make the trek to class. You'll be surprised at how much more productive these moments can make your day.

4. Listen to your happy song: Listening to music that makes you happy can be a small, but welcome pick-me-up to any stressful day or week.

5. Use a planner: This should go without saying, but I know so many people who don't utilize this vital tool! Keeping track of everything you are working on and any important due dates is absolutely essential.

6. Disable your social networking outlets: No Facebook/Twitter/etc. = fewer distractions

These six simple steps should help you get everything on track to survive a busy week while yielding great results (without overdoing caffeine and losing sleep, might I add). Do you have any tips that help you get through the crazy end-of-the-semester weeks? Let us know!

Good luck, and stay positive!


Friday, March 23, 2012

"Build your own door or knock down a wall."

Take three minutes to watch this Start Something Big! webisode featuring Steve Dangle.

Dangle's quote reinforces a simple fact: there isn't a standard way to reach your career aspirations.

Last week, I conducted an informational interview with an employee for the organization I want to intern with and she was extremely insightful. She supplied plenty of pointers and possible leads for internship opportunities.

She, like Dangle, also had a non-traditional career path. She didn't go to college straight out of high school and she never had an internship.

Dangle, however, did have internships and did attend college right after high school, but his YouTube popularity--his wrench in the gears--catapulted him ahead of the competition and helped him gain internships.

So, always remember: if you can't get your foot in the door, "build your own door or knock down a wall."

Rock out, kiddies!
- Jasmine

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Industry Insiders: Chrissy Sheahan via College Fashion

A bi-weekly series profiling insiders in the fashion, beauty, sports, public relations and media industries (editors, PR girls, etc.) whose successes in the industry is beyond inspirational. 

This week's industry insider is going to be a bit different. The blog College Fashion did a pretty great post on Chrissy Sheahan, one of many brilliant fashion PR mavens in New York City. Check out their interview with her here!


Girls Under PRessure

Monday, March 19, 2012

Outfit Post


Outfit by ess912 featuring old navy shirts

It's been a long while since I've done an outfit post. but my outfit today was pretty cool, and inspired by all of the things I saw at SXSW (which was amazing). I call this my modified Canadian tuxedo. For those of you who are a bit alien to this term, it's kind of a funny (and mildly offensive, but come on, it's hilarious) way of expressing denim on denim. The shirt, skirt, and sandals are exact, but I threw in my DREAM Hermes Birkin bag and Michael Kors watch because, well, I love them so. I hope you get a bit of fashion inspiration out of this post. It's perfect for a day of running errands and romping around to your writing and PR classes.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, xox,


Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Internship Season!

Internship Season

I've spent so much time researching internships! They're integral for breaking into the industry. Today, there is no way you're going to get a job right out of college without having had an internship (or five) under your belt. Many companies are accepting summer internship applications until the end of this month. Where are you applying? What's your dream company? Let me know!

Best of luck,


Monday, March 12, 2012

Monthly Mani: Matte About You

As a future PR maven, it's important to look put together. This is especially important when it comes to your hands--you'll be meeting people, shaking hands, working with papers--and it's super important to have a nice manicure. This is a monthly series that will show you perfect colors so you can always be polished.
Lately, I've been obsessed with matte polish. I think it's the chicest finish available. I wanted to add a few to my collection, but instead I found a great way to "mattify" my entire collection--Essie's "Matte About You" Matte Finisher.

This top coat is a great investment--refresh your entire collection for $10. It's pricy, but worth it--your polish collection doubles with one bottle.

It also works great on both cream and shimmer finishes--with shimmer polishes this top coat creates a dull metallic finish.

"Matte About You" is available at Ulta.

Other brands have matte finishers; Butter London and e.l.f. are just two.

What polishes are you wearing? Let us know! We're always looking for new suggestions!


Girls Under PRessure

Friday, March 9, 2012

On Sacrificing Opportunities

There's nothing more that I want than to break into the fashion/beauty industry and either become an editor or a PR girl. These are things you already know. But I recently (and by recently I really mean a few months ago) had an opportunity to network with some pretty important people. It required travel, and my family was uneasy about letting me venture to a different state alone even though I'm an adult and live on my own during the school year.

That kind of opportunity isn't something you give up. But I always find myself giving things up for my family. I love them so much, but I've gotten to the point where I realize that I'll never achieve my dreams if I keep giving up chances to network with industry insiders. Things like that are not opportunities that you can always get a second chance at...hell, some people aren't lucky enough to get that first shot. I can't continue to settle with the satisfaction of merely "getting a shot," though. I'm hungry for oopportunity. I want to work and I want to move. It's just really hard relaying that to my family. I don't want to come off ungrateful or bitchy or cold. I'm not any of those things (I hope). But, I can't help but worry that they'll feel as though I'm abandoning them or deeming them as "not good enough" by moving away. I suppose I need to be a bit less worrisome and a little more fearless. I don't just want to break into the industry--I need to. Editing or working in PR are the only things I can see myself doing and those things are all I want to do. I realize it's not always going to be glamorous, and it does't have to be. I'm not always glamorous, so I wouldn't expect it from my career choice.

Moral of the story: put yourself first for once. And as cliche as it sounds, you can't put a price on your dreams.

Wishing you success and inspiration,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

10 Apartment (or Dorm) Essentials

College is the first time most young adults live away from home or without family.

My first year, I lived in the dorms.

Ever heard the awesome story where you go to college, meet your roommate, he or she's the most awesome person ever and then later in life, he or she stands up in your wedding and gives the toast at the reception? Yeah, my experience is not any variation of that anecdote. 

Luckily I'm a social butterfly, so I made friends elsewhere.

My second year, three friends and I decided to get an apartment.

Since then, I've learned some essentials for apartment living and I wanted to share my top necessities.

1. Shower curtain with pockets
Bed Bath and Beyond
This is a godsend because most apartment bathtubs and showers have zero storage. This allows you to avoid lining up your products on the shower floor.

The curtain shown, from Bed Bath and Beyond, costs $20. I bought mine for $15 and it has more pockets. Shop around--you'll find a good deal.

2. Extension cords

Odds are you're going to live in an older apartment. Older apartments, like mine, aren't necessarily equipped with many or logically placed outlets. Buy extension cords. 

The biggest outlet problem I have is there aren't any in my bathroom. I blow dry and straighten my hair in my bedroom with an extension cord running across the floor because the outlets are illogically placed in there.

Make sure you buy cords with the grounding prong. Makes life much easier. They cost a little extra, but they're worth the investment. 

Also pick up a surge protector. This way your laptop, television, Blu-Ray and other expensive gadgets aren't fried during a power surge.

3. Folding chairs
Bed Bath and Beyond
Butterfly chairs, or any variation, are best because they're aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Popular in dorms, but also great for apartments. They easily store in a closet or under the futon--that's where mine are stashed. There when you need them and able to be stashed when you don't.

There chairs aren't terribly expensive. You can get one for as little as $25. Mine cost around $30.

4. Lighting
My apartment has the worst lighting. It's so bad, there is an extra table or floor lamp (or two) in each room.

The most bang for your buck is the five-bulb floor lamp featured in most dorm rooms. Unfortunately, it's not as stylish as it is functional. If you want the best of both words, buy a single-bulb floor lamp with multiple light settings.

I have one that cost $5 and it's amazing. Last year, it lit my dorm room and this year it lights my kitchen. It also easily dissembles.

The above floor lamp cost a whopping $9.

5. Storage

Not only is storage about having places to stow things, it's also about stowing things conveniently and efficiently. Buy what will fit your needs best. Have a lot of open wall space? Investing in hanging shelves or a bookcase. Have space available under the hanging rod in your closet? Grab a few bins to stash there. Space under your bed (bed risers work wonders)? Slide a few drawers under there.

6. Command hooks
If you don't know what these are you've been living under a rock. Command hooks are an essential for any dorm or apartment. They allow you to hang things without putting holes in the walls and then having to pay for the damage.

Remember to read the weight restrictions. Not all hooks are created equally.

7. Swiffer mop
Swiffers are much better than traditional mops. Not only are they great space savers, but you get two mops for the price of one. You also save time--put on a cleaning pad, clean the floor and toss the nasty pad. Much easier than dealing with a bucket of water and wringing out a cumbersome traditional mop.

Of course, you have to buy the cloths, but with a traditional mop you'd have to buy soap, a bucket and possibly replacement mop heads.
Also, check out Swiffer dusters. Another convenient product.

8. Photos, posters, artwork, etc.

One of the best parts of living on your own is decorating your space. Once young adults leave home, personal items are packed away in boxes until they buy their first home. And living with others sometimes means one person's personal tastes can be forgotten or overshadowed.

Also, personal touches makes your space more homey and may help cure small homesick spells.

9. Electric kettle
This isn't a necessity unless you drink a lot of tea. Because I do, this is easily one of the best investments I've made for my apartment. Electric kettles boil water in under two minutes!

Of course the fancier the kettle, the more it will cost you. I bought mine for $20 and the Sunbeam kettles pictured above cost $20 - $26, depending on the color.

10. Desk
I took having a desk for granted when I lived in the dorms. Now that I'm in an apartment, I immensely miss it. I either do my homework on the floor, in my bed or at the kitchen table.

If you have a desk, you have a work space where you go leave your stuff out and come back to it. Your computer is safe from danger; my laptop sits on the floor in my room. You also have a designated place for office supplies--sometimes it's the little things.

What are your suggestions for apartment living?


Girls Under PRessure

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Industry Insiders: Steve Glynn

A bi-weekly series profiling insiders in the fashion, beauty, sports, public relations and media industries (editors, PR girls, etc.) whose successes in the industry is beyond inspirational. 

Better known as Steve Dangle, this man is every sports fan's envy.

Dangle works with Real Sports, Nike and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). He's covered events including the 2010 Winter Olympics and the World Junior Hockey Championship. He also interned and worked at Leafs TV.

Dangle rose to notoriety via the fame monster YouTube. In 2007, he began making video blogs about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Thanks to Toronto's legion of fans--Leafs Nation--and other hockey-diehards, Dangle's videos became a web sensation and were sometimes featured on the Maple Leafs' official website. Dangle's vlog series, Leafs Fan Reaction, is still running strong--he posts a video after each Leafs' game.

A popular feature of Dangle's videos is his alter ego, "Hat Guy." "Hat Guy" is that fan. Dangle's witty commentary and hyperactive personality also keep viewers coming back.

Dangle's career is something most people only dream of; a rise to fame via the web, intern with and work for your favorite hockey club, and then travel all over North America interviewing the biggest names and blogging about the biggest events in hockey.

Did I mention he's only 24?

Oh, he also owns a sword.

Clearly, passion and success can go hand-in-hand.

Keep up with Dangle on his website, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Until next time...


Your Girls Under PRessure

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cowboy Up

Mistakes are a necessary evil in life. You feel stupid or embarrassed, pending the circumstances, for doing it but you get over it and move on.

As embarrassing as a mistake can be, the most important part is:

Courtesy of
Of course, no one wants to take blame or admit a slip up, but doing so is much better than trying to hide it.

My News Editing professor, who I referenced in a prior post, has seen many people get fired for not admitting mistakes opposed to making them.

The best ways to deal with mistakes are:
  • Own up right away. The longer you wait the harder it becomes and the more damage it can do.
  • Don't freak out. Stay calm, cool and collected. No one likes dramatics.
  • Not everyone needs to know--just those necessary.
A few tips to avoid mistakes are:
  • Proofread everything. Email, text or whatever, always proofread.
  • Have a coworker or friend look at it. A fresh set of eyes always helps.
  • For phone messages, always read back the information you've written down to confirm.
And it's as true as it is cliche: people learn from their mistakes. Learn your lessons and move on.

Rock out, kiddies!
- Jasmine

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Constructive Distraction: The Savvy Intern

Procrastination doesn't have to be a total waste of time. This monthly post highlights websites to make your time avoiding research papers and textbooks productive.

Sorry for the relatively slow week. This week is--drumroll--midterms! Elise and I have been studying our brains out and writing until our finger tips bleed.

In all the melee, I didn't realize today is the first day of March and I almost forgot to write the Constructive Distraction for the month! Luckily, leap year provided me with an extra day to pick a site to share. Let me present:

via The Savvy Intern
The Savvy Intern

This mirco-blog on features articles written by people in digital media, public relations, resume consulting and other facets of communication.

It's a great resource for advice and tips on networking, resume writing and anything else a budding communication student or  professional needs.

I can easily spend an hour or two scrolling through, reading articles. There's something relevant to everyone. Take a few minutes, or an hour, and check this site out. You won't be disappointed.

Until next month...


Your Girls Under PRessure