Monday, March 31, 2014

From Our Blog Friends: Working Girl How To: Pitch & Be Heard

Happy Monday, and Happy March!

Polishing a pitch? Want to get the right message for your organization out to any media outlets you have your eye on?


Lindsay of That Working Girl has a few pitching tips for you.

1. Know your audience & know it well.

2. Perfect your follow-up.

3. Mold your pitch.

Want the inside scoop on these tips from Lindsay herself? Head over to her site and give the Working Girl How To: Pitch and Be Heard a read!

This is definitely a good note to start your week on!

-Your Girls Under PRessure

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honesty Hour: Senioritis

We're just here to keep things real.

Dreaming. Of. You. Source.
We're at that point in the year where we're running low on energy, sleep and free time.

Honesty hour: we have senioritis. We would rather binge-watch Netflix and drink sauvignon blanc and sleep 12 hours a night than work on capstone projects and theses and reading. Of course, we're still going to tend to all of our responsibilities, but dreams of endless free time are floating around in our heads while purple circles plague the area under our eyes. Thank you, God, for Dream Lumi concealer.

For about five minutes last week, there was a resurgence of energy due to cap & gown pick-up. We're in the final stretch of undergrad, and we should be excited, but instead we just want a nap and a job.

Underneath the cloak of senioritis, we're still as ambitious and hard working as ever. We're just tired.

To all of our seniors out there, do you agree?


Your Girls Under PRessure

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Frosh Perspective: Staying Motivated

Angelina Truchan is a freshman at Wayne State University who plans to major in public relations. She hopes to share a bit of her year and her perspective with our Under PRessure readers. This month, she sums up her successful first semester and shares what's to come!


All those feeling that seventh inning stretch exhaustion as we come to the end of this school year say I...I! I cannot lie, these past few weeks have been quite the struggle in finding motivation with school. I see the end is oh so near, yet oh…so…far. Who else is feeling the same?

Unfortunately, this has caused my grades to suffer slightly. They aren’t looking as pretty as they did the first semester here at Wayne State, so I’ve decided I need to find strategies of motivation. I’ve listed a few below and I hope these might come handy to all of my fellow freshman as we come to the finish line of our first year in college!

1.     Surround yourself with people on the same mission as you. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” well, the same goes for who you choose to spend your time with. The people around you are a direct representation of the person you are.
2.     Find a tutor or attend study sessions. This has helped me raise my grades tremendously and keep on task!
3.     Find time for fitness. When I feel groggy and out of shape, my grades do too.
4.     Remind yourself daily of your goals and aspirations. Sure, that Psych test today might seem pointless towards your major. However, all of your grades are an overall representation of your work ethic and perseverance.
5.     Take time, for free time! Laugh from time to time. We all have to remain sane while in school or we’ll never make it out alive.

Until Next Time,

Angelina Marie

Monday, March 24, 2014

Down the Hobbit Hole: I’ve Got A Mentor (Part 1 of 2)

Down the Hobbit Hole is a monthly segment penned by Maura, a senior at Michigan State University, finishing her undergraduate degree in English. She's also a lover of cats, great literature and Bruce Springsteen. Life's an adventure and remember: "Not all those who wander are lost."

As a college freshman, I received the same advice time and time again: join extracurricular activities, find clubs, discover your niche. I offer the same advice.

However, finding a place isn’t always easy.

I started off as a psychology major when I first entered college, with my sights set on psychiatry. I had high hopes to help everyone, to talk them through their problems, and in the end, ultimately cure them. Unfortunately for me—but probably fortunate for everyone else—I sucked at science and didn’t quite know how to take care of myself, so I couldn’t even begin taking care of others.

I quickly shifted to English as a major, and while my hopes have turned towards becoming the next great writer, I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t hurt to go out and explore. In fact, I strongly encourage it, because you never know what you might run into.

After switching my major (frowned upon by many) and traveling to London (a story for another time—hint, hint), I happened upon the professor that, quite frankly, would change my life.

I liked to read, and that’s about all I knew. Cozying up with a book was—and still is—one of my favorite things, but when it came to looking at those books critically, I could pick out very little.

Enter Professor Phillips.

I was taking one of my foundation classes, which is where you learn to close read novels, and if all goes well, you will be able to write the greatest essay the world has ever seen.

To be honest, I thought I knew how to write well. When we turned into our rough draft of our first essay, I was really proud of myself. Then I got the essay back and got a 67%—I was discouraged, to say the least.

With the help of Professor Phillips, I managed to rewrite it and get a 75%. Better, but still not on my level. But, by the end of the class, I had a 4.0 overall and was writing essays that were high Bs and As.

She taught me everything I know—including how to write amazing thesis statements—and has turned out to be a great mentor and friend.

Above all, she helped me find a place where I fit in and has taught me one of the most important things: anyone who says that English literature is an easy major, or anyone that says that it doesn’t hold a defining place in this world, is lying.

- MS

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Complacency Is Your Enemy

What do you think of our new tagline?
Did you notice our latest change? No? That's okay, it's extremely subtle.

If you take a gander at the above image, you'll see our tagline has changed. I'll give you a second to check out the site header, as well.

Why the change? We accomplished our previous goal.

Of course, Elise and I still advocate and write material for up-and-coming young professionals breaking into communications. However, we have already broken into our respective industries, so we've shifted to the next phase of career building: making it.

Since this blog is for us to share our professional journeys with you, it's only fitting we change the tagline to reflect where we are on our journeys.

It's important to continue to create other goals as you progress through your career. It's a great way to continue to push and challenge yourself.

One day, I was talking to someone and we were discussing our futures. We told each other our professional goals, and after I shared my mine, he said, "Only the director of communications? Why not own the team?"

I've been so focused on achieving the goals I've currently set, I never thought about achieving bigger goals or aiming higher. The conversation left me with some food for thought, and ever since, I've been thinking about other goals I could add to my list to continue having something to strive for and work toward.

Another lesson I've learned in the professional realm is never get too comfortable or become complacent. Complacency is your worst enemy.

Until next time,

- J

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

War(rior) Stories No. 3

We're in our final semester of college. The past four years have been the best of times and the worst times. This segment will highlight our best of times at Wayne State University.

Elise: We're getting so close to the end of our time as undergrads! And the closer graduation day looms (May 1st in case you were wondering, and let's be real, you probably weren't), the more I realize there are so many professors in my fields of study that I'm going to miss seeing on a daily or weekly basis. The English and Communication departments have some really amazing professors and faculty who put together two amazing events last month. One was a fashion show, and one was an undergraduate research showcase. I volunteered at both, and they were amazing experiences. It was a great way for me to get a bit more involved in my final months at Wayne State.

From the Comm. school's fashion event. 

Jasmine: One thing we always stress on Under PRessure is networking. And Wayne State has no shortage of networking opportunities. Elise's events were both great opportunities to rub elbows with fashion, communication and research professionals. WSU's affinity for hiring faculty that are still active in their respective fields really opens the doors for any sorts of opportunities for students.

In particular, the Detroit communication community is very tight knit, and since Wayne State is an integral thread in the fabric, it attracts a lot of high-profile people. In my four years, I've been lucky enough to network with people across the board in my industry and field of interest, ranging from employees of local professional sports to teams to natives that work on at league level or work with major sports equipment companies.

I always remind myself that I could be introduced to anyone on any given day, but don't wait for the opportunity to network, seize it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

PR Girl Playlists: Beating the Winter Blues

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It has been SO LONG since I've last left you with a playlist! We were having some pretty stellar weather last week until Mother Nature decided it would be cute to gift us with a 6 inch downpour of snow. So when the snow and the winter blues came back, I decided to throw together a list of songs to make me feel a little bit better.

This list has been what I've listened to while working or cleaning or writing, and hopefully this music helps you get through plenty of Mondays (luckily today's probably a good/fun one, being St. Patrick's Day).

 It's a pretty random mixture of songs, but that's what makes it fun, and I highly suggest shuffling the list to really maximize any potential random-ness.

Hopefully these songs brighten your day or your endless winter, and that you'll love them as much as I do!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

From the Sideline: Stadium Stories

Working in football is fun and stressful and one of the best learning experiences someone hoping to work in sports can possibly have.

As a kid of the Pixar generation, I couldn't resist.
As an intern, some of your most important and resourceful coworkers are your fellow interns. However, your interaction level with your co-interns will vary per internship.

For example, during my university PR internship, I didn’t even know there were other interns in the communications department. In the six months I was an intern, I never saw the other intern(s). Or if I did, I didn't know it because we were never introduced.

My major junior hockey internship was an entirely different story. First, I was part of an intern class. Second, our hierarchy was modeled after the team: our supervisor was the coach (we called him Coach Bombay—if you don’t get the reference, I can't be associated with you, but I suggest you Google it.) and we were his team (we called ourselves the Pod—our mascot was an orca). In true hockey fashion, we spent nearly all our time together: in the office, on game day and even off days. Our constant bonding fostered friendships that are still intact today (shout out to the Tripod!)

My football internship was another completely different experience. I was part of an intern class, however, about half the interns in my orientation would be gone before the kickoff of the regular season—they were interns brought in only for the two-week training camp.

Second, I was part of the training facility intern class but I worked at the stadium, and it wasn’t until months into my internship that I learned there were other interns at the stadium.

About halfway through the season, I formally met the marketing intern—he was a nice enough guy, and he introduced me to the events intern. I already knew of the events intern, and then I learned more about her thanks to one of my fellow training-facility interns (they went to university together but were not fond of each other). However, every time I tried to make friendly convo, she did not seem too keen to reciprocate. Later, I found out she thought I disliked her (probably due to my connection with her college foe), which was untrue.

The three of us had our intern bonding moment during the weekend of the company office party. The weather wasn’t terrible, but the snow was more than most southeastern Michiganians can handle, so my usual crew of work friends bailed on the party, but me and my co-interns still went and had a blast!

Now that my internship is over, I haven't really kept in touch with any of my co-interns, but that's okay. It’s a good reminder that you will not befriend every coworker and don’t sweat it.

But once in a while you will befriend a coworker (or two!) and he or she (or they) will be one your closest friends.

Until next time, kiddies!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Word Play: March

Welcome to a little feature we'd like to call word play. A vocab lesson or two never hurts, especially when the words are either hilarious or made up. And since sharing is caring, we give you our favorite word of the month.

Nobody does snarkastic better than
Community's Joel McHale. Source.
Snarcastic (adj.): Being both snarky and sarcastic.

Not sure what snarky means? Well as the Dane Cook once told us, "Google that shit."

We've all heard this one a time or two, but it's far too good to pass up.

In a sentence: Jane sent me an extremely snarcastic email yesterday.

Suggestions for Word Play? Send 'em our way! We'll make sure you get full credit for your hilarious and/or made up word.


Your Girls Under PRessure

Monday, March 10, 2014

PRactical: Résumés

Here at Under PRessure, we're always learning the ins and outs of the industry, and we want to share those tips with you! This feature is PRactical advice for interning and working in the PR world.

Yep, that's what I look like editing my resume.
All right ladies and lads, fire up your laptop, open up your (latest) résumé and let's get to it!

We know, we know—there are so many sources on this topic. However, we felt the need to address it since this site is for young professionals and the cornerstone to starting and building your career is your résumé.

Here's a quick list of helpful hints we've gathered over years of résumé (re)writing:
  • Tailor: Yes my friends, you need to tailor not only your cover letter, but your résumé, for each job. You want your most relevant experience for that job to be the most prominently displayed. Do this especially if you're applying for different positions within the same organization. The hiring manager will notice.
  • Proofread: You need to proofread your résumé, you need your best friend to proofread your résumé, you need your mentors to proofread your résumé, you need your professors to proofread your résumé —the point is the more eyes that proofread your résumé, the better.
  • Help: Don't be afraid to ask for help writing your résumé. Any of the people mentioned in the proofreading section would be able to help you round out your résumé. They may think of experiences or skills you might not. Again, it's never a bad thing for extra eyes or minds when compiling your résumé.
  • Feature Skills: Try to feature skills that would set you apart or that would be an unexpected help to the company that you're sending your résumé to. Are you a writer? Featuring knowledge of SEO would help you stand out and shows that you're as savvy a writer online as you might be in print.
What tips do you have for résumé writing? Let us know via Twitter!

Until next time,

Your Girls Under PRessure

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lip Service: March

We've decided to turn Lip Service into a more comprehensive segment. A perfect pout is always a must have, but we have a few overall beauty favorites to share so you'll always look primed and professional at school or work!

Elise's pick: Since the winter weather has been a nightmare to my skin and isn't going away anytime soon, I picked an ultra-moisturizing mask for this month's Lip Service. Kiehl's is a brand I've really grown to love lately, and their Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque is exactly what my parched winter skin has been craving.

It's super simple to use: simply apply it to your face and let it sit for 10 minutes. After that time, blot off the excess and head right to bed. In the morning, your skin will feel nourished, hydrated, and ready for a new day. Just a warning, it does feel a bit sticky on your skin, but trust me, you'll get used to it.

This is a pricey pick at $35, but the tub will last you a very, very long time!

Jasmine's pick:
All right guys and gals, my beauty pick this month is e.l.f. Studio Translucent Matifying Powder. First, e.l.f. is a fantastic line at a very wallet-friendly price. They have everything from eyeliner to brush cleaner, and everything is available in a range of lines: basic, studio, crystal, etc.

While I use quite a few of e.l.f.'s products, my absolute fav is the translucent powder. My makeup routine is pretty basic—I'm talking concealer, BB cream and matifying powder. If I'm feeling "fancy," I'll throw on some eyeliner.

As simple as my makeup routine is, I still want to avoid shine—cue the matifying powder! e.l.f. keeps the shine away all day, and it'll only cost you $3. Yes, $3! So next time you're in need of some translucent powder, think e.l.f.!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Network: Making a Connection

Meet Catia, our segment writer for The Network. As a second year PR major, she hopes to continue to grow professionally and would love to one day see Detroit become a powerhouse city again. Fun fact, she actually inspired big sis Elise to pursue PR!

Hi everyone!

In today’s edition of The Network, I have a real life (as opposed to completely made up?) story to share about one of my recent networking experiences. Last week, I volunteered to work at a fashion show hosted by my school and a partnering local department store. Being the sucker for fashion that I am, I couldn’t resist  signing up to help. Initially, I saw this merely as a means of getting involved in a school activity and hitting the mall. Upon arriving at the event, however, I realized that my over-achiever tendencies and insatiable need to gawk at designer shoes had great network-building potential.

While pondering what the event would entail, things began to click. I was working at a fashion show, and getting experience in an industry I am interested in. Wonderful! Also, this was a relatively large-scale event hosted by a well-known department store and was attended by many successful faculty and alumni of my school. Plus, it received local media coverage. What more could you ask for?! This was essentially an incubator of potential professional connections, waiting to be made.

It all made sense. It was just a matter of figuring out the whos, whats and hows of the situation. First, I felt out the event--walked around, listened to conversations and introductions, mingled a bit, gauged the formality of it. Next, I identified the key people who I wanted to meet. With that established, I took action.

Earlier in the evening, I was referred to the PR director of the department store to receive my volunteer duties. Making it a point to remember her name and position, I approached her after the event to congratulate her on the successful event and thank her for having me. A little courtesy and professional small talk led to the exchange of business cards (see, they are important!) and a new connection in an industry in which I’m interested in developing a career.

Although I’m sure following along as I regale you with the thrilling tales of my extracurricular ventures is enjoyable enough, there are some valuable take-aways from this story. Get involved. I know this may seem like the most generic advice out there, but it keeps showing up for a reason. Staying up-to-date on volunteer opportunities and local or industry specific events will expose you to people, places and opportunities that may be beneficial to your professional growth. Next, be aware. Every situation has the potential to yield a networking opportunity. Be attentive and inquisitive, reach out to people, make the first move. Ultimately, you never know when you’re just a casual introduction or handshake away from an internship, job offer or new connection.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Consistency Is Key

While today is National Grammar Day, we need to acknowledge another important fundamental skill in writing: consistency.

Of course, I'm not talking about consistently spelling words wrong and comma splicing, but sticking to a consistent writing style that uses proper grammar. This will:
  1. help you define your own writing style
  2. and your editor (if you have one) will be grateful.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, if you're not following a standard style (AP, MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) or you're writing for your own pleasure (a blog, maybe?), at least be consistent with capitalization, numbers, dates, etc. 

Some organizations have their own style guides. My current employer has an unwritten style guide. While I've mostly taken to it, I also inject some standard AP style. My supervisor and I have compromised on a few things:
  • He prefers AM/PM + I prefer a.m./p.m. = I caved and we write AM/PM
  • He always writes dates in their entirety + I abide by AP style: March, March 2014, Mar. 4, 2014, Mar. 4 = he caved and we abbreviate dates
We also have a specific way to write the opening the statement of a press release, which is standard across both football and non-football releases. But I occasionally spice it up in non-football releases and he lets me get away with it.

Next time you're writing, stay consistent. Don't like the AP rule numbers less than 10 are written out? Then don't abide by it. However, either write out all numbers or always use digits. 

First step grammar, next step consistency and third step writing voice.

Keep on writing, kiddies!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Constructive Distraction: Grammar Girl

Procrastination doesn't have to be a total waste of time—check out some of the web's most constructive gems: educational blogs, career-focused news sites, the latest web tools, etc. These distractions make procrastinating time well spent.

In honor of Grammar Day, this month's distraction is none other than: Grammar Girl!

Grammar Girl has the answers to all those pesky questions:
Though I actually learned the effect/affect rule from another source, it's still one of the best tips.

Until next month,

Your Girls Under PRessure