Archive for October, 2008

what makes a PRofessional?

With a title like making a PRofessional, I’m surprised I haven’t already covered exactly what makes a PRofessional.  So I took the question to all my friends on HARO for their opinions on what makes a PRofessional, what doesn’t make a PRofessional and how important is accreditation like APR — not just for individuals, but for the entire industry!

I was pleasantly surprised with the responses I received.  So, in all its glory, here is what I got:

  • Can I get an order of Experience, with a side of a Degree?
    • Experience counts over a degree… for most.  Out of about 40 responses, only 4 said a degree was an absolute necessity.  That’s only 10%.  Most established Professionals said that being seasoned in the niche one works was more important than a piece of paper from an accredited university.  Remember my earlier post about impatience being a virtue?  Don’t wait to get started building your amazing, PRofessional portfolio.  Cause even with a degree, you still need experience.  At least three years from what I’ve seen for most entry level jobs.
  • Know your Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the Media
    • Before you pitch a story do yourself and every other PR pro a favor…  Seriously.  Research your writer.  Read at least THREE of his or her writings and, if he or she has one, read their blog or friend them on a social media platform.  And do this before you pitch.   I’ve said it in an interview… bad pitchers would be the one thing I would change about what we do.  KNOW YOUR MEDIA!!!  KNOW YOUR REPORTER/WRITER/EDITOR!!!  Look here if you want to see some bad examples of media relations.
  • Like the Song Says… Smile Like You Mean It
    • Did you know that just smiling can change your whole attitude?  Yeah, that’s right.  And apparently employers are looking for personable people with positive  personalities (that hurt my soul a little).  Take that alliteration to heart because it could help you win in an interview and show your soon-to-be boss that you have what it takes to build great relationships with reporters, clients and fellow employees.  So turn your frowny face upside down and make it an awkward smile.


The responses didn’t stop there.  Here are some qualities PRofessionals are expected to have:


  • Remember that degree we talked about…?
    • Even though most hiring Professionals said experience was more important than a degree, you still need one.  And it doesn’t have to be in PR.  It can be in English, journalism, marketing or another communications field.  Some employers even prefer that new hires have a background in the media and it’s no surprise that many PRofessionals  come from journalism.  You know, because we do so much work with the media (see the second tip above). 
  • Don’t Be Pushy
    • This is kind of like smiling.  It’s important to be persistent, but know when to call it quits.  No one likes to be pushed into a corner and although being pushy may get you one or two stories in the media, continuing an abrasive behavior will strain your relationships.
  • Write Well
    • Writing is to PR what latex gloves are to doctors… Everything begins with latex gloves.  It is imperative to have good writing skills in PR.  You must be capable of communicating efficiently in your writing.  You must be capable of telling your client’s story in your writing.  You must be capable of persuading in your writing.  Writing is in everything we do as PRofessionals: pitching, creating press releases and newsletters, developing speeches…  Everything.
  • Think On Your Feet
    • ‘Nuf said.


Then there was the A. P. R.  Most PRofessionals seem to not carry the three letters behind their name that means they went through boot camp like training, studied like grad school students and reassessed their whole career.  With complete respect to the APR, I really feel like this is just a major accomplishment, not an industry be all, end all.  It sets a standard for the industry, but you don’t have to have it to practice PR and it certainly doesn’t give you the power to fly.  However, it’s an accomplishment I want to have.  With that said: Zackery Moore, APR… Yeah… that sounds cool.




P.S. I do not have an APR, just wanted to see what it felt like to write it behind my name.  Feels fancy.


Guest Post: Job Hunting Advice for College Seniors

Note: this post comes from Gotta Mentor and was written by Gotta Mentor CEO and Co-founder Ron Mitchell.  You can find the original post here.  Check back on making a PRofessional as I give you updates about any successes I have with this site.

What I would do as a college senior looking for a job in this environment

There are no simple answers if you are looking for a job as a college senior right now, but here are three things you should consider:

1) Take a job where you will learn the most
Pre-1980, college students took jobs where they thought they would get the most job security. They went to the big companies like IBM, GM and GE. In the 80`s and 90`s college seniors started to focus on where they could make the most money like Wall Street. In the 2000`s, students started to focus on where they could enjoy the best lifestyle like the dot coms. Well today, the focus should be on where you can learn the most. This may mean that you make less money and have less flexibility. But in the long run the skills that you develop will set you free and enable you to chart a career path that you will have control over.

2) Go Abroad
What I am going to say here, may seem contradictory to what I have written above but it is not. Get your butt out of the country. This may mean studying for an extra year or taking some menial type of job abroad. In this case the type of job does not matter. Don`t worry about what you learn on the job, because learning about a different culture is just as important. Learning a language is just as (if not more) important. Tops on my list to go to would be China, India and Brazil. Big markets that are only going to become more important to the global economy.

3) Don`t cop out and go to law or business school right away. 
I know that many of you are taking your LSATs, GMATs and GREs. Don`t cop out! Even in a good economy, I would tell you to work for a few years before going to graduate school. These schools will always be there for you. Once you go and saddle yourself with even more school debt, you will have even less opportunity to find or do the things you want to do. You have very little risk as a young person to go and try something different.

Gotta No Clue…? Introducing Gotta Mentor for All Your Questions

If you’re looking for an mentor, I think you should check out Gotta Mentor.  

It connects high school, undergrad, grad and new professionals with weathered (or fresh) veterans from a variety of industries.  There is even a “General” catergory of professionals so it’s definitely O.K. if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow-up.

I’m in the process of creating a profile, but this seems like an awesome resource.  

Most of my success comes from creating great relationships with mentors.  And anyone who knows me will know that I wholey support finding someone to model your career goals after. 

The next post on my blog will be a guest post of sorts from the CEO and co-founder from Gotta Mentor.


Do you UStream?

I’ve never been much of a fan of video.  I’m more of a print and blog kind of guy.  But for those of you who love to vlog, I was recently introduced to UStream.  It’s a video blogging site that allows you to stream live from where ever you have a cam.  

One of the only reasons I would ever do a video of myself would be for one of those fancy video resumes, but for now I think the regular old MS doc will suffice.  Here are some other uses that I may never use, but you or your friends might find useful:

  • Class projects (how many times have you been to class and the room wasn’t set up for video?)
  • Internships (think video resume again)
  • Video blogging (I hate the term “vlogging,” it’s not easy for this speech therapy graduate to say)
  • Clients
  • Vodcasting (like podcasting, but with video)
  • To be super creepy (I know some of you out there are gross, insane pervies.  It’s statistics)

You could then post whatever video you created on Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, or PROpenmic (i think).  Maybe even in the comments or at the very least a link to your UStream.  If you’re interested in video, check it out.


How much $$$ will I make…?

I was doing some digging on salaries for communications professionals and this is what I found (the source is the Occupational Outlook Handbook 08-09):

For PRofessionals:


  • the lowest 10% will earn less than $28,080 (I would take that happily)
  • the middle 50% will earn between $35,600 and $65,310
  • the median annual earning for PRos is $47,350
  • and the top 10% earned over $89,220
Non-profits, universities, and professional schools paid the least.  And the managers of companies paid the most (duh!).
Advertising Sales professionals were a little better and a little worse depending on what part of the spectrum they were in:
  • the lowest earned $21,460
  • the middle earned between $29,450 – $63,120
  • the median annual earning is $42,750
  • the top 10% earned more than $91,280
Remember: this includes commission, which is the bread of the bread and butter of this job.  Not the other way around.
For PRofessional managers including public relations, marketing, advertising and promotions you can expect to make between $93,450 and $119,540.  This is where you want to be, especially if you’re voting for McCain/ Palin in November.
Luckily for all of us budding PRofessionals, we can expect to see an 18% rise in employment.  Which I think is a good thing.  You?

Apple’s iPhone 3G USB Adapter Recall Problem…..

… not a PR problem.

Today I recieved a text message about a faulty USB adapter problem with the new iPhone 3G. Why is this superb PR? Because it is an efficient and effective way to communicate with the relevant public.

The text had a link you could follow to find out more information. And at the speed of 3G I had all the information about a problem I haven’t had.

Which is another plus for Apple. They remedied a problem before too many people had to encounter it.

However, when I went to replace my adapter the store was out. Hopefully I won’t have a problem and can replace it before the prongs come out.

UPDATE: I got my new power adapter.


Scary-Ass Skittles Commercial

This commercial is kind of old, but my friends and I were talking about it.  I said I want to blog about (got some eyerolls, cause I’m that guy).

To my shock and horror, there is a part of the skittles commercial I’ve never seen before……. Turns out Tim, the man with the Skittles Midas Touch, has committed manslaughter….  I wonder if Tim met Dionysus like Midas did OR if he is the outcome of some Skittles experiment gone awry OR maybe this is what happens when you touch the rainbow.