Seven Things to Do Over Thanksgiving Break

We are lucky as Iowa students to have a WHOLE WEEK off for thanksgiving break, so here are some PR related ideas to fill up some of your downtime over break:

  1. Check out PRQuickStart.org – This is a free online program that will help you get more acquainted with the public relations field. Try to complete the entire program over break; it shouldn’t take too long and might even be fun.
  2. Set up an informational interview – Try getting in contact with a company or agency in your area and see if they will let you come in for an informational interview. This is a great way to learn more about a company you might want to work or intern for in the future.
  3. Start a Twitter account – If you don’t already have a Twitter account, break is a great time to start one up. You’ll have plenty of time to tweet new content every day and work on building your connections. If you already do have a Twitter account, make it your goal over break to get retweeted by a professional in the PR field.
  4. Perfect Interview – If you have a webcam or can borrow one from a friend, practice your interview skills with the Pomerantz Career Center’s Perfect Interview program. When you get back from break, you can set up an appointment with a career advisor to go over your interview. It is never too early to start practicing for interviews, and this is an easy and free way to start.http://www.careers.uiowa.edu/perfectinterview/
  5. Volunteer – Check out your local food pantry or crisis center and see if they need any extra help during the week. Holidays are often the busiest time of year for these organizations and they will most likely need extra volunteers. This will look great on a resume and will also help you build connections.
  6. Blog – Come up with a blog entry about anything you are interested in whether it is related to PR or not. If you don’t have your own blog, post it to the PRSSA blog by contacting Kelly Trettin. Employers are looking for social media savvy students to hire, and blogging is a great way to start.
  7. Watch the American Music Awards – The AMA’s will be on ABC on November 22nd at 8/7c. Pretend like one of the performers, announcers, or winners is one of your clients; after the show, write a press release for him/her. Yeah, it sounds silly and won’t be published anywhere, but it will give you some practice writing press releases. Use the template we received from Karla Stevenson at our press release workshop and get creative.

Have any other ideas of fun, PR related activities to do over break? Feel free to leave your own ideas in the comment section!

Kelsey Thortsen – Finance Director

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Trying to find internships this spring or summer?

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, I attended a small class led by Amy A’Hearn the communications career advisor. When I say small, I mean small. It was a class size of three people including myself and it was wonderful. The class was all about how to find an internship whether it be for the spring, summer, or fall. She started off the class by asking what our priorities were, what did we want out of the internship? What was important to us, location, paid/unpaid, work environment, work hours, etc? She said the key to finding an internship was first figuring out what you, yourself wanted out of one.

Next, she showed us the Pomerantz Career Center’s website (www.careers.uiowa.edu) and located the Career Guide button which brought up a number of sample resumes, cover letters, letters of inquiry, etc. A’Hearn urged us to look at each of these to begin writing and then advised us to go to walk-in hours at the PCC. During walk-in hours, students can have their resumes reviewed by a peer advisor who will be sure to provide them with tips to improve their resume.

To actually find internships, A’Hearn showed us the Expo website on the PCC’s webpage. This site is used to find jobs and internships with companies who are affiliated with the University of Iowa. The easiest ways to look for jobs is to first log-in, then click on the Jobs button, then Search. A’Hearn said to use the “Major Seeking” button which allows for a wider search of jobs within your major that you may have never considered before. Also, for the “Type” you should select Internships. Then click “Search” and a whole skew of internships appear on the page. Expo also has you upload your resume to the site, so if you do find an internship that interests you, all you have to do is click Apply and your resume is already there. I should mention that Expo does have a one-time fee of $32, but that you can use the site all through college and even after.

Also, on the Expo site is a tab labeled ICE-NET, which is an awesome tool! It has alumni from the University of Iowa who put their job information on the website and then you can look them up and ask them about their current jobs. This is a great tool because it allows you to have an informational interview which is when you get to ask people about their job and find out how they got there. Also, the PCC has a whole page on how to go about have an informational interview, A’Hearn stressed that this was a good way to get to know what a specific job was actually like.

The final piece of advice from A’Hearn was that everyone should start a LinkedIn account! This is like Facebook for big people, the real deal. This is a site where you can upload your resume and talk about all the things you are great at (what could be better!). Just make sure your LinkedIn page is professional!

Hope this helps & Best of luck!

Melissa Rasper—Historian/Alumni Relations