Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dress to Impress

It’s that time of year again when students are headed to interviews for internships and jobs. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are dressing your best.

Image courtesy of RedBrick
Dress for the industry— Business and more traditional, corporate cultures will require more formal attire. In more creative industries you go for a more casual look. Always dress up more for an interview, it shows your commitment and professionalism. 

Be conservative— For ladies this means not wearing anything low-cut or too short. Make sure that your accessories are minimal as well as make up, hair and perfume. For men, keep it simple—neutral colors like navy, black and gray are classics when choosing suits and ties. 

Wear something that makes you confident— Make sure you’re comfortable in your outfit. Walk around, sit down and stand up for a while beforehand to make sure that you will not be adjusting your clothes every five minutes. If you’re confident in how you look, it will come across to the interviewer. Also, make sure you have more than one outfit on hand in case you are called in for a second interview. 

Invest in an iron— Wrinkled clothes are not professional. Iron them the night before your interview so you’re not rushing in the morning. Also keep your clothes clean and in good condition; make sure there are no holes or stains. If there are change right away because those small details can set you apart from the competition. 

Relax and always be yourself— Always put a little bit of your personality into your outfit while still remaining professional. Whether this is a necklace, bracelet, watch, neat shoes etc. Keep it simple but at the same time it shows off yourself. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Walmart's Halloween Blunder

Image via CNN

This past week Walmart received public backlash after labeling a page on its website "fat girl costumes" instead of "plus size costumes."

The company took the photos down a few hours after the mistake was noticed, but consumers were still able to grab a picture of the site. The company sent out multiple apology tweets saying "This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize. We worked quickly to remove this." Although there is no excuse for posting the content, Walmart's response was timely and polite.

This is a lesson to all e-commerce sites to be careful before posting content. Small gaffes like this are terrible, but they could be a lot worse if there was another oversight. Think of Target's multiple Photoshop horror stories, with a new one making the news this week. You think they would learn after the first one, but even the biggest companies make mistakes. 

Lesson learned: always check twice before posting anything on your company's behalf. Proofread and look every element over before pushing it out to consumers. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

AP Style Quick Guide

·      Any number below 10 is spelled out
o   8=>eight
·      Any number above 10 is written as a numeric
·      Exception: dates
o   Jan. 9, 2014
·      Ages: always use numerals
o   She is a 9-year-old girl
o   The girl was 9 years old
·      Measurements , distances, and money always use numerals
o   5 inches
o   20 miles
o   $5.60, 5 cents

      Do not treat states like postal abbreviations, many are different
      The following are the state abbreviations in AP Style:
New Hampshire-N.H.
New Jersey-N.J.
New Mexico-N.M.
New York-N.Y.
North Carolina-N.C.
North Dakota-N.D.
Rhode Island-R.I.
South Carolina-S.C.
South Dakota-S.D.
West Virginia-W.Va.

      Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Utah, District of Columbia are not abbreviated
      Using states: I live in Savannah, Ga.
      In datelines: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.


January- Jan.
February- Feb.
March- March
April- April
May- May
June- June
August- Aug.           
September- Sept.
October- Oct.
November- Nov.
December- Dec.
        The party is in January
        The party is Jan. 2

      AP Style does not use the Oxford comma
o   NO: I like books, food, and cats
o   YES: I like books, food and cats
      In quotations, commas, periods, and other punctuation go INSIDE the quotations
      Lay v. Lie
o   Lay, laid, laid  (to put/place an object)
o   Lie, lay, lain (to rest or recline-no object)
      Most organizations do not use acronyms on first mention, so they should be spelled out then abbreviated if they are commonly recognized
o   1st mention: National Institutes of Health
o   2nd mention: NIH
      Composition titles
o   Magazines and newspaper titles do not have quotation marks. Capitalize the articles a, an, the.
o   Books, TV shows, movies all have quotation marks. See style book for exceptions.
      When in doubt, look it up!
      If you are a journalism or public relations concentration you should invest in an AP Style Guide

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Post: How to Survive PRSSA National Conference

Image via PRSSA 

With the 2014 PRSSA National Conference behind us, our Regional Conference Coordinator Katelyn Pecorelli has a few tips to offer for anyone attending next year:

  • Go in with an open mind: I went by myself, so I had to make friends, but even if you go with others from your school talk to everyone. These were some of the nicest people I have ever met and talking PR with other people that were as passionate about PR was incredible. 
  • Prepare something for roll call: It may seem scary especially if you are on your own, but I wish I had more time to prepare and had actually done something, because some schools were very creative with it. 
  • Don’t be afraid: Talk to everyone, including the professionals. They are there for us to learn from and want to hear our opinions. 
  • Do as much as you can: There are so many experiences at National Conference and so much to learn, try to take it all in.
  • Talk to everyone: Especially on your own you may be shy, but talking PR with other people that are as passionate as you is incredible. 
  • Don’t sleep in: You will be tired and you will want to skip some speakers or opening. Don't. It is worth it to go and you or your school is paying for you to be there, make the most of it. 
  • Go out and have fun: Again, you will be tired, but going out with new friends helps to solidify the relationships you built. 
  • Keep in touch: It may seem as if you will only know the people you meet for the next few days, but it is completely possible and reasonable to keep in touch with them for extended periods of time. The more connections you have the more opportunities, especially if they are spread out across the country.
Special thanks to Katelyn Pecorelli for sharing her advice! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#X: AT&T “It Can Wait” Campaign is a Success

Image via It Can Wait

Everyone has done it. Sent a text message while driving.

AT&T has now launched a new “It Can Wait” campaign to stop drivers from texting while they are traveling.  Cellphone use can be attributed to nearly 26 percent of motor vehicle accidents.

A survey conducted by AT&T last year found that 49 percent of adults and 43 percent of teens admitted to texting and driving.

Four of the major cellular providers have joined together to create the “It Can Wait” campaign in 2013 to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. The companies include Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

The latest installment in AT&T’s campaign encourages people to send a “#X” to let people know that they are getting into a car and cannot talk, pausing the conversation. This specific part of the campaign is hoping to reach the younger, teen audience.

Image via AT&T

In an article from PRNews they stated that, “AT&T has won the support of more than 1,500 organizations and recruited celebrities … to spread the word via social media.” The campaign has also gathered over 5 million pledges to not text while driving.

The #X campaign is a great way for the company to refresh their techniques and reach a new audience.  

Follow @ItCanWait on Twitter and find more information on the campaign here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Buzzword: Personal Branding

Image via EMU PRSSA
Lately, “personal branding” has been touted as the most important thing that a person can do to secure a job and be well respected.

Branding has been used as a marketing tool for years, but now personal branding is coming to the forefront as a necessity to anyone on social media.

Everyone has a personal brand, whether they realize it or not. Every interaction and post on social media immediately contributes to your brand—or what people see as your digital footprint.

There are two options, you can define your own brand or you can let others define it for you. The former is more preferable because of the control you have over it. So, it is important to make sure that all your social media has a consistent message and displays your skills.

Forbes puts it simply, “What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name?”

Image via Jay Palter
They also speak to the importance of strategy in building your brand: “Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.”

Strong personal brands are innovative, purposeful and strong, or as Forbes says, “a strong personal brand is dependent on a strong narrative.” Everything you say about yourself reflects on your brand, so you should be saying positive things that build up your narrative.

More than ever, public relations professionals need to build not only their clients’ brands, but also their own; to be more credible, hirable and resourceful, a personal brand can lend help, especially to new grads.

What are the best ways to start building your brand?

Well, start with transparency of both the good and the bad in your life. If you are not building your brand, others are doing for you whether you like it or not.

Your digital footprint is forever, so think before you post because one small mistake can haunt you for the rest of your life.

Tim Massie, current ‎Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations at HealthQuest, gave students four steps to self-promoting when he spoke at a workshop as part of Marist College’s Emerging Leader’s Program.

1. Define your objective:

      You want all your actions to demonstrate ability and passion
      Ask yourself, what defines you as a person? What sets you apart?

2. Discover your current brand:

      How do the people around you describe you?
      You need to promote and influence the perception of your brand.

3. Define your message:
  • What do you want to be?
  • You have your current brand and your target brand, what will cause a change to reach your objective?

4. Choose your tools:
  • Each social media tool has its own value.
  • Massie suggested that on Facebook you should determine the purpose of your page, and Twitter is a place to start conversations—not air your dirty laundry

But Massie cautioned that nothing can help your brand more than face-to-face communication and networking in person. The bottom line? Personal branding sets you apart from all the other candidates out there. If you can create a strong brand, you will have the ability to influence opinions and be a credible source to others.

Follow Massie on Twitter for insightful information @tcmassie

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Marist College PRSSA Hosts Al Golin Skype Session for PRSA/PRSSA National Ethics Month

Al Golin Speaks to Students About PR Ethics; Live Tweeted with #MCOM347

Marist College Communication Students Participate in Q&A Session with Industry Legend

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (Sept. 21, 2014) — The Marist College Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosted industry legend Al Golin on September 17 for an interactive Q&A session titled, “Trust and Relationship-Building,” in support of PRSA/PRSSA National Ethics Month.

Al Golin is founder and chairman of Golin, a leading large-sized public relations agency with more than 35 offices around the world. He is credited with coining the term "Trust Bank" as well as authored the book, "Trust or Consequences." He has been recognized with numerous industry awards during his more than 55-year career including the Public Relations Society of America Gold Anvil, the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame Award and the Alexander Hamilton Medal from the Institute for Public Relations. He also was named one of the "100 most influential public relations people of the 20th century" by industry trade magazine PR Week.

The hour-long Skype session moderated by PRSSA Faculty Adviser Jennie Donohue covered topics including Golin’s revolutionary “Trust Bank” concept, the importance of transparency and business ethics, as well as the need to build interpersonal relationships in today’s high-tech, low-touch culture. Golin left students with a reminder to “be curious, knowledgeable, stay current and be well-rounded.”  He also highlighted that embracing change is necessary and doing the unexpected—in a strategic way—is a good thing.

Approximately 50 students from the Marist College School of Communication and the Arts attended the event, which was live tweeted using the hashtags #MCOM347 and #MaristPRSSA. More than half of the students in attendance were active PRSSA members. The Marist College PRSSA Chapter also used this event as a recruiting opportunity to gain new members for the 2014-2015 academic year.

About Marist PRSSA
The Marist Red Foxes PRSSA Chapter was founded in 2006. Now in its eighth year, it has more than 100 members and conducts a variety of events to help foster a clear understanding of the public relations industry and prepare members for life after graduation. Follow Marist PRSSA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogspot and Pinterest.


Jennie Donohue | Faculty Adviser |

Julianna Sheridan | Director of Public Relations for Marist PRSSA |

Monday, September 15, 2014

5 Ways to Revamp Your Resume

Image from Flickr

1. Consider the job that you are applying for: Every job is different and your resume should reflect the field that you want to work in. For instance, in creative industries you can rework your resume to reflect your aesthetic while still keeping it professional. You always want the most relevant and important work that you have done at the top.

Tip: Keep an eye out on job listings for “required skills” and if you possess any of them, use the keywords in your resume to help stand out when online software is looking for specific words.

2. Focus on accomplishments, not just duties: Employers want numbers and goals. Show them that you can meet benchmarks. The more numbers you can include the better because it serves as a reinforcement of your personal traits. It shows what you can bring to the company and your ability to problem-solve.
Image from Buzzfeed

3.  Use “power vocabulary”: Make every bullet an action and avoid clichéd words. Use industry specific terms to show knowledge. Check out this list of power words that can help you. On a very important note, always proofread for grammar and spelling mistakes.

4. Include modern elements: We live in a digital era, so it is important to highlight any skills that you have, especially with social media. If you’re comfortable, create a digital resume that links to your blog, portfolio, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other relevant accounts. The key is not to overdo it and keep it professional.

5. Show your personality: You want to stand out in a pile of resumes, so always add something that makes it your own. Whether it is a small pop of color, a photo or an interesting layout. Offbeat resumes are becoming more accepted, so experiment and do what feels right for you, all the while keeping a professional eye in mind.

Check out this Buzzfeed post for inspiration 

Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Things To Do To Make the Most of Your Internship

Image via Moraine Valley

With college students heading back to school this month, many are finishing up summer internships or starting one for the fall. Internships are a chance to understand an industry and gain valuable experience that can be used in future positions. Here are 10 things that you should do to make the most of your internship experience.

1. Ask Questions
Internships are the best time to learn about the industry that you want to work in one day. Do not be shy to ask questions. Not only does it show that you are proactive, but it also shows that you are interested in what is happening. If you do not understand something, be sure to ask someone. They would much rather answer a question than fix a mistake because you didn’t speak up.

2. Network
This is the perfect time to meet professionals and learn from your surroundings. From people in the office, to parties and events, there is always a time to network during your internship. These relationships can lead on to future connections at companies. You never know what could come of introducing yourself to someone at a professional function. Always take the chance and meet as many people as possible.

3. Take It All In
Although you are the bottom of the food chain at the company, this is the time to take it all in and find out what you do and don’t like about different job roles. It can be overwhelming being in a new environment, but it is important to not lose perspective and understand that you are there to learn.

4. Research, Research, Research
Image via CUNY
Research your company. This includes past work, their client list, and important people to know. Research the industry. Know the latest trends in the market, read trade magazines and papers and know the basics before you start. It will show initiative and leave you well prepared to answer questions and complete tasks.

5. Set Goals
Set both professional and personal goals. Sit down with your supervisor and ask them what they will expect from you while you intern. At the same time set personal goals on what you hope to take away from the experience, be sure to share these with your supervisor so they can help you achieve them. This will give you some structure to base your internship on.

6. Accept That Not Everything Will Be Fun
Because you are the intern, do not expect every task to be fun. You may get coffee, you could answer phones, and you will probably file papers. Although these are likely to be a part of the experience, the rest of your internship will be filled with interesting and educational projects. Once you learn to put your best effort into everything you will enjoy the experience much more. If you are doing more clerical work than projects, ask your supervisor for more responsibility.

7. Maintain Professionalism
This means follow the company dress code. You would rather be over dressed than underdressed. Err on the side of caution your first couple days. Maintain a positive and professional attitude. Do not let internal or external drama affect your work.

8. Be Enthusiastic
Always accept opportunities to go a step further. A positive attitude will help you move forward in your position as an intern. You could be asked to take on more responsibility as a result, and a full-time job could be in the cards if you maintain a relationship with the company.

9. Take Initiative
If you’re free, take every opportunity that is handed to you. Not only will you learn more, but you will be proactive and motivated. If your supervisor is not offering any new work, ask. You will not get anything if you do not ask. Show initiative.

10. Have Fun
Above all, make sure you are having fun and enjoying the experience. You are still a student so this is the perfect time to ask questions, make mistakes and take everything away from the internship that you can.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#ALSIceBucketChallenge Takes Over Social Media

Image via The Atlantic

Over the past few weeks peoples’ Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds have been flooded with videos of friends dousing themselves in ice water to support ALS. The challenge goes like this: friends nominate each other to tape a video of themselves dumping ice water on their heads within 24 hours or they have to donate $100 to ALS.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects brain cells and eventually leads to total body paralysis, although the mind remains intact. This disease affects thousands across America, and life expectancy averages about two to five years after diagnosis.

The New York Times reported that donations to the ALS Association have exponentially increased over the last month. “As of Sunday, the association said it had received $13.3 million in donations since July 29. It said there were about 260,000 new donors.

So what is the problem with millions of dollars in new donations as a result of a social media trend?

Many are criticizing the fad because people are just doing the videos to show that they can survive dumping themselves with ice water, almost as an ego boost. And who is checking on the people who do not take the challenge and are supposed to make a donation? Since the donation is an alternative to dumping water on themselves, people do not want to lose the money so they take the challenge.

Although the basic idea of the trend is for a good cause, like anything that reaches the masses, it eventually lost its purpose. Now, it has just become a way to increase social media credibility and gain followers across social media platforms.

Forbes spoke about “slactivism” and how things like this do not really help the cause in the long run. “It’s a substitute for real long-term involvement and engagement. It’s all about showing off for social media. It won’t change a thing, or cure ALS or ease the suffering of those with the disease.”

Most of the videos do not even mention or discuss ALS and how it affects the body, so how is this helping to “strike out ALS”? Instead of having substantive content, the videos are simply a viral trend.

Pete Frates
So how did an ice bucket, a camera, and social media all become intertwined with ALS? That can be credited to Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. He made one of the first videos in the name of ALS, and his friends and family have helped transform the challenge into a charity fundraiser to help spread awareness.

So, is the ALS ice bucket challenge being completed with the best of intentions, or are people using it as an excuse to watch their friends scream from shock?

Whether the intentions are noble or not, the ALS Association has raised millions to help fight a disease that is affecting thousands across the country, and people that have never heard of the disease are talking about it. Check out their website for more information regarding donations and learn more about the disease.

Even the Kennedy's took on the challenge

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 World Cup Sets Social Media Records

The past two weeks have drawn in social media users and sports fans alike with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil taking over TV screens, computers and phones.

The World Cup has been smashing social-media records, even outranking the 2012 London Summer Olympics. With its worldwide appeal and growing fan-base in America, soccer has taken over.

Facebook and Twitter have exploded over the past couple weeks with discussions of soccer and the tournament. From celebrities, to players, and of course all the fans, social media is being used to promote and spread support for the teams.

Because of the time difference, most games are played during working hours. This means more people are taking to their computers to "watch" the game; constantly updating Twitter for plays and scores. Interestingly, the United States Men's National Team's (USMNT) coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, posted a letter  on Twitter to excuse employees during Thursday's match against Germany. The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, excused all state employees for an extra hour of lunch to watch the game.

Soccer has become increasingly more popular in the United States since the last World Cup in 2010, and with that so is the use of social media during the games.

Athletic brands like Nike and Adidas are taking advantage of the popularity by spending millions on gear for athletes and advertisements throughout the World Cup. They are even going head-to-head to see which brand is the most beloved. Although Adidas is the official game sponsor, Nike has proven to be a successful challenger in marketing.

It is clear to see that soccer is here to stay. Like any big event nowadays, social media plays a pivotal role. From marketing to live-streaming sites alike Twitter and Facebook are using their strengths to attract people to the games.

Here is FIFA's Twitter and Website for more information on the games!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Public Relations Standoff: Amazon v. Hachette

Image from

Amazon and Hachette Publishing Group have gotten in a very public dispute over the last couple weeks. The companies are disputing e-book pricing, and the larger publishing world--mostly Amazon's role in it. So why does this matter? Essentially because of this dispute all of Hachette's books on Amazon are showing in fewer searches, not being sold entirely, have slower shipping speeds and pre-orders are being cancelled. Hachette is losing money because Amazon wants more control over the publisher to determine pricing and publication. This is a huge loss for Hachette if they cannot reach an agreement because Amazon sells 41 percent of all new books in the United States, both print and electronic.

Hachette publishes big name authors like James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. None of Hachette's authors have commented to major news outlets, and the two companies have not commented either. Instead, Amazon is encouraging people to go to competitors while the dispute is being handled. In the end Amazon wants a bigger cut of the profits, but the seller can suffer a small sales loss because of their other products offered. Hachette on the other hand is losing an important supplier if disputes continue. According to an article in Forbes, "Amazon wants a bigger piece of its suppliers’ profit margins to purportedly pass on to its customers in the form of lower prices."
Image from
The two companies are negotiating terms, but the effects of their dispute are very public. Customers are not happy, and this could effect how Amazon interacts with other publishers and suppliers. Although over the past couple days Amazon has released some of Hachette's titles, they are still losing profits while other mega-companies are profiting. The Huffington Post reported that, "Other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Barnes & Noble, have seized the standoff as an opportunity to one-up Amazon."

For now the dispute continues, but readers across America are hoping an agreement is reached soon so that they can receive their books at the price they are willing to pay. Amazon and Hachette have not done the best job of staying transparent, and their communication skills can be improved. Speculation is not a good reaction to negotiations, so Amazon and Hachette would be wise to release statements so that the press is not in the dark. 

How do you think Amazon and Hachette should have handled this problem?