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Five Pieces of Advice for Your Next Internship

Internship Advice


Now that Spring Break is in the rear-view mirror, it feels like the end of the semester is quickly barreling toward us. While the chief concern for most students is preparing for finals as they start to cast their ominous shadow, many are also beginning to apply for those summer internships. Now, perhaps you already have several of these under your belt. Regardless of your experience, here are five things to keep in mind during your next internship that are you sure to help you be successful.


1. Stay hungry

What we mean by this is to always want more to do. As an intern it can be tempting to settle for the small amounts of work that you inevitably start off with. After all, who wouldn’t prefer to just do the minimum and deal with as little stress as possible? This mentality, however, will put you on the fast track to nowhere. Internships are often designed to test the skills and attitudes of a young professional. Needless to say, there are few employers out there who would be impressed with or willing to keep an intern who isn’t motivated and doesn’t seek more work on their own. Adopting a go-getter mentality is one of the first things you should do in your new internship, and it’s one that will definitely net some positive attention.

2. Ask the right questions

Just like it’s important to always be on the lookout for more to do, it’s equally important to ask the right questions before and during every assignment. Of course you shouldn’t aim to incessantly bother you supervisor, but a good leader is usually happy to be approached with intelligent questions. Asking good questions will show your employer that you’re thinking critically about your assignment and aren’t just sleepwalking through the work. A good question will not only help you create better work, it will also signal to your employer that you’re a smart and strategic thinker. To avoid looking like a novice and making unintelligent queries, a good rule to follow is to always Google your questions before asking them. If the answer can be easily found there, then you can bet it’s not a good question to ask your boss. If no trace of an answer can be found, then odds are you’ve stumbled across a great question.

3. Make yourself known

As an intern, it can be easy to go unnoticed in a busy workplace. While the prevailing mentality is that interns are the unseen and unheard backbone of the office, it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be this way. To avoid getting lost in the shuffle, try to make yourself well known with everybody in the office. Of course people are busy and it might be hard to get a few minutes on their calendar, but even the busiest of people have time for a quick cup of coffee. Use these small moments to connect with your coworkers. Not only is it good to expand your own personal network, but by connecting with everyone and making them aware of the caliber of your work, they will be far more likely to think of you when looking for support on their next project.

4. Bring something to the table

Because interns, in terms of office hierarchy, are the lowest position in the structure, many of them believe that it’s not their place to speak up in meetings or brainstorming sessions. While it’s true that you have to be sensitive to the situation and cognizant of office culture, it’s important that you speak your opinions and bring valuable insights to the table. An intern who never contributes intelligent pieces of information or well-founded opinions diminishes their own personal reputation. Like we said before; many internships are developed for the purpose of finding full-time team members. Employers want people who not only think intelligently, but who can bring that to the table to advance the overall value of the organization. Of course, none of this can ever happen if you don’t say what’s on your mind.

5. Be true to yourself

As much as internships are an opportunity for employers to find the best talent for their companies, the greater opportunity belongs to the intern. Not only is this your chance to discover more about who you are what type of work you want to be doing, it’s also a great way to weed out what you don’t like. If your internship makes you unhappy, at least it’s temporary. If you hate the industry you’re in, it’s one step closer to finding the industry you belong in. Don’t settle for the type of work that you are doing if it doesn’t make challenge you or get you excited once in a while. This is a process of discovery, and being true to yourself will allow you to make the right choices and eventually find work you can be passionate about.

Working From Home

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 11.38.16 AMWritten by Laura Davenport

When we think of a “real” job, we think of waking up early. We think of sitting in traffic only to end up sitting at a desk for eight hours, then sitting in more traffic before arriving home. That’s the workday.

The reality is that now, in the digital age, traditional workdays are changing.

My 9-5 is a little different, for example. I get up, eat breakfast, and sit down at my desk in my apartment. I work from home. I have a job that I love, and I’m lucky that today’s many communications technologies allow me to accomplish my tasks all from the comfort of my own home.

But as nice as it is to sometimes spend an entire day in your pajamas—tatty gray sweatpants and a Journey concert tee, in my case—working from home can be very difficult.

I’ve been at this for six months, so I thought I would address the three biggest questions I hear for at-home professionals.

How Much Alone Time is Too Much Alone Time?

In most cases, working from home means you’re alone ALL THE TIME. Sometimes, if I speak in a class that comes after a long workday, my voice will come out all squeaky because it’s the first time I’ve used it all day.

I don’t happen to mind being alone during the day. If you do, though, and you’re about to start working from home, I have good news for you: Almost 100% of the time, “working from home” means “working where there is free Wi-Fi”.

I often work my longest days in a café or coffee shop in downtown LA. That way, though I am hard at work, there are other humans around so I don’t become a recluse. Lots of places in LA and in other cities are very work-friendly. Just make sure you go prepared to buy coffee and ice tea for as long as you’re there. Those are your cheapest options.

But Laura, Netflix is at Home. How Do You Get Anything Done?

This is a great question. Distractions are at Home, it’s true. At home, you have access to not only Netflix (and your TV), but books, magazines, your bed, and many other things that are way more appealing than the work you have to do.

My solutions? Podcasts, for one. Books-on-tape. For me, audio-only options are a great middle ground between engaging content and background noise.

Otherwise, if I have intense written work that needs doing or if I’m looking at any huge spreadsheets, I’ll switch over to any number of excellent study playlists. My favorites are usually comprised of film scores. For some reason, all of John Williams’ work makes me feel like filling in a spreadsheet is as important bringing down Imperial walkers on an ice planet.

Another big distraction for me is laundry. And dishes. And vacuuming. I’ve started using these tasks as my work breaks; my apartment is the cleanest when I have the most to do.

While some people use productivity timers, I take advantage of the gentle wash cycle. This allows me to have periods of high productivity: an hour or so in which I can get a ton of work done, before taking a break to fold laundry or unload the dishes.

Don’t You Feel Out of Touch With Your Company?

Not in the slightest! While working from home does deny you some social exposure, email and group task management software make it incredibly easy to stay connected.

It’s up to you and your supervisor how you should stay in touch. I, for instance, talk to my boss three or four times a day. He and I meet in person once a week, but other than that, we communicate via email.

It’s important to set metrics for reporting as well. Though defined work hours may occasionally blur around the edges, defined results have to be maintained. For example, on Mondays I usually make a detailed list of the week’s projects to send to my boss. I send work as it’s completed throughout the week, and on Friday I send another email detailing which of the original projects were finished and which are still in progress.

Upon learning I work from home, people ask: “Don’t you go crazy?” The answer is simply “Nope!” Sure, sometimes I need to remind myself to go outside, and sometimes it’s a challenge to forsake my sweatpants for real clothes. There are certainly challenges.

But to me, the flexibility of my schedule and the convenience of my job are much more significant than the challenges. Working from home demands a great deal of self-discipline, leading you to become very comfortable on your own.

Plus, I’m pretty sure not sitting in LA traffic anymore has added years to my life previously lost to rush hour. I don’t know how I will ever go back to a regular job!



How to Be a Successful Intern


There is clearly no doubt that internships are valuable and will, most likely, land you a job. Being an intern can be stressful and making an impression is not always easy but here is a list of things you should keep in mind while interning. If your internship does not lead to a job, it is always useful to leave with great recommendations, referrals and connections that you may need in the future.

  • Be punctual.

It may seem silly but being late, especially on your first day, leaves a terrible impression from the start. Being early is a sign of respect and it just shows you are ready to work and be productive. So set that alarm and keep in mind it’s always better to be early than late!

  • Complete your tasks and ask for more

It’s important to complete your assigned tasks in a timely manner. To be safe, always make sure to ask for a deadline so you can plan accordingly. Once you are done, don’t sit at your desk doing nothing or checking out your phone. Instead reach out to your co-workers/managers and let me know you are free to work on a new project.

  • Ask questions

If you don’t know, well … you don’t know. There is nothing worse than pretending that you know and not asking. It may get you stuck in your work or even fail. Instead, you should feel free to ask questions. Not only does it show that you want to do the right thing but it also emphasizes your interest and it just prevents making mistakes. Your manager will most likely love helping you out and giving you advice. You will feel less stressed and in the meantime, you get to learn even more!

  • Be organized

In the world of communication, multi-tasking is a big thing and it can quickly feel overwhelming. Being organized should be your top priority to stay on track. Feel free to have a planner or a calendar that helps you identify your daily and weekly projects. Don’t forget to set deadlines! This way, you know what to focus on. Don’t waste time on a task that is due in two weeks if you have something due by tomorrow morning.

  • Have a positive attitude

Of course companies are looking for brilliant, smart interns but your attitude has a lot to do with how your co-workers and managers perceive you. If you bring a positive attitude to the office and your willingness to help and alleviate some of your coworkers’ work, they will most likely be grateful. If you bring a negative attitude by being overly critical and demanding, you may leave a bad impression and that’s not what you are looking for.

  • Leave on a good note

Your very last week as an intern, it is wise to let everyone know you are leaving soon and you are ready to take on any last project they may need you to work on. The more valuable and available you make yourself, the harder it will be for them to see you go. On your very last day you should be ready to thank everyone for the opportunity you’ve had and give them positive feedback on your experience.

  • Post-Internship

Keep in touch with your co-workers and managers. You never know if you might need their help or referrals in the future. Feel free to ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation. If you have done a good job, they will be more than happy to do it for you.

  • If your internship was not what you expected…

If your internship was not what you expected, try to be positive about it and learn from it. It is always disappointing but … hey, it’s just one internship! The next one will be better. Be careful not to publicly criticize the company or your coworkers, even if you had that awful, micromanaging boss that no one likes. It’s a small world we live in and you certainly don’t want the wrong person to hear your negative comments. You should be careful whom you give negative feedback to.

Summer Adventures Abroad: Interning in Hong Kong


This past summer, I took advantage of Annenberg’s International Program and interned at Edelman’s Hong Kong office. Having never traveled to Asia before, I was immensely excited (and nervous) for the opportunity.

As a leading firm in the industry, Edelman had always been high on my list of places to apply for work experience. Better yet, the program offered the unique chance to learn and operate in a culture completely foreign to me. I wondered if Twitter would be as ubiquitous or if Kimmy K’s name would have any sway on product promotion.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, I was astounded by the harbor’s skyline and the deliciousness of the street-served barbecue pork. I had never seen a city that is such a blend of modernity and custom – where western influences are very obvious in building structures, but traditional Chinese culture continues to flow through the streets.

I was assigned to Edelman’s Digital Practice Team. My day-to-day tasks included scanning the web to find and create relevant written and multimedia content for client’s social media pages; writing and reviewing content calendars and compiling reports detailing engagement on client’s Facebook pages.

One of the most exciting and educational projects I worked on was for Tencent. If – like me – you haven’t heard of Tencent, it is a significantly large holding company in China that owns social media platforms Weibo, WeChat and one of the largest web portals in China. Due to its prominent position in China and its continuous innovation, it is currently one of the largest Internet companies in the world and definitely a force to be reckoned with. The Technology, Digital Practice and Studio X teams were preparing SY Lau – President of Tencent’s Online Media Group – for his acceptance speech at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Knowing very little about the company, I heavily researched everything online and in Edelman’s archives to attempt to draft press releases for the event. After displaying interest in video editing, the Studio X Team started to give me more responsibility in creating basic edits of internationally influential figures congratulating SY Lau. My edits were sent to the client and they selected the parts they wanted the Studio X Team to use in the promotional video that would play during the acceptance speech. It was such an honor to be part of the creative process – and though I can’t take any credit for the incredible final video they produced, it was an invaluable learning experience.

Another project that I really enjoyed and benefited from was the creation of a social media playbook for a Chinese technology company. By creating a set of guidelines, I gave recommendations to how they should conduct themselves on social media. I researched and scored all of their international social media pages and concluded that the main problem was inconsistency in content. I suggested a brand voice, tone and the language that should be implemented universally and created four content pillars for them to base their posts around. I also advised that images and videos should cohere with the same set of rules so that their audience could navigate seamlessly across all pages.

The experience taught me so much and far exceeded my expectations – both in terms of career development and cultural understanding. To anyone who is considering the program – I would absolutely recommend it. However, words can only say so much, so, in true digital fashion, I will finish off with a video I made compiling my Hong Kong memories (apologies for the unsteady camera holding!).





Public Relations for Non-Profit Organizations


Public Relations is a tough industry, there is no question about it, but imagine trying to meet expectations and accomplish basic communication goals with no budget, limited resources and minimum staff. Unfortunately, this is the reality for public relations practitioners in the nonprofit sector.

Although extremely challenging, working in the nonprofit sector is also extremely rewarding and there are many ways of utilizing resources to the best of your ability to make do with what you have. The biggest advantage in the nonprofit sector is your audience. They are more than consumers, they are supporters who believe in your cause and public relations is a core component of a nonprofit’s ability to communicate with their supporters.

Helpful Tips:

  1. Expand Your Reach: There are a lot nonprofits out there vying for support. Public Relations plays a major role in helping these organizations not only continue communication with their current supporters, but finding ways of growing those supporter networks. Without supporters, funds can’t be raised, volunteers can’t be recruited and missions can’t be completed.
  2. Increase Funding: Fundraising campaigns can be a dime a dozen. A good Public Relations campaign can be the difference between $20 and $2,000 raised. An innovative “ask” will help your organization stand out in the crowd. Donors need to feel confident that their gifts are truly making a difference in their community. Get creative!
  3. Develop a Community: Create a community around your cause. Social media is a great tool and it’s free! Communities created through Facebook are loyal and help your organization achieve long term support. Don’t forget Twitter and the power of the hashtag! Start a rally around a hashtag that ties into your campaign and don’t be afraid to engage with your followers. A retweet or share can be just as valuable as a donation.
  4. Inspire Partnerships: Generating support and extending your reach can be a great way to develop partnerships with organizations with a similar mission. It’s important to keep in mind that you audience spans beyond donors and volunteers. Building lasting partnerships is the best way to collaborate so your message is heard by as many potential supporters as possible.
  5. Make A Difference: Creating opportunities for nonprofits through Public Relations is an amazing way to use your education and experience to give back and make an impact in your community. It becomes more than a job. Take your passions and develop a career that will allow you to truly make a difference in the world.

Whether you are looking for a career in the nonprofit sector or are looking for opportunities to volunteer your time, find a cause that is near and dear to your heart and get involved. It will be challenging, but nothing a Trojan can’t handle!

Finding Out What’s Out There: A Few Tips on Conducting Market Research


By Nathalia Tavares

It’s happened before: you come up with a crazy idea for a product or campaign that has got you all pumped up. You cannot wait to share it with your friends and your boss. But then you hear, “That sounds just like what [insert name of a company] did a couple of years ago”. And the inspirational music you were playing in your hand abruptly stops and your heart sinks.

When coming up with new pitches and ideas, it is always important to know what has been done in the area before so that you don’t make the same projects – and, potentially, mistakes – that others have made. Thus, market research is pivotal for brainstorming effective new ideas.

Over the summer, I interned as a market researcher at Pontomobi, a Brazilian mobile marketing company. For three months, I researched m-health solutions in the market and what needs they were attending.

Based on my experience and a bit of research, here are a few tips for running your own market research:

Skim at first

It is hard to make an effective research plan if you don’t even know what the possibilities are to begin with. So start your research by Googling key terms and seeing what shows up – nothing too thorough, just casual exploring. For example, if you would like to know if a music nonprofit organization exists, just look up “music nonprofit” or something along those lines. Once you have an idea of what is out there, you can dive deeper into research.

Expand on a problem you want to solve

Now that you have skimmed the Internet, it is time to get more specific. When you are trying to come up with a new idea, it is often because you want to solve a specific problem or facilitate a procedure. What is the step-by-step process to solving the problem you want to solve? What are the different parts of the procedure? For grocery shopping, for example, the step-by-step procedure would be something along these lines:

– feeling the desire/need for a certain food,

– finding out that food does not exist in your house,

– making a list of things you need/want,

– travelling to the supermarket,

– finding items in your grocery list,

– paying for the products,

– returning to the house,

– placing products in the right places,

– and consuming those products – and the cycle repeats.

By figuring out the step-by-step process in solving a problem you would like to solve, you will get a better understanding of what kinds of services or incentives people want.

Define clear concepts – quantitatively

I cannot stress this enough. Going about research without defining concepts and their quantities is like playing a game without knowing the rules: you will just feel completely lost and get nothing out of it. Make sure to find out what kind of concepts you need to look for in your sources, and to quantify them so they can be compared to each other. In other words, define your variables and add specific score scales to each of them.

Reread your results as often as possible

While working on my research, there was this one time where I thought my quantified averages were weirdly low. I then realized I had used the wrong scoring – for three days. As a result, I had to work for hours re-scoring my variables. Moral of the story: reread your results first thing in the morning. Every. Single. Day.

Analyze, finalize, and realize

Your research work means nothing without analysis and the next steps. After you feel like you have gathered enough data, make sure to analyze your results to find common themes. Then, figure out the common “so what?”. What do your results mean? What problem do your need to solve? After all this, you are finally allowed to ideate and develop a solution.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you! If you would like to find out more specifics about market research, I would recommend the book Market Research Toolbox by McQuarrie.

Research On!

Three Basic Things To Include In Your Portfolio

3 basic

With summer approaching, it can only mean one thing for students – countless of interviews are on the horizon! Many of you will be spending the next couple of weeks job hunting for the summer, which means you’ll need to be on your ‘A game’ when the interview process comes around.

A good way to stand out from the other candidates is to have a portfolio on hand. Whether your portfolio is printed or published online is up to you, just make sure to bring something to the table so you can fully impress your potential employer.

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Going greek: six tips on carrying out successful pr and marketing for a sorority

By Nathalia Tavares


Promoting one’s organization is pivotal regardless of what the group does. An organization may be comprised of good-hearted, hard-working members; however, if the members do not know how to sell themselves, the organization will slowly fall apart.

Having PR strategies down is especially important in Greek life. With so many sororities and fraternities available, Greeks must be adept at selling their organizations.

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How To Network Online With Twitter



Written by Melissa Ariganello

Networking isn’t only useful in the offline world. With so many social media networks available to us, we now can network online. In fact, if you really think about how we spend our time online, we’re either doing two things: publishing or networking. Social media requires us to be social, and thus we’re networking with others all the time. But are we effectively networking with each other? Probably not. That’s why it’s important to know exactly how to use the tools that are available to us and use them to our advantage.

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