Friday, March 27, 2009

PPRA Hosts Annual "Careers 101"

On Wednesday, March 25, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) hosted their annual Careers 101, entitled “From PRactice to PRo: Standing Out with What You Know” at the PECO building.

Although I was originally skeptical about the location (had to take the subway and transfer to the trolley to get there) it turned out to be a smooth trip that resulted in a great night of insight and networking.

CBS 3’s Eyewitness News anchor Pat Ciarrocchi was the moderator, with panelists:
Steve Albertini, Executive VP and General Manager, Public Relations, Tierney Communications
Lesly Attarian, Director of Development and Membership, Please Touch Museum
Meredith Z. Avakian, Senior Public Affairs Representative, DuPont
Robert Bralow, Manager, RFBinder Partners
Rick Buck, Chief Communications Officer, Bayada Nurses
Danielle Cohn, VP of Marketing & Communications, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Michael Harris, Director of Marketing & Special Projects, Philadelphia Phillies

Pat’s first question: What’s the difference between PR and Marketing?
My favorite answer: “Public Relations is something PR people do.” – Steve Albertini, Tierney Communications

With all other panelists nodding and laughing in approval, Mr. Albertini went on to talk about how it’s hard to define public relations because it’s true, you’re really doing something different every day.

Other topics discussed included the growing trend in utilizing social media. Panelists stressed how students of our generation need to develop this expertise and market it heavily when we’re on the job hunt. While Danielle Cohn talked about how she looks for someone with web experience, Steve Albertini talked about how chess and the debate team are resume tiebreakers for him.

Students, listen up! Here are some tips for your interview/job search:

-Don’t just blast your resume through e-mails, pick up the phone! Taking the extra step to dial 10 numbers (11 with the “1” before the area code) or walk into their office says you’re serious about the job.

-While it is important that they see you’ve done well in school and have gained some experience through internships, you need to communicate through your resume. Be creative and show that you have a wide range of skills. As mentioned before, start developing your niche in social media now if you haven’t already!

-Your cover letter should be unique and interesting. The employer already knows that you think you’d be great for the job, so open up with something else! As communications students (and soon-to-be-professionals) we need to utilize this tool to sell ourselves. What was Lesly Attarian’s tactic? In her opening sentence she wrote: “My name is Leslie, and in this case, less is more.”

-When you go into the interview, smile and be outgoing! They’re not only looking to see what your skills are, but they want to see if they can stand working with you every day. Most importantly, just be yourself and don’t let your nerves cloud your true personality.

-And lastly, NEVER forget the thank you letter. It seems that nothing peeves the panelists more than that. While they say they’ll take an e-mail, a handwritten note is always preferred.

Although this was only a brief look at some of the discussions at Careers 101, it was great to be surrounded by peers and hearing from accomplished individuals who support us and want us to succeed.

As always, I look forward to next year’s development session! For more information on PPRA or how to join, visit

If you were at this year’s Careers 101 make sure to leave a comment about your favorite quote or discussion that took place! Or maybe it was the cookies…! Let us know.

1 comment:

Rob Bralow said...

And remember, anything that you put on the internet can be found by anyone at any time. Especially when you mention their name.