Tips from the Trenches: Q&A with Mikki Glass of WITH YOU

I have two rules in my business.  Tell the truth and do what you say you are going to do.  I find that if you adhere to those, you will be way ahead of the game.  – Mikki Glass of WITH YOU

 

The crowd-funding site Kickstarter continues to gain traction and buzz thanks to the ingenious, outrageous and downright outstanding things that have come to fruition as a result of being featured on the site.

Clearly there are some ups and downs when preparing to put yourself “out there” to attract funding for a business or idea. So, we talked with Mikki Glass – CEO of WITH YOU, a jewelry company that is in the process of procuring funding via Kickstarter — about her thoughts on investing in yourself and your community, and why this business could be a breakthrough on a variety of levels:

 

Mikki_OliviaWhat is WITH YOU and why are you doing the Kickstarter campaign?

WITH YOU is a new jewelry line featuring lockets that allow people to carry loved ones “with you.”  While we are just officially launching now, it’s a concept that has been with me for almost a decade.

I hatched the idea around my sister’s wedding when I was looking for a way to make sure my dad — who had died a few years before — could “walk” her down the aisle. I created a locket to hold his photos on a discreet anklet.

Then, about a year ago, WITH YOU kicked into high gear.  I was doing the commute back and forth to New York City for work and I was grappling with how limited my time [was] to be doing this commute with a then two-year-old at home. Like many working moms, I want to be there for my daughter when she gets home from school. In order to do that,  I needed to figure out a way to work closer to home. In addition, my husband retired from the Army and was looking for his next career move. After 24 years and three deployments (and four years as an embassy Marine), he, too, wanted to find a way to be closer to home and more connected to the community.

We knew we needed a boost and thought that Kickstarter was a great way to leverage our Facebook fans and raise some money for the production of the pieces. (They are semi-precious stones and precious metals, so not inexpensive to produce.)

It’s working! We’re close to our fundraising goal and we just got a shout out from Queen Latifah on her website and Twitter.  We were also chosen as Kickstarter staff pick — so things are really moving along.

KickStarterTitlePage_wBadge_640x480It seems like Kickstarter is typically used for funding films or techie stuff.  How has the experience been for you?

Kickstarter has a tradition of funding tech and artistic projects, but the idea of selling products is growing in popularity. The toughest part for us is that we live in the fashion category, one of the lower priority categories in terms of interest and engagement at Kickstarter. But we knew that going in and we built our marketing campaign around it – it’s our job to get the people there. We can’t sit back and rely on the Kickstarter community to discover us on their own. I’m happy to say that we’ve been successful in that way – over 72 percent of our backers are first-time Kickstarter contributors. And, 98 percent of our backers have come directly from our outreach.

 

What skill or technique have you, yourself, used to get ahead or get a job?

I am the ultimate “stay in touch”-er. Once you are in my life, I usually keep you in my life forever. It has always been part of my DNA.  It’s served me well. I’ve found people are willing to help me even years after we’ve worked together because I never truly go away — and not just because of social media. I was a huge letter writer as a kid. I loved being connected to people from an early age.

The experience with WITH YOU has been all about telling my story and getting people to understand it. And the response has been HUGE. We met with our manufacturer and after I told them my story, they immediately wanted to be a part of it and have been an incredible partner from that very first day we met. Getting my business partner Elizabeth — a top marketing expert — to sign on to work with me on a dream has been tremendous. I’ve been blown away by how telling a story about something that means so much to me personally has resonated with so many people.

 

Ultimately, what are your top tips for anyone looking to “kickstart” their careers – or a campaign?

I have two key rules in my business: Tell the truth and do what you say you are going to do. Those have always served my reputation of being a woman who will get things done and will work like a dog to make things right, even when they sometimes go wrong. I have a client who says that he hates agencies. But he likes me. He likes me because I tell him the truth, and I work like mad to honor my word.

Beyond that: Find commonality, bring news and value, and create moments of connection – genuine ones! When I left my last company, I found that almost every person I called for help was willing to do so because I had always given help myself.

For WITH YOU, it’s been the same. Kickstarter is about asking people who are important to you to support your dream, and I’ve been amazed by how many people in my life have seriously stepped up — no questions asked.

 

What’s an example of a time you failed and what did you learn from it?

This last year has been one of my toughest years in business and what I learned is that you have to seriously love and believe in what you are doing. I started WITH YOU to be able to channel my passion into something I always wanted to do – and couldn’t imagine not doing. And I believe it is the recipe for great success. I’ve had success in my life, but this is that moment I’m looking for great.

 

WITH YOU is in the final week of its fundraising campaign.  To learn more, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2130636646/with-you-reinventing-the-locket.

 

Media Chicks Rocked the House

Jessica with XO Group's Carley Roney

Jessica with XO Group’s Carley Roney

There are tons of events geared towards women–from conferences to panels to rallies. While we love the idea of doing something specifically for a female audience, we noticed a few years ago that there weren’t many events with no other agenda than to connect cool women with one another. With that goal in mind, we started a semi-annual cocktail party called Media Chicks Mixer–and, because we live the world of communications, we focused on women who work in media and public relations across industries, from fashion and beauty to finance and design.

Last night, we co-hosted our latest Media Chicks Mixers along with Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group (which owns The Knot, The Nest, The Bump and other popular websites) at their gorgeous, sleek offices in the Wall Street area of Manhattan. (I ran PR at The Knot back in their startup days and, boy, do I wish they had been in this space then!)

 

Unfortunately, Meryl was sick and had to sit this one out (we missed her dearly!) but we had a great turnout, with attendees hailing from CNBC to the New York Post, Hearst to GoogleAnn Taylor to Lippe Taylor.

Lots of chatting going on at Media Chicks (with one rogue guy...)

Lots of chatting going on at Media Chicks (with one rogue guy…)

It was a night of good champagne and great conversation–those who already knew each other got to catch up and others made brand new connections.

Lots of bubbly, compliments of Meryl's fab clients

Lots of bubbly, compliments of Meryl’s fab clients

Special thanks to XO Group for hosting the event (their amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge were a special treat) and to those who donated great beauty and fashion giveaways and raffle prizes, including Bliss, Boots, FLOWER, Fred Segal, Elaine Turner and Strivectin.

Jessica, L2 PR's Letena Lindsay and Masthead Media's Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich (we all used to work at Hearst together)

Jessica, L2 PR’s Letena Lindsay and Masthead Media’s Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich (we all used to work at Hearst together)

Jessica with CNBC's Jennifer Zweben

Jessica with CNBC’s Jennifer Zweben

 

Google's Andrea Faville and Jessica Kleiman

Google’s Andrea Faville and Jessica Kleiman

Lauren Melone, Dede Brown, Kirsten Segal of the New York Post and NBC's Lenore Moritz

Lauren Melone, Dede Brown, Kirsten Fleming of the New York Post and NBC’s Lenore Moritz

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Hearst’s Lacey Drucker, Google’s PR girls and Ann Inc.’s Sanam Ghanchi

SANDOW's Jessica Kleiman and Misfit Media's Nicole Brydson

SANDOW’s Jessica Kleiman and Misfit Media’s Nicole Brydson

XO Group's cool cafe
XO Group’s cool cafe

 

Marni Raitt of DiGennaro & Partners, BYOBP co-author Jessica Kleiman and Emily Blumenthal of Handbag Designer 101

Marni Raitt of DiGennaro & Partners, BYOBP co-author Jessica Kleiman and Emily Blumenthal of Handbag Designer 101

How Mentorship Can Help You Get Ahead

NYWICI Mentoring Panel

Sage advice being doled out at the “Fastest Way to the Top” NYWICI panel.

Last week, we attended a great panel hosted by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) called “The Fastest Way to the Top,” where five successful women at all stages of their careers discussed the importance of finding mentors and sponsors along the way to support you, offer advice and help you reach that next level of achievement.

Moderated by Erica Hill, co-anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today, the lineup included Ellen Archer, ABC Entertainment‘s Head of East Coast Development, and her longtime mentor, iVillage co-founder Nancy Evans; as well as Stacy Martinet, Chief Marketing Officer, Mashable, and her mentor Denise Warren, Executive Vice President, Digital Products and Services Group, The New York Times.

While the women-focused event was peppered with references to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, much of the wisdom imparted during the panel could apply to men too, though as Archer pointed out, “We as woman are very good at developing friendships and men are good at business relationships. It’s important for women to get out there and develop those relationships as well. We’re somehow not as good at it.”

Below, some of the best tips for how to choose a mentor, become one yourself and learn from the generation ahead of you and behind you:

 

What Does Mentorship Mean?

The best of mentoring is when you can send [the person] an email and say, “When can you talk today?” Don’t just walk up to someone and say, “Will you be my mentor?”- Nancy Evans

People took notice of me because I did a great job. I showed up early, I stayed late. How can you make the bar higher? How do you get people to notice you? As a mentee, you have to trust your mentors. – Denise Warren

I admired a woman who was open to people at all levels. She recognized me as a junior staffer and said, “You did a great job; it doesn’t matter how much experience you have.” – Stacy Martinet

Reverse mentoring is great — digital natives can teach older people a lot about technology and social media. – Ellen Archer

 


What Can We Learn from Twenty-Somethings?

I don’t view this younger generation as stereotypically feeling entitled, but I have encountered people who think their path up should be quicker than ours. I see that this generation wants to build their skills –whether social media or program management– and we want to help them do that. – Denise Warren

The norms are different now. I Snapchat and text with my team at Mashable. The fact that they don’t have as many hang-ups as we do is good but it’s about balance. Things move very fast now — there’s a list [that comes out] every week of “Top 10 People under 30” and they want to get on those lists. – Stacy Martinet

[Read more…]

Tips from the Trenches: Q&A with Social Media Week Founder Toby Daniels

“Be purposeful in what you do. Think about the why of every action you take, every piece of communication you share and every interaction or new relationship you forge.” — Toby Daniels, Founder, Social Media Week

When we met Toby Daniels, founder & executive director of Social Media Week (SMW), and CEO of Crowdcentric, we were instantly impressed with his vision of how the world could be better connected through the power of social media — as well as live interaction – and wanted him to share some of his wisdom with us here.

Since Daniels founded Social Media Week in 2008, it has become a major global conference reaching more than 100,000 people in 26 cities around the world, aiming to connect people and brands around emerging trends in social and mobile media. In order to build SMW into what it is today, Daniels and his small team have done a great job leveraging word of mouth – and, of course, social media – to spread the gospel worldwide.

SMW 2013 kicks off on February 18 in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lagos, Miami, New York, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, DC. Join the worldwide conversation by posting on your own social media platforms with hashtag #SMW13.

 

When you first started Social Media Week, how did you promote it to the world?

Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and outreach through my personal network were my primary outlets. One of the most important things I did early on with SMW was establish an advisory board of key influencers, community leaders, academics and luminaries in the emerging media and technology space. When we announced the conference in early 2009, they were a key factor in helping to get the word out.

Since then we’ve refined our approach, but even to this day, our most effective form of promotion is through our community, which in four years has grown to more than 100k professionals worldwide.

 

What’s the best PR advice you’ve ever received?

Two slightly conflicting pieces of advice:  1) No one does PR better than you and 2) Let your community do your PR for you.

[Read more…]

6 Ways to Build Buzz for Your Brand on a Budget

How to get people talking about your brand.

You have a great idea, a website, a business plan and maybe even some funding. Now what? That doesn’t mean anything unless people are talking, sharing and buzzing about your brand. If no one hears the proverbial tree falling in the forest, how will they know it actually exists — and why would they care?

For most startups, publicity typically falls to the bottom of the expenditure list. Yet, in this day and age, with so much competition for coverage and attention, it can be the thing that connects the dots, raises your profile and attracts consumers, advertisers, partners and investors. The reality: Those who put public relations as the lead horse will likely cross the finish line first. But if you’re bootstrapped and feel you just can’t justify the cost of hiring a PR firm or an in-house communications specialist, you can learn how to be your own publicist — and kick-start the drumbeat about your brand through press coverage and social media buzz.

Recently, Jessica participated in a panel at the Golden Seeds Innovation Summit — a conference run by an investment firm that supports companies founded by women entrepreneurs — called “Building Your Brand: Lessons in PR for Early Stage Companies,” where this topic was discussed. Moderated by The New York Times bestselling author and former Hearst Magazines Chair(wo)man, Cathie Black, the panel also included The Daily Muse co-founder Kathryn Minshew, Business Insider tech reporter Alyson Shontell and Joannie Danielides who runs an eponymous PR firm. Below we share some of the advice that was given during this panel.

  • Know your elevator pitch. Have a great story and know how to tell it…quickly. What you pitch to the media is not that different from what you have to “sell” to potential investors and, similarly, you have a short period of time in which to impress them and gain their interest.
  • Find a news hook. Understand how your business fits into a bigger trend or story. Don’t just pitch in a vacuum. Minshew of The Daily Muse said that she often pitches reporters when new job numbers come out or as part of a story on young female tech entrepreneurs in the career space so they use her as an expert on a particular trend. Shontell advised startups to identify how their company or story relates to a broad audience.
  • Be scrappy and resourceful. Follow reporters who cover your industry on Twitter, then retweet them and respond to them. Also, read relevant media about your industry and stay up on the latest trends. [Read more…]

Tips From The Trenches: One-on-One with Valerie Insignares of Darden

“I believe every day your actions speak louder than any words you say.  In fact, what others say about you is often times more important than what you say about yourself.” – Valerie Insignares

We meet a lot of powerhouse women in our day-to-day lives — women who are making a name for themselves in their industries and beyond. So, when we recently connected with Valerie Insignares, SVP/Chief Restaurant Operations Officer at restaurant company Darden, we jumped at the chance to get her perspective on standing out in the workplace.

Insignares is impressive  — recognized within her company (which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden and The Capital Grille, among other multi-location establishments) for her record-breaking guest count growth as well as for her role in establishing the supplier diversity initiative — she’s made the “most influential” lists for key industry publications as well as Hispanic Business. Add to that her other role as one of this nation’s 30 million working moms, and her list of accomplishments becomes even more inspiring.

With all on her plate (restaurant pun intended), we were honored that she found a few minutes to share her perspectives about serving up authenticity and quality no matter the role and why we should look to Missy Franklin for inspiration:

Why is it so important these days to stand out in the workplace?

I’ve been with Darden for 15 years now, and we’ve grown into the world’s largest full-service restaurant company with more than 180,000 employees and 2,000 restaurants. As the company has grown, the organization has become much more complex and the environment is much more global. In order to stand out, you need to be more than a functional expert. You need to be viewed as a business leader. The way to do that is to view your career as a learning journey: (to) take risks and roles that will broaden your perspective,  be committed to evolving your leadership, and be open to relocation. Many more opportunities will be open to you if you are!

As a leader, it’s equally important to be known for how you do things as it is for what you do.  It’s important to demonstrate personal balance and commitment to your family and community.  Luckily Darden is a place that places equal weight on both its business and its values.

 

What’s the best PR advice you’ve ever received?

Play to your strengths.  We all come from different places and have seen or worked through all kinds of personal and professional experiences.  Remember that you bring a unique perspective to the table as well as a unique set of skills. It’s up to you, however, to deliver tangible value to your employer by using these strengths. At the end of the day, doing good work using your unique strengths is your best PR plan.

 

What’s an example of when you’ve been your own best publicist?

As a leader, I believe every day your actions speak louder than any words you say. In fact, what others say about you is often times more important than what you say about yourself. Do you behave in way that is positive and energetic? Are you consistent?

 

What are your top networking tips?

Networking doesn’t have to be something you do in addition to your day job. As a working mother, I have little time outside of my day-to-day schedule of work, family and exercise. My advice is to work connections into your schedule. Make genuine connections with people in your company, industry and community, and keep those relationships going. Simply checking in with these connections a few times a year can help maintain a strong network. Also, keep your commitments. A quick cup of coffee is easy to reschedule when your calendar is full or you have a full inbox. But it’s important to realize we’re all busy, and you’ll be happy you honored their time and your commitment.

 

How important is it to break through the clutter when you’re trying to stand out—and what’s the best way to do so?

Sometimes you don’t need to break out in a big way; rather, you need to demonstrate leadership qualities and let the result speak for itself. A good leader coaches his or her team and smartly allocates his or her resources in the best interest of the business. Making a true difference is the best way to differentiate yourself.

 

What’s your best tip for how to get what you want at work?

A great start is to really know what you want!  So many people ask me for career advice and say they want to advance, but when I ask them where they are trying to go they aren’t clear. When you’re clear about the types of opportunities you would be open to — lateral, cross functional, relocations, etc.– you are more likely to be top-of-mind when the opportunities are created. You also need to be very willing to do or change what it takes to get there and be ready to say ‘yes’ when asked!

 

 What do you think is the best/worst recent example of managing your reputation?

I think a strong example of reputation management was seen with the United States Olympians in London. Athletes like Missy Franklin, the 17-year old swimmer who at such a young age is expected to carry herself with the composure of someone twice her age. I think we can all learn something about staying calm under pressure and performing to the best of our ability.

 

 What do you think is the biggest challenge facing recent graduates now – and how would you combat it?

There is a lot of pressure on youth to figure out what they want to be when they grow up before they’ve had enough experiences to really know the answer.  My message to youth is that you don’t have to have it all figured out… but do follow your passion!  If you set yourself up for success by taking advantage of educational or mentorship programs and always keep learning and working hard, you’ll carve out a path to success – and that success may look a lot different in the future than it looks now.

I love the restaurant industry! I grew up in Chicago, wanting to be a chef. I’ve lived in Kentucky, Texas, and now, Orlando.  I’ve progressed from the purchasing side of our business to leading restaurant operations. I couldn’t be happier, and to realize this happiness, I had to be open to course changes during my career journey. The restaurant industry is truly an industry of opportunity.

 

What skill or technique have you, yourself, used to get ahead or get a job? 

For me, it’s strategic thinking: working with teams to identify and prioritize the work that will matter most to our business and our people. In fact, I use the same skill as a working mom to understand the events I really can’t miss at my girls’ school — like Mother’s Day celebrations, for example!

 

Have other tips from the trenches?  Share with us here, on Facebook and Twitter.

Tips from the Trenches: One-on-One with Andrew Hapke, Co-Founder, Zokos.com

“Be 100 percent genuine. If you have to fake it, then maybe you are at the wrong event or in the wrong business.” — Andrew Hapke, co-founder of Zokos.com

Andrew Hapke, co-founder, Zokos

We meet a lot of entrepreneurs, but when we were connected with Andrew Hapke, the young, dynamic co-founder of Zokos.com — a dinner party crowd-funding site or “kickstarter for parties” — we were impressed. We recently spoke to Hapke about his exciting idea as well as the challenges and opportunities involved in getting a start-up off the ground.
What’s the best PR advice you’ve ever received?
Make friends with people in the press long before you need anything from them.  Learn about what they find interesting just by being friends with them.
What are your top networking tips?
Be 100 percent genuine. If you have to fake it, then maybe you are at the wrong event or in the wrong business.

 

What’s your advice for developing a relationship with someone you don’t know?

Find common ground to start the conversation even if its something as small as the weather.

 

What is the one piece of advice that you wish you knew when you were graduating?

Have coffee with everyone you know and let them bring up your career.

How did Zokos get from idea to reality and what prompted you to launch a business?

The idea first originated when the founders took part in a vegetarian dinner club as graduate students at Yale.  We were so excited about the amazing food and all the great people we were meeting that we thought, “Why aren’t people doing this more often?”  From that spark, we went on to found the company as a way to bring down the barriers to entertaining, so that we could host better parties and host them more often.

 

What’s your “elevator pitch” for Zokos and how did you come up with it?

“Zokos is a kickstarter for parties. We believe people are hungry for real life interaction and that food is the world’s favorite reason to come together. Zokos.com helps you enjoy better parties more often by sharing the cost with your friends.”

We spent a lot of time crafting our pitch over the last year, working with mentors and going to pitch competitions.   It’s amazing how many different opinions smart people can have.  We settled on something that resonated with us, but also referenced the crowd-funding industry more generally.

 

What’s the hardest thing about getting attention for a new brand, particularly without dedicated PR support?

Its hard to get rejected so much!  Generally when you first try and get press, it’s when you launch something big for your company, and so you are in a very exciting time in your company’s history. Yet, apparently 95 percent of the press you contacted didn’t think it was that exciting, which can be very discouraging.  For us, we just had to make sure our list was long enough that the 5 percent that came through for us was meaningful.

 

What’s your advice for helping your brand stand out against the competition?

Have a really clear idea of why you are different, and which group of people would care about that difference.  Start with that small group, and let them help you build your story so that as you grow, you have a genuine identity that fills a real need.

Life Lessons Learned from the Films Director John Hughes

This past Monday marked the three-year anniversary of the untimely death of 80s film director John Hughes. And, while many of us who grew up with his movies learned a lot about our personal lives, there are lessons that can translate to our professional efforts as well. Some of those include:

  • Don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t want read. (Sixteen CandlesAs Samantha found out when she filled out the quiz that fell into the wrong (read: Mr. Right’s) hands, everything is on the record — and that is even more clear when you put something in writing (or post something online).  Sure, things turned out great for her (complete with birthday cake and happy ending) but most of us mere mortals need to be cognizant that everything we say, write and post can and will be used against us. In our speaking engagements and workshops for Be Your Own Best Publicist, we remind people not to put anything in writing you wouldn’t want your grandmother, boss or rabbi/priest/shaman/spiritual guide to read.
  • Help can come from the least likely of sources. (The Breakfast Club) A criminal…a princess…a brain…a jock…a basketcase….What started as a group of strangers turned into the ultimate powerful network by the end of the film. And what they learned as their detention day rolled on is that, despite their surface differences, they could rely on one another for advice (Claire giving Allison makeup tips), to help dodge a bullet (Bender distracts while the others get back to the library), for attention (Andy listens to Allison) and to communicate the message (Brian writes the pithy note that summarizes the film). In work, too, support can come from anywhere. Don’t dismiss the people who seem less powerful than you (i.e. security, mailroom workers, secretaries) because sometimes they’re the ones who can help you most. Be nice, lend a helping hand to others and be open to making connections wherever you go.

[Read more…]

5 Ways to Land that Post-College Job (Even if You Graduated Years Ago)

For college seniors and grad school students, graduation is no longer something on the distant horizon. In the next several weeks, many will be entering a tough job market, although the good news is it’s starting to look up. According to a 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), participating employers reported that they plan to hire 10.2 percent more new college graduates from the college Class of 2012 than they did from the Class of 2011.

However, with many experienced workers looking for jobs and companies still watching their budgets, it can still be quite challenging to land that first post-graduate position. In our book, BE YOUR OWN BEST PUBLICIST: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired, and Rewarded at Work (Career Press; Jan. 2011), we discuss why it’s essential for job candidates to stand out from the competition and market themselves as a valuable and unique brand. This is especially important for recent grads because many will be interviewing for entry-level jobs along with fellow graduates who have the same basic qualifications.

So what can graduates do to improve their employability in 2012?  Here are a few pointers from our book:

Know Your Key Messages: One of the toughest requests to answer is “Tell me about yourself.” Before going into an interview, write down the adjectives that best describe you, what makes you unique, some of your key accomplishments and what you can bring to the table. Make them succinct and snappy and rehearse them so you can be sure to weave them into the conversation in a confident way. Think about what you’d say if you got stuck in an elevator with your dream employer — what would you say about yourself during the short ride that would impress him or her and showcase what makes you a great candidate? Another trick: Ask others (parents, friends, former employers, teachers) what they think is great about you and that will help you see how you’re perceived by others.

Always Have a Plan (and a Backup Plan): You may not get your dream job on the first — or fiftieth — try. Think about what you’d like to get out of your first job and, if you can’t land the #1 position you desire after months of trying, have a contingency plan. Whether it’s to explore other companies, industries or take some time off to freelance, you always want to be ready with another route to success. Starbucks, for example, offer great benefits to employees and, what’s more, you’ll get to interact with lots of customers every day, some of whom may end up helping you land your next job. In fact, at a recent conference we attended, the COO of a major apparel company told a story about how she ended up hiring the barista who made her latte every morning because they had struck up a relationship and she was impressed with the young woman’s attitude and work ethic. You never know — every interaction is an opportunity!

*It’s All About Who You Know and Who Knows You: In PR, our network is our net worth and the same goes for your job search. Go out of your way to develop relationships everywhere you go: For example, leverage your alumni association, join professional organizations and attend events, become active on LinkedIn and follow industry folks on Twitter. Lastly, do as many informational interviews as you can — they’re a great, non-threatening way to meet people, get good information on companies and fields, and can potentially result in a real job opportunity.

Be a Know-it-All (In a Good Way):  As PR people, we’d never meet with a reporter without reading up on his or her previous stories, interests and angles. Likewise, when interviewing, it’s important to gather as much information as you can about a situation or company prior to sitting down at the table. In this day and age, when all the information you need is a keystroke away, there’s no reason not to do your research before walking into an interview. All that detail will inform your conversation and allow you to ask smart questions — two things that will help you stand out from other candidates.

* Don’t Wear a Ballgown to a Ball Game: Looks aren’t everything, but they can sure help, especially in the job search. There’s no doubt that one’s clothing can, at a minimum, be a distraction and, at a maximum, a barrier to entry. Consider both the occasion and the audience when selecting what to wear. Do your research, ask around and find out what the culture and expectations are for the open position. When in doubt, err on the side of professional and classic style. Then, add your twist: a signature element, be it cool glasses, a nice tie or a statement necklace that could help you make a positive impact.

As new grads seek full-time employment, they must also remember to stay positive, be flexible and willing to do whatever the job requires. You may not get your dream job right out of the gate but if you’re able to have a healthy mix of persistence and patience, you will ultimately land a position that will kickstart your career.

What are your tips for recent grads looking for a job? Share with us here, on Facebook or Twitter (@bestpublicist).

“Listen To Your Mother” and Other Lessons We Learned at Wharton (Part I)

Jessica Kleiman and Pandora's Jessica Steel with Wharton students

While neither of us has gone to business school (not yet, anyway), we did just spend the one-year anniversary of the publication of our book, Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work, at the Wharton Women Business Conference in Pennsylvania.

What an event! Jessica was honored to have been invited to participate in one of the day’s panels about “lead-her-ship” (WWBC’s phrase, not ours…) for her role as VP, public relations at Hearst Magazines, along with two very accomplished female executives — Cindy DiPietrantonio, COO of The Jones Group, and Tracy Travis, CFO of Ralph Lauren Corporation. The other panel featured Jessica Steel, EVP of business development for Pandora Media Inc.; Alex Witt, NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor; and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president and artistic director of OPI Products Inc. The luncheon was keynoted by Uta Werner, corporate vice president and chief strategy officer of Xerox Corporation.

We were blown away by the amazing women we met there — attendees and speakers alike.  And, as with any event that brings together such powerhouses, we walked away with great insights and information which we’ve broken into two different blog posts.  For starters, here are some key take-aways: [Read more…]