Travel Diaries: My Summer in San Francisco

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In case you didn’t notice from seeing my adorable two year old in the photo above I spent my summer in San Francisco. Every since I can remembered I’d dreamed of going to California and this summer I had the opportunity to do just that.

Now this trip was not for play but for business. I applied for an internship at my dream Public Relations agency and after months of an extremely competitive application process and three phone interviews I found myself on a plane to San Francisco.

Due to the cost of living in San Francisco as compared to Arkansas my husband and son did not spend the entire summer with me (that’s another story for another time). It was very hard on me emotionally, as I had never been away from my baby boy. However, my husband was brave enough to drive all the way from Arkansas to San Francisco and stay with me for a week. I thought I’d share some of the places we visited.

Golden Gate Bridge

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This one I’m sure you were probably expecting being that it’s one of the most visited places in the country but seriously you have to go. There are several places in the city you can go to if you want a great view. My husband actually found this tiny park area not far from North Beach. This spot was on all of our bucket lists.

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Giants Stadium

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I am by no means a sports fan but everyone should have an experience like the one I had at the Giants stadium. Even if you aren’t into baseball the food is delicious (garlic fries are a must) and they have tons of places to take awesome photos as you can see in the picture above. They also have a beer garden, Coca-cola slide and Trolley.

I went during the dog days of summer and got to see a ton of ADORABLE dogs dressed (and painted) in the giants gear and colors. Cutest thing you’ll ever see! So if you go make sure to go in June when all the four-legged fans are there. (Here is a link if you want to see some of the dogs from this past summer).

Ghirardelli Square

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If you have a sweet tooth like I do then you must go to Ghirardelli Square and get a sundae. The Ghirardelli shop also offers tons of chocolates and other sweets and views of the bay. My two year old definitely enjoyed this stop.

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Because I spent a great majority of time working I didn’t get to go to a few of the places on this list but my husband and son did some exploring of their own. Below are a few of their favorite stops.

Coit Tower

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This beauty is located in Telegraph hill (just a few blocks away from my job so I saw it everyday but never actually climbed the stairs to the top LOL). This was one of the first stops my husband and son took since it was so close to the office. The tower offers great views of the city.

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Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharfs

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Definitely the most “Touristy” thing on this list. You can find tons of restaurants, museums and attractions here and it’s always full of life. My husband and son took a cable car down to Fishermans Wharf. If you like seafood you are in for a treat, if not there are a number of other options from street cars to In n Out burger (you must try their vanilla malt!). You can also find a ton of seals hanging out in this area.

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So while my son and husband were out having all of the fun I was in the office.

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*I will be sharing my internship experience in a later post*

Regardless of whether I was in the office or exploring the city it’s amazing to be able to share these experiences and continue to stay optimistic about where life will take me next. It was easy to fall in love with San Francisco and their are still a ton of great places  I didn’t get to visit, which is the best excuse to go back and I definitely plan to.

Until my next adventure, ciao!

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How to get the perfect summer internship!

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So It’s been a while but I promise I have a good excuse. I was accepted as a summer intern for my dream public relations company for the summer! It was an extremely competitive process and I spent a lot of time preparing for every stage of that process so I thought I’d share some of the things I did to help secure my internship. Hopefully it will help some of you.

1) Prepare a killer resume!

Your resume is the first thing they will see so you want to make sure it represents you and your skills adequately. You want to make sure your resume fits within the field you’re going into. My field is public relations therefore I need to show that I have basic software media tool skills. So for more creative fields choose more creative designs, other fields may just want a standard resume (you can check out mine in the portfolio tab of my website).

On your resume make sure you include your education, relevant work experience, skills, extracurricular activities if you have them, contact info and any awards you may have received. I wrote RELEVANT work experience because you want to include jobs that fit within the field you’re going into, or at least find a way to show that the skills you’ve learned or utilized will fit with the skills needed for the internship you’re applying.

*Tip: Double check the job duties of your internship to tailor your work experience to it. I’m not saying to lie… you should have some experience whether that be school, volunteer or previous jobs/internships.*

2) Have a well thought out cover letter

Do not rush through your cover letter, this is your first impression. Introduce yourself and tell how you are best fitted for the internship. Highlight some of your skills and experiences, this is a good time to sell yourself. Make sure you are sincere, if this is an internship you really want express that. They want to know you are serious about the opportunity and that you have what it takes to be there.

I tend to use the first paragraph as an introduction, the second one to pitch myself and my skills, and I conclude in the third paragraph by expressing why I’d love to intern with that specific company.

3) Prep for your interview

I over-prepare for everything so I took notes of possible questions they could ask *thanks google* and prepared answers in advance. Common questions include:

“How has your experience helped prepared you for this internship?”

“Why do you want to work for this company?”

“Tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?”

A good strategy is to practice with a friend or out-loud to yourself, that way it feels more natural once you have the actual interview. Remember to ALWAYS have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. They will almost always ask “Do you have any questions for me?” It’s awkward to just answer no, if you are truly interested you will have questions.

Some questions I asked were:

“What do you expect from an intern?”

“What does a typical work day look like for you?”

“Who would I report to for daily tasks?”

“What is the company dress code?”

If you are truly interested in the internship it will be easy to come up with questions because you will be curious.

4) Always write a thank you note/email.

I had several interviews throughout my process but I tried to remember to always send a formal thank you email to the interviewers thanking them for taking the time to interview me. Remember, the interviewers are busy employees and it’s a big deal for them to take time out to speak to you so make sure you show them you are thankful. It’s not only polite but it makes you look that much more professional.

5) Be yourself

As overwhelming as the entire process may be, try to always be sincere. Others can tell when someone is trying too hard so don’t. The best way to find the opportunity that’s right for you is to be yourself. Remember you will get rejected, I was rejected several times before I was finally accepted and I now appreciate those rejections. If you are being yourself do not be discouraged if you don’t get an opportunity because the right one will come along.

I hope this post will help some of you and good luck to all you future interns!

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Recognizing PR excellence: Bronze Anvil Award & The Creatives Behind It

By: Raneisha Stassin
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We often see public relations campaigns in action but rarely see the creatives behind them. The Bronze Anvil Awards gives us a chance to recognize those behind the media magic and they definitely deserve to be celebrated.

One particular winning campaign that stuck out to me was Ketchum’s #PrettyGreat Travel Hacks campaign they created for the Embassy Suites/Hilton. The campaign involved creating an online community where parents could find and share travel hacks or tips that would make traveling with kids easier and more enjoyable.

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I really admired their approach to this campaign and the pr tactics they used to create a fun yet informative strategy. They created an online community that could easily be integrated across other platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter with the hashtags #PrettyGreat #TravelHacks. Pinterest in particular is a great site for moms, travelers and those with wanderlust spirits. I felt their use of these sites along with the online community on the Embassy Suites website really showed their understanding of their audience. They understood that if their content was easy to share and could be found in sites already used by this demographic that their client would get the attention they were seeking. It also allowed the audience to be engaged and actively involved therefore content would continue to be created and shared.

Other tactics I found admirable was their use of research. They didn’t forget the basics and stuck to the R.A.C.E (Research, Action, Communication and Evaluation) model while simultaneously letting their creative juices flow. The Embassy Suites held a family travel study to collect information that would allow them to understand the needs of their demographic and aligned their strategies with those needs. After research they provided family-specific training to staff members and added family-focused amenities.

Their use of online influencers as a tactic proved to be successful as well. Several online mom and travel bloggers mentioned the Embassy Suites and the travel hacks while encouraging other traveling parents to actively participate.

As a millennial and young mom with a wanderlust spirit myself, I found this campaign pulled me in the second I discovered it. As an aspiring public relations professional I can not neglect to recognize the hard work that must have been put in to create such a successful campaign.

Ketchum ended up winning the Bronze Anvil Award for 2016 for this particular campaign and numerous others. You can check it out here.

This post was not sponsored and was created for my Comm 283-PR Tactics course.
All opinions are my own.

How To Study For Finals!

Well if you’re a student like me it’s that time of year again… final exams. Don’t pull your hair out just yet there may still be hope.

I’ll be sharing a few of my personal tips for retaining all that info the night before the exam because lets face it Netflix exists and we all procrastinate sometimes.

Tip #1

WRITE THINGS OUT

You’re more likely to remember the content if you write it down, even if you’re like me and prefer typing (maybe you have bad handwriting) I’d suggest doing both. Write it several times if you have to. The more you write it the more likely you are to remember it.

Tip #2

TRY NOTECARDS

This is one of my favorite test prep activities and thanks to technology you no longer have to write each out on individual notecards (though that may help as well it’s also tedious).

Quizlet.com is the best website for this. Not only can you use the digital notecards but it has an audio button that allows you to hear it and also allows you to test over the material. Another thing I love about Quizlet is it’s easy to find study sets that match your material. I swear Quizlet has gotten me through this semester, I highly suggest it.

Tip #3

  REPETITION  

This is one of the most important things to remember. No matter which technique you choose make sure to repeat the content over and over. You are more likely to retain it if you read over it more than once. When I really have to memorize something I read it at LEAST three times before moving on.

Tip #4

QUIZ YOURSELF/HAVE SOMEONE QUIZ YOU

Another one of the most helpful study tricks for me is to have a partner ask me questions over the material to see how much I’ve actually retained. If you study alone try looking away from your notebook and testing yourself over the material. This is a good way to make sure you’ve actually learned the material and won’t blank out when you get the real test.

Tip #5

GET REST

You’ve probably heard this one a lot but it’s so important. Your brain can not function properly if you’re sleep deprived and you’ll just end up doing worse. If you’re too tired to go on but know you need to study more, try to at least take a power nap, or try waking up earlier to study (I know this can be rough but Starbucks exists so you’ll be fine).

And there you have it you’re ready to crush those finals!

Good luck to all you tired students out there and comment below if you have other great tips that work for you!

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