And the winner is … Atlanta

April 15, 2010 at 6:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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Posted by Shantae

It’s official, I’m graduating one month from today.  As final presentations and exams approach, the pressure to land a job increases immensely.  Initially, I remained very open-minded and flexible to the possibility of moving just about anywhere along the east coast.  However, applying any and everywhere has proved a daunting task.  I’ve learned that having a focus is crucial to finding success in the PR industry, so I caved and pinpointed a location to begin my career – Atlanta, Ga.

Why Atlanta? Why not!  Although ATL did not make my original post about where I’m headed after graduation, the last couple months have bumped it up to number one.  I’m young, unmarried and without children, so now seems like the ideal time to take a risk and move 12 hours away from everything and everyone I know to explore the unfamiliar.

Reasons I’m South bound:

Location, location, location!

Atlanta is home to various corporate headquarters such as Delta Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, CNN and UPS.  These large employers and international powerhouses are located in Atlanta for a reason.  The city is also home to more than 64,000 black-owned businesses.

Money talks! ranked Atlanta third among the best cities for young professionals.  The average salary is generally high in comparison to the surprisingly low-cost of living.  It’s comforting to know I can find an affordable apartment or townhome and still have money to eat.  What more could a girl ask for?

Old man winter doesn’t live here.

So maybe weather isn’t the best reason to move to Georgia, but it’s certainly an important factor.  This past winter was one of the worst I’ve ever seen in Northeast Ohio.  Since snowy conditions are less common in the south, investing in snow plows and salt is less important.  I’m looking forward to delays and snow days for three inches of snow!

Rich culture = never boring.

Atlanta is home to four professional sports teams, hundreds of restaurants, entertainment venues and museums and historical landmarks.  I cannot wait to experience everything on the 50 Fun Things to do in Atlanta!

Since hatching my plan to move to Atlanta, I have been in contact with PRSA Georgia’s Young Professionals special interest group and the Atlanta Urban League Young Professionals (AULYP).  I have created Google Alerts to find entry-level PR jobs in Atlanta and subscribed to various job boards and mailing lists.  As my research continues, my plans become more focused and solid.

I’m moving to Atlanta, so if you’re looking for a well-rounded, driven sassy young PR pro, I’m your girl!


Stuck in a state of pre-grad purgatory

April 6, 2010 at 5:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Posted by: Rebecca

Six weeks from now, I’ll walk down the aisle.

No, I won’t be walking toward my prince charming in a fancy cathedral (although my boyfriend did try to pull an April Fool’s joke by changing his Facebook relationship status to “engaged.”  That’s a whole other story.)

I’ll be walking toward the stage at Kent State’s MAC Center, shaking hands with administration and taking hold of my college diploma.

As discussed in an earlier post, I am a self-proclaimed plan-a-holic.  I picked my college major when I was a junior in high school- and stuck with it.  I scribble to-do lists on Post-It notes.  I plan my schedule weeks in advance.  I create lists like it’s my job.  I make big plans for my life and the adventures ahead.

But here I am, six weeks away from my degree, stuck in a state of pre-graduation purgatory.  Planning is banned in this middle ground.  I know what I want to do and where I want to be: I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to come my way so I can move forward and plan the next step.

As I patiently wait to see what graduation will bring by exploring job and internship opportunities, I’ve participated in several informational interviews.  And although I haven’t landed a post-grad job quite yet, I’d like to share two lessons I’ve learned in this stressful, exciting journey:

Lesson No. 1: It’s a small word, after all.

A public relations professional once told me to never burn bridges, as “everyone knows everyone” in public relations.

I didn’t believe it at the time, but it’s so true.  I’ve met PR professionals in Columbus with varying careers and personal lives, yet they all seem to know each other.

This sense of “community” is a job seeker’s best asset.  I know the connections I’m making now will come in handy when the right position pops up.  I’m sure someone will know someone who knows I’m looking for a job in Columbus!

Lesson No. 2: Internships count.

If you’re an upper-division PR student who hasn’t completed an internship, go find one.


Internships give you a chance to prove yourself in the real world, make connections and gain the experience you’ll need to differentiate yourself from the competition.

I feel so blessed to say I completed three internships before my college graduation.  I love talking about my internship experiences with mentors and potential employers, and I am confident that these experiences will benefit my job search.  Sure: Internships made me miss many “college” experiences, like sleeping in until 11 a.m., enjoying lunch dates with friends and watching TV all day.  Waking up at 6 a.m. every day was difficult, but I know my early morning wake-up calls and 9-hour days will pay off in the long run.

If you’re also stuck in pre-graduation purgatory (aka searching for a job,) I’d love to chat.  What did you learn thus far?

Ch-ch-ch Changes: Shantae’s Perspective

January 5, 2010 at 9:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Senior night with the rents!

It’s funny how things change so quickly.  I remember being an energetic 18-year-old high school senior who danced, cheered and rocked knee highs with my plaid skirt at the Catholic high school I attended.  I remember sitting around with my three best friends talking about our plans after graduation day. We were unsure about where to go to college and which major to pursue.  Overall, life was simple and carefree with few commitments and all the time in the world to think about what came next.  I was really on top of my game! 

Fast forward four years:  I’m 22 years old, I pull all-nighters more than I sleep, my coffee addiction could send me to rehab but I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I love a challenge and cannot wait to put my PR skills to the test.  But I still worry.  I spend a lot of time talking with my roommates, Mary Jo and Rebecca, about where we will be in a year.  Will we be able to find  jobs that give us the opportunity to learn and grow as PR professionals?  Will our ethics be tested?  Will we be able to pay the rent? 

It’s strange to think I’ll be an adult who is responsible for more than a paper in my Tactics class or exam in a history course.  I’ll be the person steering my career in the direction of failure or success, but no pressure. 

Rebecca and I came up with the brilliant idea, over coffee I think, to begin a blog to explore our expectations and fears about becoming PR pros.  We hope to discuss issues like making a good impression in an interview, building networks in other states and even negotiating wages for an entry-level position.  I’m not afraid of a little criticism and welcome your advice. 

Rebecca and I are as different as night and day, but we both want successful careers and believe this blog will be a tool to get us there.  Here’s to the unknown!

Ch-ch-ch Changes: Rebecca’s Outlook

January 4, 2010 at 10:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Isn’t it funny how everything changes, yet everything stays the same?

Rebecca's High School Graduation, 2006

My high school graduation in May 2006. I still have the same baby face.

On this day four years ago, I was a senior at a small-town high school, anxiously waiting to discover where my high school diploma would lead me.  I applied to three universities and was reviewing my financial aid packages before making a final decision.  I spent hours trying to explain to family and friends that pursuing a degree in public relations did not mean I wanted to become a politician or public speaker.  My best friends and I bonded over late-night sob sessions with Cheese-Its and raw cookie dough, dreaming about the highs and lows of college life and the bright futures ahead of us.

Four years later, I am a senior at a large public university, anxiously waiting to find out where my  public relations degree will lead me.  I spend hours trying to explain to family and friends that my new internship at a public relations agency has no affiliation and/or relation to federal agencies, such as the FBI or CIA. My roommates Shantae and Mary Jo (who happen to be amazingly talented public relations students, in case you are wondering) and I spend hours venting our fears, frustrations and dreams about becoming “real” adults with “big girl jobs” over cookies and coffee.

Image courtesy of TehranTimes.comSo alas: Here we are!  Shantae and I decided our thoughts about beginning a career in public relations amidst a recession created the perfect opportunity to put our blogging skills to work.

We are looking forward to connecting with soon-to-be communications graduates, entry-level pros and seasoned PR practitioners through our posts.  We hope to spark discussion about tough topics, including accepting internship offers vs. patiently waiting for entry-level positions, waiting for the dream job vs. seizing any opportunity that comes with a paycheck and moving back in with the rents vs. living in a cardboard box.

Anyone who knows Shantae and me on a personal level knows we’re an intriguing duo.  Although we have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and writing styles, we’re ready to take on this blogging adventure: and the job market!

So here we go. Cheers to a brand-new adventure!

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