Live From New York, it’s Jason Mollica!

Last week on Tuesday, Twitter guru Jason Mollica took time out of his evening to video in for our CMU PRSSA general meeting about how to be better professionals and how we should treat our relationships with the media after we get a Big Kid job.

He started off the presentation by assuring everyone in the room of one CRUCIAL piece of advice: networking is key! He expressed the importance of meeting people in the business, if not for making those connections that may help you in the future, then to grow as a professional by hearing advice offered from those who have been in the game for some time. When asked rather networking could get you a job over actual skill, Jason was clear: networking may get you in the door for an interview faster, but it’s expertise and skill that will go a long way!

In advice for current aspiring PR professionals, he had these two pieces of advice on how to get in the PR field:

  1. Join PRSSA! If you haven’t joined PRSSA while in school, now is the time to do so! It’s an important organization that will help you build the structure for understanding the PR field. It gives you the opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it! Whether you’re an e-board member, or a general member, do your best to be involved and stay active. Joining the organization isn’t enough. You’ve got to actually get out there, get portfolio pieces, make connections, and start to brand yourself as a professional. Jason explained that he knows that most students who go through PRSSA know the importance of a good portfolio because it shows that you already know how to do the work. It’s nice for someone who is hiring to know a candidate doesn’t need to be taught from scratch because it saves that employer a lot of time to simply make suggestions instead of hold a course.
  2. Sell yourself through your resume. A resume, as he explained, sells your personal brand through “connecting the dots.”  Use your resume to give a brief explanation of your time at school, but your portfolio to show the pieces of the puzzle. If you feel like you don’t have much experience, don’t sweat it! Anything you did in class, from communication plans to any big projects, will work great in a portfolio. If you’ve written it, it’s worth putting in!

There was some advice offered for those in the PR field already, too. Dealing with the media can be intimidating, because we as PR people sometimes think that the media are only out for themselves and they’ll take anything we say and run with it. This isn’t true! Reporters, journalists, disc jockeys; they’re all out to do a job, and they can’t do their job without us any more than we can do our jobs without them. That’s why it’s important to have a good relationship with them.

Having a good relationship with the media is important for PR pros so that there is a rapport built where they know they can count on you to be honest and truthful. However, you’re not always going to be the one speaking to the media; sometimes, your clients have to do it instead. It’s your job to make sure they know how to talk to the media and how to get their point across.

  • TV and Radio run on time, and time is of the essence. You have to make sure your clients know that they need to answer questions as completely as possible within ten to fifteen seconds. They need to relay in their answer a key message; the most important kernel of information. Also, don’t be afraid of the camera or the microphone. Being uncomfortable reads more than your key message will, and if the audience is distracted by fidgeting or stuttering, they will tune out.
  • Print media run on deadlines! You need to deal with deadlines with as much care as possible. Make yourself accessible and be understanding to their needs; the journalists will respect you more in the long run. Respect their medium and respect their time. Just because print media has hit a rough patch doesn’t mean it’s any less important to our field. Besides, a lot of columnists have blogs these days that they keep up with along with their published articles. Their message is being heard one way or another so a good PR pro will keep that in mind. And don’t go off the record (unless it’s someone you really trust, but even then be wary). Going off the record opens up doors that can lead down dangerous roads and it’s much better for you, and the journalist, if you keep everything said on the books.

Jason was open, honest, and completely welcoming to any questions or comments we had for him. Our student body at the meeting was genuinely interested in all of the advice he had to offer and his willingness to offer individual attention to up and coming PR professionals. Thanks again, Jason, for making an awesome guest speaker. 🙂


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