A Job I’m Qualified for Now but Can’t Have

One of the most frustrating aspects of being in a master’s program after already having worked full-time in a communications office and knowing what I want to continue working in is the realization that there are a lot of jobs currently being offered which I’m qualified for but which won’t be available when I can work full-time on June 2nd, 2013.

Take, for instance, this Communications Coordinator position at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY.

With a refresher in HTML and some practice with CSS I think I could convince Manhattan College to hire me today. But alas I have just under seven months left here before I’m free full-time.

The Manhattan College Marketing and Communication office seeks a communications coordinator to assist in various communication and administrative efforts/projects within the department. The communications coordinator will play an integral role in supporting branding development, media relations, multimedia/social media, preparing budgets, publications and special events.

The position will be the gatekeeper of the department interfacing regularly with the President’s Office, Board of Trustees, deans, distinguished alumni, faculty and media.

In this role, the communications coordinator will have the opportunity to attend special events, conduct research, fact check, plan photo shoots, write magazine and web articles, and manage interns and support other marketing and communications initiatives as needed.

This position has growth potential for the right candidate and if interested in a particular area (graphic design, feature writing, special events, social media, video editing) within the office, the communication coordinator can have increased exposure to special projects within this area. Some evenings and weekends required for special events.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in communication, English or journalism Experience: Two or more years of related experience
Skills: Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and Google apps (Gmail, Google calendar, Google docs); Familiar with Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and/or Bridge
Candidates must supply a portfolio of writing samples

Preferred Skills:

Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS and Drupal CMS
Experience with Vocus Media Database software
Knowledge of copyediting and Associated Press Style Guide
Photography experience
Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Bridge

I’m now a “Hootsuite Certified Professional”

After getting an offer for free “Hootsuite University” training via Klout Perks I spent a few hours going through the certification process to become a “Hootsuite Certified Professional“. Shortly thereafter I got an email from a potential Hootsuite University student asking if employers valued the certification. I don’t have any firsthand knowledge but my feeling is that it wouldn’t hurt and the extent to which it might be helpful is the extent to which you have demonstrated or can demonstrate your knowledge.

The certification itself demonstrates that you know how to use the software to engage on multiple social media platforms strategically but I think discussing how that would inform how you would  manage social media for an organization would be more valuable during an interview.

I earned the certificate because it may have a positive impact on my prospects of getting hired for a social media-related position. There’s a lot of junk “certifications” out there but Hootsuite is an industry leader so at the very least it’s not a negative indicator.

What do all of you think of the certificate?

Starbucks VP Speech at Newhouse

On Friday, James Olson, Vice President, Global Public Relations for Starbucks Coffee Company, came to campus to present his talk, “Enlightened Leadership: How to Turn a Company into a Movement”.

It was a story about how the company, according to media reports, was in dire straits in October 2008. The stock was tumbling so Howard Schultz came back to take charge.

The company held a giant meeting of store managers in New Orleans to try to reboot Starbucks’ brand identity and increase employee morale.

He showed a video about the national training event that ended with the message “People started coming back to the stores and we showed up again.”

The company at the same time introduced a new mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit: one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time.”

The company’s sales and stock price improved and crisis was averted.

Olson then discussed Howard Schultz’ campaign to pressure other corporate CEOs to not give contributions to political campaigns until Congress made progress in helping improve the economy. One hundred and forty CEOs signed on but it was largely a failed exercise. Schultz then wanted to help bring jobs back to the US and Starbucks started the Jobs for USA campaign to get people to donate to an organization that finances small businesses that couldn’t get loans from banks. It raised $50 million in donations and helped create thousands of jobs.

He then showed a video of American Mug & Stein which Create Jobs for USA helped to reinvigorate which led to many jobs being saved in the US.

He ended with a video about the company’s investment in a Leadership Lab to help make its front-line employees into brand evangelists.

Overall it was a pretty compelling talk. As a teenager I worked at the company for about nine months as a Barista at a very busy location (that’s the point, isn’t it?) so I knew about the company. His presentation was successful, by measure of crowd applause and reaction on Twitter in turning a roomful of people who may have just been dependent on coffee into people who were convinced in the worth of the company and some who said they wanted to work there because of his presentation.

W2O Group Creates Center @NewhouseSU

This morning Jim Weiss announced the opening of the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Here’s how it went.

  1. W2OGroup
    The Next Generation of Communications : Excited to announce Center for Social Commerce with @NewhouseSU #W2ONewhouse http://w.cg/TeX5yL
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 05:13:48
  2. WeissWord
    Excited to announce the @W2OGroup Center for Social Commerce with @NewhouseSU #W2ONewhouse http://w.cg/TeX5yL
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 05:34:15
  3. JennGottlieb
    Syracuse alum & @W2OGroup founder and CEO @Weissword announces Center for Social Commerce w/ @NewhouseSU #W2ONewhouse http://w.cg/TeX5yL
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 05:36:59
  4. WCGWorld
    The Next Generation of Communications : @W2OGroup announces Center for Social Commerce with @NewhouseSU #W2ONewhouse http://w.cg/TeX5yL
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 05:37:19
  5. In the morning he gave a few interviews about his $100,000 grant project.
  6. HillCommPR
    Students helping with the big @NewhouseSU and @w2ogroup announcement! #W2ONewhouse http://pic.twitter.com/AVDbRq5P
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 05:43:05
  7. At around 9am an e-mail was sent from PRSSA to “influential” tweeters at Syracuse University about a “W2O Group Social Media Contest” in which two people who follow @W2OGroup and tweet about the event will be chosen at random for two $50 gift cards. It seemed to be a pretty effective contest because most of the tweet were promotional and using language identical to their sample language.
  8. twist_mktg
    Announcing… The @W2OGroup Center for Social Commerce with @NewhouseSU #W2ONewhouse http://w.cg/TeX5yL
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 06:20:39
  9. deannap09
    SO cool! @NewhouseSU new home of @W2OGroup Center for Social Commerce – preparing students for real world! #W2ONewhouse http://ow.ly/f9If3
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 06:21:05
  10. NewhouseSU
    @WeissWords of @W2OGroup preparing to give a presentation on Social Commerce and make an announcement #NHPRDay #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:31:08
    Jim Weiss of @w2ogroup #w2onewhouse #NHPRDay @NewhousePR http://pic.twitter.com/jm1PSEOn
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:31:40
  12. vbklyn
    Our own @WeissWord takes the stage for #W2ONewhouse #socialcommerce talk. @W2OGroup http://pic.twitter.com/DFSydKCg
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:34:13
  13. He began by discussing the importance of big data.
  14. NewhouseSU
    “Micro targeting powered by big data can make something really big happen.” – @weissword #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:34:59
  15. NewhouseSU
    – @weissword calls Obama campaign “micro targeting on steroids” #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:36:31
  16. NewhouseSU
    @WeissWord: Usung data is critical to doing communications jobs better #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:38:30
  17. He then moved onto describing the changing media landscape.
  18. lysmiron
    @WeissWord discussing how we’ve changed the way we consume media: more online, more channels of receiving information #w2ONewhouse #NHPRDay
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:40:01
  19. Olivia_Farnham
    “Are you creating communication that can live on a device? Does it have impact on that device?” -Jim Weiss #W2ONewhouse #NHPRDay
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:41:16
  20. Olivia_Farnham
    Four drivers of change: Newsflow, human behavior, media consumption patterns, and the social footprint #W2ONewhouse @W2OGroup #NHPRDay
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:43:06
  21. Lfoti
    Awesome crowd in the Herg for @WeissWord announcement on Center for Social Commerce #W2ONewhouse @W2OGroup #NHPRDay http://pic.twitter.com/WyylBrFt
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:43:50
  22. zoeytopper
    Four drivers of change: newsflow, human behavior, consumption patterns and social footprint #w2onewhouse #NHPRDay http://pic.twitter.com/2sQQ07yy
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:46:53
  23. ..and finally came the unveiling of the new center.
  24. DR4WARD
    – @NewhouseSU @W2Ogroup = #W2ONewhouse Cntr for #SocialCommerce http://ow.ly/1Ptker #NHPRDay http://twitpic.com/bbr211
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:47:04
  25. He spoke about what PR professionals need to focus on and he specifically mentioned how people are more interested in photo and video than text-only press releases.
  26. NewhouseSU
    Stories must be told in different ways to succeed – words only won’t get far – people are visual learners #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:50:49
  27. MelanieKussell
    65% of people believe they are visual learners- use video and pictures to tell stories @WeissWord #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:50:12
  28. anmarino46
    News flow drivers: blogs, Twitter, FB wall, mainstream media and video #W2ONewhouse #NHPRDay
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:52:20
  29. He then discussed the change from having a ‘media list’ of 200 contact to targeting 5 whose content really reaches your target audience.
  30. KWVesty
    Do a ‘surround sound’ for the person you influence- look at who they influence and who influences them #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:55:32
    50 key people drive conversation about your brand – @weissworld #W2ONewhouse #NHPRDay @NewhousePR
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:53:24
  32. juancpedreira
    The evolution from advertising to storytizing…The ability to match passion and actiok with new content #W2ONewhouse
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 08:56:06
  33. MelanieKussell
    “@WeissWord #NHPRDAY #W2ONewhouse “what is cool about Newhouse is that it is a business school,don’t forget that”
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 09:00:56
  34. There was a lot of support for the center
    The @W2OGroup Center for Social Commerce will help put our students ahead of the curve and the competition #W2ONewhouse #NHPRDay @NewhousePR
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 09:08:58
  36. But nobody had yet explained what the center will actually do.
  37. mmcleven
    Can someone explain exactly what it is? #W2ONewhouse #centerforsocialcommerce
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 09:08:03
  38. In the press release though, it says,
  39. This partnership will provide opportunities for Newhouse students and professors to rotate through the various W2O Group offices in San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, New York and London, interact with the firm’s clients, and learn from experts in analytics, digital, social, corporate, technology and research areas. In return, senior W2O Group leaders will guest lecture at Newhouse and work with the University’s faculty to create new courses and update existing ones.
  40. Weiss said the center opens now and that students would benefit but there doesn’t yet seem to be any concrete plans in place for lectures or other events that will benefit current students.
  41. Question period was short but there were some helpful answers.
  42. lysmiron
    “You learn more from failure. So I hope you fail. Fail fast and move on.” @WeissWord #w2ONewhouse #NHPRDay
    Fri, Nov 09 2012 09:17:31
  43. I asked given that Newhouse prides itself on being innovative and using a curriculum that meets the needs of the real world, if photography and videography should be required part of the curriculum for all PR students.
    Weiss answered with an unambiguous yes. He said despite some recent arguments about whether that should be left to advertising or creatives he said brands, including larger ones like Hersey need PR people to create visual content on a small budget, meaning it falls to public relations professionals.

Writing for the iSchool’s Blog

The School for Information Studies at Syracuse University's InfoSpace Blog
The School for Information Studies at Syracuse University's InfoSpace Blog

The School for Information Studies at Syracuse University‘s InfoSpace Blog

Today my first post as a blogger for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies’ InfoSpace Blog was published. It’s a little piece on the IFTTT (really awesome) automation service and it being forced to remove triggers for Twitter due to Twitter more strictly enforcing its API rules regarding storing Twitter content on cloud servers.

Writing for the iSchool’s blog is just one of many things I’m doing to supplement formal classes while I have another 8 months before working full-time. I’ve also began studying basic programming at the Code Academy, became a HootSuite Certified Professional, and am planning a bit of a vlog in addition to my job as Multimedia Storytelling Book Graduate Research Assistant for Professor Seth Gitner, being the graduate student representative on the Newhouse Tenure Committee and auditing ICC 625: New Media Business.

It’s a lot of work but it’s necessary because (despite the fact that I think investing in this degree will be worthwhile) the PR curriculum here, and, arguably, no PR curriculum anywhere, teaches the skills that PR employers will require in the near future. I’ll hopefully be posting here more regularly on my progress here.

Getting a Job after Newhouse

LinkedIn University of Maryland Communications Specialist
LinkedIn University of Maryland Communications Specialist

LinkedIn University of Maryland Communications Specialist

“I want this job and I know I have a good chance of landing because I’m qualified, experienced and very eager to work in this role.”

That’s what I’m going to say in eight months when I’ll have successfully completed all of the on-campus requirements of my degree (M.S. in Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications) and am looking for full-time work. I’ll be looking at a job description like this one (excerpted below) from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Why am I so confident? Because I know I already have the skills necessary for the job. As you can see below, I have specific, public recommendations from supervisors attesting to my qualification in regards to the job duties and have more than adequate “Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities” for the job as evidenced by my portfolio and work experience. This isn’t to say that there aren’t many others with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the job, but I think I have an advantage because I’ve put in the time to display my qualifications online.

Why did I come to graduate school when many consider my degree unnecessary? I came here because I wouldn’t have Deloitte, GE, Dannon, and others recruiting in my living room but they are coming/have come to campus to recruit students like me.

It’s not as though the last 12 weeks have radically transformed me from someone who knew nothing about hard work, good writing, or effective teamwork into someone who does. But that doesn’t matter to employers. I can say I know this, that, and the other but it only matters because I have something to back it up.

I’m in this program not only because I have the competence for it but because other people and ETS have said (through my undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores) that I am.

Graduate school is a perfect filter for employers. They already know we’re well-qualified (someone with a Ph.d said we were better than 90% of other applicants), ambitious (spending the time and effort to do well here), and motivated (self-evident strong personal interest and reality of having to repay student loans).

So, while the information below will show that I could very well apply for this job today, I don’t want to have to go back to school later on in order to advance to a managerial position. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers made an average of $91,810 in 2010 while Public Relations Specialists earned $52,090. The disparity in wages and the increased speed of promotions that come with having a master’s degree, I’m betting, is worth the investment in time and money. Some PR professionals encourage people to get experience before pursuing a master’s in order to increase their chances of getting a job immediately following graduation.

A recent study from Georgetown University found that Public Relations and Advertising graduate degrees had among the lowest return on investment at 12%.

Additionally, a master’s degree in Public Relations was noted by Bankrate.com as one of 5 graduate degrees that don’t pay off. This determination rested on the relatively low average return on investment (which may be skewed as it including advertising graduate degrees as well), and the opinion of two  Liz Pulliam Weston, a columnist for MSN Money and Kristen Harris, who owns a staffing agency in Columbus, Ohio. However, the national survey and broad statements by those not in the PR field need to be taken in context.

I suspect if a proper survey were conducted Newhouse PR graduates would fare better than average. Newhouse graduate programs, in general, are successful. 89% of survey respondents who graduated from 2006-2009 from graduate programs at Newhouse were employed within 6 months of graduation. Additionally, I could have gone to more prestigious and nationally better known schools but I chose Newhouse because it’s the best choice for what I want. As well, the PR program here is respected enough for Richard Edelman to speak at last year’s convocation and partner with the school for one of Edelman’s diversity initiatives.

Anyway I’m highly biased so my opinion doesn’t count for much. I’m heavily invested in the idea that a master’s degree will help in the long-run and so I guess we’ll see in about ten years if I’m right or not. At the very least I’m sure that being properly educated in PR writing, graphic design, research, and business basics will, in addition to the experience-related credentials below, put me over the edge and secure me a job.

Without further adieu, here’s a few recommendations and the corresponding job responsibility followed by desired skills and the relevant evidence of those skills.


(Communications Specialist)


Desired Skills & Experience

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

The Newhouse School is Hiring

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication is hiring a new chair of the Public Relations Department and two new tenure-track professors.

The importance of having full-time, tenure-track professors teaching these programs would be difficult to overstate. If you or anyone you know is interested in applying go to www.sujobopps.com.

via newhouse.syr.edu:

Chair, Public Relations Department

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications seeks a Chair for the Public Relations Department—one of the most successful and highly-regarded Public Relations programs in the United States. The successful applicant will have a teaching, research and service record appropriate for hiring at the level of Associate or Full Professor. The successful applicant will become the Public Relations Department Chair starting July 2013.

For full descriptions and online application instructions, go to www.sujobopps.com. Under “Search open positions” enter Job #029566.

Assistant/Associate Professors in Public Relations

The S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University invites applications for two tenure-track positions in Public Relations. One position is at the rank of assistant professor and the other is at the rank of assistant or associate professor. The positions will add to our nationally-recognized faculty in the fastest-growing department in the Newhouse School.

For full descriptions and online application instructions, go to www.sujobopps.com. Under “Search open positions” enter Job # 029567 for the Assistant Professor position and Job # 029567 for the Assistant/Associate Professor position.

Richard Branson’s – Humanizing a Brand

PRL 614 Blog Review Assignment

Eccentric billionaire and Charman of Virgin Group Richard Branson authors a blog on the Virgin website where he writes on various topics from his time signing the Sex Pistols and the Golden Jubilee kerfuffle, the key to negotiating, to supporting drug legalization.

The posts in their totally not only provide a glimpse into the thinking of Branson but the kind of chairman he is the kind of companies he runs. By writing freely about what he thinks he gives the idea that the Virgin group of companies is a forward- and free-thinking group of companies.

It fits in with the other types of fresh communication from shooting an entire movie at 35,000 feet to promote Virgin Airlines to ‘fight the man’ type advertisements for its other brands (especially Virgin Music).

In general CEOs should be encouraged to write blogs to give a face to their companies. While there is the potential risk of having a less-than media-friendly executive hurting the brand image in various ways, for the most part CEO blogs have been positive insights into companies from the people who know them best.

#NBCFail: A Post-mortem

During the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, viewers in the United States quickly became frustrated with the company given exclusive U.S. broadcasting rights to the games and used the hashtag #NBCFail to express their frustration on Twitter. They were frustrated with their “shoddy streaming experiences, editorial mistakes and — most of all — NBC’s preference for obfuscating footage of major Olympic events until airing tape-delayed primetime broadcasts stateside.

There were tape delays of sometimes up to twelve hours and people were so frustrated with NBC offering poor-quality live-streaming of the events only to those who pay for cable TV service that they used anti-internet censorship technology in order to connect with non-U.S. streams.

As Heidi Moore of the Guardian reports,

“Prominent, media-savvy journalists, academics and viewers have spread the word to each other to use VPN technology and proxy services like TunnelBear and StreamVia to scramble our computer’s addresses into ones that can access the BBC iPlayer, where 24 soothing streams of well-organized, brightly narrated, clever Olympics coverage await us.”

However, it wasn’t just about the tape delay, but “the determined refusal of NBC to acknowledge that some viewers might want live coverage“, poor narration of some events, and even insulting viewer intelligence.

Other failures by the company include cutting out a memorial to the victims of terrorism from the live broadcast, a spoiler of Missy Franklin’s gold medal win, and getting Twitter to suspend the Twitter account of a journalist critical of the coverage, and delaying broadcast of Usain Bolt’s gold medal win until four hours after it happens in the name of protecting their financial investment.

Jim Bell, who produced NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, defended his decision:

This is one thing you watch together. And if you kind of end up giving it away on TV you’re not protecting your investment and you’re not serving the audience and you’re not serving the affiliates and you’re not serving the advertisers.”

In the end I’d have to agree with the critics and say that NBC failed to live up to its viewers expectations. However, this time NBC seemed to be more focused on the bottom-line and didn’t care that people were upset at being forced to watch delayed broadcasts on TV because they served their advertisers by playing the most popular events in primetime. However, the media world is changing so quickly that by the next Olympics people may have lost their patience and technology will easily allow them to boycott NBC coverage in favor of foreign broadcasts to get their Olympics coverage. NBC isn’t alone in having to change their business model to face these changes. Many companies are having trouble monetizing online content enough to defray production costs. Let’s all hope someone finds a solution because to see coverage of these events, somebody has to pay.

Social Media + PR Guest Lecture

On Wednesday, Christy Touhey, @NewhouseSU’s Web Content Manager was a guest lecture in our PRL 614: Advanced Public Relations Writing for Digital Platforms at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

I thought her presentation overall was a great introduction to the professional use of social media. She covered reasons why companies use social media. While it’s very broad but covers most of the bases when it comes to public relations.

to widen your outreach
to let your audience know more about your organization
to found out more about your audience
to build relationships
to get your audience to share about you
to cut costs
to increase revenue or influence

I would agree with those points but I found some of the specific examples troublesome. When giving examples of ‘good’ tweets I found, and she half-admitted contained excessive hashtags that took away from the key message. I found the Follow Friday snippet to be overly broad. Her tweet included far too many handles and no reason WHY one should follow them.

Again, overall I think it was a good introduction for most but as I’ve worked as the ‘social media guy’ at both a university and student newspaper I personally did not hear anything I hadn’t learned before. However I think her talk was helpful and provided some specifics on the basics of using social media and a useful overview of why it’s important to the profession.