Community Relations @ UVA

Hi Everyone,

As I mentioned I’m not going to be posting on here as often as I’d like to but I’d like to provide a bit of an update. I’m currently working as a Community Relations Intern in the Office of University Communications at the University of Virginia from now until July 25th. I’m two weeks into my primary project of helping to update the University of Virginia’s community outreach directory known as Outreach Virginia. This is my second time working at a school at which I’m not a student so I’ve adjusted fairly quickly.

There are some things that I’ve gotten to understand (like what a Wahoo is, why graduation is called Final Exercises, why the quad is called a lawn). Here they denote years like in Canada (1st year, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc following Jefferson’s notion that you never stop learning..and it just makes more sense) which is nice.

People here are really nice in a way that reminds me of Canada. Campus is beautiful and I’ve explored the area a bit (which you can see on my Instagram account) and it’s a great combination of necessary amenities and being close to nature and hiking trails.

However, I can’t get too comfortable. I still have to send back two sets of journals discussing my experiences here and how public relations theories mesh with reality. I’ll done this internship (and all of my master’s coursework) July 25th and I’ll be looking for full-time work. I’m looking at listings across the US and Canada for positions at higher ed instituations that include social media outreach (be it in an admissions, communications, alumni relations, or individual college office) that begin as early as July 29th. I’ll update everyone here with any progress (and likely another “Hire Me” post) in the near future.

Quick Update

Hi everybody,

So I’ve been very busy finishing up work to complete my M.S. in Public Relations here at Newhouse, taking a Visual and Multimedia Journalism class, interning in the marketing and communication office here at Syracuse University, and seeking a full-time job starting in June. Given that, posting here has unfortunately gone by the wayside at times.

Today though, I had time to tone and upload some photos from a trip to San Francisco. I also uploaded a Syracuse University “Sense of Place” video to YouTube, and had my post on WCG rock star Chuck Hemann’s talk about social analytics published on Syracuse University’s social media blog which (for which I’m seeking submissions from all SU students).

I should have a few more posts up before too long.

I’ll be writing about my best practices paper on higher ed use of social media (which will be written after I attend Michael Stoner’s talk on exactly that at PRSA’s Counselors to Higher Education Senior Summit next week), the forthcoming Tobacco-Free campus initiative campaign book my PR campaigns class group is working on with our client the Lerner Center, and hopefully at least a couple digital literacy/job hunt videos I’m working on at SU. (I know AP style but I’m going to use it whenever I’m not forced to abandon it).

For now here’s my Syracuse University sense of place video

and my apology for not posting often by way of a picture of an adorable dog I found in Berkeley, CA who was nice enough to pose for me:

San Francisco Tourist Photo

Higher Ed / College Campus Photos

College Campus Photos

Over the past couple months, as part of my Multimedia and Visual Journalism course at Newhouse I’ve taken hundreds of photos. Here are a few from around campus.

Syracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University S.I. Newhouse School Public RelationsSyracuse University S.I. Newhouse School Public Relations
Syracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographyMike Swartz presenting at the Newhouse Tablet Magazine CompetitionTablet Magazine Design Competition
Tablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionSyracuse University PhotographyTablet Magazine Design Competition


Learning beyond the classroom

how to get a job

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 11.18.50 PM

I just received my final grades for this past semester. I’m halfway done my master’s degree and I have an excellent GPA. That’s all fine and dandy but that’s not going to get me an interview, much less a job.

As Newhouse’s graduate student employment statistics document makes clear,

“A master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a better job right away or higher salary without professional experience before beginning a master’s program. Instead, a master’s degree pays off in the form of earlier promotions and raises a few years after graduation.”

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to be doing immediately after Newhouse in June (creating web content and managing social media for higher ed). The issue now is to make the most of the time and energy I have in the next 5 months to ensure I’m the most qualified I am for the kind of positions to which I’ll be applying. So, in addition to taking the required

Understanding Financial Statements,
Financial Markets and Institutions,
Public Relations Practicum,
Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

and Public Relations Management, I’ll be working on skills I’ll need to land my first job.

I’ve looked at dozens of job listings similar to those I’ll be applying for in April. I’ve found that there things that employers either require or prefer for those positions that aren’t covered to the extent I need in my curriculum but which I can improve upon in the meantime. Below are those skills and what I’m doing/have done to improve them.

Basic Photography/Videography  – taking a Newhouse course that covers

  • Multi-Platform Photojournalism using Multiple Mediums
  • HDSLR Camera Handling Basics for Video and Stills
  • Lighting for still and video
  • Still, sound and motion collection
  • The visual and auditory narrative
  • The interview, working with your subject
  • Video shooting and editing sequences
  • Nonlinear editing
  • Working with changing technology

Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS – Taking HTML Essential Training (including a CSS primer) on

Web Analytics – Taking Google Analytics Essential Training on

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS6 – Individual courses on (in addition to GRA 617)

Managing Social Media Platforms (my PR Practicum with Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University in addition to my prior experience)

That’s about it for now.

P.S.: If you’re a recruiter at a college or university and want to know more about me, here’s my resume and a little more.

Geoff Campbell’s Resume

Geoff Campbell Resume

My Resume is current as of March, 2014. See my LinkedIn profile for more information.

Finding a Job in #highered / #heweb

Recently, I asked Seth Odell (@sethodell) of Higher Ed Live, during his show, what advice he had for getting a job in communications for higher education. He said that it can be tough to get into but that I higher ed institutions hire people from outside the industry and that once I’m in, I’m in due to how much collaboration and networking there is in higher ed (at least when it comes to communication and marketing).

I absolutely found that true when I started out working at Mount Allison University and found that collaboration, especially in LinkedIn groups was simply astounding at the time. People at institutions across North America shared their accomplishments, asked interesting questions, and helped each other with practical advice.

I can foresee the positive sense of community increasing once I find permanent work in higher ed communications.

The hard part is getting a foot in the door somewhere to start out and not get pigeonholed into a “Writer” position. The latter doesn’t seem to be an issue as there seems to be a lot of employee turnover in higher ed communications. Ron Bronson said, in the above mentioned #HigherEdLive  show, that moving around is a strong option for people who don’t see room for advancement in their current position.

I’ve also branched out into things like #EMchat for Enrollment Management (think admissions and retention) to see what job requirements are like in that area of higher ed.

I tried something new and made a Storify of my experience to date that which has generally been well-received.

I’ve joined eduniverse, and began following/re-following crucial Twitter accounts like @eduwebconf@SMCBoston@HighEdWeb@CASEAdvance@eduguru@insidehighered @HigherEdJobs@chronicle@mikepetroff@EricStoller, and others.

Depending on financing and how my job search is going, I hope to attend the The PRSA 2013 Counselors to Higher Education (CHE) Senior Summit in Washington, DC and/or #PSUWeb13 in State College, PA to learn and *gasp* network to find helpful colleagues and a potential employer.

So in the end there’s not a whole lot that’s new. I’ve found exactly zero job postings for communications related positions in higher ed that start when I need to have a job (June 3, 2013). I’ll continue talking with as many knowledgable/helpful people I can in hopes of being the best prepared as I can be when I formally begin applying for jobs probably in April.

Seeking Work in Higher Ed

Geoff Campbell

I’d like to announce a bit earlier than I need to that I’m looking for a full-time job starting Monday, June 3rd, 2013.

I could simply post my resume and explain why in 100 words or less why you, a manager in a higher education communication office, should hire me but I can do better.

Here’s a little Storify presentation about me and why I’d be a great web writer/public relations specialist at your college or university this summer.

  1. To start off, my name is Geoff Campbell. Here’s what I look like:
  2. I’ve lived all over North America.
  3. I earned my bachelor’s degree at Mount Allison University, the best undergraduate university in Canada.
  4. While I was there I studied International Relations, eventually being published in an Undergraduate Academic Journal.
  5. As part of the program I had to learn a language so I chose French and took advantage of an immersion program.
  6. On the advice of a professor I started writing outside of class. I started writing about what was familiar to me.
  7. then I branched out a bit into the unfamiliar.
  8. I started writing for the admissions office and continued writing until I graduated in 2012.
  9. While I worked there I wrote about my life there through words,
  10. photos,
  11. and video.
  12. Student Voices: Why did you come to Mount Allison University?

    Fri, Apr 15 2011 17:13:52
  13. My blog writing caught the eye of the Communications and Marketing Office who hired me as a paid intern.
  14. There I wrote news articles
  15. and created other written and photo content on behalf of the school.
  16. More importantly, however, I conducted a social media audit and drafted the school’s first social media strategy and guidelines.
  17. I also did much of the planning, interviewing, and promotion of the school’s 20-video series designed to reduce summer melt.
  18. I then moved onto doing videography myself and with a student volunteer, created a video of graduating students discussing their future to give prospective students an idea of the worth of the Mount Allison University experience.
  19. Mount Allison Class of 2012 Graduating Students

    Mon, Nov 26 2012 18:24:58
  20. When I wasn’t studying, writing my blog or working for the communications office I kept busy.
  21. I represented Amnesty International Mount Allison at the national conference and Human Rights College where I received training in public speaking, public relations, and effective event planning.
  22. I then organized a visit by Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Aboriginal Rights Campaigner.
  23. Over one summer, I interned in Student Affairs at Berklee College of Music
  24. During my final year I worked as the first Online Editor for the student newspaper, The Argosy, where I helped migrate the website from WordPress to Drupal and helped improve their online and social media presences.
  25. I did all of the technical support for a regional conference
  26. including live-streaming/live-tweeting a Skype conversation with Canada’s most respected news anchor, Peter Mansbridge.
  27. Peter Mansbridge on Social Media for Journalism

    Wed, Nov 09 2011 16:09:46
  28. I represented the paper at the Canadian University Press National Conference in Victoria, BC.
  29. I brought back insights from more experienced web editors which helped tremendously in improving our Facebook engagement
  30. and website statistics.
  31. I also covered digital technology use by the University
  32. the student government
  33. and students.
  34. After graduating from Mount Allison University with an Honours B.A. in International Relations I decided to pursue a career in communication and accepted an admissions offer from the Newhouse School.
  35. Here, so far I’ve improved my resume
  36. by creating a full media kit in a PR writing class accompanied by work in graphics, including a poster for the fictitious event
  37.  and other work culminating in the creation of a fully functional and interactive iPad magazine section.
  38. when I haven’t been doing schoolwork I’ve worked as a graduate assistant where I’m helping a multimedia professor do research for his book.
  39. staying abreast of social media trends and best practice
  40. and writing for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies
    (iSchool) Blog.
  41. I’m currently finishing courses in PR Writing for Digital Platforms, PR Theory, PR Research, and Media Law. In the Spring semester I’ll be working at two internships and auditing a videography class on top of PR Campaigns, PR Management and two finance classes.
  42. I’m seeking full-time work in communications beginning June 3, 2012. I can be reached at any time via @GeoffBCampbell and

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?

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 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:

Getting a PR job in a changing communications landscape

In about a year I’ll be applying for a full-time job in Communications/Public Relations after completing requirements of my master’s degree in Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I know in order stay ahead of the competition I’ll have to do more than the required coursework. I’ll have to do outside research in order to develop the skills PR pros need today. In addition to the basic PR skills I’ll learn in school (for which PRWeek awarded Newhouse in 2011), I’ll need to demonstrate that I’m capable of:

-Developing public relations and social media strategies, integrated programs and success metrics that are aligned to business objectives and priorities.
-Effectively managing relationships with Public Relations and Social Media agencies and facilitate integration with agency partners to ensure strategic alignment
-Driving the creation of a strategic public relations and social media plan with on-going consideration of the role consumer content creators and digital technology play in communicating PR messages to our target audiences.
-Working with client and account teams to define KPI’s for success and track against them and implement measurement programs to address client KPI’s.
-Working with account teams to provide analysis of social landscape and audience buzz volume, frequency, velocity, demographics, and related dimensions.

and more skills that have yet to be formalized. The field of public relations is in flux and formal education is not enough to remain the most relevant and most valuable job applicant. Arik Hanson listed 10 skills PR pros must develop (by 2022, but I believe they will be valuable much earlier) in his post.

However many different skills I need to develop above and beyond schoolwork (graphic design, PR writing, media law, business courses, writing for digital platforms, theory, research, management, campaign planning and execution, and two internships), I’m not waiting until courses start to start my own education.

I’ve begun reading Brian Solis’ The End of Business as Usual, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents, and Katie Paine’s Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. If there are any current PR, digital, marketing, social strategy etc pros reading this, what else do you suggest to give myself a leg up and be prepared for the new social reality of PR when I graduate?

By the way, the kind of job I want after I finish earning my degree is working as a Community Manager for Edelman Digital (in California, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, or Toronto (I also have Canadian citizenship)). Details below:

Community Manager – Digital

Location: CHICAGO
Job Req #: 1939


Edelman Digital is in search of a Community Manager!Edelman Digital is the digital and social media arm of Edelman, the largest independent PR firm in the world. We are 600 full-time digital professionals focusing on the intersection of culture, commerce and media, assisting brands in leveraging digital and social tools to further engage their markets. Ad Age listed Edelman in the top 10 agencies of the decade – the only PR agency to make the list.  We believe that is because we combine deep digital expertise with Edelman’s incredible communication credentials to create integrated and effective communications and experiences for our clients.  We focus on the intersection of culture, commerce and media, assisting brands in leveraging digital and social tools to further engage their markets in ways that lead to improved relevance, affinity and preference….and ultimately, revenue.

If you share this vision and think you have what it takes to help us take our Chicago team (and business!) to new heights, read on. Please note this position is 32 hours a week.

The Community Manager must have three to five years of communications experience
The Community Manager should have a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in journalism/business/marketing, a solid grasp of community management/digital marketing, a strong social media footprint, and acute knowledge of emerging trends and technologies.
S/he should have excellent skills, both written and verbal, and thrive in a fast-paced business environment while working effectively with team members and clients. Core understanding of brands and brand character a plus, and online campaign experience for a CPG client is preferred.
S/he must be motivated, detailed-oriented, analytical and highly organized with the ability to manage multiple project deadlines efficiently.
Be the eyes, ears and mouth of the brand online – monitor all community engagement and conversation within social hubs/online destinations
Be a trusted liaison between the brand and constituents
Be a conversation driver by creating quality content on a daily basis that elicits community interaction
Track and monitor conversations online to glean actionable insights and deliver analysis reports
Help guide the strategic direction of the brand’s social engagement
Report on events prior to, at, and after the experience (stream video, post updates, post live pictures)
Research new media technology; Understand and apply advanced search knowledge for both visibility and investigative needs

About Edelman:
Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 63 offices and more than 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year.” Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (brands + experiences), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment), and Edelman Consulting. Visit for more information. Edelman is an Equal Opportunity Employer.