TGC in NYC

Megan McCourtAccount Supervisor, PPR Worldwide

Former Tehama Group Communications Editorial Director and General Manager, 2010-2011

It’s nearing that time of the year where graduating students frantically polish their resumes, spend hours online searching for that dream first job and, if others are like me, practice interviewing for hours in front of the bathroom mirror.

Wanting to move to New York, I reached out to two Tehama Group Communications alumnae to learn about their current experiences in public relations and the Big Apple.

 

After TGC

As an Account Supervisor at PPR Worldwide, Dell’s agency of record, McCourt supports a number of executives by managing their speaking opportunities, writing their contributed content and drafting most of their remarks, from social media to speeches. She also heads the global brand team, which embodies Dell’s efforts around entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and diversity/inclusion.

One of the main components of her job is advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs.

I’m helping to change government policy, raise awareness, get more capital into the hands of female entrepreneurs, and provide women with the networks and resources they need to be successful,” McCourt said.

One of her achievements is helping launch an open letter to the presidential candidates a week before the 2016 election. Since the letter launch, she is now working with the new administration and the Small Business Administration to see their ideas put into action.

New York: Rodents, rejection and beauty

McCourt is approaching her four-year anniversary of living in New York and her insight on the city is one that TV does not portray.

“I’m not going to sugar coat it: life in New York is not always easy, but it’s worth it,” McCourt said. “Unless you’re backed by the bank of mom and dad, you’re probably going to live in a tiny, shared apartment; have to deal with bugs and rodents; face numerous rejections (for jobs, dates, apartments); and deal with the weather (sweltering in the summer, freezing in the winter).”

Although that seems far from ideal, New York has much more to offer– a variety of entertainment, a diverse global culture and architecture one would only think about in their dreams. Not only that, but even those on a budget can enjoy big city luxuries on a small town budget.

“There’s always cheap eats and free activities, which is why so many people can skirt by on internships and low-paying gigs,” McCourt said.

Graduating? Start networking

McCourt’s advice to students looking to get their start in PR was simple– leverage your network.

“Almost every job I’ve had came through my extended network,” McCourt said.

McCourt recommends informational interviews for companies you want to work for, buying coffee for those you know who work in communications and not being afraid to ask someone you know to set you up with someone who can be beneficial for you.

Your network is the best tool you’ll have for the rest of your life– start growing it now!”

Stephanie BurkeSenior Account Executive, Highwire PR

Former Tehama Group Communications Account Executive and Social Media Assistant, 2012

Intern to full-time

Burke began her public relations career by accepting an internship at Highwire PR in San Francisco after graduation in 2013. After completion of her six-month internship she was hired on as an account associate.

“The transition from an intern to an account associate is one of the most exciting transitions you can make,” Burke recalls.

Burke explained that interns at Highwire are fully integrated into teams and have client-facing roles. Moving forward as an account associate offered more media, content and planning opportunities. One of the new roles and challenges Burke faced was mentoring interns.

It’s a great time to think about the mentorship you valued as an intern and pass it on to the next generation,” Burke said.

Promotions

Since her first promotion at Highwire in 2013, she has been promoted two other times. She moved to New York in 2014 and was promoted to account executive and in 2015 was promoted to senior account executive. Today her job roles include media relations, client management, different PR writing and general agency operations such as writing for the company blog.

“You can think of an SAE as the account management’s right hand, always there to help guide the team and execute on key initiatives for the client,” Burke said.

City by the Bay vs. City of Dreams

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates New York employs 21,740 people in the public relations field, whereas San Francisco employs 3,640 public relations specialists. However, Burke believes more media is flocking to San Francisco due to tech. Regardless of the new media scene in San Francisco, New Yorkers still have an advantage to those in San Francisco.

“The news breaks in EST. New York PR professionals have the advantage of seeing the news first versus our San Francisco friends who have to wake up a bit earlier to catch the first headline,” Burke said.


Get reading graduates!

A major aspect of public relations is media relations. Reading and watching the news can differentiate you from the crowd. Burkes advice to graduating students is to do such.

Clients want to know how to be on the cover of Forbes and what it takes to join the Good Morning America crew for a segment,” Burke said. “It’s important to understand what makes a good story for these outlets and who their audience is.”

Photos courtesy of Megan McCourt and Stephanie Burke

Written  by Benjamin Liwanag 

The power of networking

A selfie of Michael Beadle and myself, Tina Riccio, in front of Ubisoft SF Head Quarters.

For those of you who are still in your developing collegiate years or even those who have yet to start the job hunt, I cannot stress the importance of networking and making connections enough.

Here, at Chico State the J&PR students are fortunate to be taught by a roster of widely connected professors that diligently work to lead us to an abundance of post-collegiate career opportunities. It is because of this amazing support system of professors that Chico State’s J&PR program has such successful and interactive alumni.

As a young student, I remember rolling my eyes when a professor said to us, “Networking will be the key to your success.” I thought to myself, “Shouldn’t my skills be good enough to get me a job alone?”

Today, as a graduating senior, networking has been a major factor in my success. The greatest example of this is my PR Internship with Ubisoft, the largest grossing video game company in the world today.

One autumn day Michael Beadle, The PR Director of Ubisoft San Francisco and a Chico State J&PR alumni, gave a quick presentation on the types of PR campaigns Ubisoft often runs and I couldn’t have been more mesmerized. I spoke with him after class to ask him more questions and proceeded to connect with him on social media months after his presentation.

After a few tweets back and forth we ended up direct messaging to talk about PR fails and successes. Later, I felt bold enough to send Beadle my resume and that exact moment was when networking got my foot in the door.

Beadle is the Ubisoft Director of PR for the U.S., Canada and South America. It’s safe to say he’s a big deal and that it meant a lot that he forwarded my resume to HR. I couldn’t be more thankful to him for being so open to interacting with me and supporting me. After a rigorous interview process, I was honored to become a Ubisoft PR Intern during the summer months of 2016.

I learned things about PR I had never heard of before. For example, how to efficiently and effectively create coverage reports, media bios and how to teach other how to work with Cision and plan Ubisoft’s long-term analytics strategy.

I also had the chance to write a few press releases which received coverage from journalistic industry leaders IGN and Gamespot. Finally, I got the chance to help run the Pre-Gamescom event held at the Ubisoft SF HQ working the floor and interacting with game industry journalists.

Examples of coverage from industry leaders:

 

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The greatest takeaway from working in a corporate PR office was the extreme importance of always turning in polished work. In college, it is easy to get caught up in the craziness of balancing a million things and at times students turn in unperfected work for one class just to receive some credit instead of none. This is the greatest contrasting difference between the collegiate and business worlds.

When working in the business world you must always turn in completely polished work. If you are running late on a deadline, communicate that to your supervisor and always be sure to turn in your absolute greatest work. Because, to be frank, if you work is subpar so are you.

For my current internship with Tehama Group Communications, I am an Account Executive and I expect polished work from my team. Though TGC is a student-managed agency, our clients buy our work and time and thus they always deserve the highest quality of work possible.

So, if you are interested in joining TGC in the future, know that we hold our standards equally as high as Ubisoft and other corporate PR companies and agencies. Be prepared to run your work through edits and critiques multiple times. Our high quality of work and client relations is what makes TGC a prestigious organization that exponentially better prepares graduates for their post-collegiate careers.

Written  by Tina Riccio

Alumni Spotlight: Sara Pimentel

 

Photo’s by Sara Pimentel.

With May approaching, many of our graduating staffers have begun job hunting and looking to alumni and recent graduates for guidance and direction on what is wanted in a public relations agency. We hear in classes or from internships the importance in making connections. Creating connections is valuable in any field of work but especially in public relations.

Networking is Key

Networking is a valuable skill because it opens opportunities with future clients, PR pros, news outlets and journalists. In TGC we create personal relations with our clients, but it can be easy to forget that the most important relationships we make are with our fellow interns. A great way to network is through the connections that we make with alumni in our agency. Our alumni provided our agency with guidance and growth and it is valuable to stay connected with their lives.

Sara Pimentel, alumna of TGC, graduated from California State University, Chico in Spring 2016. She served TGC for two semesters as an Account Executive and Editorial Director for eight different clients. Since graduation she moved to San Francisco and worked for two different PR companies. She interned for SHIFT Communications and was recently employed as an Assistant Account Executive at Finn Partners. She faced some difficulty transitioning from the small town of Chico to the Bay Area because she had to start from scratch, but was is also exciting for that same reason. She got to recreate herself and build new relations with those surrounding her.

Enjoy what you do

Sara emphasized that when choosing a job, it is important to keep in mind that you need to enjoy going to work every day. On her job search the core culture values she looked for was a company that was understanding, fun, supportive, spontaneous and open. These core values are what led to the beginning of her career at SHIFT Communications.

Sara was thankful for her experience interning with TGC and working on multiple accounts because it prepared her for an unusual experience interning with SHIFT. She worked on 7 to 9 different client accounts simultaneously.

“My team knew it was a lot,” Pimentel said. “But they trusted me, and I was able to do it.”

A company’s culture is everything

 

Moving away can be tough you are given a clean slate, starting a new job can be challenging. Sara said the most important lesson she learned from working at SHIFT is the value of being honest.

“If you have too much on your plate, tell someone,” she said. Pimentel chose SHIFT because of their supportive culture. Finding a supportive agency was valuable to her, she emphasizes how important it is to not be afraid to tell someone you are feeling overwhelmed, you are a team and they are there to help.

Change is good

She has just begun working for Finn Partners, and so far she loves it because it allows her to be more creative. Finn works with consumer technology clients, so she is familiar with the space and the products, but it’s still a new world.

San Francisco has become her home and she does not see herself moving away for a long time. She hopes to become even more confident in her abilities and eventually have people looking to her for advice.

Work with what you have

Her advice to graduating students is: “Know what you want, but be flexible. You have to go with the flow. Some things will happen just like you dreamed they would, but a lot won’t, and you have to make that work.”

Written by, Hope Lumbley.

Resumé Revamp

infographic about resume building

Having a strong resumé is imperative in today’s competitive job market. As you prepare to enter the working world it is important to have a professional resumé that will help you stand out among the other job candidates. The following infographic provides key resumé tips.

infographic about resume building

Written by Tara Holliday, general manager.

Study Abroad and Job Outlook – How to leverage your study abroad experience in an interview to land the position

Anyone who studied abroad knows the experience is truly life-changing. Living and studying abroad helps you develop and test your abilities on the deepest level.

Although studying abroad is an incredible life experience, very few U.S. college students are able to make the trip. Only 1 percent of U.S. students studied abroad during the 2012 to 2013 academic year. This is understandable, considering the potential cost and time commitment of studying abroad.

Since so few students have the opportunity to study abroad, this experience can be a great resume booster or an additional area to draw upon when answering interview questions.

Resume Essentials
Although study abroad experience makes you more marketable in the U.S., you must communicate the experience on paper as it pertains to a job you want.

Some things to highlight on your resume about your study abroad experience include:

  •      Language skills. It’s one thing to have studied a language for several years, and another to have actually lived in a country that speaks the language. Even if you went to another English-speaking country, familiarity with different sayings or spellings can be helpful when marketing yourself.
  •        Global work/internship/volunteer experience. There is a common misconception that studying abroad is actually partying abroad. It is easiest to battle this stigma by showing that you have actual work or volunteer experience during your time abroad. Additionally, this is a good way to show that you are passionate about getting involved and immersing yourself in the local culture.
  •        Blogging experience. Study abroad blogs are great for multiple reasons. Not only do you have the chance to chronicle your experiences and growth, but a blog is the perfect opportunity to show your personality to potential employers. Including your blog on your resume allows employers to get to know your personality and assess your writing skills.

Interview Success
Making yourself look good on paper and then delivering on that in an interview are two very different skillsets. After you land an interview, it is important to review key points you would like to emphasize about yourself as an applicant.

This is another great opportunity to incorporate your study abroad experience, and expand on points you may or may not have included in your resume.
In particular, try to:

  •       Emphasize your adaptability. It is not easy to move across the globe and adjust to a completely different culture. It is important to mention how you were able to adjust to the changing environment and work with a diverse range of new people..
  •        Connect your experience with the company. Many companies operate internationally. With appropriate background research on the company you are interviewing with, you can find potential ways to connect your study abroad location with one of the company’s locations or clients. Someone interviewing you may even have travelled to that same location, and that is an easy way to build a lasting bond.
  •      Focus on your accomplishments. Studying abroad is full of challenges, and interviewers love to hear that candidates are able to overcome problems. When possible, turn a struggle into an accomplishment to convey your perseverance.

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Infographic Credit: Course Hero

by Alek Irvin, account executive

Sealing the Deal: Interview Tips For College Grads

Job interviews can be nerve-racking, especially for college grads who may not have as much experience interviewing as other candidates.

As the graduation date comes closer, now is the time students should prepare for interviews and learn to stand out from the rest. Below is a list of interview tips to impress an employer and get your dream job.

 1. Practice, practice, practice!

It is important to practice with friends, family, your professors, etc. Going over standard interview questions with people you trust will help you feel more comfortable when the real interview comes.

The Chico College Career Center offers mock interviews to help college students with suggestions and critiques.

2. Have your resume memorized.

A lot of times, companies will ask you questions based directly from your resume. If you have listed “assisted in media pitching,” be prepared to explain exactly what media pitching you did for that company. This Huffington Post article offers some other great resume advice.

3. Be aware of your body language.

Make sure you give a solid handshake, make good eye contact and sit up straight. Having good body language will show your enthusiasm for the job at hand and portray your positivity.

Menshaking
Photo credit: Victor1558, creative commons, original photo

4. Bring questions.

Research the company beforehand and come up with some quality questions about the company. Coming prepared with questions shows the employer your determination and strong work ethic.

5. Say thank you.

Make sure to get the contact information from the interviewer and send a follow-up thank you email or letter. Hand written cards make more of an impact and show you put time and effort into thanking them for their time.

With these tips you will be prepared and confident to impress the interviewer, show them why you are the best candidate for the job and seal the deal.