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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Look at an Up-and-Comer: Rachel Hart

Today we're starting a new feature on the Minnesota Public Relations Blog called "A Look at an Up-and-Comer." We will highlight people who, in our eyes, have bright futures ahead of them in the public relations field. Meet Rachel Hart, a recent University of Minnesota graduate.
1.  Tell us a bit about your public relations experience so far.

My first public relations internship was at MacPhail Center for Music, where I assisted in media relations and marketing for its music programs. I learned the ropes of broadcast with CBS News as a runner for the Republican National Convention. During a summer in Spain, I worked at a local tourist office promoting events and communicating with visitors from all over the world. I most recently spent the year interning at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities as a public relations and promotions intern. Throughout college I gained experience in the U of M’s PRSSA chapter, where I began as an assistant account executive in the student-run public relations firm, then progressed to account executive. I was vice president of our chapter for the 2009-2010 school year.

2.  You majored in Spanish in addition to public relations. How have you used that language professionally? What opportunities do you see to use that in your career?

While studying abroad in Spain, I combined my communication and Spanish skills while promoting local establishments and activities. At Big Brothers Big Sisters, I was equipped to understand the Hispanic Mentoring Initiative and interpret the Hispanic media coverage that the organization received. Many corporations are trying to tap into the Hispanic community and I foresee using my language skills when interacting with Hispanic media outlets and in dealing with the large Hispanic community both locally and abroad.

3.  How has your job search been going?

Since graduating, I am focused on finding an internship or full-time position in the Twin Cities. I am currently going through the interview process but I have yet to secure a position.

4.  What did you learn from studying abroad in England and Spain?

How you represent yourself is everything. Especially with the unfavorable views many people have of Americans, it is important to present yourself as respectfully, articulate, and cultured as possible. I also learned that with all the rich cultures of the world, one size does not fit all, and messages must be catered to fit each unique audience.

5.  What is your perspective on social media's role in public relations?

It is essential. Information can be updated on Twitter before many news outlets can post on their websites, and it seems Facebook consumes more people’s time than reading the newspaper. Social media is the ideal way to stay connected with customers in an affordable and immediate fashion. I think that if a company does not understand the scope of social media and its ability to connect with constituencies, it is at a severe disadvantage.

6.  What is your desired career path?

I want to start out in an organization where I can gain hands-on experience and learn from professionals who know the public relations industry. I am very interested in media and corporate communications. I eventually want to end up on the corporate side of public relations, where I can climb my way up the ladder.

7.  What advice do you have for fellow job seekers?

Network. Network. Network. Even if someone is not able to give you a job, they might know someone who can or they can help you develop skills that will lead to future opportunities. This will also help you realize what you are truly interested in pursuing. Go on informational interviews and try to connect with professionals. I have found that the public relations community in the Twin Cities is very tight and is willing to mentor those who are just starting out.

Connect with Rachel through LinkedIn.
Contact via Twitter at @RachelWHart

-- Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC / Risdall McKinney Public Relations