Young Professional Series: Anton Perreau


For this young professional interview, we’ve added a little twist. Anton lives and works in London, so this is our international edition! I met Anton as an undergrad at San Diego State where he completed part of his degree. We met at a PRSSA event and became friends immediately. Following his time at SDSU, Anton continued living in Southern California to to fulfill an internship with LEWIS PR in San Diego, after which he returned to London Photo 01-12-2012 03 50 31 PMto finish his degree while working for a British PR agency. Personally, I’m hoping that some American will sweep him off his feet so he comes back to the U.S. and I’ll have my friend back 🙂

Now, to the interview:

Tell me a little about your current position?

I currently work as a Senior Account Executive for Battenhall – we’re a Brand Communications agency consisting of around eight people, founded as a start-up by Drew Benvie, former UK CEO of Hotwire and founder of 33 Digital. I work with emerging and global brands to help them engage with influencers and journalists alike.

What drew you to a career in public relations?

I enjoy bringing my own ideas to life, and I have some pretty whacky ideas – PR enables me to work whilst channeling all these ideas into creative projects. I’m a big fan of reading and writing, two very important elements of the communications world.

I also love connecting people – not like a matchmaker, but to show people amazing companies, doing cool stuff and, in turn, to learn what people really want from that lovemark brand. I guess to add to all this stuff, I’ve developed a knack of accurately and concisely getting a point across, the way we use words, connotations, sentences and grammar is the most important way to communicate, that actually excites me. What a dork I am…whatever.

How did your time in the US help your career?

Most basically, it’s a conversation starter – it gets a foot in the door and international companies like the idea that someone knows colourful new things about the world around them.

Working and studying in different countries evidently shows that you’ve been exposed to cultural differences as well as the complex bureaucratic procedures around the world – this matters in the world of work. It’s also character building, I know I developed a lot as a person since I moved to the USA with no perspective, local friends or definite plan.

Being a well-rounded individual shows potential employers and clients that you have the ability to ‘make do’ in difficult situations, independently, and come back with solutions not problems.

What are some of the differences between working in the UK and US?

The first thing is the media: It turns out that many verticals are much more over-saturated in the US than the UK – this doesn’t mean they’re more receptive to your pitch though.

America is very geo-centric, what i mean is that in the UK all or most of our work is based around national campaigns and projects, after all our population is barely 63 million – a fifth the size of the USA. In the US however, much of the work we did focused on Southern California.

The last, and most important difference is general hours, American’s work long hours and take short vacations, in the UK our working day usually starts around 9:00am and finishes around 5:30pm. it’s also perfectly normal for people in the UK to take two or three weeks off work to go abroad each year.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to fellow new pros?

Be that kid in the office or classroom that DOES stuff – small or big, it doesn’t matter if you fail, they’re not called ‘challenges’ for nothing. Failure is the best ingredient for your greatest success. Turn every ‘what if’ into something you actually DID and if it takes under two minutes, do it now.

Keep up with Anton on Twitter or learn more about him here!

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Staying Motivated at Work


Get Back To Work

Nobody likes to admit it, but there are sometimes moments in an office job when you just aren’t motivated. I’m not talking about days on end (because then maybe you should look for a new job), I’m talking about that afternoon lull where you just don’t feel like working or you are in the middle of a project that doesn’t particularly interest you. It doesn’t mean that you are a horrible employee or hate your job, it just means you need a little boost to help you feel refreshed, motivated and inspired. Here’s what we came up with or have learned from others to help us get the work churning out again:

  1. Mix it up. If you have more than one project you are working on, try going back and forth between things to keep it fresh and to avoid getting bored filling out that content calendar. But, don’t go too crazy switching around, remember that your output needs some consistency.
  2. Change scenery. Sometimes a change of location is just what you need for inspiration. If your work allows it, try working from the coffee shop down the street, outside, or even the conference room. It might help jolt you out of that “blah” you’re feeling.
  3. Take a break. It probably depends on your office rules and culture, but there’s nothing wrong with getting up to stretch, taking a walk to grab coffee or even distracting yourself for a few minutes with some personal Facebook time, online shopping, or my personal favorite, BuzzFeed.
  4. Chat with a coworker/peer. We’ve all hit the afternoon hum-drum so talk it out with someone! Turn to the person next to you or even open up an IM system and (depending on the work at hand) ask for a bit of help, talk about different strategies, or simply ask about their weekend plans. Sometimes, us communicators need to remember to communicate!
  5. Challenge yourself. Maybe this won’t work for all tasks, but for a lot of things we do on a regular basis, we get used to the status quo. Press releases, social media posts, media pitches, etc. can all become formulaic if you let them. Challenge yourself to try something new, be creative and try to make the best _______ you ever have.

I feel like these apply to writing lit reviews or grading papers, too. Any other tricks we should know about?

Young Professional Series: Laura Peterson


Today is the third installment of our Young Professional Series (you can see the others here and here)! This interview is with Laura Peterson, a close friend (who Blake has known since pre-school) and K-12 teacher with a passion for education.

me wine tasting

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite aspect about teaching is getting students excited about school and inspiring them to be life-long learners.  I love helping students become more confident in academic areas that they previouslystruggled with and motivating them to succeed. As a teacher, I get the opportunity to positively influence students’ lives and to see the progress they have made over the school year.  The best thing about teaching is that you get paid for doing what you truly love.

How do you think you have to build a “brand” around yourself, to show administration, the kids, the parents? How does this brand/persona change with each of these people (markets)

As a young teacher in this unfavorable education job market, it is very hard to find a stable, full-time, high paying teaching job.  However, I have found that I am able to “brand” myself by showcasing my strong attributes and being assertive both in an interview and job setting. I make sure to go out of my way to get to know other faculty, especially the veteran teachers and administration, so they know I am a “team player” and ready to help out as much as possible. I also make sure I am very fun and caring towards my students so that they will want to report back to their families with positive feedback about my teaching. As for parents, I make sure they feel welcome and know that there is open communication to meet with me and share their thoughts and concerns about their child.

What’s the hardest thing about finding a teaching job right now? How do you stay positive in your search?

Due to severe budget cuts and teacher layoffs over the last few years, I have struggled with finding a permanent teaching job, which can be very disheartening at times. Teaching is my passion, therefore, I try to stay positive and remind myself that all the applications were worth it and that I will ultimately land the perfect job I want. Even though it is not ideal, I do feel that each part-time job and tutoring position I have taken over the years was still building my resume, adding to my overall experience, and making me more valuable for when the right job comes around.

Have you seen similar difficulties out there when you’re job hunting? How do you stay positive?

I Can’t Keep Calm…


I GOT A JOB

Yup, you read that right! I landed myself a job!

If you’ve followed Masters of What? for any time at all, you’ve learned that ever since snatching up that MBA I’ve been furiously searching for my “Big Girl Job” (you can read more about my pursuit in some past posts). But today I’m here to reveal that starting Monday I’ll be a full-fledged team member at Red Door Interactive.

Doing what, you ask? Well, I will be the newest member of their Cross Channel Marketing team as a Social Media Coordinator working with some great clients and helping on some exciting social campaigns (you can check out some of RDI’s clients and past campaigns on their site).

So, enough about me. Let’s turn this back to a new-pro, business learning situation. How did I land such a sweet job with a killer company? Internships. That’s right folks, all those internships you’re looking at PAY OFF!

If you’ve done your appropriate online-stalking of my LinkedIn profile you know that I spent the Summer of 2011 as an intern at Red Door. Well, as of January 2013, I was back as an intern (albeit in a slightly different role as social media intern). So, make sure you’re always keeping your eye out for available opportunities and staying in contact with past connections – that’s how I even found out RDI needed someone in their social department (thanks, Anne!).

Want to start your career at RDI? They’re looking to fill a few positions. If you know a stellar Senior Paid Search Specialist or a Senior Interactive Copywriter, be sure to send them the lead.

Young Professional Series: Whitney Walsh


For the second installment of our young professional series, we went to our other third, Whitney. Besides being a bestie to both of us, she also does both of our hair. In fact, it was probably fifth grade when she first dyed Nicole’s hair.

Name: Whitney Walsh

Profession: Hair Stylist

Current Position: Stylist/Color Specialist at Sanctuary Salon

What is your favorite thing about being a hair stylist?

My favorite thing about being a hair stylist is that every day is completely different, and with that, brings new challenges to achieve the hair my clients have pictured. It also allows me to be very creative and be hands on with people.

Whitney doing hair for a wedding.

Whitney doing hair for a wedding.

As a hair stylist you don’t simply do hair, but you are also a business owner. What do you do to promote your business?

As a small business owner, I rely mostly on referrals. To encourage my clients to refer me, I offer rewards for each new client they send in. If I’m having a slow day it’s best to hit the streets and meet new people by walking around and passing out business cards and putting my face and name out there.

As a hairstylist, how important is your personal brand?

At the salon we really try to build a whole salon brand, not so much an individual brand because we’re a team and able to reach more people as a unit rather than individual. People often compliment the atmosphere and us being a family and working well together. Clients want to feel welcome and a positive energy from everyone in the salon, not just one person.

Are you allowed to have a bad hair day?

No, I’m not allowed to have a bad hair day. If I’m having trouble with my do one day, luckily I have nine other stylists who can put me together.

Want to make an appointment with Whitney? Call Sanctuary Salon at 951-956-8269 or check out their Facebook Page!

Call Whitney if you want to look at feel great. The drive to Temecula is way worth it (if you are in SD like us) and you can always hit up some wineries after being pampered!

Call Whitney if you want to look and feel great. The drive to Temecula is way worth it (if you are in SD like us) and you can always hit up some wineries after being pampered!

The Hiring Scale…


So, numero UNO on a lot of New Year’s resolutions lists is: FIND A NEW JOB! Right? It’s not that we don’t all like the jobs we’re at, but everyone wants “big-girl-jobs.” No, a “big-girl-job” has nothing to do with the teeeeny bit of blubber we added over the holiday season, instead a “big-girl-job” is one that has CAREER potential. Somewhere that we love working at and in return they give us health bennies (I mean as of last week, Nicole and I are BOTH in the 25-club, which means 1 more year – or less – until we’re flying solo with healthcare).

Anyway, after that long segue, right around Jan. 1st, I saw a Tweet touting the “Hiring Scale” by WANTEDAnalytics. As it was a slow night Internet-stalking people, I decided to give it a go. The tool immediately calls itself “the fastest way to fill or find a job.” Yes, I am sure there is some puffery afloat, but obviously I’m now expecting results and I will be CMO somewhere quite soon. If you’re expecting some rigorous application process, never fear, you’re only a measly seven steps away from the perfect career.

Hiring Scale

Step 1: Fill in your Keyword (MARKETING for me) and your ideal location (SAN DIEGO)

Step 2: The Hiring Scale will tell you if you should expect your job search to be harder or easier than the national average (suck it, I’m on the easy-street to CMO – told ya!)Hiring Scale 2

Step 3: Find out your competition and opportunities

Step 4: Review your options (basically all those jobs you’ve seen out there already)Hiring Scale 3

Step 5: See your proposed salary expectations vs. the National average (so, I shouldn’t be expecting anything less than $63,000 – HA)

Step 6: See all the companies that have just hired somebody for the position you’re looking for. Awesome, Qualcomm just hired someone – why are you rubbing it in my face?Hiring Scale 4

Step 7: Go to all those places you were already looking for jobs an apply to something

Yup. This is what happens when you’re desperate to get ahead and LOVE online surveys….you get nada…nada damn thing. I’ll end this post with a hearty, GOOD LUCK to all you job searchers out there and please share any job seeking pitfalls that you have run into!

Must-Haves for New Pros


So, you are embarking on your journey as a PR or marketing professional. You have your education and business attire, but there are a few other things that every new professional must have. While none of these things are particularly expensive, if you don’t have the extra cash, tell mom and dad you’d like a new pro starter kit for Christmas. It’s one gift they’d probably be happy to give!

My handy dandy padfolio containing my generic business cards!

  1. Business cards. When you are first starting your career, there is a good chance you will move from internship to internship for a while. During this time, the organizations you work for probably won’t make business cards for you and if they do, they will be outdated as soon as you are on to your next position. Until you are settled with a company that you know you will stay with for a while, I suggest having some generic business cards made with your name, industry and contact information. There are plenty of online printers that make it cheap and easy like Vistaprint.
  2. A padfolio. These things are great for conferences, interviews and on the job. Great for keeping your resume, business cards, a pen and whatever else you may need all in one spot. Mine is similar to this one at Staples and it has had a ton of use in the last few years.
  3. Thank-you cards and stamps. Never under-estimate the power of a handwritten thank you. Always send a thank you note after an interview, informational interview, the end of an internship, or sometime someone just helps you out. Don’t wait until after one of these events to go buy thank you cards and stamps, keep them on hand (perhaps in your padfolio)! For interviews it is especially important to get your thank you delivered as soon as possible. Write that note in that in the car, stamp it and stick it in the mail before even going home. For the actual cards, you don’t have to spend a lot on them, it’s about the content, not how fancy the card is. I’ve even bought some at the Dollar Tree. My one suggestion is to buy ones that look professional and appropriate regardless of gender.

I’m sure there are other things, but I think these three are biggies. What is your favorite career accessory?

Advice from New PR Pros to New PR Pros


Through my thesis, networking events and chatting with friends and coworkers, I’ve had a lot of conversations with PR practitioners that are in their first few years of work experience. Based on these conversations, I’ve gathered some words of wisdom from my peers:

  1. You know what you know. It is important that you don’t undervalue your experience or your education. Everyone has something to bring to the table, so next time you are at a brainstorming meeting and have an idea, have the confidence to speak up. Something you learned in class or at an internship may give you a unique perspective that is different than those around you. That said…
  2. You don’t know everything. This piece of advice has two parts to it. First, nobody likes an entry-level practitioner who thinks they know everything. Be humble and realize you have a lot to learn. Second, you can’t grow if you don’t recognize what you know and what you don’t know. If you don’t know something, ask questions!
  3. Seize the day. It is up to you to get the most out of your work experiences, especially early on in your career. Ask for new experiences, tasks and responsibilities. Most supervisors will appreciate your drive and ambition.
  4. Network. The importance of networking is something that comes up in almost every conversation about a career in PR. It really is who you know.
  5. Find a mentor and mentor others. A mentor can have a big impact on a young professional’s career. Seeking

    This is me with my friend and mentor, Christianne (right) and friend and former colleague, Jobeth (center)

    out a senior practitioner for advice and guidance can teach you a lot about the industry and make you feel more confident about your future. Overall, it’s just reassuring to know that someone besides your parents cares about career and is rooting for you. The other half of this is giving back to your profession. Even if you only have a couple years of experience, it is never too early to start mentoring PR students and recent grads. You never know the impact you can make on someone’s career by sharing your knowledge.

Do you have any advice for new PR professionals? Please share in the comments!

What to do When Your Friend Gets YOUR Dream Job


Yup, that just happened. Even if it’s not your EXACT dream job, it seems like it. They just signed on for a full time gig: salary, benefits, cubicle, coffeemaker in the kitchen, all that grown-up job-y stuff.

What do you do? In one way you’re happy for them, “Yeah, they’re my friend… Good for them… The economy must be picking up, I’ll get a job in no time… This means I’ll get better Christmas presents…” (obviously my mind wanders, my train of thought is often exhaustingly annoying). But, on the other hand, that little devil on your shoulder is screaming, “WHY NOT ME!!!!” Often, you have gone through school with these people, attended the same networking events, applied for the same positions, and all you can think is, “Aren’t I just as good?”

Instead of giving you all the obligatory, encouraging “your day will come” statements, I plan on giving you some advice you can actually use. You have to keep in mind that although they have started a bit ahead of you, they are still your peer and you may need to call on their help and connections one day, so you must keep the relationship a good one.

Generally, I have discovered that a hearty congratulations will usually suffice in this situation, but how you look when you hear their exciting news is what it really comes down to. It’s all about how you control your facial expressions.

Acceptable “Happy” Faces:

Masters of What - Happy.jpg

A pained face of happiness is ok, as long as you can hold it.

Masters of What - Actual Happy.jpg

Try for a truly happy face – this is the hardest but most fail-safe method.

Stay Away From These:

Masters of What - Disgust.jpg

Don’t do this face – I mean look at it, it’s hideous.

Masters of What - Eye Roll.jpg

I love a good eye roll as much as the next gal but this will not keep your contacts intact.

Masters of What - Cry.jpg

DON’T CRY! Hold it in, whatever you do, hold it in until you get in your car/home.

If you keep your face plastered in one of the first category expressions, you’ll probably make it out of the situation with most of your dignity intact. Immediately following the interaction you need to calm yourself down and get back to basics, this usually will require either a beer or glass of wine. However, I highly encourage you to politely decline to grab celebratory drinks with this person, lest you embark upon an alcohol-infused evening of explaining to all the patrons of the bar that someday you will make it too.