I have a secret addiction I’m going public with. I’m a Twitterholic. I get overly delighted when a post gets retweeted, favourited or someone I admire becomes a follower. Until now, I haven’t shared my Twitter obsession publicly. After attending Red University yesterday to hear from PR experts and learn valuable insights into the world of journalism from professionals in television, magazines and newspapers, I can now feel secure in knowing my Twitter addiction is actively shared and encouraged.
Red University is the forward-thinking initiative of integrated communications firm Red Republic which offers university students studying Communications, PR and Journalism the opportunity to gain inside knowledge of the real world of PR and journalism. In its second year, Red University delivers an intensive workshop focusing on taking the first steps into the industry, delivering and writing the perfect pitch and developing a personal brand to stand out from the crowd.
I was fortunate enough to attend the event and listen to the Red Republic team provide engaging presentations on personal branding, networking, resumes, using social media platforms, internships and interviews. Twenty pages later, I’m still digesting the tips I learned – which any student can apply to their job hunt.
Fleur Madden, CEO of Red Republic who created the firm 11 years ago, shared her experience and tips on personal branding. She confessed when the firm began she wouldn’t be caught anywhere without being dressed in red, showcasing her passion and commitment to her own personal brand. It made me consider how many of us really think about ourselves as our own business? How often do we think about what needs to happen next to move our careers forward? Fleur posed the question, “what are the three words people will say about your personal brand?” Food for thought as we moved onto the next part of the workshop.
One of the key messages emanating from Red University is to invest in your future. But how do you even start as a university student? Your dream job may be years away but the steps you take now will impact the future. Build your networks. Fleur encourages her team to attend at least one networking function each month. Networking is not my natural forte but I’m going to set a goal to throw myself completely outside my comfort zone and attend at least one event every month. As Kitty Danger, Griffith alumni and member of Red Republic stated, “the thing we fear most is often intangible and honestly what’s the worst that could happen?”. After all, that that one person you meet might be the contact you are waiting for.
Ambre Harford-Birkett, Senior PR Executive presented on managing multiple social media accounts and advice on landing an internship. Key themes which resonated strongly were to use your social media platforms to connect with people. Activate a Twitter account, start engaging with high profile tweeters and grow your followers. Update your LinkedIn profile, upload a professional photo and start increasing your connections.
Take the time and do research on the company. Demonstrate your passion, enthusiasm and interest by doing something just a little bit different when applying for a position. Follow the internship mantra “you can never have too much experience”. Don’t stay in the corner, put yourself out there and get involved with discussions in the office. Ask for feedback as you can always learn from your mistakes. For internships, I think the most beneficial tip is to always go above and beyond. Make sure you don’t settle with being just okay. Standing out will get you noticed. You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room because sometimes the little things you do will go so much further.
As a grad, try not to get disheartened if your job search is not going the way you want. Try not to compare yourself to those around you. You are on your own journey and the right job will come to you when you are ready.
Red Republic General Manager, Siena Perry gave us the lowdown of how to prepare for interviews. Research and preparation is the key. Showcase your strengths, be presentable, and learn about the companies’ clients and what they do and most importantly: be bold. Act with tenacity and perseverance. Students will receive rejections in their job searching efforts but persistence and patience will eventually pay off.
The workshop concluded with expert media panelists including Casey Fung, Journalist, Ten News Queensland; Rebecca Cox, Producer, A Current Affair; Amy Remeikis, State Political Reporter, Brisbane Times and Margie Fraser, Brisbane Editor of Vogue Living and Houses Magazine. While recalling their individual backgrounds, it was clear each person had arrived at their career destination through very different experiences. All the panelists agreed that when pitching a potential news story, it is imperative to ensure the right story for the right audience – a great tip for budding student journalists. In today’s 24/7 media cycle and intense competition for exclusivity, timing and immediacy of news delivery is essential and the panelists commented the human element makes news relatable and delivers the big ratings.
So how do students get equipped with the skills to enter the world of journalism? As a television journalist, Casey Fung commented students will learn more in the first year on the job than in their entire university degrees. After graduation, Amy Remeikis tried her hand at radio in Tamworth, got experience in television but found her niche in the print media. Rebecca Cox’s closing remarks summed up the tone of Red University, “you can teach a person skills but you can’t teach someone passion, courage and how to love what they do”. After all, it’s not about the ideas, it’s about making the ideas happen.