PRepster Lauren Novo on Key Messages

February 28, 2010 at 10:18 am 2 comments

Lauren Novo is a a senior at Florida State University with a double major in Media/Communication Studies and Creative Writing. Additionally, she serves as the staff writer for Trusteria Services, a regional company in Tallahassee, and as a public relations staff assistant for RB Oppenheim Associates, a local PR agency. Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn and read her blog, Gen-Y PRogress: Lauren Novo’s PR Journey.

By Lauren Novo

Many of us are just two months away from the real world. College life is actually coming to an end. Perhaps you’re graduating with top grades and impressive resumes or maybe you’re just barely making it out alive. Regardless, we’re all in the same boat. Those of us who have decided against grad school need to start thinking about securing jobs. Like now.

So while seemingly every PR pro, extended family member and teacher asks what your plans are after graduation and your stomach starts to churn because you have no flippin’ idea, just remember this: you’re not alone and it’s going to be OK.

What’s the key to staying calm when you enter an interview (or even “non-interview”) situation and you’ve got competition? Key messages.

Think about it – right now, whether you’re learning PR tactics in school or through your internships, you’ve probably noticed how important key messages are to campaigns and initiatives. We are taught that in order to influence thinking and ultimately behavior, our messaging needs to be clear and relatable. We need to be sincere and make people genuinely care. So why not bring these lessons into our own personal, “hire me, please” endeavors?

  1. Sit down and figure out who you are, what you want, why you want it and how you are going to accomplish it. If you can’t clearly define your capabilities to a prospective employer, why would you be hired?
  2. Go into the interview with your key messages prepared. And no, your messages should not be the same for every interview. After all, messages aren’t going to be the same in every campaign you complete once you’re hired.
  3. Consider: What does this agency/corporation stand for? Who does it serve? What does it need from its PR team? Don’t lie about yourself to get the job. Just understand and explain how and why you are a good fit.

It sounds silly, making a list of key messages. But that might just set you apart from the others. Not only will it help you understand your own value, but it will help you develop analytical skills for when you receive that first big project at work.


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In Review: Debt, Booze and McDonald’s

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jasmollica  |  March 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Congratulations on being the PRepster! I can’t stress enough how important Key Messages are in interviews. It’s all part of the overall game plan to getting the job. It certainly helped me in my last job search to have a plan, but also realize that you have to be strategic in your search.
    Key messages are not silly because, as you said, it helps develop skills you will use down the road. Believe me, in PR, you need those analytical skills!
    GREAT job on this and thanks to Mikinzie for featuring you at the PRepster!

    • 2. lmnovo  |  March 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, Jason, and thanks again Mikinzie for featuring me! This advice was originally given to me by a friend and I’ve found it to be helpful on multiple occasions. I hope others find it useful too!



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