Author Archives: debrajchico

Professionalize Your Social Media, Part 3

Here is the final post in prepping your social media accounts for your entry-level job hunt in PR.

On each social channel you use, you want to post content that demonstrates your knowledge of and interest in the industries and companies you want to work for. If you want to work in tech PR (that’s where the jobs are in SF Bay Area), then you want your social media channels to highlight the:

  • Work of companies in the space,
  • News media outlets that cover this space (including individual reporters),
  • Trends happening within the space,
  • Movers and shakers within the space (the innovators, the researchers, the interesting personalities, the people at the companies you want to connect with), and
  • Your perspective on these topics, personalities, etc.

So, how do you get started?

  1. Create a list of companies you’re most interested in and the PR agencies or creative services firms that do a lot of the work for those companies. If you ultimately want to work at Microsoft, for example, then you might want to follow WE Communications, one of Microsoft’s PR agencies, since most entry-level jobs are through an agency, not an in-house comms position.
  2. After companies, seek out top tier news media outlets, freelancers and bloggers that track these companies and industries. Then, seek other influencers.
  3. Use the tools of each channel to help you track their content. For example, Twitter Lists are an efficient way to track 10 people who work at the same company and understand what these employees post about the company.
  4. Use your social listening skills: take note of the industry trends, news, people, etc. that people are talking about. If you don’t know or understand some of the key topics they’re discussing then put those into an excel file and start researching what they mean. This will help you have great content to throw into interview conversations, cover letters, etc.
  5. Engage with the content once you’re a little bit up to speed. Engagement means writing responses to content, sharing content and adding your own note as to why an article is important to examine, etc.

Your professional social media accounts should also showcase who you are — what you’re doing in your internships and classes, activities you take part in for fun and relaxation, etc. Just use common sense before you post: is this content you want a potential employer to see and to know about me?

It takes time and effort to build a professional social media footprint. Remember the key point from the first post: quality is more important than quantity when getting started. Set aside time in your weekly schedule to build this out and build your online reputation.

If you have other tips to share, include them in the comments below.


Image courtesy of

Professionalizing Your Social Media, Part 2

OK, JOUR 444 job hunters, now that you’ve completed a social media audit and analyzed your social media footprint, it’s time to select the top social media channels you want to invest your effort and energy on.

You do not have to be active on every social media channel . Chances are, if you’re trying to be active on too many channels you’re probably not doing a great job at most of them given how much time and energy it takes to do it well for each channel. When deciding how many social media channels you want to use professionally, keep in mind how much time you have to dedicate to producing great content each week. Go for quality, not quantity.

Which Channels?

So, which channels MUST you be active on? This depends on the type of entry-level PR job you seek and what industry you’re going for; start your secondary research there. Here are some very general guidelines:

  • LinkedIn: all job seekers should have stellar profiles. We’ll go into this soon in class. There’s a lot of online content for those who want to get a running start.
  • Account Coordinators/Assistant Account Executives: these entry-level positions at PR agencies will typically involve a range of tasks including news media relations, B2B or B2C communications, and some aspects of social media.
    • Twitter is important for many PR agencies because journalists use it. Having a presence here could be very helpful.
    • If you’re aiming for lifestyle PR, you might consider Instagram or Pinterest.
  • Social Media Coordinators: these jobs will expect to see great content on a wider variety of channels. Again, do your research. Some companies may value Reddit where others value Yelp. These jobs will also expect you’re using social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer, and that you understand social media analytics tools like those used in JOUR 342.

Prepping Your Channels

Once you’ve selected the few social media channels you want to focus on, you need to start building your professional personal profiles. This includes:

  • Name: make sure that the name you’re using on social channels is very close to the name that is on your resume and LinkedIn accounts. You want employers to find your social content easily. However, also be aware if you have a really common name, like mine, you might include your middle initial or some other approach. I use DebraJChico for most of my social channels given how common my name is. Consistency and linking to your resume/LinkedIn is key.
  • Photo: have a professional looking head shot on each channel. Again, do your research. What’s professional in the lifestyle industry may not be the same thing for the consumer tech industry. Look at the photos used by employees at the companies you most want to work for. Then, make yours slightly more professional.
  • Write an effective bio for the channel. See the resources below.
  • Keep it open: The professional social media channels you select need to be open for others to find and explore. If it’s all locked down, companies are not going to see your great content.

Now is a good time to talk to your in-person and digital friends. You want to make sure they know you are job hunting and that you’re focused on using these channels for professional purposes. Keep the weekend party photos to your strictly personal accounts that you have locked down (and, remember, they really aren’t that locked down so be cautious what you or your friends put online).

In Friday’s post, we’ll get started on building your social media content.


20+ Social Media Do’s and Don’ts Every College Grad Should Know from Top Resume.

How to Upgrade Your Social Media Presence for Your Post-College Job Hunt from Fast Company

6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We’ve Ever Seen from Hubspot

If you have resources to add to this discussion, please put them in them in the comments.



Image credit:

Professionalizing Your Social Media

Since we’re limited on JOUR 444 class time, this week I’ll be sharing three posts focusing on how to use social media effectively before and during the job hunt process. These posts will cover:

  • Understanding your social media footprint (Today)
  • Selecting and prepping your social media accounts (Wednesday)
  • Figuring out who to follow and what content you should be publishing (Friday)

Understand Your Social Media Footprint

The first step in the process is to conduct a social media audit so you can understand your social media footprint. The audit forces you to pull together and analyze all of the social media accounts and content you’ve created over the years. The basic steps for an audit are:

  • Create an excel file and identify every social media account you have ever created.
  • Hyperlink to each account and identify the last time you actually posted to that account in your Excel file.
  • Do a Google search to see if you can find any other accounts that you might have forgotten; do you remember the ones you started in junior high school? Get those in your Excel file too!
  • Analyze each account for its usefulness (both the channel and the content): some may be appropriate for the job hunt and professional life while others may be great for staying connected with family and friends.

This question always comes up: what should I do with the old social media accounts I never use anymore? You have two choices: 1) delete them if they have zero utility, or 2) keep them but consider putting in a post that encourages people to follow you on your active social media accounts.

While you are analyzing each account, be sure to review the actual posts you’ve made on these accounts. Flag any content that may cause you problems during the job search. Remember, these posts are already living in the digital world so deleting them will not make them go completely away.

Flag content you are concerned about, maybe create a new sheet in your Excel file to track these posts. Put hyperlinks to them in your Excel file (screenshots would work too). Then, you can strategize as to how to appropriately explain those posts to any potential employer that asks about them.

Resources to Get You Started

On Wednesday we’ll look at which channels you should be using and how to set a professional foundation for each.

If you have great resources to share with others on this topic, please post those to the comments area.


Image courtesy of

JOUR 444: Let the Job Hunt Begin!

I hope everyone is having a great first week of spring 2018. Only 114 days to go!

Please take note of the following:

  1. LinkedIn: if you’re not already connected with me on LinkedIn, do NOT send me a request to connect until we start discussing that homework assignment.
  2. Need to create materials ASAP? Several of you have hit me up to get started on cover letters, portfolios, etc. immediately. If you need to get something going for a job prospect before we get to it in the class, the first thing you should do is go through the JOUR 444 course schedule and use the hyperlinks provided around the specific task. The second thing you should do is read the homework/suggested activity assignment sheets. There are more hyperlinks there. The third thing you should do is look at The Muse and The Avid Careerist for help. Then, come see me during office hours with your draft in hand.

Big LinkedIn change this week: if you have an active LinkedIn account right now, you might want to go into your privacy settings and make some changes ASAP. Why? Check out this blog post from Avid Careerist.

Spring Break in Seattle?

I’m thinking about trying to get a spring break trip to Seattle going. We would meet J&PR alumni at their place of work and learn about job opportunities in the area. The potential companies we might visit include: Microsoft Corporation (our alum heads their gaming division and VR sector), WE Communications, Eddie Bauer, Zulily, and several PR agencies. In order to make this happen, I would need a minimum of 10 students who would be willing to commit to go on the trip. You’d have to pay your own way and agree to all of our site visit requirements (university risk management, professional dress, follow the schedule I set, etc.).

I can’t tell you how much it would cost, but you’d need to think about: airfare, accommodations (cheaper if you share hotel rooms/Airbnb spaces, etc.), food, transportation around the city (they have BART type of system), etc. I would not dictate where you stay, just where the time and place to meet me each morning.

Most likely our travel dates would be: arrive in Seattle Sunday, March 18 and leave late Wednesday night, March 21 or early March 22.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, send me an email.


Reminders for our Final Exam

Good morning everyone. I hope your final exam week is going smoothly. A few quick reminders about our final exam for DMI.

When: Friday, Noon – 1:50 p.m.


  • Presenters: The order of presentations can be found here. You need to email me a copy of your deck before presentations start.
  • Reviewers: you owe me your list of questions by 9 a.m. Friday via email. You can access your peers’ work on the DMI Final Work tab.

Wrapping up grades:

  • I will be returning grades for everything submitted thus far on Friday after the presentations are complete.
  • For those presenting Friday, I’m going to score your presentations once our final exam period ends and will be emailing them to you.
  • I will not be submitting final grades until Monday, Dec. 18 at 8 a.m. This gives everyone the weekend to email me with any final questions you may have.

Today’s Office Hours:

I’ve had to change my office hours for today. I will be here from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. if you need to see me.

Have a great day.



Let the Presentations Begin!

Hi, all. Nice work for most of you in meeting today’s big deadline. I’m really excited to dive in and explore your final work.

For those who missed the deadline, don’t freak out. You still have until 9 a.m. Saturday to submit final work; use today to do what you have to do to get the projects finished and shoot them my way via email.


If you need a reminder, this is the order of presentations. Reviewer assignments are also there. We will start as close to 2 p.m. as possible to make sure all six presenters have their allotted time for presentations. Be sure you’re on time.

Please note:

  • Presenters:
    • Email me your pitch deck before class starts at 2 p.m. Use whatever presentation software you prefer as long as you can open it on the Mac Lab computers.
    • Everyone presents from the computer that Alma sits at.
    • The Mac Lab is open today from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. if you want to get in there and practice your pitch. I’ll be working in my office Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., feel free to contact me if you want access to the lab to practice. I will not be on campus or checking email Sunday.
  •  Reviewers:
    • I will bring the presentation score sheets you need to class.
    • Email me your 10 questions by 9 a.m. Monday.
    • If your presenter’s materials are not linked on the website right now, check back later today or after 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Have a wonderful weekend.


$300 in Only 90 Seconds!

Hi, all. Alma mentioned this competition during our last class session, in case you’re interested… The Chico State Elevator Pitch Contest is Still Open for Submissions

Hurry–the submission deadline for the Elevator Pitch Contest is about to close on November 9th at 6:00 PM! Don’t miss your chance to win $300 in only 90 seconds!

The leaves are falling, it’s cooling down, and you can find pumpkin spice in just about everything. It can only mean one thing – the Elevator Pitch Contest is just around the corner!

The contest is open for submissions from all currently enrolled students at CSU, Chico or Butte College – plus for the first time we have opened the competition to members of Chico’s business incubator: ChicoStart. This is your chance to air your best business idea in public with a chance for prize money, great advice, and even future investment.
Chico’s own T-Bar is, once again, the sponsor and will be providing the prize money. The top four concepts automatically qualify for the Spring 2018 Chico State Business Concept Competition with a chance to win even more prize money and go on to Humboldt State for the Future Four in April 2018.

Elevator Pitches are only 90 seconds– about the time it takes to ride to the top of Butte Hall. We are limiting the contest to fifty contestants – the only pre-condition is attendance at one coaching session.

The contest is open to ALL majors on campus and will be held Thursday, November 16 at 6:00 PM in Colusa 100 A & B.
Register here for the Elevator Pitch Contest

The event is free and open to the public to attend. Must be a student at Chico State or Butte College or a ChicoStart member to participate in the contest.
Not a business student, but have a business idea? That’s where we come in! The Center for Entrepreneurship can provide mentoring, coaching, and support in creating your pitch or business plan. Stop by and see what we can do for you!

Get all details at or drop by the Center for Entrepreneurship office, Glenn 219-221  530-898-4894  |

Announced on: Monday, Nov. 06, 2017 via Campus Announcements

Schedule to Finals

Happy Friday DMIers! I hope you’re enjoying the rain.

I wanted to pass along a few more resources to help with your projects:

Schedule to Finals

As we discussed in class, the university released the final exam schedule, which means I adjusted our schedule to close out the semester. Here it is:

Week of Nov. 6: Same as current schedule.

Nov. 13: Brief 9 due and three working screens of your product are due. I strongly encourage you to have a full rough prototype instead of just three screens.

Nov. 15: no class since Debra will be in San Diego on a J&PR business trip.

Nov. 27 (day we come back from Thanksgiving break): full drafts of Make $ Plan and product mockup due. We’ll do an intensive critique in class.

Nov. 29: open lab to finalize work.

9 a.m., Friday, Dec 1: Make $ Plan and product due. You’ll be emailing your Make $ Plan to me. The URL to access your product will be before the Executive Summary section.

  • I’ll email the class when the web page is ready and reviewers can access the needed files.

Pitch presentations will take place Dec. 4, 6 and 15.

  • Dec. 15 final exam time slot is noon – 1:50 p.m.

Have a great weekend.

Digital Tracking = Money in the Bank

Greetings DMIers. In tomorrow’s class, we’ll first review your product logos, then we’ll revisit one of the monetization techniques we discussed last week: collecting information from consumers in their digital spaces.

This digital tracking is a business model that generates lots of money for companies, and it’s a legitimate business model for you to consider for your startup. It’s sometimes called infomediary, but the outcome is more commonly known as remarketing.

As we all know, there is no such thing as privacy if you’re a user of digital products like websites, social media channels, web-connected TVs or other smart devices that may fall under the Internet of Things (what Fast Company terms Privacy Hell). Ever used Tinder? The company has lots of data on you; 800 pages in the case of this journalist from The Guardian.

We’re going to explore how you are being tracked digitally, the types of data collected, who is tracking you and what you can do about it. We’ll do this by diving into Facebook’s data collection practices to start with.

If you’re interested in learning how this tracking works in the larger digital context and methods to try to protect yourself, check out these sources:

Please share in the comments if you have other resources you think students in the class should consider on this topic.


Photo by Fancycrave from Pexels

Guest Speaker Coming Monday

Greetings DMI. Monday, Oct. 23 we’re going to have our first guest speaker in class.

Sarah Koniniec graduated from Chico State in 2012 and has spent the past five years working with tech entrepreneurs, startups and venture capitalists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she’s a senior account executive at Highwire in San Francisco.

Sarah is going to share:

  • Her career path.
  • What it’s like working for startups vs. traditional companies.
  • Examples of PR to promote or launch new products and companies.
  • Key considerations to keep in mind in PR, marketing and digital contexts for promotion.

Her presentation directly links to the content you’ll be required to produce in the Make $ Plan, specifically the PR and marketing section.

Your homework in preparation for this visit:

  • Review the Make $ Plan assignment to understand the requirements for the PR and marketing section.
  • Check out her LinkedIn profile.
  • Bring a list of questions you might toss her way.