Freeze Frame with Melanie Jordan (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Melanie Jordan (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Melanie earned a Social Science degree (concentration in sociology) from the University of Ottawa.

Freeze Frame: So, what’s up with you these days, Melanie?

Melanie Jordan: I am currently employed at Albert College, a non-profit private school in Belleville. My official title is Communications and Development Coordinator, and I work out of the Development Office at the school's main campus.

My responsibilities include communication and development tasks as well as some admissions requirements.

What’s a typical work day like for Melanie Jordan?

MJ: A typical day for me usually includes: alumni relations (answering e-mails and updated database), newsletter and magazine preparation, an admissions task or two, a few phone calls, maybe a meeting or two, updating the website and a press release (if I’m lucky).

FF: What are the three most important lessons you learned from Loyalist PR?

MJ: Coming to PR at Loyalist directly from university was a big
change. The assignments were hands-on and I had to change my writing style from university essay and research papers to short and sweet news release-style!

The most important lesson I learned in Loyalist PR was how
to write for a specific audience (ie. press releases, slogans and promotion tools).

The second lesson I learned in PR was to think up the craziest ideas, because they're the once that attract the most attention, and that's what we want.

The third lesson was that after thinking up the craziest of ideas, you need to speak up about them. Tell others what your thinking, share ideas and talk to others about them. That's the best way to make them great!

FF: What does it take find a job in PR these days?

MJ: To break into the current job market the number one thing you must have is an amazing portfolio! Definitely! It's hard to explain to
employers in a resume or an interview exactly what you have done and what you’re capable of. A portfolio does this for you.

The hardest part of getting a good job in this field right out of school is that you don't have any practical experience. PR at Loyalist will give this to you; you just have to show it off.

FF: Any words of advice for current or future Loyalist PR students?

MJ: The opposite of knowledge is ignorance. The more you learn, absorb and take in, the better off you'll be.

A little story of experience from my internship. When I began my
internship at Albert College they were in the middle of redesigning the website. This was one of my main objectives while I was here and I am very proud of it. We changed the payout of the site numerous times and it took about six months to get the whole thing, layout, design, text and photos, organized and put up on the website.

The main objective of the website was to make it appealing to all our diverse audiences, parents, current and prospective students, donors and past alumni.

I had a crazy idea and I mentioned it to my boss and the assistant head of school. I wanted to put a painting easel on the home page of the website as a display board for upcoming events. They didn't like this idea initially, but heard me out. I completed my internship and didn't hear the outcome until I returned to work at the end of August.

A focus group of parents, board members, students, alumni, sponsors, etc. was held to get their feedback on the site. They all loved my idea and my crazy easel idea now works well on the site.

FF: Any other interesting stories?

MJ: I was reading the CPRS [Canadian Public Relations Society] newsletter about websites and what should be included for the best media results. I brought this into my boss and a media page was added to the home page of the website.

Learning points here:

1. Speak up, share stories and experiences with others about what works and what doesn't.

2. Networking is important in this line of work so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to network yourself and you
abilities. Take time to learn peoples names and remember them; it will pay off.

FF: Finally, have you downloaded any good YouTube clips lately?

MJ: I don't really have time to visit YouTube or Facebook but the last
time I was on Youtube I was looking for the MTV clip of Britney Spears' performance at this year's awards.