By:Meg Dedyne

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Meg Dedyne is a junior journalism major at Michigan State University

As the semester nears the end and everyone is worried about exams and final projects, I have one other thing on my mind — preparing for the PR trip to Chicago in January. In the ADV402 Field Experience class with Andy Corner and John Besley, roughly 25 students are taking a trip to Chicago from January 5-8 to visit PR and advertising agencies and firms.

We’ve had three meetings so far this semester, each focusing on something different. We have discussed in depth the importance of thank you notes, professionalism and the business casual (emphasis on the business) attire.

I am currently working on getting business cards printed for the trip in order to be prepared for networking events and to make connections with Spartans who are located in the Chicago area.

One thing we discussed at the last meeting was how to participate in small talk the right way and the right questions to ask someone at a networking event. Although this seems like a trivial concept, we talked about this subject for a long time, depicting the right way to ask someone questions such as, “What do you look for when hiring?” or “What do you do know?”

Everyone of course wants to get a job or an internship and the question I always have is what are they looking for? We discussed how a great question to ask regarding this subject is; Why did you hire the last person you hired? This way they have to think about what they liked in the last candidate they hired and what attributes, skills and personality traits they possessed.

Another question they mentioned is tricky was asking people what do they do in Chicago. Someone could be a stay-at-home parent or in-between jobs. A question that we talked about asking was, “What brought you to Chicago?” That way if they say, “Well my job did,” then you have something to go off of.

Questions are always a hard concept to think about, because it seems so intuitive and easy, but even in PR classes here at MSU, they stress the importance of questions, especially in an interview setting. Someone who asks great questions is a likely candidate for the position because it shows interest.

Professionals have often said to ask questions that they have to think about, regarding the position or company and to always be honest. Even if you haven’t done something or don’t have a skill that they ask you about, they suggest to say, “No I haven’t had that experience yet, but here is what I have done that relates to that.” Always put a positive spin on your accomplishments while remaining truthful and honest.

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