UGA PRSSA hosts Weber Shandwick panel
By Anna Gilstrap
On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the Drewry chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at the University of Georgia hosted a virtual panel of three professionals from Weber Shandwick, a worldwide public relations agency, who are all graduates of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication: Kristi Hubert, vice president of client experience and corporate affairs at the Chicago office; Delaney McMullen, a former manager at the Washington DC office; and Ginny Scales, a senior associate of digital at the DC office.
The trio offered a variety of background stories as to how they ended up at Weber Shandwick. For Hubert, she completed a bachelor’s degree in journalism and started her career as a newspaper reporter. She later changed paths to PR, and worked for many different agencies before landing full-time at Weber.
As for McMullen, she was a PR major with aspirations of working on Capitol Hill, and even first worked as a legislative intern for the United States Senate. She quickly realized political communication was not for her, and through a networking connection switched careers to be an assistant account executive at Weber.
Scales, however, knew from the start Weber Shandwick is where she wanted to be; and after earning her bachelor’s degrees in public relations and political science, she accepted her first position as a digital intern for the agency, and has worked her way up to her current role of senior digital associate.
After providing PRSSA members some context on who they are and how they got to be where they are now, Hubert, McMullen and Scales offered some valuable advice for all the aspiring PR professionals in attendance.
Don’t be afraid to take an internship as a graduate. Many employers, Weber being one of them, fill entry level roles with people from their internship pool. You might think receiving a full-time position offer post-grad sounds more impressive, but an internship is the perfect way to get your foot in the door and prove yourself.
Consider what’s most important to you in the job search. If where you live matters more to you than the specific job, then look for jobs in that city; McMullen told PRSSA you’ll be able to find a job that fits what you’re looking for in just about any major metropolitan area. However, if you have a dream job more so than a dream location, apply everywhere and see where the process takes you.
Be proactive and make personal connections. Prominent agencies like Weber Shandwick receive hundreds (if not more) applications for their internship and entry level positions. Reaching out to a Grady alum who works at the place you’re applying to is a great way to show initiative, and get your resume out of the endless stack and to the top.
Install Grammarly. “People are paying us to communicate,” Hubert said. As communication professionals, correct spelling and proper grammar is essential, all the way from your resume and cover letter to any correspondence you send as an intern or executive. Attention to basic details goes a long way.
Write a cover letter. While they are in fact optional on many applications, still write one. Even if they don’t click on it or read it or anything, hiring managers will still notice if it’s not there; and that may affect your chances of landing the interview or job. Also, it’s good practice on researching, writing and pitching yourself.
Be yourself. It’s a cliche, they know; but the panel emphasized its importance. Employers want to see your personality and your interests, and why you care about what you do. Of course be polished and professional, but don’t be afraid to be authentic and genuine, too.
The three panelists didn’t only share their stories and give great advice—they told everyone in PRSSA about how much they love working for Weber Shandwick. The welcoming culture of mentorship and collaboration, the vast resources and the consideration for their employees on a personal level all came up as reasons Hubert, McMullen and Scales are happy to be a part of the Weber team.
The agency is currently hiring for summer internships. If you’re interested, check out the available positions here.