Tag Archives: technology

Comms Pros: Top Four Skills You Need to Get Hired in Silicon Valley

Judgment, Consensus-Building Skills More Valuable Than PR Degrees Say Valley’s Communications Leaders

Finding ‘good people’ was the dominant discussion topic at this week’s Brunswick-sponsored PRSA Silicon Valley Senior PR Leaders dinner.

As recently reported in PRWeek’s 2012 Careers Guide, Silicon Valley is experiencing a PR hiring boom with a growing junior talent pool. Chuck Byers, brand and communications professor at Santa Clara University told attendees last night that the college’s communications courses are oversubscribed.

Despite this positive trend,  heads of communications from Applied Materials, Solar City, Apple, Cisco, SanDisk, NetApp, Visa and the City of San Jose collectively lamented that few candidates have the skills required.

“The industry used to talk about wanting a ‘seat at the table’ and Silicon Valley leaders are there.” said Vanessa Yanez, president, PRSA Silicon Valley. “The world of paid, shared and owned now sit alongside the traditional earned media realm here.  Based on the many SV leaders we met over the past few hours, the communications success bar is high and it will go up as company brand influencer communities and communications tools evolve.”

So what exactly are the Valley’s PR leaders looking for? Here’s are four tips from last night’s discussion:

  1. Write persuasively, effectively and with versatility: Take a journalism class, they say. Know how to construct a complete persuasive story in every context: Internal meetings, announcements, presentations. You also need to know social, headlines and lead paragraphs too, of course.  The whole story matters more than ever.
  2. Be curious: Research your company. Ask thoughtful questions. A deep business understanding is required. Think business first, and a communications professional second. Do you understand the business? Do you know what its goals are? If you don’t, ask questions based on what you know.
  3. Use good judgment: How does a college student develop the skills and judgment needed to know what to do in a crisis situation? Work in a restaurant or a call center and handle unhappy customers, say the Valley’s leaders. With the elevation of our profession, the ability to build consensus and manage conflict are more valuable than any academic qualification. Broaden your horizons!
  4. Learn about and appreciate complementary communications functions: In an age of instant, transparent and fluid communications, the distinction between external, internal, executive communications, advertising and marketing lines are blurring. “We expect internal memos to leak in minutes” said one leader. “The integration of all communications disciplines has become a prerequisite in our organization. Any silos are purely artificial.

Motivated? Confused? If you’re a communications or public relations up-and-comer and you’d like to get more first-hand advice on the skills sought after by Silicon Valley’s PR leaders, then contact Mar Junge, mentorship chair, PRSA Silicon Valley or contact us your local PRSA Silicon Valley Chapter.


David McCulloch
President-Elect, PRSA Silicon Valley
Director, Corporate Communications
Cisco Systems Inc.

You Don’t Need HBO to Get a Look Inside the Newsroom

by Matt Ceniceros | Applied Materials, Director, Media Relations | @mattceni

I’m excited to announce the next edition of the Inside the Newsroom series will feature staff from top technology, Internet and media web site, AllThingsD on Aug 28 and hosted at Facebook in Menlo Park.

Our presenters will include Kara Swisher, Mike Isaac, Ina Fried and Liz Gannes will discuss the trends driving the latest technology, Internet and media investment cycle, their approach to building stories and how they prefer working with PR professionals. And, just maybe a story or two about Yahoo!

The PRSA Silicon Valley “Inside the Newsroom” series provides a unique look inside an outlet’s editorial curtain to reveal the behind-the-scenes environment of some of the biggest, most influential media companies.  Just last month PRSA Silicon Valley hosted the editorial staff at Bloomberg BusinessWeek  discuss how journalists from the online, print and broadcast disciplines come together to provide its audiences comprehensive coverage of the top stories in business. I’d like to again thank our sponsors BusinessWire and our host, Microsoft, and the many companies and agencies who joined us including: Oracle, Intel, Facebook, Global Foundries, Applied Materials, and Fleishman-Hillard, Edelman Access PR, Airfoil and JagWire Group.

With an amazing venue, captivating roster of journalists, there’s not much you can’t “Like” about the program. THE event will be Aug. 28 at will kickoff at 6pm with time for networking, eats and drinks. The panel discussion will begin at 7pm. Information on registration and group discounts can be found on the PRSA Silicon Valley website. You can also follow the conversation on our Facebook page and Twitter feed @prsasv.

The Inside the Newsroom series requires a dedicated group of professionals who take time out of their busy work schedules and personal time to bring this amazing programming to PRSA members. I’d like to especially thank:

  • Emelyne Interior, Katie Sarro, Tim Rathschmidt, Fleishman-Hillard
  • Clark Hsu, Edelman
  • Amanda Crnkovich, Citrix
  • Julie Strong, BusinessWire
  • Ellie Javadi, Stanford Research
  • Camelia Gendreau, Borders + Gratehouse

I’d like to extend a special thank you to our host at Facebook and lead for the AllThingsD panel, Ashley Zandy.

If you appreciate this effort, show it. Attend the event, contact us and volunteer. The industry and your resume will “Like” it.

Thanks for your time and support. I look forward to seeing you in August. Check back here on the blog or any of our social network accounts for updates.