Marilyn's Life From East to West


Informational Interview- Carter Salley
April 2, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: PR Practicum 3711

Sometimes when thinking of someone who has successfully made it in the field of public relations and other forms of communication, we might think of someone in their 30’s or older who have had years of experience.  For my interview I went against this idea and interviewed someone still in college, yet who has had many years in the field of communication.  I have done interviews with adults who have practiced public relations for longer periods of time but this time I was interested in seeing how students/young adults are using the classes they are taking now and applying that knowledge.

Carter Salley, 21, is a senior marketing major at Georgia Southern University.  He has been working in the fields of public relations and marketing since he was 16 years old and using his growing knowledge in the industry today. Salley has worked for companies such as Soft Trading out of California and 1Degree Marketing in Texas.  Currently he works at Seasons Apartments in Statesboro, GA and plays a major role in the public relations aspect.  In the past year that he has worked for Seasons he has made a dramatic difference in the publicity and reputation of the complex.    Below are some of the questions I asked him during out interview:

  • Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

I was given the task to lease half the properties apartments in a two month period. We came up with a referral program along with multiple signing bonuses and several giveaways. We also flooded all media outlets accessible with current promotions. Our end result was 98% occupancy down from 49% in a matter of 56 days.

  • What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

I constantly shop other properties to see what new additions they may have upgraded. I also carefully watch how other agents and representatives interact with me and how they show off the property. It always helps to ask if any of their current residents had requested something new for the property.

  • How important is writing in your career?

Very important, our newsletters, statements, announcements, and events are all written communication to our residents.

  • What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

Personality plays such a huge role, connecting with your surroundings and being able to adapt to others needs and wants. Most importantly, you have to enjoy it, it’s tough to please others if you’re not happy yourself.

  • When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?

The interview is one of the best ways we can truly evaluate how a person interacts with us. How they present themselves and how they communicate with us is the biggest deciding factor as they must have a strong character in order to please potential clients.

  • How does technology affect your daily work?

Technology is always changing and we are constantly using and testing new technology in order to make our everyday work more productive. Technology allows us to be efficient in the office while keeping the edge in marketing our community.

When asked what a typical week is like, Salley said that there is “so such thing” because the events, publicity, promotion, etc. changes on a day-to-day basis.

Speaking with Salley has made me more excited to get into public relations and see it from a career aspect more than just from a student perspective.  It is interesting hearing students relate what they are learning in school to a job that utilizes their skills on a daily basis.

You can find him at:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/carter-salley/5/71B/223

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5 Comments so far
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Hey Marilyn! I think it was pretty innovative to interview a PR pro who hasn’t even graduated yet. Carter seems to really be making the most out of his education and putting everything he’s learning to work while he’s still learning it. I wish that I were more like him! I liked Carter’s three tips for people just starting out in PR. He gave a different perspective from the tips that I’ve read from others’ PR pro interviews. I liked that he talked about personality being such an important factor, because I think that your personality is a major part of why people get hired. If you have a personality that’s too boring or too wild for the position that you’re interviewing for, then you most likely will not get the job. Great interview – thanks!

Comment by allisonallmond

Hi Marilyn, what a great idea! I love that you went against traditional interviewing and were able to find someone younger with experience. It gives me hope that it won’t take our generation years to be successful. I think Carter has a great approach to doing his job, what better way to improve your own facility than to visit other locations and see what you can do differently. I also think the way an interview candidate interacts with the organizations members are key. You can have great skills, but if you don’t mesh with the company you’re out. Businesses are always looking for talented individuals who fit with them the best.

Comment by stephaniemedlin

Marilyn, I also know Carter Salley and this informational interview provided a lot of new facts that I did not know previously. I did not realize that Carter was a marketing major or that he was currently working on so many projects at Seasons. I think that it is great that he was able to raise occupancy at the apartments in a matter of days! That is no small feat considering it was the middle of the year (I assume it was between winter and spring semesters?)
I’ve read many interviews recently on my classmates blogs and I enjoyed reading yours since you chose to question someone closer to our age as opposed to someone who has already been in the field for twenty years.
I’m so impressed with Carter’s work ethic and he should be proud of his accomplishments!

Comment by kelseyeh

[…] INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW- CARTER SALLEY by: Marilyn Lintel April 19, […]

Pingback by PRCA 3030: Blog Comments «

I enjoyed your interview. I thought is was original in the aspect that you though to interview someone who is still a college student. It goes to shoe that you can never be too young to start working on your career. I can’t believe he began working with PR at the age of 16. I also though that the post was interesting because the things he has accomplished were things that man y Pr students are also capable of accomplishing. I think that a lot of students think that they need to wait to graduate before they can pursue their careers but as Carter proves, this is not true.

Comment by Jacqueline




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