Freelance Writer and Editor
Nisa Schmitz, based out of the St. Louis area, currently freelance writes, edits and provides public relations services for clients locally and worldwide. From pitching to the media, writing press releases, creating media kits, developing media calendars, editing brochures and e-books, and writing blogs, Nisa welcomes the opportunity to provide her expertise in all areas of communication, marketing and journalism.
She got her start at Vox magazine, a weekly tabloid in Columbia, MO, with a circulation of 15,000, where she reported before advancing to an arts editor. After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia, she became the public relations/alumni specialist at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, MO. There, she composed press releases, ads, radio scripts, website content and various other marketing collateral in addition to creating the university’s social media strategy.
After three years in that role, she was promoted to interim director of communications, marketing and alumni affairs at Harris-Stowe. In addition to her previous responsibilities, she added developing and executing the university’s communications and marketing strategies, overseeing its public relations efforts, providing marketing counsel to university leaders, directing its advertising campaigns, implementing its internal communication and correspondence, liaising to the alumni association, serving on the President’s Cabinet and tracking and reporting on the success of her efforts.
In 2011, Nisa joined Swank Audio Visuals as its communications manager and developed its overall internal communication strategy. After Swank merged with PSAV, her internal audience expanded to 4,500 employees across 1,200 locations. In this role, Nisa wrote compelling B2B marketing collateral, created branded emails in Exact Target and Constant Contact, managed media relations, oversaw the social media strategy, composed the monthly company newsletter and provided meticulous copyediting services.
To expand her knowledge and understanding of public relations and communications, Nisa earned a Master of Science in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she was honored with the John Rider Graduate Achievement Award for exemplary academic achievement.
In her spare time, Nisa enjoys playing tennis, shopping, trying new restaurants and bonding with her husband and son.
Hopefully while you are still in college, you are working on acquiring an internship or if you’re in your senior year, ideally you’re starting to line up a job for after graduation. In either scenario, you’ll inevitably be going on interviews to land the gig.
In an interview situation, making an incredible first impression is everything. Often, you only get one opportunity to land the job, so make sure you put your best foot forward. First, consider the job or internship for which you’re interviewing. If you’re going to be helping in an animal laboratory or other situation in which you would get your clothes dirty, the everyday dress code may be much more casual than in a typical office environment. Try to call ahead and find out what the everyday dress is like. Then wear clothes only slightly dressier than what is common so that you don’t look out of place for your interview.
If you are interviewing for a typical office gig, business attire is expected, which is a skirt suit or pants suit. Even if you won’t be wearing a suit that often at your job, or ever, it would be worth it to invest in at least one nice suit, which you can wear to luncheons, business dinners, funerals and other formal situations. Be sure to go for a suit in a neutral color, so that it will be appropriate in a lot of situations. Black is usually best, and to get more use out of it, you can always pair the skirt or pants with another top or sweater, and you can wear the jacket with a different skirt or dress.
For an interview, practice the “Rule of Five” for your jewelry, meaning wear no more than five items of jewelry. A pair of earrings counts as two, so then you usually wear with them a necklace, one bracelet and one ring. Avoid wearing a watch so you’re not tempted to check the time during your interview. The last thing you want to do is make your potential future employer think you’re anxious to be somewhere else.
Finally, wear comfortable closed-toed, closed-back shoes, meaning no peep-toes or sandals, which look too casual. Stilettos are fine as long as your toes are concealed, but make sure the heel is a sensible height. You may go on a tour of the job site, so you’ll want to be prepared for any extended periods of walking for which the situation may call. Bring a few copies of your resume, and good luck!