Welcome To This Jenn Girl

Today is the day that I make the official move from Polished PR to This Jenn Girl! I cannot even begin to fully express how excited I am to go on this new journey with you. Although it is slightly bittersweet to be leaving WordPress, I am so thrilled to be making this big move, and I hope that you will join me!

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Celebrating 5,000+ Facebook Fans, With A Re-Brand

Over the weekend, thanks to another #sharethelove movement, Polished PR reached over 5,000 fans! I am so thrilled, and thought this would be the perfect time to reveal some big news to you. Not only will I be leaving my .wordpress.com blog for a domain of my very own, but Polished PR will also be re-branding to This Jenn Girl!

Here’s a little back story regarding that name, and why it is the handle for all of my social media platforms: When I began college and started introducing myself as Jenn to people (I always went by Jennifer when I was younger), everyone would refer to me as ‘this Jenn girl’ in every imaginable context. When I started my first job as a hostess at a local restaurant: “This Jenn girl just started training today.” When I started getting into nail art and my peers found out about it: “This Jenn girl does really cool nail designs, you should check out her blog.” Even when I started at the agency I’m currently working at, it was “This Jenn girl” this and “This Jenn girl” that. I never bothered getting offended by the fact that I was being referred to so casually and informally– in fact, I embraced it, by using the phrase for all my social media handles.

And so, I am embracing the name once again, through this re-brand. This Jenn Girl will be a lifestyle blog with a main focus on nail art, but will also include posts that delve into career advice, fashion trends, beauty tips and more. Think of it as that corner café where you can unwind over your favorite cup of coffee.

I want to take the time to thank you for your support throughout the Polished PR journey– I hope you’ll join me on this next adventure! The new blog will be launched at the end of the month, so stay tuned!

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Guest Post: Extreme Makeover: Business Cards Edition

Hopefully, everyone knows the importance of having a business card by now, but if you don’t, I need you to come out from under the rock you’re living in. Whether you’re employed or unemployed, business cards help promote your personal and professional brand. Let’s face it, we all want to move up that grand corporate ladder, and business cards, along with a few other things, can help you get there.

Unlike a resume, business cards are used just for your contact information. As far as the basics, you should include your name, phone number and e-mail. Depending on your employment status, the information mentioned before would be work related in addition to your company name, your title and work address. Although this probably goes without saying, add your top two or three most active social media accounts to your card as well.

Listing your online portfolio would be another great addition to your business card also. If you haven’t already, I suggest that you create an about.me profile or use sites like Weebly or Wix so people can view your work.

Not only is the information you provide on your cards important, but the design element is also important. Here are a few tips to help your business card stand out from the rest.

Use Vibrant Colors – What is more eye catching than seeing spots of color on something? You could have the color incorporated into your logo, or have your name in a different color or font from the other text. Be aware that too many colors or fonts can look too busy. As long as you stick to 1 or 2 different colors and fonts you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Be Different – The majority of business cards that I’ve seen are horizontal cards. Just to be different, why not order vertical cards? I mean, who said that business cards should only be printed one way?

Choose Your Corners Wisely –  Is anyone else shocked that the corners of a business card can be printed in another form besides square? Well, rounded corners are actually kind of popular and they look really nice on cards. Square corners, Imma let you finish, but rounded corners are the best corners of all time.

Add Visual Elements – I’ve read that if your photo is on your business card, it’s easier for the person to remember you the next time they see you. Which means all the time and money you spent into printing these beauties won’t be in vain. Adding logos, graphics or even adding your own work to your card makes them unique.

If you’re really feeling fancy, go on and create a nontraditional business card like the one pictured below. I know I’d definitely remember the person who gave me that card.

Photo Credit: Vandelaydesign

Photo Credit: Vandelaydesign

In case you’re design-challenged, Pinterest is a great place to draw inspiration from! Of course, you could always look at the templates provided by most places that specialize in printing business cards. With sites like VistaPrint.com, MOO.com, Zazzle.com, Office Depot and Staples all offering cards for reasonable prices, there is no excuse for not having business cards.

Bonus Tip: Carry a few business cards with you everywhere you go. You never know who you’ll meet in line at Publix or even in the airport waiting for a flight. Remember that you’ll never have to get ready, if you stay ready!

About the Contributor:

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Brea Allen is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she obtained a degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations. She is a self-proclaimed music and pop culture enthusiast and loves all things Beyonce and positivity. When she’s not on the post-grad job hunt, she’s blogging at AllSheWrotePR.blogspot.com or tweeting at @breajallen.

Guest Post: Choosing Your Major

Hello friends of Jenn! My name is Rachael and I am from The Overwhelmed Undergrad. As my blog implies, I am an undergraduate student who is way too busy doing anything and everything I can get myself into. I am a junior biology major with a minor in equine studies. I have four jobs on my college campus, I am involved in various clubs, and I ride for my college’s IHSA Equestrian Team. I started my blog to write about the random musings of an overwhelmed undergraduate student. Today I want to share with you my experience with choosing a major, something that seems to be more difficult than it should be.

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Ever since I can remember, I wanted to become a veterinarian when I grew up. Animals are my passion, my whole world, so why wouldn’t I want to help them for the rest of my life? Entering college, I knew that there was no other option for me other than majoring in pre-veterinary science to prepare myself for veterinary school. I made my way to my new college home, 250 miles away from my hometown, ready to make my dreams come true. A year and a half later, at 19 years old, I realized that I had absolutely NO IDEA what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. *Cue in immense amounts of panic*

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After way too much deliberation, crying to my friends and family, and having many conversations with my professors, I changed my major to biology. I saw the little light bulb shining above my head: I was not obligated to do what I always thought I was going to do. Do I still love animals more than anything? Yes. Do I still want to help them? Yes. Do I still want to enjoy my career? Yes. Do I NEED to go to veterinary school to do this? No.

College is about finding yourself. Yes, this is probably the most common cliché you are going to hear before, during, and after your college years, but it is probably also the most important. It is okay to explore the opportunities that the world has to offer. If the opportunities presented to you seem more appealing than what you thought about in the past, then go for something different! The only person that you have to please is yourself. If you do not major in something you enjoy to enter a career that you will enjoy, the only thing you are going to be is miserable.

What are a few “simple” pieces of advice that I can give to an incoming or new college student about choosing their major?

  1. Choose a major, take classes and electives you enjoy, but always keep an open mind.
  2. Get involved on campus and throughout the community. You may love doing something that you never would have expected.
  3. Learn everything you possibly can. I don’t care how boring that stupid short story is for your Intro to Literature class… Read it, dissect it, find a different viewpoint, and learn.
  4. Attend lectures hosted by your school, even if extra credit isn’t being offered.
  5. After all of that, change your major if you want to. Change it 5 times. It is okay to be indecisive. (But remember to make sure it won’t affect your graduation date…)
  6. Most importantly, make new friends and have fun. College will fly by without you noticing, but it is such an amazing experience.

Thank you for letting me visit! I hope you all enjoyed.

 

About the Contributor:

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Rachael is in her junior year at a small private college in Massachusetts, majoring in biology with a minor in equine studies. She believes that animals are better than people and leading a boring life is completely unacceptable. Her blog, The Overwhelmed Undergrad, is a place in the universe where she shares stories from her anything but calm life.

 

Guest Post: Just For Me Mani (Plus, An Interview Tip!)

Hi everyone!! My name is Jacqui and I run a U.S. nail art blog called craftynail.com.  I’m very happy to guest post for Polished PR today!  After all, I’ve been reading Jenn’s blog since, well, since we both started blogging!  I love that Jenn throws in little tips on career building.  I moonlight as a nail blogger, but I work as an advisor at a university for my day job.  So education and career planning is in the forefront of my mind as well.  If you read through to the end of my post I will have a bonus job interviewing tip for you!  But let’s see my nails first…

As a blogger, I often find myself doing my nails specifically for a nail art challenge, or to review a new product I received. But what’s different about this manicure is that I did it JUST FOR ME! It’s not often enough that I get to do a manicure just because I feel like it! I used two polishes that have been calling to me saying, “Jacqui, you love me, why don’t you wear me?  You keep thinking about me, but I’m still sitting here on this shelf!” Those two talking polishes are Zoya Zuza (my base color) and Sinful Colors Lush Life (glitter topper).

Being this glitter-tastic didn’t come easy though! You won’t believe how many coats of polish I’m wearing here. I applied one coat of Essence peel-off base coat, two coats of Zoya Zuza to give me a nice teal base color, 5 coats of my Sinful Colors teal glitter, and one coat of Seche Vite topcoat.  That is a total of 9 coats!  I didn’t expect needing that many, but I wanted it to be super glittery and my Lush Life glitter was more sparse than I expected.  Oh well.  No one said being beautiful was easy!

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Now for my job interviewing tip!  I interview students from time to time when my office needs a new student worker or intern.  I have also been on the other side, as an interviewee, since I have had many career changes since I graduated from college.  I’ve landed some jobs that I had no experience in at all.  I’d like to think that a lot of my success hinged on my interviewing skills.  Specifically, my enthusiasm and honesty.  What do I mean by that?  If I’m interviewing for a job and I’m really psyched about it, I make sure to tell the interviewer!  You should come right out and tell them exactly why you think you are perfect for the job and that you’re really excited about the opportunity.  Be honest with them.  If you’re thinking it’s a perfect fit for you, then tell them that!  If they don’t ask you questions that allow you to express this stuff, then make sure to bring it up before you leave the interview.

When I’m saying my goodbyes I like to stand up, shake their hand nice and firm and tell them how excited I am because of x, y and z. Look them straight in the eyes and be honest and enthusiastic.  You want to end the interview with a bang so you stand out from the bunch.  Why would they want to hire someone who just comes in, sits down and answers their questions like a drone when they could hire YOU!

I must admit, I always get so nervous before I interview!  I can’t tell you how to handle that, since I haven’t found a solution for that yet.  LOL!  But none the less, I hope my little interviewing tip is helpful for you.  Thanks to Jenn for having me!  And if you want to see more of my Craftynail style, find me online!  Here’s where I’ll be hanging out– facebookpinteresttwittertumblr, and bloglovin. 

 

 About the Contributor:

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Jacqui lives in the Hudson Valley of New York State, where she works at a university as a financial aid counselor. When the daily grind of student loans comes to an end, she can be found hibernating at home while whipping up some cool craftiness. The main focus of her blog, Craftynail, is on nail care, nail polish and cute nail designs.

Guest Post: Shaping Your Career Path With A Blog

Everything starts with an idea. For me, though, it started with a fear. The idea of people reading my writing has always been horrifying to me. I would cover my paper when teachers walked by, shoo my sister away if she saw me scribbling, and then later on, I just decided not to write anymore.  The fear of someone else reading and then possibly critiquing my writing was enough to stifle my passion for a long time.

I am, now a public relations major at Penn State, and after being undecided my first two years (more like, undecided most of my life), I could not be happier with my decision. I love PR because I have a passion for people. I want to be the bridge between person and company, and public relations is the perfect way to do that.

Public relations isn’t all glam and gold though. I have to write, and people have to read it. My writing professor this semester gave me great advice, and that was to write everyday. Simple enough, right? I wanted to take this a step further. It’s one thing to write everyday, but I saw this as an opportunity to rekindle an old flame. After not writing for so long, I wanted to do something worthwhile with it.  So naturally, I started a blog.

I have only been blogging for a couple of months. After I published my first post, I was excited, horrified and proud. Nothing is more permanent then the Internet, and now I had about 300 of my own words, published for the whole world to see. I wanted to keep going. The fear I had of people reading my writing and critiquing and judging was slowly starting to disappear.

After only a couple months of blogging, I was accepted to be a member of the Her Campus Blogger Network. But, what’s even more exciting to me, is that I’ve told my friends and my family about my blog. I was afraid of judgment, but all I am getting is love and support.

I cannot wait for my blog to grow into something truly amazing and wonderful. I am excited for upcoming projects and my future as a blogger. I am grateful for my new followers and my exponentially growing views that I receive everyday. But I don’t think anything will ever compare to seeing someone I love and them telling me, “Hey, I read your blog today.”

 

About the Contributor:

Me

Briannah is currently a sophomore studying public relations at Penn State University. She recently discovered her passion for blogging and loves to write about the obstacles she faces in college and how she is over coming them. Her blog, Briannah., is a lifestyle, fashion, and beauty blog where she gives her readers the inside scoop on fashion trends and beauty product reviews, as well as allows them to see her mistakes and triumphs as a college student.

Things To Remember During The Job Hunt

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Prior to, and during, the daunting adventure of searching for a full-time career, there are many pieces of advice given to us by family members, friends, mentors and peers. Sometimes, we get the hopeless thoughts of never finding a position stuck in our heads, placed there by the people who tell us, “The market is tough— it took me months after graduation to find a job. You’ll encounter the same.” Other times, we find ourselves overwhelmed, because we are told, “Apply for every single job you find.”

As a recent graduate who successfully secured a couple of job offers prior to graduation, I want to share three pieces of advice that I personally want to give you that may contrast from what you’ve been hearing, along with my reasoning behind them.

Don’t spread yourself thin.
 
I can’t tell you how often I heard advice along the lines of “Apply for everything,” being given to students entering the job search phase of their career path. I cannot emphasize this enough to you: don’t do it. You’re only doing yourself a disadvantage of applying to every job that’s related to your industry. It’s important to select position that are tailored to the skills and experience that you have. You’re also setting yourself up for a big letdown if you’re applying for a position that you’re not 100% sure you’re a good fit for.
Read the rest of this post on All She Wrote PR, where it was originally featured!

Calling All Bloggers!

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Whether you blog about nail art, career advice or public relations, you contribute something very valuable to your readers. This next month is going to be very busy career-wise on my end and I don’t want to leave my readers in the dust!

If you’re interested in contributing a guest post to Polished PR, please email me at askpolishedpr [at] gmail [dot] com—  kindly include your blog name into the subject line and give a brief snippet of what you want to write about within the body of the email. I would love to collaborate with you and introduce my readers to you and shine a light on your blog :)

Hope to hear from you soon! xo

Success In Public Relations

Yesterday, over coffee, a friend and colleague of mine shared with me a read that she thought I’d find helpful and relevant to the public relations industry. It’s a list of personality traits that determine whether an individual will succeed in the world of public relations, which I’m sure you’ve come across in public relations textbooks or journals. These traits were compiled by Bill Cantor, an author and the president of an executive search company in New York known as The Cantor Concern, which has since evolved into Cantor Integrated Marketing Staffing.

I’m going to share all 10 traits with you, then elaborate on the five that I feel are most relevant to a young pre-professional.

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Cantor’s Traits for Success:

  1. Response to tension
  2. Individual initiative
  3. Curiosity and learning
  4. Energy, drive and ambition
  5. Objective thinking
  6. Flexible attitude
  7. Service to others
  8. Friendliness
  9. Versatility
  10. Lack of self-consciousness

If you can relate to all ten of these characteristics, you and public relations go together like peas and carrots. Out of these 10 traits, the five that I feel benefited me most when I first started as an intern are:

Individual Initiative

It only does you a disadvantage if you’re always waiting for instructions. Being able to think ahead of the game and anticipate needs is necessary in the world of PR.

Curiosity & Learning

You’ll never ever stop learning at any point in your career, because in this industry we are constantly evolving, learning and adapting to new trends. It’s said so often, but, be a sponge. And better than that, want to be a sponge. You should always want to learn more about a client and its product/service, mission and competitors. 

Energy, Drive & Ambition

In my opinion, the best of public relations professionals never complain about how tired they are. Sure, we’ll joke about how much coffee we consume, but working around the clock is something to be expected from this industry. Instead, they talk about that adrenaline rush they got from a busy, productive day or the feeling of satisfaction they got from a campaign well-done. Great PR pros are stimulated, not deterred, by problems, and are persistent on finding a solution.

Objective Thinking

The ability to be perceptive and aware of your surroundings and what’s going on in them is a vital trait to possess in PR. As Cantor explains, you “must know what to do and say and when.” Working in the industry requires you to pay very close attention to detail, especially in writing, as well as the ability to observe someone else’s feelings through verbal and non-verbal communication.

Flexible Attitude

I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard to be aware of when you’re in the wrong, but it’s still a necessary trait as a PR professional. Because you communicate with so many different individuals, from your clients, to their audiences, to the media, it’s also important that you’re able to see things from their points of view. Don’t always make decisions based on your own personal beliefs. Instead, take into consideration your client, its audience and the media when necessary.

 

Which traits do you think are most important when it comes to starting off in the world of public relations? Let me know by leaving me a comment, or starting a conversation with me on Twitter at @thisjenngirl.

 

Getting An Internship Part 3: Preparing For Your Interview

This post has been a long time coming, but I wanted to release it mid-semester, since it can apply to job seekers as well. As I know many college seniors are readying themselves for graduation, I thought this would be a great post for everyone to read, no matter where they are in their career path.

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You’ve sent in your resume and cover letter, and after waiting anxiously for what seemed like weeks, the hiring manager for the position you applied to has contacted you, asking to schedule an interview. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview and that will allow you to leave the meeting feeling confident that you aced it:

Research the position.

Go back to the position description that you read when you applied for the internship. Jot down all the responsibilities required from the position as well as the required skills. Highlight the responsibilities that you are familiar with and have had success with– these points will help you convey to the hiring manager what you have to bring to the table. With the ones that are not highlighted, think of the characteristics that you possess that are relevant to those responsibilities. That way, when the question, “Are you familiar with _____?” comes up, you can respond confidently with, “I haven’t had much experience with _____, but I have strong _____ skills that I feel will allow me to successfully accomplish this responsibility.” As you did with the list of responsibilities, highlight the skills that you possess. The ones that are not highlighted will allow you to convey what you wish to learn from the internship, for example: “I would love to learn more about event coordination and improve my research skills when it comes to finding vendors for the event.”

Know the company.

Do your research on the company that you’re applying to work at. What awards has it won? Who are its clients? What kind of work environment does it appear to have? Knowing these details will allow you to not only familiarize yourself with the company, but also feel comfortable when you step foot into the door, because you have an idea of what to expect and also how to dress for the interview.

Assemble a folder.

Ready a folder that contains a print copy of your current resume and cover letter for the hiring manager to reference back to. Include portfolio items such as writing samples, graphic design work, social media content calendars, etc.– include items that relate to the position you’re applying for and its corresponding responsibilities. Will you be interviewing with a group of people? Bring duplicates of the folder so that each person can have his/her own copy.

Create a folder for yourself as well. This will be helpful if someone asks, “It says here on your resume that you created content for social media. Can you elaborate?” Easy. Pull out the content calendar you placed into your folder and respond, “Absolutely. In your folder you’ll find this mock content calendar that I created for a social media course. I kept the posts limited to 15-20 per month and drafted copy that would encourage engagement from the client’s audience.” Be sure to keep copies of references on you, don’t include them in the folders. Only provide a list of references when it’s requested.

Prepare a couple of questions.

Asking questions of your own during an interview shows your desire to obtain the position and also your drive to excel in it. Questions such as, “How do you define success in this position?” or “What do you enjoy most about the company culture?” will allow your interviewer to realize that you really want to do a good job as an intern. Not only that, but it will help you become an awesome intern and grow your skill set, ultimately widening and benefiting your career path.

I hope these tips prove useful to you during your interview preparation. Don’t be nervous– you’ve done your research. Just go in with a sense of confidence and knock his/her/their socks off. Good luck!

Have any additional pieces of advice to add? Leave me a comment, or start a conversation with me on Twitter at @thisjenngirl!