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:

bja

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.

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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:

july7th

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.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

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Whether you’re a student in college applying for internships, a recent graduate searching for an entry-level position or already a professional in the working world, chances are, you’ve got a LinkedIn page with your name on it. No matter where you are in your career path, it’s important to optimize and maintain your LinkedIn profile. Doing so will allow you to become more visible to other students/colleagues in your industry and will also help you increase your connections to the industry. Here are some key areas of your LinkedIn page to pay extra attention to:

Profile Photo

If your profile photo on LinkedIn is currently a white shadow of a bald person, I recommend that you upload a photo of yourself as soon as possible! Without a profile photo, if your profile comes up in a search, it’s unlikely that someone will choose to view it, under the assumption that you probably haven’t logged on to your LinkedIn in awhile.

What makes a good profile photo? Your picture should be a professional headshot– it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just remember to smile, because everyone loves an approachable face. Stay away from selfies and modeling photos, as well as photos with a limb cut off because you had to crop out the person standing next to you.

Headline

Make sure that your headline is not only search-friendly, but also says who you are and what you specialize in and speaks to your audience. Maybe you’re a ‘Detail-oriented public relations student eager to learn from a corporate PR internship‘ or a ‘Seasoned public relations professional specializing in managing crises.‘ Whoever you are, make sure that stands out in your headline– leverage those 120 characters!

Summary

Write your summary in first person– LinkedIn, after all, is a social media platform– let some personality shine through! Who are you? What experience (and how much) do you have? What are you passionate about? What are you hoping to gain from a connection? Answer these questions here, but try not to get too lengthy; two to three short paragraphs is perfect.

Experience

Similar to your resume, current experiences should be bulleted in present tense, while past experiences should be bulleted in past tense. Don’t resort to ‘fluff’ in this portion of your profile– highlight responsibilities (clear, concise & straight to the point) that will make a recruiter or potential connection go, ‘Wow, he/she accomplished that?!

Advice For Contacting

How can someone contact you outside of LinkedIn? In what instances would you like he/she to contact you? Type it out in this section. Think of something along the lines of ‘Interested in working with me? You can contact me directly at _____.’

Which section do you think is most vital when it comes to leveraging your LinkedIn profile? Let me know by leaving a comment, or by tweeting me at @thisjenngirl!

Countdown To The New Year

Where do I even begin to start? This past year has been, for lack of a better word, wonderful. Even in its worst moments, I was given blessings in the form of lessons, and I’ve grown significantly from where I was at the beginning of the year. In just less than 9 hours, 2014 will arrive…and who knows what’s in store for us this coming year? My resolutions for the year are:

  1. To continue shaping myself and growing as an individual;
  2. To embrace change and life’s surprises;
  3. To learn more and continue perfecting my skills in the workplace;
  4. To be able to provide for myself without any assistance from my family or significant other.

Now that I have graduated college and am moving on to the next phase of my life, these are four areas I want to improve on within the next year. I’m going to take each day as it comes– we’ll see what becomes of these resolutions once December 31, 2o14 arrives!

And of course, I want to continue growing this blog and exploring my creative side, but that’s not so much a resolution as it is a way of life for me ;) I was lucky to have the time to put together two nail designs this week, both expressing my excitement for 2014:

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I’ll leave you with my favorite quote regarding the New Year, from Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,
and don’t forget 
to make some art —
write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Happy New Year 2014-01

Which Industry Should You Work In?

Today’s post is inspired by a fellow LinkedIn user who responded to my Finding An Internship post, asking, ‘How can I find out which industry/company is suitable for me to work in?

Which Industry-01

It’s a topic I didn’t think to include in this series of posts initially, and I’m so glad that she brought it up. When I first started my post-secondary education, I was studying biomedical sciences and following the seven-year medical program at my university, a stark contrast to the degree in mass communications I now hold. When I decided to change my major, I was trying to figure out whether to follow the advertising track or the public relations one. This question was all too relevant to the position I was in– so, how did I figure out which industry was suitable for me?

Which Industry Should I Work In-01

Before deciding to change my major, and again before choosing between the advertising and public relations tracks, I did my research. You should know what to expect as far as coursework for your major goes and what responsibilities are expected of you once you apply for an internship or full-time position. I chose public relations because of the versatility of the industry– between advertising, event coordination, marketing, PR and writing, I have a loaded belt of tools because of all that I learned through coursework and internship experiences. “Why did you choose this major?” is a pretty common question that comes up on the first day of classes. It’s important that you have the answer to this question if you’re serious about the track you’re on.

Experience, experience, experience. I can’t stress this enough! Although getting advice from others is important, whether it’s from a mentor you’ve established a relationship with or from peers in a group you network with, experiencing each position for yourself is even better, because an aspect that someone else loves about the industry he/she works in may turn out to be something that you hate about it!

Like always, the tip sheet is there for your use– keep it on your phone, print it out and/or share it with classmates :)

Graduated!

It’s official! As of yesterday, I now hold a Bachelor’s degree in mass communications (with a track in public relations, of course!). It’s such an awesome feeling, and it’s even more amazing to be able to say that I successfully reached the goals that I set for myself when I first began pursuing this major.

I wanted to gain industry experience from the get-go, and continue my education by experiencing a variety of positions in the advertising, marketing and public relations industries. Within my four years at USF, I successfully completed six internships, all which contributed greatly to my growth as a student. Another big goal that I set for myself was to grow as a leader. I participated in leadership sessions at my university and learned lessons from personal experiences within the classroom. As my last semester required many group projects in lieu of exams, I found myself in the position of group leader many times, and learned how to manage a group of people and delegate responsibilities. I also learned how to balance “reminding” (not micromanaging), with assuming control when things were still incomplete as a deadline neared. And lastly, I really wanted to be able to secure an offer for a job before graduation came around– I knew that it would be possible if I continued to gain valuable internship and work experience and also accumulate an arsenal of skills to build my resume with. I’m really proud to say that I was able to make all that happen, and I am so ready for this next chapter in my life :)

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Sephora by OPI’s I Come In Peas | Orly’s Luxe

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I start my new job on Monday (yes, tomorrow), but I will be back soon with nail design for the holidays :) Until then! xoxo