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: 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.

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!

Getting An Internship Part 2: Preparing Your Cover Letter

In this second part of the “Getting An Internship” series, I’m going to go over how to compile information within paragraphs to create a basic cover letter. Your cover letter will help the reader (hopefully your future internship supervisor!) get to know more about you, your passions and your skills.

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Traditionally, cover letters are used as an attachment, sent along with your resume for review by the recruiter. While others may recommend that you continue distributing your cover letter as so, I actually recommend that you use your cover letter as the body of your email to the recruiter. One of the big things that we learn as public relations students is when pitching to an outlet to gain coverage of your client, you want to capture the reader’s attention– and then get to the point. I look at reaching out to a recruiter the same way. Whichever method you choose is up to you, but this tip sheet will help you either way. Make a rough draft that answers the following questions, and then form them into sentences (with transitions!) to create smooth paragraphs that flow together.

Getting An Internship p2-01

I’ve also attached a sample cover letter below that will help you get the gist of how to put it all together. This cover letter is one I actually used to secure an interview, and ultimately an offer, from my current job. I hope that you find this useful, and if you have any questions at all, don’t be afraid to ask!

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Jennifer Thai and I am a public relations student at the
University of South Florida, expected to graduate in December of this
year. I came across your listing for the social media associate
position on the Ad 2 Tampa Bay job bank, while searching for career
opportunities that are a match with my area of interest. This particular position
caught my eye as it entails creating & maintaining social media
strategies as well as other public relations & marketing initiatives
for clients, which is where my expertise lies.

I have three years of public relations and communications internship
experience in both agency and in-house settings, as detailed in my
resume. I also bring four years of internship experience in digital
marketing—because these particular digital positions required me to
work remotely, I am proud to say that I have gained the ability to
successfully manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment
while never missing a deadline.

I am a creative and socially-driven individual, and I believe that my
abilities in interpersonal communication, taking initiative and
remaining level-headed through any situation are qualities that would
best suit a position of this nature. I would love to be given the
opportunity to fill this position, and to be able to show that the
qualities that I possess will establish me as an ideal social media
associate. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to
hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Thai

Getting An Internship Part 1: Preparing Your Resume

In this “Getting An Internship” portion of the series I’ve been preparing for you, there will be three separate parts, each with its own tip sheet– Part 1: Preparing Your Resume, Part 2: Preparing Your Cover Letter and Part 3: Acing Your Interview.

Getting An Internship p1 Title-01

Before applying to an internship that you’ve found, you should make sure that you have a resume on file. If you haven’t created one already, this sample template should assist you in compiling the information you need for a functional resume:

Getting An Internship p1-01

If this is your first internship that you’re applying to, chances are, you don’t have a whole lot of substance to put onto your resume. But if you carefully read the description of the internship position, you may find that you have experiences that are relevant. Have you participated in any volunteer opportunities within the past two years? Are you an active member of an organization on campus? Have you had any part-time jobs that taught you about responsibility, organization, multitasking or taking initiative? Any of these experiences can be included in your resume, so long as the skills that you took from them are related to that of the internship you are applying to.

When you begin listing the responsibilities of each experience, be sure to utilize strong action verbs, such as communicated, compiled, organized, produced, assisted with, etc. If the position that you are describing is one you held in the past, be sure to list its responsibilities in the past tense. If you still hold that position currently, list its responsibilities in the present tense.

You’ll want to organize your resume with your most recent experience at the top, with the rest in reverse chronological order. Although a lot of resume samples list the dates numerically (05/2009 – 06/2010), I recommend that you list your dates with the month spelled out, followed by the year (May 2009 – June 2010). Using this method makes it easier for the reader and reduces any unnecessary confusion.

A lot of resume samples that you’ll find online include an ‘objective’ section, where you include (in sentence form) the position that you are seeking, along with any skills you feel are appropriate for that position. Personally, I think that this is unnecessary, as your email subject line will answer the question of what position you are applying for and your cover letter will explain in detail the skills that you encompass that make you a good candidate for the internship.

As far as the ‘skills’ section of your resume goes, ask yourself: What skills do I possess that are relevant to the internship that I am applying for? What software are you familiar with, do you know how to use Microsoft Office, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign or Photoshop? Are you good at writing, familiar with AP Style? List your skills, in bullet form.

After you complete your resume, check, double check and triple check for any errors. Once you feel confident in the way it sounds and appears, ask a variety of people to look it over for you: an advisor, a friend, a mentor, a professor, etc. Your university’s career center is also a very helpful resource if you’re stuck on how to effectively bring your skills out on paper.

Good luck on your search for an internship, and be sure to check back for part two, which will cover the topic of preparing your cover letter!

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