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.

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!

Adventuring

I decided to do a career-focused post today, and although I love nail art dearly and enjoy sharing that passion with you, I do want to make the point of writing more PR-related posts to really bring out both the ‘polished’ and the ‘PR’ part of my blog.

For the past four years, I’ve been actively involved in internships related to the marketing and PR industries. These experiences have truly shaped my career path: I’ve learned how to and how not to communicate with co-workers, supervisors, associates and clients (and am still learning more about this aspect of communication each and every day); I know that I do not want to go into crisis communications; I’ve developed a love for social media and doing PR for small businesses (preferably lifestyle brands); I’m adept at completing research, and Google has become my best friend; I know how to craft pitches, press releases and media alerts, and have learned how to compile press kits for clients.

Throughout all these opportunities, I’ve learned how to balance a full-time education with a part-time job and multiple internships. And now that I am entering my final semester before I graduate in December, I realize that there is only one chance left for me to really make myself stand out from the rest in the PR world.

I had this talk with my mentor about how there are still skills that I need to develop, skills that weren’t necessarily provided to me by my past internships because all of them were basically virtual internships. I know that finding a hands-on, in-office internship is the missing piece to the puzzle that awaits me at graduation, and I’m positive that once I gain this experience and the skills that go with it, I can confidently say that I’ll have the tools in my belt to move forward into the professional world.

So, here’s to hoping that I’ll be able to find that perfect fit of an internship for me come this fall semester, because it’s the one last opportunity I’ll have before I become a full-fledged PR gal.

But, of course, it’s not all about wishing and hoping. If I want it, I have to take the steps to go get it. And I will. :)