Cheers To The Side Hustle!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, Career, Happiness, Stephanie, Success, Uncategorized

~ by Stephanie Harbison ~

I can’t believe it’s already mid-February, and more so that it is 2017! I had a nice reminder that my 15-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, which makes me think back to the days when I was singing along to N’Sync as I cruised around town in my little red Nissan Maxima. Those were the days!

Actually, it really makes me think of how different my life is than it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago! And that’s not a bad thing. I actually get really excited for the New Year to roll in so I can have that feeling of a fresh start and start drafting an ideal plan of what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

This year I decided to start on a new adventure in a side business, aka “side hustle” with Stella & Dot. If you’ve never heard of it, just think super cute, trendy, versatile jewelry and accessories. I never saw myself entering the world of direct sales, but then again, I have to eat my words pretty frequently.

But really, I realized I could make it about so much more than selling something or even about jewelry. I could use this as an opportunity to connect with other women and offer them something that makes us all feel beautiful! I was a little nervous as I started because it was a new industry for me, and I didn’t know how my professional skills would translate into this kind of business.

However, there are several main skills that have crossed over perfectly from the work I have done as a financial rep and as a recruiter! And I believe they transfer from any industry really.

The first one is prospecting. Any time you have a product to sell or a service to offer, prospecting for potential customers is going to be one of the most important things you do. Just as I work to identify my ideal candidate to recruit in my role at Northwestern Mutual, in my work with Stella & Dot I identify my ideal customer, then aim to locate as many of them as possible. This might be through personal connections I already have, friends of friends, or people in the community I want to meet.

Prospecting, a key transferable skill …

A great way to start prospecting is to list all the different networks you have (work, school, church, sports teams, family, your volunteer network, etc.) then start writing down as many names as possible. You will be surprised you know many more people than you thought!

Networking: fun and crucial to success

So how do you get introduced to people who you want to meet, or potential customers you don’t know yet? That is where networking comes in. The Business Dictionary defines networking as “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not with ‘What can I get?’”

In other words, this is something that takes time and is going to be based upon building mutually beneficial relationships. However, it also can be as simple as being willing to introduce one of your personal connections to someone who is able to do the same for you.

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know,” right? Well the more people you know, the more resources you have to help you, especially when you are willing to do the same.

The next part of building a direct sales business, that I have learned so far, is to make contact with all of the people on that big list you developed. That really can be the hardest part. We all start thinking of the objections we are going to hear, so we might make excuses for why we shouldn’t reach out. I am so guilty of this!

The fact is, you are going to hear “NO” in sales … A LOT. But for every “no” you hear, you are one call (or text, or email, etc.) closer to a “yes.” It is the same way working in the financial industry, recruiting or trying to schedule a jewelry party. Objections are a part of selling a product or service, but you’ll never hear “yes” unless you muster up the courage to make that call!

For anyone who ever has thought about entering the world of direct sales, you may be surprised to find out you are joining 20 million other Americans as well. You can see why! It allows people to work from home, on their own schedules, and experience a virtually unlimited income.


However, it also doesn’t come without its challenges. While it’s been a great way for me to transfer my skills from other industries and experiences, it’s also hard work. But I’m super excited for the challenge, I love meeting and connecting with new people. Plus, I have so much fun every time I get to share Stella & Dot’s amazing style with someone new. Cheers to the side hustle!

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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Two Months In And Thriving

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Hannah, Internship, Job, Success

By Hannah Goodwin ~

After two full months I feel I can properly and efficiently tell you all about my new job. Well, at least I can tell you how I came to get this job as that is a pretty good story, if I do say so myself.

Now, I am sure you all have been hanging on to the edge of your seats since my last post, which was all about my number’s game strategy. But just in case you haven’t, in short, in that post I shared that the job/internship hunt is a number’s game, meaning that the more people you reach out to, the better your chances are at achieving success. I utilized this strategy once again when it came to finding a full-time job.

I reached out to as many public relations, marketing, communications, etc. companies I could find in Indianapolis. Much like previous experiences, I heard many “Thanks, but no thanks” and “We are looking for someone more experienced,” in addition to the multitude of crickets that did not get back to me at all. Thankfully, the positive responses I got boosted my self-esteem and boosted me right into the interview process.

One of my positive responses came from a communications company owner who said that while his company was not currently hiring, he would be happy to meet with me anyway. I took him up on that, as I am not one to turn down the opportunity to make a connection. By the time we met up, a former colleague of his from the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office had reached out to him inquiring if he knew anyone who’d be a great fit and available to apply for a communications role that had become available.

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Signs on the wall right above the reception area depicting the agencies housed in the office.

Lots of emails, several phone conversations and one influential, mutual connection later, the job was mine! I will now get to the point of what this job actually is. I am Communications Manager for two of the five agencies that fall under Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb; these agencies make up the “Family of Business.” The two agencies I work with are the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD).

I will be the first to say that I never pictured myself working in the public sector, but the way this position presented itself to me, I knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Because of the way I came to hear about and then interview for this job, I had not seen the actual job description until after I had been offered the job. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was offered the job, but slightly wary as I did not know what all it included. Upon reading through the description, primary duties and qualifications, I was instantly reassured. I thought, I have been studying for this, practicing all of these duties in my internships and this is what I want to do!

I have my own cubicle with my boss’s office on one side and the OCRA project managers next to me. I am along a wall and can see out a window, with a parking garage taking up most of my view. But, as I look to the left, I can see the dome of the State House. My boss and I comprise the communications team for the Family of Business, placing us in high demand and causing me to dive right in to my position.

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Panorama of my desk. It can always be found with 3 screens, 2 phones and 1 hardworking me.

Being an integral member of the centralized marketing and communications team, I am constantly in contact with members of the agencies I work with, the communications staff within the other agencies and many others. I get to do everything from coming up with communications strategies to managing the social media and creating internal and external newsletters as well as all things press releases, media alerts, talking points, etc.

I am doing the kind of work I knew I wanted to do upon graduating. It feels like work in the sense that I have to work hard to get everything done and to have my work be the best quality possible, but the work itself is interesting to me and fun. Two months in, and I think it is safe to say I am thriving in my new position.

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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It Just Takes A Little Time (Management)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Planning, Stephanie, Success, Time Management

By Stephanie Harbison ~

Anyone who knows me probably knows I’m a little neurotic when it comes to time management, and almost everything goes on the calendar. I’m a pretty organized person by nature, so I always have to-do lists and carry around a cute planner.

But it wasn’t until I started my career at Northwestern Mutual that I started to take time management really seriously. In fact, everyone around here takes it really seriously! When you are managing a client base and meeting with several clients a day, you can’t afford be anything but purposeful with your time. I realized I wasn’t going to be successful if I didn’t have a plan going in to each day, and a way to evaluate my progress at the end of the day. At Northwestern Mutual this is actually called posting & planning, and it has been an absolute life changer. I’ll talk more about this later.

Time management is one of those terms that is tossed around, but what does it actually mean and how do you become good at it? A person may think he has good time management skills and work well under pressure at the last minute when in fact, that is just called procrastination!

When I think of someone with good time management skills I’m always envious of the person who always seems at ease but at the same time seems to be involved in everything! Now I know no one can be involved in everything and be good at it all, but it’s okay to dream, right?

My favorite definition of time management, according to Wikipedia, is “the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.” I appreciate that it emphasizes it is a process and one has to use conscious effort to be more productive. In other words, it takes work!

I am one of those people who used to say I was a good “multitasker,” and took pride in being able to work on lots of tasks at a time. Until I realized that I was NOT a good multitasker at all, and I am just very easily distracted! Each time I start working on something I get a text from my husband letting me know of a change in dinner plans, or another email notification, or Facebook reminds me that it’s my best friend’s birthday, or someone walks into my office.

It is easy to want to tend to those things right away, but then it just feels like I’m fighting fires all day long and nothing meaningful gets accomplished! I’m sure most people can relate to this. One of my favorite quotes to sum up this exact scenario is from performance coach and author, Jason Selk: “The noise of urgency creates the illusion of importance.” The truth is those distractions are never going to go away, so we have to work at managing our behavior so we can recognize what is an actual priority and what can wait.

As I learn from my own mistakes, and see others struggle to manage their time, I notice there are many culprits that keep people from being more productive. There is the tendency to over-commit oneself. This person finds herself saying yes to every opportunity or social event that comes up and ends up feeling like she can’t give 100 percent of her attention to anything.

Then there is procrastination, which everyone probably experiences once in a while. When there is a big or daunting project it can be tough to get started so we wait until the very last minute to pump out mediocre work.

And then there are those who are guilty of trying to do everything on their own. I see so many business owners and managers who are too afraid to delegate, then when they should be with their family or need to take a day off, they can’t because there is no one else there to step in and pick up the slack!

Maybe you struggle with one or many of these time management busters, but there is hope! I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but these are just a few tips that have been helpful for me improve productivity and effectiveness in both my life at work and at home.

  1. Identify your goals

It’s tough to know where you should be spending your time if you don’t have any established goals. Take time to understand what you are actually trying to accomplish in the short and long term, and then ask yourself if your current behavior and activities will actually help you accomplish those goals. Beware; this may bring some harsh realities.

  1. Prioritize

Once you’ve determined your goals, break them down into manageable daily processes that will help you reach those goals. This is a concept I learned as I worked with performance coach Jason Selk. These processes should be your top priority every day (your most important tasks), and you may need to rearrange some things in your schedule to make sure they happen. These things, done consistently, are what will help you get closer to those goals.

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  1. Get a good planner

I’m not even going to talk much about this one. If you rely on your memory to remind you of an appointment in 3 weeks, or assume someone else will remind you, you’ve got to get a planner! These are not expensive, and they don’t have to be fancy. If you don’t have a planner, chances are you are not following through on all of your commitments, and probably disappointing people around you.

  1. Have a planning day each week

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to write down everything you have going on that week. Are you hoping to fit in 5 workouts? I know from personal experience, if you put it on the calendar you are much more likely to actually do those workouts. This also helps you visualize all your commitments and make necessary changes ahead of time if you know you can’t fit everything in.

  1. Post and plan each day

This is that term I mentioned earlier. Take time at the end of each work day to evaluate your progress and plan for the next day. Did you complete all of the most important items on your list? What things do you need to have prepared for tomorrow? Don’t leave last minute preparations for a meeting for tomorrow morning. If you spend a few extra minutes before you head out to prep for the next day, you will get to work feeling much more confident and ready to tackle your most important tasks.

  1. Schedule time to focus

If you know you have a big deadline or know you are guilty of procrastinating, schedule time in your calendar to work only on this task, and eliminate distractions. If you wait until you feel like it to start working on that big research paper, you will most likely end up waiting until the last minute, once again.

  1. Don’t try to do everything all in one day

I am super guilty of pressuring myself to do everything on my to-do list all in one day, and then I feel disappointed when I only complete a few of them. Keep focused on those most important tasks you identified, and avoid creating self-imposed deadlines for tasks that can most likely wait.

I could probably write 10 more posts on this subject, so this list is in no way exhaustive. You may have some tips or tricks that help you stay on top of all of life’s demands. I would love to hear what works for you!

 

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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Goodbye, LA!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Happiness, Internship, Kate, Success, Uncategorized

After two months of writing, reporting, and ceaseless movie and TV discussions, I’m officially done with my IndieWire internship. I’m incredibly sad to leave the friends I made there behind, but hopefully I’ll find myself back there at some point in my career (sooner versus later, please!).

I ended up with 65 published bylines on the site, with a few more pieces scheduled for publication as the year goes on. I covered and/or attended seven or eight premieres, screenings, or other events for the site, as well as some just for fun.

The cast of “BoJack Horseman” at their Season 3 premiere panel.
The cast of “BoJack Horseman” at their Season 3 premiere panel.

My final week was pretty busy with events and goodbye parties, but my favorite was a premiere screening for “BoJack Horseman” Season 3. For those who don’t know it, it’s an animated comedy on Netflix that satirizes Hollywood and celebrity culture. The premiere had a panel with the show’s stars, including Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins. I got the chance to meet most of them at the after party, which was super fun.

 

The IndieWire television team all set for Emmy nominations to begin.
The IndieWire television team all set for Emmy nominations to begin.

We were also overrun with Emmys coverage during my last few weeks, since nominations were announced a few weeks ago. We gathered in one of the conference rooms early in the morning on that Thursday with our PMC provided “Emmy NomNomNominations” breakfast and got to work! It was sort of a chaotic morning at the office, but thanks to some great organization and extensive prep, it all went smoothly.

The Last Bookstore is half museum, half bookstore, all awesome.
The Last Bookstore is half museum, half bookstore, all awesome.

I also got the chance to do a bit more sightseeing during my last week at work. I tried out the Metro bus system and ventured downtown, visiting The Last Bookstore and other famous spots. I probably could have spent the entire day just at the bookstore, but I forced myself out the door after just an hour or two.

I liked my time in LA due to my awesome job and great coworkers, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of my favorite cities. The lack of a decent public transit system is baffling to me, and I just couldn’t get used to spending hours and hours in traffic every day. I also hated the parking situation — paying to park everywhere from Target to the public library? Come on! That said, I would be happy to live in LA upon graduation if it meant I could return to IndieWire, or even somewhere like it. As long as I get to do this type of work, I’ll be happy!

 

Don’t make me go!
Don’t make me go!

All in all, I’m so glad I chose IndieWire over my other summer internship choices. I really felt like I was a useful contributor to the site, rather than just another intern used for fact checking and research.

The list of things I learned this summer goes on and on, but I think the most valuable lesson is that confidence and personality go a long way. I’m a pretty good writer, but I think it was my personality that really endeared me to the IndieWire staff. I made some really good friends in the two months that I was there, which has really upped my chances of being rehired in the spring. Sure, being good at my job will also help my chances, but endearing myself to the team has given me an edge over unknown candidates.

And that isn’t to say that I went in with the goal of making friends — I just found my people there. Anyone who knows me will attest that I’m far from an extrovert, but I really hit it off with some of my coworkers and found it easy to go from colleagues to friends. Obviously my work will go under the microscope if I ever get the chance to be rehired there, but I feel comfortable that I have at least two or three people in the LA office who will fight for me!

It feels really strange to have spent a summer working as a professional, doing my dream job … and now going back to school for one more year! Hopefully my last year at IU will prepare me even further for a job in entertainment journalism, thanks to my work at the IDS and my full schedule of film and journalism classes.

Thanks for keeping up with my Hollywood adventure! Here’s to many more.

by Kate Halliwell | email | twitter

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How To Keep Learning When No One Is There To Fail You

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Learning, Success, Tibet

Learning is important. It’s why we spend 12 or more years of our lives in classrooms. It’s why we go into debt to get that college degree. It’s why we re-enter debt to get another degree, and so on and so forth.

Since school got out, ahem, I mean since I um, graduated (it’s still weird saying that), I have found myself having the same conversation over and over with a few of my close friends. We reminisce about our alma mater, the memories still fresh in our heads, and then we sort of take pause and ask ourselves, “Uh, did we learn anything during all that? Why did we just devote the last four years of our lives to a little piece of paper that says ‘Yay! You did it. Now get a job.’”

I’ve mulled over these questions off and on since mid-way through my freshman year. There were moments when I was close to cashing in my chips, throwing in the towel and giving up on college. I’d tell myself it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t cut out for it, it’s not worth it. Plenty of people had dropped out and made it just fine. I began to idolize the dropouts.

But then I would have moments of clarity, briefly, where the stars would align and I would think, “Okay, yeah, this sort of makes sense. I know some of these words my professor is using.”


Those moments of clarity usually happened during, or in proximity to something I enjoyed — possibly a class I liked (those were few and far between) or a pastime I really dug.

The conclusions my friends and I have slowly drawn, the reason we did all that stuff the past four years — the chaotic study habits, the attempt at a social life, a sport, girlfriends, boyfriends, school — the reason we pulled all nighters, blew off class, took class really seriously, stayed out too late, woke up too early — well it taught us how to think, and it taught us how to learn. It let us explore the world through a journey inward, as well as a journey outward. We found out what we liked and we found out what we didn’t like. We strove for (and sometimes stumbled upon) success just as we occasionally fell into failure.

You might be thinking, hey pal, I’ve heard this bit before. “College is about learning how to think and learning how to learn, yada yada yada.” But it’s true. I myself was a nonbeliever for a very long time. Heck, there were nights I was one beer away from dropping out (sorry Mom). But now in hindsight, it all served a greater purpose. Every little piece of it. I didn’t realize it at the time (none of us ever does), but it all happened just the way it was supposed to.

But now here’s the kicker. A lot of us are done with school. We’ve got this tremendous and priceless education under our belts that’s just begging to be built upon. Some of us are already working and not even entertaining the thought of ever again stepping foot into a classroom. Ever. Again.

And then there are some of us who have maybe thought about it, or have already made the plans to go back and get some more learning in.

The folks who fall into the latter group are the ones who are going to keep climbing and climbing. That’s not to say that the people in the first group are doomed to plateau as an Assistant to the Regional Manager; no not at all. But the people in the second group have declared that they are not done learning, and they will slowly start to leave everyone else behind — that is unless everyone else takes on the mindset: “I’m not done learning.”

 

modern clean workspace showing online news website
That’s the biggie. How are you going to keep acquiring knowledge now that you don’t necessarily have to?

There’s a great quote from a bullet journal that I write in every day. It goes like this, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re most likely moving backwards. There is no standing still in life.”

The first time I read that, it scared the hell out of me. And it also excited me. I thought, “How can I better myself every single day?” How can we all better ourselves every single day?

How can we all better ourselves every single day?

I’m not saying we all have to go back to school and grab our PhDs to get the most out of life. For some that is the right path. For others, not so much.

I am saying that we all must continue to learn. We must continue to stay interested and find things that stimulate us. We must dig in wholeheartedly to what lies before us and always maintain a curious, inquisitive outlook that drives us to seek what lies around the bend. We must not get comfortable, but rather always question what we don’t understand, and always seek the truth in what we find.

Forever want more for your mind, and in turn for your life — and find the ways to get it.

Read the news every morning, midday and evening. Subscribe to podcasts and play them on the commute. Grab a book and get through a few pages every day while you eat lunch. Pursue fresh experiences. Break out of your routine. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t have time to learn. We live in a world where information and media is thrown around so readily, that to say you can’t find something to listen to or read is absurd.

Be a student of the world. Keep learning every single day.

To help you get started, here are a few of my favorite pieces of media right now. I listen to a lot of podcasts because I spend a good amount of time commuting every week. I read the news periodically throughout the day — usually first thing in the morning, at lunch and then at the end of the day. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to delve into many good books lately, but I’m working on Thinking, Fast and Slow an exploration of the two systems that drive humans’ thoughts and actions. Good stuff.

Newspaper, The Media, Historic World Event.

Anyway, here’s my current personal favorites in no particular order:

MAGAZINES/NEWSPAPERS (online and print)

Vice (vice.com/en_us)

Millennials’ answer to “the man” and his old, dusty newspapers, magazines and broadcasts. I’m pretty sure this used to be taken as a joke, but it’s gained a lot of traction as of late. I used to spend hours and hours freshman year pouring over Vice documentaries, now they are a legit news agency. Sort of. “Arts, cultures and news topics.”

Fast Company (fastcompany.com)
I read it every day. Sort of a touchy-feely collection of creativity. This publication has turned me on to some of the biggest trends and revolutions going on right now. Heck it’s how I discovered Warby Parker when they were just getting started.

New York Times (nytimes.com/)

Wall Street Journal (wsj.com)

Pro tip 1: Read your local newspaper. Those things are still relevant. I once got an internship/summer job out of the classifieds. Seriously.

Pro tip 2: There are loads of news aggregating apps out there now, and recent versions of iOS have one standard. If you are ever in a hurry, or just want to quickly and easily browse a variety of sources, flip through an aggregator.


PODCASTS

Story Corps. (storycorps.org/)
“The podcast that makes you cry.” Not kidding. They gather stories from all over the country, told by plain ol’ American citizens. A delightful, heartwarming look into the lives of ordinary folk.

Radio Lab (http://www.radiolab.org/)
Long-form feature stories. Topics include: literally everything. The production is fantastic, and even the shows that aren’t that good are still pretty darn good. Definitely worth a listen.

Fresh Air (npr.org/programs/fresh-air/)
A NPR staple. “Probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights.” If you aren’t already tuning in, you need to.

All Songs Considered (npr.org/sections/allsongs/)
You don’t have to be a music buff to enjoy this show. I use it to find new tracks and fresh artists. The hosts know music. I mean they KNOW music. And their tastes span the entire spectrum—from Kanye to Icelandic Grunge Metal (which I’m not completely sure is a thing). Get off the top 40 and put some pizzazz into your ears.

Now … go learn, and THRIVE.

 


 

by Tibet Spencer | LinkedIn

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It’s A Numbers Game

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Hannah, Internship, Public Relations, Success

I have heard my father say the phrase, “It’s a numbers game” to me countless times throughout my life in reference to everything and anything. Applying to college was a numbers game in that the more schools you applied to, the more acceptance letters you were likely to get. This helps to explain why I applied to 10 schools (with a special shout-out to Indiana University for winning me over).

It was this same numbers game mentality that came into major effect when I was applying for internships for the summer after my junior year. Having growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then attending school in Bloomington, Indiana, I had become a well-seasoned (no pun intended) Midwesterner, prompting me to want to see what else was out there. Aside from my desire to go somewhere new, the delicious tacos and having an older sister living there drew me to Austin, Texas.

During the early spring of my junior year, I was open to anything communications oriented including public relations, advertising, marketing, branding, etc. Although Austin may seem very specific in and of itself, I wound up reaching out to more than 100 companies in search of an internship. Some of the companies said they wanted an intern and had an official application; others I contacted by sending an email to their “info@” or “hello@” addresses saying who I was and what I wanted to do.

After the first batch of applications and emails, I heard back with a yes or no from only about 20% of companies. This was not the most encouraging statistic I have ever achieved, but being the youngest of three daughters, I was not to be ignored. I reached back out and followed up with all of the companies I hadn’t heard back from originally in hopes of getting more replies. I kept track of all of this by creating a document with the name of the company, information about them, the date I contacted them, date of follow up, etc.

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I sent yet another email in the form of a reply so that the original email with my resume attached was convenient for the recipient. This email was just a follow up in which I also mentioned that I would be making a trip to Austin in the near future and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with them, even if it was just for the sake of making a connection. To my satisfaction, this sparked more interest and promoted more responses. I guess the fact that I went to school in Indiana also confused some people as I also received several emails making sure I knew their company was based in Austin.

I did wind up making a trip to Austin at the beginning of April and managed to line up 10 meetings throughout the Friday and Monday I was in town. Of those 10, seven were for internship interviews and the other three were simply about networking. By the end of that week, I had four offers of which I wound up choosing two. Neither internship was going to pay me so I figured I might as well get twice the experience and make twice the connections.

I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.
I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.

As you can see it really is a numbers game. I started off contacting 100+ companies, ultimately received responses, both positive and negative, from about 40, met with 10, got four offers and ended up having two internships in one summer. If you limit the number of people you reach out to, companies you contact, etc., then you in turn are limiting yourself of potential opportunities to thrive!

 

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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The Ten New Resume Rules You Need To Know Now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Maria, Resume, Success

In the quest for attention, to provoke discussion or maybe because he or she hopes it’s the case, every now and again some innocuous troll will declare, “The resume is dead!!” Well yes, the old-fashioned, boring and bland version that itemized your professional past indeed has been bumped off. However, the resume that tells your story, accentuates your value and highlights your personal brand is alive and kicking open the doors of opportunity.

Long gone are the days of the traditional, 12-point, serif-fonted, duty-driven confessionaries that featured generic, me-centric Objectives Statements; painful minutia about past employers; less than stellar GPAs; and contact information for three pre-ordained references. Thankfully, the dawn of a new resume day has arrived, and it’s about to be your new best friend.

Here are the 10 new rules you need to know for a cutting-edge resume that will help you stand out from the hoards of fellow applicants, showcase your specific strengths, and land a lot more interviews so you can snag the job you really want. And it will help you thrive.

Rule 1: Your Resume Needs To Be Your BFF.

bff
Today’s resume is your best friend forever because it likes you a lot! That means it doesn’t talk about anything that showcases or even hints at your shortcomings. Instead, it’s a powerful marketing tool that explains why YOU are THE perfect person for the job of your dreams. Or at least the job you are applying for at that moment. The resume for the job you apply for a half hour later might look a little different.


Rule 2: Know Your Audience.

tattooed-businessman
If you are in a creative and edgy field such as public relations, arts management or fashion, your resume needs to look clean and modern with plenty of white space, an eye-catching but not gimmicky design, and with an accent of color, and a few tasteful social media icons or other graphics. If you’re an accountant or academic, the more standard look is probably still the more palatable. Do your research so you understand the culture of the field and of the specific workplace before your finalize and submit your resume.


Rule 3: You Must Tailor It, Always.

tailor
As I hinted in Rule 1, you can and must tailor each resume to the specific opportunity. That doesn’t mean every section is a do-over, but it does mean you can control exactly which information, skills, strengths and accomplishments you most want to highlight for the precise skills, values and experience sought in the actual description of the position for which you’re applying. Align away.

Rule 4: Liven Up Your Contact Information.

edit&enliven
In this section include your name, cell, professional-sounding email address, LinkedIn profile link, and any other pertinent social media links and your personal website, if you have one. Make the email and links live. Include your city and state if you like; no street address please; stalkers and identity thieves took the fun out of that.


Rule 5: Power Up Your Personal Statement.

personal
Say a terse goodbye to the “To gain a job in my field” Objective Statement and say a warm hello to the Personal (Branding) Statement. This is a power-packed sentence or two that conveys your particular value, strengths and personal brand. To help you write this, pretend a hiring manager has only what you write here to go by — what specific strengths, skills, personal values and value to the organization will you bring that are unique to you? Be sure you review this statement for each job you apply to, and tweak as needed.

Rule 6: Call Out Your Strengths.

strengths
Feature your top 8-12 skills that best match the position to which you are applying (and which you generally enjoy doing). If it makes sense to organize them in categories such as Leadership Skills, Soft Skills, Software Skills, etc., then do so. You’ll seem some people include that lovely self-rating skills bar chart; why proactively admit you’re not amazing at something?


Rule 7: Make Your Experience Relatable.

Experience
Your Experience section should highlight relevant jobs (and internships if you’re a college student or recent grad), your title, and your key measurable, accomplishments at each. If a position doesn’t seem pertinent to the job you are applying for, look at the transferable skills you were able to develop that may be incredibly useful to your desired line of work. Your potential new bosses want to see how what you have done in the past will help you help them now and into the future.

Rule 8: Place Your Education Strategically.

education
Unless your academic experience was extraordinary and very fresh, for most fields* this section need not be near the top of your resume as it has been in the past. You no doubt studied your butt off for at least four years, but this info can wait until we hear about your strengths, and perhaps even before your relevant experience. Do not list your GPA unless it is outstanding. Do not list your graduation years unless really recent, if at all. *If you know that success in your line of work is heavily dependent on certain all cap letters proudly trailing your name, you may wish to keep this info near the top.

Rule 9: Showcase Your Awards/Publications/Civic Engagement.

awards
Here’s a section where you really can be creative in terms of title, structure and content. Depending on what fits you best, this is sort of a catch-all for any awards, publications, civic engagement or clubs with which you are involved. If there are a lot of each, break them into the appropriate categories. For organizations and clubs, absolutely include your contributions and accomplishments so it doesn’t seem like you just sat in meetings like a lump.

Rule 10. Keep It Reel Real.

reel
Always remember to tell the truth, never exaggerate, and check and recheck spelling, spacing, grammar, consistency and punctuation until you no longer can see straight (or better yet, have a skilled proofreader do that for you!).

The bottom line is that your resume should serve as a marketing tool, calling out your special talents, experiences and qualities and highlighting what’s so very special about you and why you are the person this organization needs to add value and solve their problems.

Today’s resume has new rules, and by making them work to your very best advantage, they will help you thrive. You’re in charge, and you’re about to shine.

For more tips or assistance creating your new, very much alive, vibrant and powerful resume, visit my coaching site, coachthrive.us.

by Maria Katrien Heslin | website | email | Twitter | LinkedIn

abbey-maria-facebook-thrive

 

 

 

 

 

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The Better Of Two Goods

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Nonprofit, Olivia, Public Relations, Success

It was the last semester of my college career, and I found myself in an interesting predicament. I had to decide, quickly, between two dream jobs. But first, let’s back up and figure out how I got to that point.

I started my college career wanting to be a sports broadcaster. I had an extensive background in theater, was an avid sports fan and a great writer. I even created a sports broadcasting club in my high school, the Future Broadcaster’s Initiative, or FBI for short (yes, that was intentional).

After spending the first two years of college getting my feet wet at internships with USA Track & Field and Run-Fast in London, England, I realized the sports life was not for me. My realization of this came after talking with several women in the field who told me, “You give up your weekends, holidays, family, friends and basically life. But I promise it’s all worth it!”

Or not.

I am a relationship-focused person. I learned at an early age that relationships are some of our most valuable assets in life, and I wasn’t about to ruin those just to cover some sweaty guys who chase a ball around a field.

So, I changed my course of action my junior year. Instead of a journalism degree with a specialization in sports and broadcasting, I picked up a specialization in public relations. This switch, amazingly, didn’t force me to graduate any later than I had planned, and I actually could have graduated a semester early if I wanted. But I didn’t, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

By the spring semester of my senior year, I had all but one of my required courses completed, and I was free to take a number of electives that greatly enhanced my skill sets and made me a more competent public relations practitioner.

With only three months left in school, I needed a job. I decided to stay in Bloomington for two reasons. The first is because my boyfriend of two and half years was graduating with a degree in biology, and he decided to stay in Bloomington and take a gap year before grad school and work in a lab on campus. The second is because I love Bloomington as a town and had absolutely no desire to move to a huge city where all of the PR agency jobs are. I’m a country girl, remember? I like clean air and nature.

Me and my boyfriend Seth.
Me and my boyfriend Seth.

So, I began my job search using LinkedIn and a number of other websites, which actually worked surprisingly well. I applied to approximately 10 jobs, heard back a solid no from about five of them, interviewed with three, never heard back from one*, and politely declined another interview because the company’s Glassdoor ratings were absolutely abysmal.**

My first interview went okay, but I definitely didn’t leave feeling super confident about it, and I never heard back from the company. My second and third interviews were much better, which led me to my predicament.

One job was with Centerstone working on a grant. I’ll honestly admit that the night before the interview, I was looking over the job description again and turned to my boyfriend and told him I had made a terrible mistake and didn’t think I was right for the job because it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. In retrospect this is really funny. But I’ll save that whole story for another blog post.

The interview turned out to be fantastic, it was just the job description that was bad, and I was told I would hear back in about a week. I interviewed on a Friday and was called back on Tuesday with an offer.

Which was great, except it also wasn’t.

You see, I had interviewed with another nonprofit organization on Monday that I knew would be a great opportunity, but I was still waiting to hear back from them. I asked the guy at Centerstone for a week to think about things, and then panicked and emailed my Career Success in PR professor, Maria Heslin, for advice on what to do. I was still waiting to hear back from the other organization, and didn’t expect an answer for a few days.

To make a long story short, the other organization finally emailed me on Thursday asking for a second interview, but by then I had made up my mind thanks to my handy pros and cons list. I decided to work for Centerstone on the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Grant, because the only con I could come up with was that I may not have a window in my office. Obviously, as the picture below points out, I was so very wrong.

: I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!
I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!

In a situation where there was no wrong choice, I know I made the better one for me personally because I absolutely love coming to work. Every single day.

My first day of work photo I took for my mom.
My first day of work photo I took for my mom.

* If you are a hiring manager, at least have the decency to email those you interview and tell them if you want them or not. It’s the polite thing to do. Also, kudos to Cook and Oliver Winery for doing that already.

** If you’re a hiring manager and not checking your company’s Glassdoor rating, you’re making a huge mistake, because people take those reviews seriously.

 

by Olivia Humphreys | oliviahumphreys4@gmail.com | LinkedIn | @ohumphreys4

Olivia

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