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For four years of undergraduate studying, I have learned a thing or two about test taking. Being prepared makes sitting in an exam relaxing because if adequately prepared, it should be a breeze- or at the very least not too terrifying.

Job interviews are the final exams for the real world. And in the same fashion, it is all about getting ready. As I have gotten more and more practice with my interviewing skills, here are some tips I have collected regarding how to get ready and feel as comfortable as possible walking in to a job interview situation.

  • Get to know the interviewers. Make sure you know who you are speaking with so you can read up on them. Look at their LinkedIn and understand their position.
  • Dress Professionally. When in doubt, wear a suit. You would rather be overly formal than too casual. Presentation is everything including grooming. Shine the shoes and iron the shirt. Pay attention to details- they certainly will. 
  • Prepare questions. Interviews should be a conversation, with both sides having equal amounts of time to speak. Have questions ready that prove to the recruiter you are serious and have done your research.
  • Expect the unexpected. Interviewers are not trying to be tricky but they do want to see how you think on your feet. Be mindful of possible questions a recruiter might ask and have ideas of how you might answer. Always have examples ready of times you showed leadership, instances where you failed and moments when you succeeded.
  • Be yourself. If you get hired but were playing a role during your interview, the situation will not end well for either party. Both sides should be upfront about expectations and what they can provide.
  • Follow up. Send a thank you note, preferably hand written, to anyone you made contact with. It will keep your name top of mind and it shows follow through. Leave a lasting impression that sets you apart.

I may not have a job yet, but with every interview I get one step closer. I have learned that each experience I have talking to a recruiter is an opportunity to practice. Time to hit the books and study up for the ultimate final exam- job hunting.

What is the hardest question you have been asked at an interview? Let me know in the comments below.

High school was the time of my life and I had quite a hard time leaving. My high school graduation, as shown below, marked a moment of transition. I’ve never been terribly fond of those. But college turned out to actually be the time of my life. With yet another transition, leaving is challenging but I am excited for what lies ahead.

Grad

While I’m happy with my college experience, I’d like to make sure that when I look back on my after college life that I am equally pleased. Here is a list of the things people keep telling me and I keep telling myself:

  1. It is okay to not have a job set up for after college. It would of course be ideal to have a job waiting for me after I flip my tassel to the other side of that ridiculous hat. However this is not the case and I am not alone. A little more time to explore what I like, what I don’t and find a place where I can learn.
  2. It is okay to live at home for a bit. I am working on priorities and for me, job is numero uno. Living will come based on the job location. I am so lucky to be able to go back home and live close enough to where I want to work. Plus my mom makes a really good roommate.
  3. Just smile in the photos at graduation so the family can be proud. The day is going to be long; I am going to try my very hardest to not be cranky. In my family, life is all about celebrating everything. I am grateful that I have so many people in my life that are coming this weekend to support me. Operation grin and bear it is a go.
  4. The end of undergrad is not the end of youth, menopause is. Most say college is the best time of your life but I think it’s quite possible to keep the momentum going. I do not have anything tying me down. I have a lot of possibilities. I can still go travel the world. I’ve got youth on my side.
  5. Your friends will not stay the same, but that is okay. The good news is, I have done the graduation thing before. As much as I wanted it to happen at the time, I am not best friends forever (and ever and ever) with all the people I graduated with from high school. I have met some of my favorite people in college and I will stay close to as many as possible.

I will certainly keep this post in my back pocket for reference. I will have many moments of freak outs but as I’ve said from the beginning, it’s not a matter of if I get a job but when. What are some of the ways that you keep calm under the craze of the job search? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

 

I officially have one day of classes left and then they are making me put on a funny hat and walk across a stage to shake someone’s hand. Nope; they do not even say my name.

However, one ceremony is hardly what I have to show for four years at The Ohio State University. It went quickly but I managed to jam pack quite a bit.

341

And thus, a list of how to do the college thing well.

  1. Leave your dorm room door open and live in a hall with communal bathrooms. When people pass by, you just might strike up a conversation you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
  2. Wherever you go, introduce yourself. You never know who you are going to meet.
  3. Take classes with friends. You’ll end up holding each other accountable and you can study together.
  4. Professors trump schedules. If you are between two classes and one is at 8 a.m. but the professor is supposed to be amazing, go for the good professor. They could end up changing your life.
  5. Get an internship. Any type of working world experience will help you to land another internship which will help you land an actual job.
  6. Figuring out what you don’t want to do in the future is just as productive as figuring out what you do want to do. It’s okay to be picky and it’s okay to not know. Everyone figures it out eventually.
  7. Work hard but play hard too. Let yourself have fun.
  8. Go abroad if you can. Spain was the inspiration for this blog and taught me how to be terrified in a productive way.
  9. It is okay to cry. Call your parents, friends, anyone who will pick up their phone and let yourself be sad or anxious or worried. Those moments build character and help you make life choices.
  10. Celebrate everything. A on a test. Finished with exams. Friends’ successes. Appreciate the fun stuff.
  11. Create a professional network. Collect business cards, meet for informational interviews, volunteer, do it all. You might end up working for one of those people later on.
  12. Get involved in anything that peaks your interest. Go to that campus involvement fair and put your name on every list.
  13. Capitalize on what you’re passionate about. Put your whole heart into something you love.
  14. Write down your memories and take photos. Put dates on everything. You’ll want to know later down the road what year that outfit was fashionable.
  15. Take the pressure off. People say that college is the best four years of your life. That’s a lot to live up to. Do more of what makes you happy but don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if you have some stressful times.
  16. Find real friends. Find the people that will let you cry on their bed for hours. They are the keepers.

And as the nostalgia continues to hit home, I plan on living up these last couple weeks at Ohio State. And then it is off to the real world- or something to that effect.

We have all been there; the presenter is droning on about the world’s most boring topic and all you can think about is how uninspiring the slides are.

We have also all been the boring ones, providing that same presentation. With the many group projects and presentations in my communication classes, I have officially grown out of PowerPoint.

Below is an example of a Prezi that I created for a social media project.

Prezi Example

Check out these six reasons why Prezi has me excited.

  • User Friendliness. Prezi provides tutorials when you first sign up but they are almost unnecessary. By clicking around, things are self explanatory. Just play as you go. 
  • Eye Catching. The way each slide zooms from one to the next is automatically going to make your presentation stand out next to the sad transitions that PowerPoint provides.
  • Public and easy to share. No need to worry about file type and formatting with Prezi. It functions online similar to a Google Doc. If a group of people is collaborating efforts, everyone can edit at the same time.
  • Basic Design. No need to sift through a million different options for background colors and themes; Prezi has a handful of different options that vary based on what type of presentation you are creating. You won’t have to waste your time selecting fonts either, Prezi has it all set.
  • Affordances. Prezi lets you crop photos, embed videos, adjust page layout among so much more. And all of this with a few quick clicks; it’s all built in to the site.
  • It is impressive looking. Because it is on the newer side, many people are still enamored by how bright and shiny Prezi makes things look. Prezi helps to make you stand out.

Sometimes it is more appropriate to use PowerPoint when it comes to straight facts or more formal presentations. But Prezi has definitely done a lot to help people impress audiences by getting messages across in a more dynamic way.

Do you like Prezi or PowerPoint better? Let me know in the comments below.

First impressions used to happen as people met face to face. But in today’s world, people meet others way before that step.

Meeting people and getting to know them used to require both parties to be present. With all this “newfangled” technology, this is certainly not the case anymore. These days, first impressions tend to start with either a Google or Facebook search and a little stalking.

It is important to monitor what any outside person will find when they search you. Here are some tips I have found helpful to keep in mind:

  • Does someone else have your name? Be sure that when people search you, they are finding information about you and not the other 8 billion John Smiths that exist. Do something to stand out. Include your middle initial in your Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile. Use SEO to bump yourself up to the top of a search. Mashable can show you how
  • Clean up your social media. No drinking. No drugs. Easy on the language. Make sure you are always looking over what your friends post and attach your name to. Don’t be afraid to un-tag, delete posts and even de-friend if need be. Don’t let someone else taint your pages.
  • Make sure you are consistent. If you look like a raging lunatic on Twitter but your LinkedIn shows how you run your own business while your Facebook has you saving orphans in Cambodia, outside viewers might be skeptical. Play to your strengths while still being honest.
  • Keep track of where your name is. Set up a search on your Google Reader that shows when new web content contains your name. This will help to stay aware of how people might find you. If you have a common name, this is a good idea to make sure your long lost twin isn’t shaming your name.
  • Ask a friend to take a look. Sometimes we become desensitized to what shows up online. Have people of different ages tell you the first things they notice. Not sure if a photo is appropriate? Wondering if your LinkedIn profile shows off your best talents? An outside perspective always helps.

Another great way to check out how awesome you are online on Klout. By connecting your various profiles, they give you a score based on how influential you are with whatever content you post and how your connections respond to it. I’m still learning how to use it but my competitive nature has me doing all I can to bump up my score.

Klout

What tips do you have to make a great impression online? Let me know in the comments below.

There is always controversy about who is the world power. Ethnocentrically, the United States believes we run the universe. China is certainly a contender. Spoiler alert- we’re all wrong.

Facebook has officially taken over everything. In my social media class, we have uncovered the scary ways in which social media has control over our privacy and information regardless of how much we think we protect it.

Spoiler alert- Facebook likely knows more about you than you do. Here is how:

  • Location location location- Facebook knows where you are based on where you are using your smartphone or the IP address of where you are logged in. If you don’t log out, Facebook still collects all of your information.
  • Face recognition- even if you untag or delete photos, Facebook has face recognition. Your name will always be attached with images in an album where you appear whether it is once or 50 times.
Facebook Face Recognition

Facebook could identify my face when looking through an album that hadn’t been tagged

 

  • What are you searching? Facebook keeps track of that and uses the information to tailor advertisements to you. 
  • Facebook makes changes to their terms and conditions all the time but they rarely let users know. Your privacy settings might be reset without you knowing it.

With Facebook being so present, they continue to extend their control over its users which has reached the billions. The latest was this week’s announcement of the Facebook’s new home screen for Android phones. Users can chat and get updates automatically to the home screen of their smartphones.

And what does Facebook get? Access to everything. With no concept of logging in or out of the Facebook application, users’ information will be constantly recorded.

While new technology gives us the potential to do so many things that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, we must stay smart. Being aware of the motives behind the world powers like Facebook and Google will help to stay protected and maintain privacy.

What measures do you take to secure your privacy? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Applying for jobs gets really old really quickly. Unless of course you are in the public relations, media, marketing or advertising industry. In that case, job apps turn in to play time.

One of my most recent applications was hating on cover letters. That was when the initial moment of “I love this place!” set in.

Hiring agents get bored of reading them. Prospective employees get tired of writing them. Thus, a solution for us all: the creative cover letter.
Creative Cover Letter Image

 

My approach was simple. Show the company who I am and what I am about. Don’t waste words. Don’t waste space. Make it pretty.

The photos I included are all originals taken while I was abroad in Europe.

It was so refreshing to think outside of the very strict, three paragraphs, “Dear You, Sincerely Me,” look at all the reasons I’m great, perfect for this job, kind of box that the world has created.

I love any opportunity to step outside that box of conformity. I tend to tap dance on top of it anyway.

What job applications have allowed you to show your creativity? Let me know in the comments below.

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