I’ve been in that situation. You know the one…
When you’ve graduated college and you’re having trouble finding a job and then your student loans hit. Now you REALLY need to find a job.
I’ve spoke to some friends that are dealing with this, and I understand their frustration. This is when they are at the point of desperation. So for those of you who don’t have a ton of bills (maybe you only have your loan to pay each month… lucky you) then go for that internship. Paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time… It doesn’t sound fun, but take the internship and then find a job in retail, food service, or whatever that you can do alongside it.
Have a few more bills? Get a job in customer service… that can translate into almost any career. And while your working this job, I have three words for you… volunteer, Volunteer, VOLUNTEER! Put that on your resume… and build it!
Every little bit helps, and when your desperate… ya gotta do what ya gotta do. 😉
And when all else fails… go to grad school. Get an assistantship to have it paid for and get some more experience. That will help you when entering the job market again in 2 years.
Sorry for falling off the grid for a while. Work + Grad School + Comprehensive Exams = One tired PR professional.
In other news…
I’m so happy to announce that I nominated my place of employment, Challenge Unlimited, Inc., for an award. And… we won! This is a first for me. The award was from the St. Louis Regional Chamber. They held their Arcus Awards ceremony on November 26.
Out of hundreds of nominations and six other finalists, Challenge Unlimited was selected by a panel of distinguished business scholars and business executives as the winner of the inaugural Arcus Award for Achievement in Economic Inclusion for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to promoting a diverse and global workforce within the St. Louis region.
Also, we recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of our President, Tom Moehn. If there was ever a sign of employee dedication, this is it. There are a number of employees who have been with the company for landmark anniversaries. This shows an organization full of support and people who believe in what they are doing. For the full story of Tom’s anniversary, click here.
I’m so excited and proud to be a part of this organization and make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Most of you may laugh because I make it seem like I’m an old fuddy dud, but I’m serious… what is it about today’s youth?
I have my hang ups, but I know a thing or two about perception. And it really erks me when most of my generation just doesn’t get it.
What is this “it” I am speaking of? Well “it” consists of several things. So here goes my soap box.
1. RESPECT– This goes a long way.
- Respect your teachers. Why? They make great references. Who you are as a student reflects who you are as an employee. Do you show up to class on time? If not, you probably won’t show up to work on time. Do you put in effort in your homework assignments? If so, your professors will notice and be able to confidently recommend your work. Do you speak in a proper manner? Using proper vocabulary when speaking to your professor shows competence.
- Respect your classmates. How does this help? Your classmates are your peers, network, and potential colleagues. Everything mentioned above creates a perception about you, and if all you ever provide me with as a classmate is that your late and unprofessional, I’ll be the first to recommend your resume gets dropped in the trash. Sorry, but true.
- Respect yourself and your friends. Don’t go around the campus calling each other “hoes” and “b*tches” even if they are your friends. Why would I want to work with someone who thinks it’s appropriate to call someone such a derogatory name?
2. Professionalism– Yes, you need to act as a professional in college.
- Attire is important. I’m not saying you have to start wearing a dress shirt and slacks to school, but there are clothes in categories called “No one wants to see that,” and “Night out at the club,” or even “I just rolled out of bed.” These are things that say you don’t care about school or how much effort you have to put in, as long as you get your degree. This translates to, “I don’t care how much effort I put in, as long as I get a paycheck.”
- Language is often overlooked. Cussing happens. I do it, I’ll be the first to admit. BUT, I know when, where, appropriateness. Dropping the F-bomb in between every other word as you are in class or walk down the hallway sends out a very poor image to those around you. When I hear this, I desperately want to hand you a dictionary and tell you to learn a new word, or two.
- Writing isn’t as easy as a-b-c. Learn how to write…properly. When e-mailing anyone in any academic situation, avoid texting jargon. I don’t want to open your email and see “thx,” or “lol,” or even “omg.” Also, spell check. Use it, love it, and embrace it. Again, if I read something from you and you have clearly written something incorrectly I will think to myself, “Wow. They didn’t even take the time to read over this or use spell check. They must not really care.”
3. Get involved. — It’s about more than making friends.
- Join a club or a sport. Those fellow members, teammates, advisors, and coaches also make great references. How you work in a group says a lot about you as an employee.
- Get an internship. Regardless of whether the internship is paid or unpaid, it gets you the experience you need. When you graduate, you often see in an entry-level job description “1-3 years of experience” as a requirement. And, you might think to yourself, “How am I supposed to have experience for an entry-level job?!” Well, that’s the benefit of an internship.
- Attend campus events. Just because there’s no alcohol involved, doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time. You can meet some influential people at events such as career fairs, networking events, student organization activities, etc. This will give you a chance to try your professional skills and “work a room.”
I’ve heard many students over my 5 1/2 years of college say that these things don’t matter, they are a waste of time, or they’ll worry about it when they graduate. Well, by then, it could be too late. The damage is done.
Take my advice, and maybe I’ll be able to tolerate you as I pass you on campus.
I’m not talking about body modification people!
People think I’m joking when I say that it is important to make a brand out of yourself. This isn’t limited to marketing, advertising, or PR professionals. This is for EVERYONE!
Regardless of your field, you need to be memorable. By memorable, I don’t mean to wear a tutu to work everyday. While that would be memorable, it’s also not that professional. You don’t want to be remembered in a bad way.
What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to be different. In today’s society, it is easy to fall in line and do as everyone else does. While this may work for some, it doesn’t work for all. I’ve been raised by four (yes, four) awesome parents who have encouraged me to do my own thing and thus far it has paid off.
What is my brand? Simple. Outgoing. Me.
I change my hair color on a regular basis (In my last post, my hair was almost black. Now its blonde.), I have my own clothing style, and I’m not afraid to show off my tattoo. Since each of these is a questionable action, I will address them all and explain why I do what I do.
First, my hair is mine. Not society’s, not my job’s, not my coworker’s. If I want to change my hair, it shouldn’t matter how drastic of a change it is. Those who know me, know that I get bored easily. Changing my hair is a sense of control (I’m a little controlling-only a little). Also, its the shock factor. When I see people after I change my hair, I get a double take. What does this have to do with my job? At work, people remember me and praise me for being so brave with my hair. Brave = compliment. I’ll take it. I want to be known as the girl who is brave, not afraid to take chances, and just goes for it.
Now let’s talk about clothes. I hate “business attire.” Hate is a strong word, but it fits so appropriately here. I hate the way my body looks in most dress pants. I hate the idea that women need to wear heels to have a professional look. And, I hate button down dress shirts because they look awful on my figure. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t wear them because I am still a professional, and I will do it. However, I will wear things that are more my style if I know that I won’t be interacting with anyone outside of the office that day or if I’m only going to be in the office for three hours. So if I want to wear plaid, I’ll wear plaid! Deal with it.
But, Lindy doesn’t that give a negative impression at work? My answer: why should it? It’s not everyday, and its not like I’m wearing ripped jeans, shorts, or a skimpy skirt. I’m still presentable. It allows my coworkers and supervisors to see who I am. Clothing is a form of nonverbal communication and it reflects my personality. If they know my personality, my work won’t care.
Moving on to tattoos. This is all dependent on where you work. My tattoo may be visible, but my tattoo is also PR related, so I feel that any coworker or supervisor would have somewhat of an appreciation for my tattoo. Therefore, I’m not afraid to show it. On the other hand, I will cover it up if I’m meeting with a client. Regardless of whether or not they know what it means, the stigma that is attached to tattoos is still out there. With tattoos (and piercings) in the workplace, you need to be aware of your environment and surroundings before you go all out and show everyone. Also, you need to be aware of “appropriate” tattoos. Use your best judgement and some common sense.
So how is this a form of branding myself to others? My tattoo, since it is work related, reflects my passion for my job and field. I had a coworker call me a PR nerd when she saw it the other day. I’ve also had a supervisor tell me she thought it was a cool idea for a tattoo. I love the idea that people can see my passion. And, when someone doesn’t know what my tattoo means, they are always intrigued and ask me. I get to educate people about what I do!
Best form of promotion: word of mouth. 🙂
Today I was a “Gatekeeper” for a former instructor of mine. She invites former students and PR professionals to her class to review the each students’ work.
First, and foremost, I am always honored when she asks me to participate. It means a lot that she thinks I know what I’m doing. 😉
Also, I enjoyed today because it allowed me to see that I have grown as a writer and PR professional. Just three years ago, I was in that class having someone critique my work. While I don’t remember it vividly, I’m sure they attacked my writing with an ugly red pen. I mean if the me three years ago put a press release in front of the me now, I’d tear it to shreds.
So as I sat in the desk and read over each students press release or media advisory, I realized that I know my stuff! I was making changes to their work without even thinking about it. I didn’t have to analyze the work and decide what changes needed to be made, it just came naturally. I believe that to be a sign that I may actually be getting the hang of this.
Everyone has that organization or cause that they support wholeheartedly. For me, that is the American Cancer Society. Most don’t realize how much they do for cancer patients, their caregivers and research.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. This deadly disease can happen to anyone. Most likely you know someone who has battled cancer. That’s why I support ACS by raising money for Relay for Life.
Help me reach my goal of $150 towards my team’s overall goal. If you can spare $5, you can help. Below you will find the link to my fundraising page.
Let’s make more birthdays! 🙂
Thank you. Gracias. Hvala. Grazie. Dank. (Those are the only ones I know)