After spending three years building my resume with internships, jobs and extracurricular activities, it’s time to start thinking about the real world. I had some great feedback about the blog I kept in London, although it lasted only a few weeks. I’m going to do my best to use this blog to chronicle the experiences of my senior year, balancing 30hrs/week of work, a full time class schedule and what I’d like to consider a blossoming social life… All while hoping and praying I’ll land the job of my dreams by the time I graduate. Can I do it? Let’s hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prezi Vs. PowerPoint

I have to admit, the straight laced, often dull and graph heavy PowerPoint that has come to be a staple of our management program HAS to go. I am currently working on what may very well be my last formal presentation of my college career, and I am about one text-heavy slide from going off the deep end. On top of that, the formatting malfunctions in the mac-PC transfer of PowerPoint files is getting really old.

My group met today to review our presentation, which we will have to present in our finest business apparel this Thursday. Part of our task is to engage, while maintaining professionalism. Despite my interest in the project we’ve worked on all semester, even I struggled to keep my eyes open. Just looking at the PowerPoint made me feel inexplicably angry. I think we need to get away from the idea that Professional=Boring. … So I suggested scrapping it.

I’ve used Prezi.com for past presentations to great success. It’s quite simple to use. In essence, it is just a blank canvas that allows you to get crafty with the zoom function. However, it’s fresh, fun and something different. Just by putting our content into Prezi and adding the motion path, we created a presentation that was suddenly 100 times more interesting and engaging just by being different. And it only took about an hour!

Prezi also allows you to edit as a group, similar to google docs, which can be very helpful in the review process. You can also export the Prezi from the website to your desktop, if you so desire. The best part… “Prezifying” a PowerPoint can be as simple as importing your slides and adding animations.

If you’ve used Prezzi before, I applaud your efforts to save the world one mundane presentation at a time. If you haven’t, I certainly recommend it. I’ve included a video intro to Prezi here:

HealthyCampus101: Her Career: Interview Questions

Some insightful interview questions compiled by a classmate. These are definitely worth considering before any job interview. Some "go to" questions for many interviewers.

HealthyCampus101: Her Career: Interview Questions: I remember sitting outside the room on my first interview. I literally had to push down on my leg to get it to stop shaking. And over and ov...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Klout- A Constant Struggle

I was just reading a PR Squared blog post in which Todd Defren discusses Klout. It made me wonder if all my social media efforts of the last few weeks and my recent interest in blogging have had ANY impact at all on my Klout score. I mentioned in an earlier post that my score was in the 40's and I was influential about moms and beer.

Defren's post laments a bit about the short fallings of Klout, and I think I can certainly add to that. My Klout score is now 51. I am officially considered a specialist. I've spent the last month and a half blogging about communications based ideas, and STILL I am influential about moms and beer.

I'm not sure if this is a sign that I should change my blog to be all about moms and beer, or if I should be proud that despite my apparent expertise, I am still a successful young professional. I could apply the PR spin to the importance of a work-life balance. To be fair, I am a college student. The beer part makes sense to me. It's the "moms" part that has me completely baffled.

I guess I'm just going to look at it this way-- There are Frat houses filled with college boys that would give anything to be so influential about moms and beer, so let the jealousy commence. 

'Tis the Season for Philanthropy

 Recently I've gotten very into philanthropy. It's not that I am a person who has a ton of money, and I'm sure if I posted my college loan statements all over my room I would suddenly stop feeling so generous. It's just that lately, I've been feeling very inspired to do great things and make a difference in any way that I can.

Before this year, my 30+ hour work week was devoted to saving up for my semester abroad in London. Now, while my income should probably be devoted to creating a rainy day fund to protect myself should I happen to graduate unemployed, it is instead being used for small things here and there to help others who are less fortunate.

One of the causes I recently donated to was The Greater Boston Food Bank's turkey fundraiser. A donation of $16 was enough to provide a turkey to a family in need on Thanksgiving. It is such a great cause that I couldn't resist.

My newest philanthropic effort was the office Giving Tree. Each year, DSS sends the CSR team a list of children and their two top wishes for Christmas. The mistake I made was reading through all of them, which made me appreciate more than ever all of the great experiences and privileges that life has thrown my way. The little girl I shopped for is three years old, and her wish for Christmas was a baby doll. I naturally had to go out and buy the doll that came with a carriage and other fun stuff. I also couldn't help but throw in a hat and gloves and a few extra toys. In addition to this drive, I am also working on the Toys for Tots campaign at my other job, and am fairly certain I'll be making a few donations to that this year as well.

Despite the efforts I've made in the past month or two, an experience this weekend made my heart sink. As I drove back to the city from Thanksgiving Break, I noticed a woman standing on the side of a busy street holding a sign. She wasn't begging for money. She wasn't asking for food. She was simply holding a sign that said "Struggling to make ends meet. Have part time job and seeking another. Resume on hand." I'm not sure of it was her desperation, or the fact that there was nothing I could do to help her that resonated most, but I haven't stopped thinking about it. Here is a person, willing to work, not asking for money, not occupying Wall Street, just asking for a chance. I'd have given her one of my jobs if I could have. And as I reflect on it, I'm even upset with myself for not stopping and taking her resume or trying to help.

As I think about her, I just hope that maybe some of the other efforts I've made are helping her in some way. Maybe she was one of those families, above the poverty level, but unable to afford a Thanksgiving dinner, that a Turkey was donated to. Or maybe one of the toy donations will go to her child. Perhaps I'll have another chance to take her resume in a week or so when I drive past again. All I know is that I'm becoming quite the advocate for philanthropy these days, and I just wish more people out there were willing to help.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

There's an App for That

I think it's safe to say that I am obsessed with my iPhone. I spend an absurd amount of time on it each and every day. I also spend a LOT of time browsing job listings. I know it is much too early to start applying, but I just like to look to see what kinds of opportunities will be out there for me when I graduate in 6 months. I always browse the LinkedIn postings and constantly check for job openings on the websites for agencies and companies that I am fond of.  I know there is an app for everything, but somehow it never crossed my mind to use an app for my job search, which is why I was particularly struck by this Mashable infographic. I think I'm late to the party on this one...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lessons I Never Learned- Battling Black Friday

You'd think after 3 1/2 years of studying communication, I would know better than to be drawn in by the carefully crafted messages of advertisers. However, I have to admit that I am "one of those" Black Friday shoppers,  and I have been for 5 or 6 years now.

This year, I camped outside of Best Buy in 28 degree weather for FOUR hours. It was originally going to be three, but apparently MA blue laws prevent stores from opening at midnight. This detail was definitely overlooked by retailers when they communicated their sales, many advertising midnight openings. People in line were angry, but that didn't stop them from opening their wallets to the great Gods of Black Friday and kick-starting the holiday shopping season.

I got a ton of great deals, and even finished most of my shopping. My question is- WHY DID I DO IT? I was just one day off antibiotics for bronchitis with a cough that still hadn't subsided, and there I was freezing my bum off to purchase a gift that won't even be labeled as being from me on Christmas morning. As much as I enjoy the annual outing with my sister, I think we are BOTH smarter than that.

The real kicker is that I study the internet and its endless capabilities in school on a daily basis and spend a disgusting amount of time using this magical tool. For some reason, the idea of online shopping didn't even cross my mind. I'd like to say it's because I love the fun of Black Friday, but there isn't actually much fun to be had waiting in the cold for 4 hours. Yes, I ended up in line next to someone I hadn't seen in years, so it was nice to catch up, but it would be much nicer to catch up over coffee!

Next year, I vow to shop online.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What do you want to do?

Courtesy of  cartoonstock.com
I’m finding as I advance through senior year, especially given the surge of family time on Thanksgiving, more and more people keep asking “What do you want to do when you graduate?” It’s a simple enough question, but people always seem surprised by my answer.

So. What do I want to do when I graduate? I want to take a position that will enable me to gain a lot of great experience and PR skills right off the bat, so that hopefully I can be a chief communications officer in the future. It isn’t that I necessarily want to stay focused in PR; I’ve had a plethora of excellent experiences throughout various aspects of corporate communication, and I want to someday be able to oversee them all. I LOVE internal communication, and I hope to eventually have an influence in that sphere. However, I believe the route to becoming senior enough to make a real impact is through building a strong PR background. I feel that if you have the compassion, the instinct and the ability to identify the needs of employees, you can come back to internal at any time, but the external facing PR skills need to be honed while you are early in your career and can translate to a betterment of internal skills. Mostly, I believe that to be successful, I have to keep my eye on the prize and get as much experience as possible to help me when I finally get there… and I don’t think going back to school for a part time MBA would hurt either.

To be clear, I do not believe it is fair to look at a job as a stepping stone or a means to go elsewhere. I’ve mentioned before that I have never disliked a job. I know that wherever I end up, I will be passionate about my job. I know that I will do it to the best of my ability, and I know that I will work tirelessly to make sure the organization I am working for can complete its goals. That is simply who I am as a person. By approaching each career move as a new and exciting chance to learn something new and become a better communicator, I know that every position I hold along the way will be valuable to me, and I know that view will help me to be a valuable employee to a particular organization.

It scares me a bit to talk to peers who have no idea where they want to be in 15 years. Hell, some don’t even know where they want to be in 6 months. The response to “What do you want to do when you graduate?” ranges from “work in advertising” to “get a job” to “make money” to “be a housewife”. It’s strange to think that most people haven’t thought bigger picture about where they want to be positioned within an organization. Most don’t mention management ambitions, but if you push, nobody is striving to be low man on the totem pole either. I think it will be quite interesting to come to Alumni weekend at BU in 10 years and see where everyone stands with their ambitions (or lack there of). I’m sure that most of us will be successful in some way, shape or form. And success is really just measured by your personal satisfaction anyway. I guess I’m most excited to see at what level most people are satisfied with their careers and to hear about the experiences that got them there.