Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Should I add Personality into my Resume?

August 5, 2014

By: Kate Schroeder @kschroeds7

resume

Resume building and writing cover letters has to be the most daunting and dreadfully boring tasks of the job or internship search process. Personally, I would rather sit in an extra hour of interviews than to summarize my skills on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. However, this process still stands as one of the most important in the application process. I admit I am not an expert; I still reference my how to guides and our awesome ImPRessions blog for hints and tips. Nevertheless, using the cut-and-dry formats and the basic structures I realized that none of my personality was shining through. How are future employers going to know who I am and how I can better there company without being creative and expressive? This is why I believe that putting personality in your resume is the secret ingredient to go from a contender to “I got the job!”

So why do we need to put personality into a resume? Don’t employers just want to see if you have the necessary skills to do the job well? Well yes … and no. It is essential to have the skill set to be successful at the job you are applying for. It is also important to show you fit into the job you are applying for. Employers are looking for someone who is going to better their company and enhance their employee atmosphere. Are you an outgoing person, or are you quiet and reserved? If your personality shines through your resume, you will be more likely to be asked back for an interview. Also, it’s a benefit to you. You want to be sure you get a position at a company is right for you!

You may ask, “But how do I put my personality into my resume? Where is there room?” The biggest opportunity for showcasing your personality is through the design of your resume. I try and re-design my resume for each position I apply for (granted I have the time). Have one basic resume you can hand out on the fly that best describes your personality through over-all design. When applying for specific positions feel free to take create and alter your design to fit that position, just like you alter your resume’s content to fit your position. This past school year I applied for a position in the Women’s Panhellenic Association. I took that opportunity to add more bright, girly colors and quirky shapes. I also visually represented more skills instead of typing them out. If you are creative let it show! This will show potential employers that you don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.

If design is not your forte it’s okay! There are many other ways to show your personality through your resume! One way to do that is to write how you speak in your cover letter and resume. You should still stay formal since it is a professional piece of writing, but you don’t need to fill in the blanks from every how to guide. Instead of saying, “In reference to the recent opening at company XYZ” say, “I was thrilled to learn that the such-and-such position at company XYZ because it is exactly the job I want to apply for. “ Don’t be coy or shy. Say outright if you have certain qualities that fit the job position and let your potential employer know you and no one else is the right person for the job!

 

Why a Personal Blog/Website looks Good on a Resume

August 1, 2014

By: Morgan Peterson @mopeeeezy

When trying to land the perfect dream job, it’s important to find a way to stand out to the employer. Sure you might have a perfect resume and transcript, but you are a dime a dozen to some employers. If you don’t get the opportunity to get an interview, a personal website is one of the best ways to stand out from other candidates.

Showcase Your Work

With a personal website, you can market yourself and your work, however you want to. By creating this website you have an exclusive space of your best work. It’s also easy for employers to click and see if they like you, allowing the experience on your resume come to life. Also by showing the work that you do, it shows employers that you have enough pride and confidence in your work to showcase it to the world.

Build Your Brand

Building a website allows you to create a virtual gallery of all of your best work. Even though social media is great, a personal website is just that – personal. You don’t have to worry about trying to stand out because it’s your website. It shows that you care enough about your work and your brand if you took time out to create a full website for it. It’s the one space on the Internet that is all yours so really put some time and effort into building it. Maybe take a weekend just for personal branding. Some great places to start to make a website would be weebly.com, wix.com, fourspace.com or WordPress.com. These website building sites are easy to use and not expensive to acquire your own personal domain. Who knows you could get a job just by an employer looking at your website!

You aren’t the norm

Not many people have their own personal website so by making one you’re already one step ahead! It also shows that you have acquired specials skills to build a website. Learning how to build a website helps you to gain many skills especially when it comes to programming or coding. In PR it’s often good to know how to work with technical things because you never know when you might be asked to design something on the fly. This allows you to be a really well rounded candidate.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Following Up

July 10, 2014

By: Allison Evans @Allison__Evans

Follow-up-image-CAPS (1)No matter how smoothly an interview goes, it helps your cause to follow-up with your potential employer. It shows that you are determined, thoughtful, professional and interested. However, at what point does following up become annoying or a burden to employers? Here are tips for polite follow-ups:

DON’T call them. Email! Interviewers are on the phone much of their day with clients and other team members, and getting bogged down with calls is not what they like. Email is a medium that is checked frequently, but doesn’t necessarily require an immediate response. This also allows you to completely control what you’d like to tell them, where phone conversations are a two-way communication.

DO thank interviewers for their time. It is important to realize these meetings don’t occur daily, and they had to set aside an hour to talk to you. This will help show your appreciation for their time and your polite nature.

DON’T email them 15 minutes afterward. It is polite to wait until the next business day, or, if you had an interview in the morning, at the conclusion of their day. Interviewers will move on from your meeting to working, and such an abrupt follow-up is not advised.

follow-upDO cite an instance from your interview. This will refresh their memory on what was talked about, and it shows that you were listening. Continuing the conversation is the goal, and what better way than to pick up where you left off.

DON’T keep emailing if they don’t respond. Chances are, they are busy with a work situation. Blowing up their inbox isn’t the best way to show you will be an asset to their team, but someone who needs their attention. They will read it eventually and decide how to respond on their own time.

DO keep it short and sweet. A paragraph is all that is required! Having more than a few sentences will not allow interviewers to read it quickly, causing them to move on to the next thing and not get back to your email for awhile.

DO celebrate, because you landed and conquered the interview, and followed-up with ease. Excellent work, you awesome rising-pro, you :)

 

 

 

 

How to Connect With Someone You Don’t Know, but Want to

July 9, 2014

By: Sydney Gardner @sydneygardner

two tweets“It’s all about who you know.” It’s been said time and time again. To a PR student, connecting with professionals can often appear too intimidating to even try, but have no fear! Social media is a great way to connect with professionals in a less stressful environment! Taking a few easy steps will allow you to not only connect with someone you don’t’ know, but probably impress them along the way as well.

Know Their Work

Professionals may be flattered at you fan-girling over how pretty their office is, or who their clients are, but nothing shows your genuine interest better than knowing what they have done. Look up case studies, check out their blog and really read them! This not only gives you the chance to get a true idea of what type of work they do, but it also helps you see if this person is all you’ve cracked them up to be. By being able to discuss a person’s work with them, in and educated and informed manner, you show that you are truly interested in their career industry.

Interact With Them

So now that you have studied up on the person/company/brand that you love, it’s time to let them know. Social media is all about having real conversations so just remember to be yourself. I think one of the best ways to show them you like their work is to share their blog, tweets, etc. Networking on social media allows you to create a more casual environment to interact. Twitter is a great platform for starting conversations with professionals because you aren’t expected (or allowed) to write a lot. Just tell them, and your followers, why you like it. You may even get a reply or a follow from it! You can also comment on their work if you don’t want to share it. Be aware to not over do mentions and comments though! You want to show the person you admire what they do, not that you’re obsessed with them (even if you are).

Connect

Now that you’ve laid the foundation for connection, it’s time to take the plunge. I think connecting on LinkedIn is a great midway point between Twitter and email. I recommend connecting on LinkedIn within a few days of having a conversation on social media. Remember to always write an actual note on the invite, not the generic one given. Remind them of the conversation and let them know why you want to connect. Don’t be afraid of rejection. Most professionals will welcome connecting with an enthusiastic student with open arms.

Social media may not scream professionalism to some, but it can be great tool for you to reach out to people you want to connect with.  Social media has the unique ability to blend your personal life with your professional one, and that allows you to form genuine connections with people. When you interact with professionals on social media you are able to highlight you’re unique blend of personality and professionalism. So next time you are looking to network, turn to social media. You may be surprised at how successful you will be.

Using A Cover Letter to Stand Out from the Crowd

July 2, 2014

By: Austin Ambrose @tex_ambrose7

Most applications ask you for three pieces: a resume, work samples and a cover letter. Each piece plays an essential part in the selection process. Resumes are important but also very basic. A resume just gives the people hiring a chance to ensure you are qualified for the position. Work samples show your skills. However, there are plenty of people capable of doing those same skills as you.

How are you supposed to stand out from the rest of the pool?

The answer is your cover letter. Cover letters give you a chance to explain how well you will fit well into the company or organization. There is no need to restate what you already have on your resume and work samples. The cover letter is your opportunity to show what you know about the company and how you fit into the goals and culture already established.

A cover letter does require more work than a resume or writing sample

You have to do your homework and learn all that you can about the company. By having specific information about the company, they will realize that you either know the company or you were willing to do the work to figure it out. Either one is good.

You want to show how your goals and values match those of the company

The cover letter is meant to show who you are as a person. Cover letters are also great to showcase information not on your resume, or expand on a topic that was mentioned in your resume.

Be specific

Tell them exactly why you are the person they should hire.  Give them specific examples of what you have accomplished and how that will translate into the position. Explain to them how your previous experiences have equipped you to take on this position. This is not a time to be modest, but make sure you don’t cross that line into bragging. Sound confident and informed. A good employer will see through any BS and know when you are not being sincere. Show some of your professional personality.

Let the cover letter do all the talking

Your resume and work samples can only do the small talk. You have to pull out the real talker if you want to get anywhere. Remember that cover letters should always be specific to the position you are applying for. It’s not a bad idea to have a template that you can adapt for each position. The idea of a universalcover letter does not exist. Take advantage of the opportunity the company gives you to prove you should be hired. At the very least, a strong cover letter will get you to the interview round. Lastly, Be yourself and take pride in your accomplishments.

How to Diversify your PR Experience

June 26, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett @Gen__AndTonic

Feel like your resume falls flat compared to your peers?

Don’t fret! There’s always time to diversify your PR experience. There is many ways to get experience in all aspects of PR while still pursuing your passions.

1. Try out every segment of PR

Public relations is needed in every sector of the world, from nonprofit to corporate. Trying your hand at every segment will diversify your PR experience, and allow you to investigate the direction of your career. Try looking in to internships with nonprofits, agencies, corporations, B2B firms and more.

2. Work for a digital company

NR mediaIn the ever-evolving world we live in, digital companies are extremely viable and many offer stellar internship programs. My current internship as a Content Marketing Specialist for NR Media Group has allowed me to move to Dallas, TX and pursue my daily interests without need to go to an office.

3. Travel

Traveling the world is a dream for many, and can easily become a reality. Pursuing a job or internship overseas will not only diversify your PR experience but also your life. Traveling is also an option with a digital internship with no office time needed.

4. Get experience in every skill

While you may find your niche in social media or blogging, be sure to gain experience in every skill needed in the PR world. Traditional communications are still needed and most jobs will require you to wear multiple hats, so having experience in every skill will diversify your PR experience and improve your resume.

5. Pursue your passions

Overall, it’s very important to pursue your passions. Employers will always appreciate a good resume and cover letter, but being able to show you are pursuing your passions is also quite vital. The nice thing about PR is you can fuel your passion for the public relations world in to your other passions. Love yoga? Do PR for your local studio. Passionate about nonprofits? See if your favorite charity has any openings in their communications department.

No matter which direction you end up going with your career, trying to diversify your PR experience will help you immensely.

A Lesson On Making Interviews Less Scary

June 13, 2014 1 Comment

By: Kelly Hayes @kmshayes

You’re sitting in the hallway waiting for your name to be called, your palms are sweating and going over every little detail of your job experience in your mind. Finally the receptionist tells you, you can go into the conference room. You shake your interviewer’s hand and sit down. There’s a little small talk, the interviewer goes over your resume and any other application materials, they ask you questions in between and then you ask some questions. Finally the interview is over, and all you can think is, “thank goodness that’s over!” Although, it doesn’t have to be that way. Want to know how? Check out the tips below.

  • Be prepared. This is pretty much common sense, as you can see from one of our earlier posts. Research the company and make sure you know what you’ve done in the past, how much you’ve learned and what you can offer that company, etc.
  • Take a Diet Coke break. This pretty much means to prepare for your interview, but don’t worry about it once you are prepared. You can’t be 100% in an interview because you don’t know what specific questions they’ll ask. All you can do is take a breath, smile and think before you answer…. although don’t take too long answering or they think you aren’t prepared.

diet coke

  • Act normal. During your interview, see the interviewer as someone you have to impress but also like someone you’ve met before. Just let the conversation flow, and everything will seem much more natural to you.
  • Remember one BIG thing. The interviewer has been in your seat before. They don’t want to you to fail, they just want to see if you’re the right fit for the job and their company. If you don’t fit into their company culture, you both will be miserable. Be yourself, not a robot.
  • Smile. When I smile during interviews (even phone interviews) it makes everything easier.
  • Tell yourself, you’re awesome! Look at yourself in the mirror and say what your best qualities are in terms of your working capabilities, work ethic, personality, etc. The more confidence you have, the better you’ll do. And remember, you’re awesome!

Interviews shouldn’t be scary or nerve-racking. If you know what you’re doing, you will do fine. Follow these steps, have a little fun and remember to be the best version of you.

 

Creating Your Resume on Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign

June 10, 2014

By: Jess Carnprobst @jess_carnprobst

The first place we all start when creating our resume is deciding where we want to create the document. Two of the most popular ways to create your resume are through Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. Both options have very different benefits making it a hard decision of which to choose. I’ve made a list of the pros and cons that I see to both Word and InDesign, having created a resume on both.

Microsoft Word

Pros

  • A variety of templates to choose from
  • Easy (and quick) to create
  • Information is already set into categories (this is especially helpful when you’re creating your resume for the first time)
  • Word provides templates that have been successful before, and allows you to search for templates by resume type

Cons

  • Hard to add personality to a template
  • More difficult to create a resume that is unique and stands out

 

Adobe Indesign

Pros

  • Allows room for creativity and unique design
  • Freedom to add personality
  • Not restricted to any specific layout
  • Wide variety of colors to choose from – not stuck with a certain combination
  • Allows you to really let your personality jump out of the paper

Cons

  • Easy to get carried away designing and forget about the content
  • Some employers find extra design to be “too much” and would rather a minimalistic look

 

As with most things, there is no right or wrong answer. If you don’t have a lot of design experience and feel more comfortable with the structure and layout of Word, by all means, create your resume on Word and don’t look back. On the other hand, if you do have design experience, creating your resume on InDesign is a fantastic way of showing instead of telling your skills. Whether you want an already proven successful structure of a resume or the freedom to customize your own, the choice is up to you.

If you’ve had a lot of success with either Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, please share below and let us know what works best for you!

Leave behind to get ahead

June 5, 2014 1 Comment

By: Allison Evans @Allison__Evans

stacks-of-paperThe interview process across the job market varies dramatically. Some interviews last 20 minutes, while others last a few hours with several follow-ups. No matter the format, it is important to prepare a “leave behind,” or compiled samples of your work and other documents showcasing your abilities.

As the name suggests, leave behinds are for your interviewers to keep after your interview concludes. This not only helps you stand out from the crowd, but also gives your interviewer an opportunity to gauge where you are on your professional journey. If given a leave behind, interviewers can show their colleagues your work too, which could sway the decision in your favor.

According to Forbes.com, the most important aspect of a leave behind is that it

“provides a tangible reminder of who you are and what you can bring to the position.” 

What to include in your leave behind

Customization is key when compiling a leave behind. The samples you select for your leave behind should reflect the position you are applying for. However, a good place to begin is with these 5 items:

  1. Resume
  2. Writing sample(s)
  3. Your most recent project
  4. Analytical reports
  5. Recommendation letter

Tips and tricks for leave behinds 

Include 5-7 pieces of work in your leave behind. If you bring an entire portfolio, it might overwhelm your interviewer and be ineffective. 2-3 pieces could be considered too few.

Use a print version. If you put your work on a disc or jump drive, it creates more work for your interviewer to actually view it. Put your work together on documents and have it printed professionally.

Customize. Different positions call for specific skillsets. For example if you are applying for an agency position, it is wise to highlight your writing ability, media relations skills and project management.

Organize and bind. It is important that your leave behind is well organized and bound together. Interviewers will often have application materials in a stack, so it is important that everything stays together in the correct order.

Incorporate your personal brand. No matter what happens during your interview, no one can dispute hard work, attention to detail and array of skills put into a leave behind. Set yourself apart and leave your interviewer a small piece of your professional journey, perhaps you will continue that journey with them.

Want to see an example? Check out Allison’s awesome leave behind! Example Here

Best Practices For Your LinkedIn Summary

June 2, 2014 7 Comments

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

linkedinAs we all know, first impressions are important. A LinkedIn summary can make or break you by determining the first impression you give potential employers who are visiting your profile. In order to create the first impression that you want, consider these five steps:

  • Be authentic. While writing your LinkedIn summary, be sure that your personal story shows through. This is your opportunity to be creative and define yourself the way you want. What makes you stand out? What are you an expert at? What are you proud of? These are questions that should be answered in your summary in order to give potential employers an idea of who you are. And always write in first-person. Writing about yourself in third-person can give your summary the opposite impression that you are looking for by making it seem impersonal.
  • Keep it short. Just like anything else these days, it is important to get to the point in your LinkedIn summary. While you need to tell your story, do it in a concise and simple way. Employers see many resumes and LinkedIn profiles each day, and it is crucial that they be impressed quickly before they get bored or distracted by their busy schedules. Keeping it short will ensure that they read everything you have to say. Another good idea is to break it up. If you feel like you have a lot of information you want to include, break it up into smaller paragraphs to make it easier and quicker to read.
  • Include key words. The types of key words that should be included in your summary are ones that describe what your strengths are and what your expertise includes. I don’t mean key words such as “hard working” or “determined.” A good list of key words could include strategic communications, market research, creative, analytics, entrepreneur, etc. When an employer sees that you are knowledgeable in certain areas that they need, it will make you more marketable.
  • Add a call to action. At the end of your summary, include a call to action that lets people know what to do next. It could be as simple as, “If you want to get to know me more, email me at ________.” Or it could be, “Reach out to me if you want to talk social media, SEO, or shopping.” There are plenty of ways to get an employer to reach out to you. Make sure that your call to action stands out and gets their attention.
  • Write what you would want to read. Perhaps the most important tip of them all. Write a LinkedIn summary that you would enjoy reading if you stumbled upon it, yourself.
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