High Hopes

I strive to be an optimist. More often than not, I’m an idealist. But lately, I’ve been nothing more than a debby downer.

On Monday, I was invited to the second round of interviews for a highly competitive internship program in Chicago. Highly competitive equates to 2500 applications in just the month of March. Odds are not in my favor, or any persons, for that matter. So I’ve been sweating and obsessing and worrying myself into the most ridiculous ball of stress. Did I make a great impression? Were my answers clever? Was I bland compared to the hundreds of other interviewees? Was my thank-you sincere enough? Was my outfit too dressy? Was my briefcase too flashy? Was my hair too brown? Yep, one big ball of stress.

I expressed my concerns to a close friend, otherwise known as Mister Happy, and he was full of encouraging words. A great friend, indeed; but Emelia was in no mood for ass-kissing.  I told Mister Happy, “Stop getting my hopes up.” His response was beyond wise:

“Em, that’s where your hopes should be.”

Up high, the highest of hopes. With big expectations and even bigger dreams.

He was right.

Within the same few days, I also ran across this thought-provoking statement:

“For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed.”

Having big thoughts, bold ideas, and daring to act on them — it’s not a crime. In fact, this is exactly what I should be doing. And to all my twenty-something friends, so should you.

We shouldn’t settle now, today, ever. But especially now. Right now, we should be hungry for opportunities, thirsty for adventure. We should take risks, fall on our faces, go dirt poor chasing our biggest dreams. So what if we don’t succeed every time. We shouldn’t punish ourselves for taking a chance, we shouldn’t keep bitter thoughts and bitter feelings. In the end, it won’t be failure that we hold in our hands. It will be experiences, life lessons, relationships, and gratification. We never stopped. No matter how high of a mountain, no matter how small the odds, no matter how great the risks, we gave it our all.

I know I’m not the only person who is sweating an interview. Or maybe it’s a final exam, a job prospect, a new relationship, your future, post-graduation? Whatever it may be, do me one favor: keep your head up, your heart open, and your hopes high.

Infinite x’s and o’s

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun

…unless they are shared with everyone.

And today I learned plenty of secrets. Our University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) attended a leadership retreat at Padilla Speer Beardsley with the other regional chapters and several professionals within the Twin Cities. We spent over six hours with these individuals learning about ways to grow, prepare, and stand out in future career opportunities. I’m still not sure if spending my entire Saturday at a workshop makes me a super nerd or superstar? Please don’t tell me. Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered.

Anyway, my big secret is not that I am a superstar, nor that I am the girl SNL based Mary Katherine Gallagher from Superstar on (Nerd of all nerds, smelt her arm pits? Come on, it was only 1999 people). My secrets are way better than those; they are about success and ways to make YOU (that’s right, you sitting there reading this!) successful. I was absolutely amazed by the generosity and enthusiasm exhibited by these professionals throughout the day. Each one of them took personal interest in helping us amateurs prepare and develop for that scary thing called ‘the real world’. And since ‘the real world’ is supposedly plagued with meager job opportunities, I find that it is imperative to shine among fellow peers, no matter what job market you aim to join. These professionals helped me and I guess I caught the fever because now I want to help you…

 The Hiring Process

1. DO keep your resume to one page. I don’t care if you were the president of Ad Club, Sigma Delta Chi, and America. One page people.

2. DO have a portfolio, with no more than 8 pieces, and know where each piece is in  your portfolio.

3. DO be prepared to answer the question “why do you want to work here?”. It will be asked. Every time.

4. DO research the company.

5. DO have questions to ask; show that you did your research.

6. DON’T wear perfume or distracting jewelry; they don’t want to remember your smell or flashy accessories, they want to remember YOU.

7. DO write a hand-written Thank You and send it ASAP post-interview.

8. DO send a LinkedIn request with a personalized message after you’ve met.

9. DO tweet thank you. It’s a twitter world and we are all just living in it.

Must-Have Skills

1. Know how to write. Know what makes a story [[important]].

2. Take risks. Make your OWN decisions.

3. But when you are stumped, be able to ask questions. No employer wants you to waste your time on a project/piece you are not sure about.

4. Know how to use social media. DUH

5. Personalize emails, pitches, etc. Give consumers, target audiences, reporters a reason to care.

Infinite x’s and o’s,