Networking in Boston

A few weeks ago, Jason Falls wrote a blog post about why social media won’t help you find a job during a recession.  The basic sentiment is to use Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. but “know and understand that all the on-line, behind-the-computer, cyber connections in the world don’t beat a hand shake, a smile and a chat.”

So last week, I kicked it old school and met up with some PR and marketing people—(gasp!) in the flesh—during a one-day whirlwind of a trip in Boston.  I had three interviews, two of them informational and one for an internship.  I wasn’t all that shocked to learn that there were hiring freezes and no positions open for me.  However, and this could just be ego, but it feels really great/comforting to hear someone who has a job you want tell you that you’re doing the right stuff to get there.  I didn’t leave with a job (and I didn’t expect to) but I left with many more connections and information that will help me get one.  And recession be damned, I’m getting one.

Highlights:

  • “Twitter levels out the networking playing field.” My new friend Rebecca (@repcor) said it best.  It gives you direct access to people who work at, own, or know people who work at the companies you want to work for. Because of my connection to her and Justin Levy (@justinlevy) I got to watch a taping of Hubspot TV, take a little tour of the office, and chat with Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) about a social media paper I’m writing in school.  Connections connections connections.
  • I wrote a blog post about my trip, and a few days later I got a lovely email from Alexa Scordato (@Alexa) inviting me to a girls night with her friends.  So I ended up having a lovely dinner with Alexa, Rebecca, Maria Thurrell (@MaThuRRell) and Nidhi Makhija (@kaex88).  We even got a surprise visit from Todd Van Hoosear (@Vanhoosear).

I’m not trying to name drop, just giving credit where credit is due.  Everyone was so sweet and welcoming to me.  If I wasn’t convinced that Boston was the place for me before, the generosity of everyone I met really made me fall for Beantown and showed me exactly what that city has to offer.

I don’t think I will get a job directly from social media in that I’m not expecting someone to randomly Facebook message me one day and be all, “Hey, want to be an account coordinator?”  But in my case, I think it is really valuable to use it to make out-of-town connections, and I actually believe I will get a job from one of those.  I think if you plan to stay in the area you went to college in, it’s easier to make those connections the “old way” through PRSSA or AMA conferences and you may not have to rely on the internet so much.  But even in that case, following the local pros on Twitter couldn’t hurt.

Everyone tells me that “networking” is so important in job searching, but not that many people explain specifically what that means.  I hope my experience helps do exactly that: explain specifically what “networking” means.  It’s basically just talking to people who have jobs you are interested in having, talking to influencers they talk to, asking LOTS of questions, being gracious, being friendly, and building relationships.  I recently said that diplomas aren’t magic wands, and Twitter isn’t a magic wand, either.  If you click the mouse and follow someone it isn’t like ABRACADABRA (poof!) you’re hired.  But if you DM them, email them, meet them and offer a firm handshake and a nice chat—then maybe they can direct you to a friend who has a friend who has a job for you.

In conclusion, I just want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to meet (or chat on the phone with me).  I didn’t mention everyone because I wasn’t sure if it’d be weird to publicly write the name of your company and put down that I had an interview there, but I really appreciate your advice and your time.  Check your mail. 😉

Until next time:

Make friends.  Just keep swimming.  Don’t stop believing.

JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

Do college grades matter?

Update December 2012: I wrote this 4 years ago when I was a senior in college. Wow, I feel old. 🙂 My perspective now: I ended up graduating with a really good GPA. But it really didn’t end up mattering. I’m not going to grad school. I’m glad I focused on internships and had practical experience. I really really wish I had gone out and done something pointless and fun whatever Friday night I stayed in and wrote this post.

“To all the C-students, I say, you too can be president of the United States.” – George W. Bush

It’s Friday night in Rochester. Blizzard winds whip past my window. I sit with my laptop laboring away on my senior seminar paper(s) – yes, we have to write two each week. As I contemplate the relevance of the two-step flow and the diffusion of innovations theories in the measurement of social media PR, my thoughts wander:

  1. Why am I home on a Friday? Wow, I’m cool.
  2. I’d rather just research this to learn about my industry – not to write this stupid paper according to stupid rules so I can get a stupid good grade so I can have a stupid good GPA.
  3. I want a job.
  4. Do employers care about my stupid good GPA?
  5. Do college grades matter?

Obviously, if you want to go to grad school, your college grades matter. So knock yourself out and study. What if you don’t see yourself in grad school? My immediate goal is to get hired.

Typical resume advice about GPA’s suggests that if it’s above a 3.0, write it down because it’s a selling point. (So to be on the safe side, I keep mine on my resume because it’s decent. And yes, good grades helped me transfer with ease and kept the parents happy. In some ways the grades were worth it.)

However, let’s assume for a second that everyone applying at least mediocore effort in his/her communications degree can pull off a 3.0. That’s even allowing some wiggle room for a C or two, depending on how many credits you take. What I’m wondering about is that gap between the 3.0 and 4.0 student. As any dean’s lister will tell you, it takes a hell of a lot more effort to crank out a bunch of A’s than to settle for C’s. (And yes, sometimes you bust your butt and still end up with a C. I digress.) If you’re interning, if you’re building the portfolio, if you’re networking, if you’re involved with extracurriculars, if you’re already over-achieving– is it really worth the lack of sleep to put in the extra effort for that GPA? Or should I just be partying?

Say Student A and Student B both apply for the same, allusive, entry-level PR job. Both have multiple internships, both are PRSSA Chapter Presidents, both have killer portfolios. Both can barely fit four years of experience on a one-page resume. Student A has a 3.0 and Student B has a 4.0. Who gets the job?

Well let’s say this job is at a super edgy, unconventional type of agency that is “too cool for neckties.” The Students are being interviewed by an HR director with a trampstamp and a senior account executive who listens to A Perfect Circle. Student A is kind of up-tight. You know those kids who try to look and act older than they are? Yeah. He’s wearing this hideous tweed sportcoat that doesn’t match the navy blue oxford shirt underneath. He’s distant, doesn’t really smile, and has one of those “dead-fish” handshakes.

In contrast, Student B learns the name of the receptionist and says hi to the lady watering the plants on her way into the interview. Student B is respectful, but chill. She genuinely laughs when the SAE makes a joke about Facebook poking, wheras Student A does this awkward courtesy chuckle and then goes into some random, arrogant schpeal about how he single-handedly organized a 50-student Facebook protest on the day the news feeds were released.

Student B gets hired – not because of the GPA, but because she is quite simply a better fit for the company culture. My point: I’ve heard it argued that in a close-call situation like this, the kid with the better GPA would “win.” It’s the supposed tie-breaker. I’m starting to think otherwise. Looking back on internships I’ve gotten and the ones I haven’t, I think my GPA had nothing to do with it. When it came down to the interview, the successful interviews seemed like a conversation between friends or a really great first date. (And as for the unsuccessful…those seemed like interrogations from the CIA.) People have asked me about extracurriculars, experience, why I chose PR, why I’m interested in their company. Perhaps it will be the same when I interview for jobs. No one has asked about my GPA. I’m starting to wonder if maybe, they never will.

So I’m writing this paper for me, and the grades will fall where they may. And next Friday, I’m going out. Because as Tom Petty once said: “The work never ends, but college does.”

Feel free to disagree (or agree) with me. The comments are yours.

Job Hopping and College Jumping: Advice from the Transfer Queen

Not to turn this entire blog into a big Penelope Trunk love-fest (I mentioned her in my last post—dazzle me senseless and maybe I’ll write about you next week) but the lovely Ms. Trunk’s advice about job hopping has inspired a post that I’ve wanted to write for a while now.

I interpret the job hopping concept to mean that you leave when the learning curve flattens, when you’re no longer challenging yourself, when you’ve reached the proverbial dead-end. (No, you don’t get a new job ever month because you had a bad day or got in a fight with your boss – don’t be ridiculous) I’d like to extend this concept to justifying the act of transferring colleges, something that I’ve done twice.

I begin by sharing an obnoxious photo spread of me with my most prized possession, my rejection letter from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.

college-jumping-004college-jumping-2college-jumping-006college-jumping-0071

This little slip of paper typifies the moment, the turning point, the blessing in disguise that spearheaded my journey to three colleges in four years. I cherish this journey. Because I took the opportunity to question where I was and what I was doing, I discovered where I want to be and what I want to do.

My biography explains my travels so I will try not to bore you with repetitive details. Basically, instead of going to Syracuse (couldn’t imagine paying all that money if I didn’t get into the program I wanted to be in) I went to my “safety school,” Kent State, and majored in newspaper journalism. I had great friends, but I found myself disenchanted with journalism and completely miserable. Anxious for a change, I landed at Nazareth as a political science major with my focus set on law school. After a semester, I realized I hated that and sort of went back by changing my major to communications and rhetoric. However, the theoretically-based, literature-heavy program wasn’t right for me, either. I knew I wanted to do something in that field – possibly broadcast journalism or public relations – but didn’t feel I wasn’t getting the experiences I needed to get a job in either area. Consequently, I transferred down the street to the rival school, St. John Fisher. Ever since, I’ve been inundated with and wholeheartedly loving the comm program here.

Haha college merch
Haha college merch

Realizing you don’t like something (a major, a career) is just as valulable as realizing you love it. Changing your mind doesn’t make you flake. Most kids encure over $20,000 in student-loan debt trying to get an education. It’s an investment in yourself, in your future. Sure, college is a great time. But what is the ROI? I take the consumer approach to my education, and have constantly questioned what I am getting in return for the money I (along with my unconditionally loving parents, who probably thought I was crazy but supported me anyway) pay and the hard work/passion I put into it.

Are you learning, or are you just biding your time until adulthood? Are you getting what you want out of your education, or are you just comfortable? Are you challenging yourself? If not, I say, transfer.

Good reasons to transfer:

  • If you’re not just being a pessimistic, Debbie-downing slacker and your school doesn’t line up with your aspirations – transfer.
  • If you’re not being challenged, enlightened and fulfilled by your classes – transfer.
  • If you chose a major you love, you know what you want to get out of your education (grad school, a job, etc.) but the program you are in isn’t leading you down that path – transfer.
  • If they don’t have the major you want – transfer.
  • If you aren’t completely applying yourself, if you’re just going through the motions because you feel that no matter what you do it’s all just a big fat waste of time and money – transfer
  • If you have done the homework and know exactly what classes you need to take in order to graduate when you want and you have really thought about this – go ahead and transfer.

Terrible reasons to transfer

  • “My boyfriend/girlfriend goes to that school! I think I’ll transfer.” (Most of those things don’t last forever…)
  • “I don’t like my friends at this school. I don’t fit in. I think I’ll transfer.” (Hang out with different people.)
  • “My grades are bad. I think I’ll transfer.” (Work harder.)
  • “I give up. Screw this place, I’m transferring.” (Have you exausted all of your options? Are you moving forward, or running away? Do you need another school, or do you actually need a semester off to get your life together?)

Other thoughts:

  • Put up with it – a little bit. I’m a slow boil. I don’t just give up and I try to make the best of a situation. But six months later when I’m finally ready to quit – I’m done and I don’t look back. You can, however, hold out for too long. Don’t wait until you are desperate before you make the decision to positively change your life.
  • Do your homework. Know what you are getting into. It’s possible that not all of your credits will transfer. Is what the new school offers great enough that you are willing to study – and pay for – another semester, or year? Be pro-active and stay organized.
  • A diploma isn’t a magic wand. Just because you get a degree at a different school does not mean you (POOF!) magically land a job . At least in my industry, you need internships. Can you internship your way to your goal, or do you still need a different program to satisfy your educational/career interests?
  • You transfer for a lot of reasons – concentrate and act on the right ones. Nazareth works out great for a lot of people and I’m happy for them. But for me, going there was a huge mistake – a colossal screw-up. A FAIL so epic, it was almost a win. I went there for the wrong reasons. My high school friends that went to Naz were so happy. I think I just wanted to be happy, too, so I chose that school over Fisher the first transfer-around. Conversely, going to Fisher was the best decision ever. I went there purely for the educational and extracurricular opportunities. The comm program focuses more on practical application instead of Aristotelean rhetoric and baby, that’s my style. Because I came to Fisher for those reasons, I’ve focused on those things and positioned myself well to reach my goals. Not that you can’t make friends, but if you transfer to a school with your career and education at the forefront of your reasoning, that is what you will put your energy into, and you will make the best use of your investment.

There’s my very unconventional college advice. I hope that made sense!

Until next time,

Question. Reconcile. Remember: Not all who wander are lost.

JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

Resumes for entry-level peeps who just want a foot in the door

By the time you’re a senior in college, you may find it hard to cram four years of work, extracurricular, and internship experience onto one page. Editing my resume late last, I returned to a blog post from Penelope Trunk that I read a while back. Basically, the message is this: A resume is a story about your accomplishments – not a laundry list of every single thing you’ve ever done. Furthermore, she suggests that you quantify your achievements whenever possible.

It’s hard because oftentimes as an intern, you’re observing, assisting, helping out with, or writing drafts for the overall plan. At least for me, it was hard to look back on my experiences and point out accomplishments that could be measured with numbers.

In my interny-intern way, I asked a former boss to help me. She gave me some general stats about a calendar sale I did a marketing plan for, and therefore helped me complete that line in my resume.

So now I have this new resume in front of me, some great experiences behind me, and a network of awesome mentors by my side helping me along the way. Perhaps they can’t be measured with numbers, but those are achievements that just keep on winning.

Until next time,

Buy me this

Watch this

Listen to this

-JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

My Very First Webinar! (And other cool stuff you might not learn in college)

This last week at my fabulous internship, I got to listen in on my very first webinar. The webinar was mostly about PR software (coughCISIONcough) and the different services it provides. In the spirit of objectivity, I must admit that haven’t tried any of its competitors (yet) so I don’t have anything to compare this software to. Nevertheless, it seems pretty cool. The media list management capabilities kick my Excel sheet’s sorry butt, ROI junkies can get their quantitative metric fix with the Chart Wizard, and the media monitoring tracks your client’s coverage with most likely with more accuracy and organization than your little intern (although this will cost drastically more than him, her, or me.)

As a student, I have this expectation: If I can take away one or two great new pieces of knowledge (something that provokes further thought) from each class, I did my job paying attention (and let’s face it: I got my money’s worth.)

So the two great things I took away:

  • Build relationships with journalists.

According to the host, this one journalist spoke of a “3 Strikes” rule when it came to media pitches and press releases. Say a PR person shows that he or she hasn’t done any research (by pitching an irrelevant story, sending a press release about something that has already been covered.) The person gets three strikes, three chances to do that, and then the rest of their emails, pitches, releases, and advisories would be ignored.

This got me thinking about the importance of building relationships with reporters. It’s an investment of time, and it’s hard to do when you have a million different clients and projects to tend to. But I hope I never lose enthusiasm for the idea that less pitching is more, that building tight relationships with a network of journalists is better than sending out some mass-email to every single reporter in North America.

At my news internship, I worked primarily with the health reporter. I rode around in the news Jeep (this one time, I sat in the front!) and observed while she did stories. I couldn’t help but notice the relationships she had with the PR professionals of the local medical centers where she did most of her reporting. She could always count on them to give her timely, unique, relevant story ideas – and they could count on her to consider, and usually pursue, them. It was a professional bond, but there was an element of trust that I admired on both ends.

  • We should teach students more about SEO when teaching them to write press releases.

The host included some comments about the importance of using keywords in press releases in order to increase SEO. She described how press releases are no longer a one day event because they can be formatted as web pages and posted up on the internet – left there for anyone who Googles your client to discover.

I wish I knew more about SEO sooner in my PR education.

Overall, my press releases have gotten some much-appreciated positive feedback. People have told me before that “you’re a great writer,” or “that’s a catchy headline.” Or, I’ve gotten B’s and C’s from teachers who didn’t like my “awkward phrasing.” I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s not about captivating a reporter’s attention with a clever lead – but about using great keywords to summon the almighty search engine forces and provoking them to catapult your press release to the top results of a Google inquiry.

Maybe there’s a connection in the two great things I learned from my first webinar. Perhaps journalists aren’t going to take our stories because we had an amazingly clever headline in the press release. They are going to do our stories because there is a relationship behind the pitch, and they know we aren’t wasting their time. Search engines won’t pick up the press release because the headline is particularly entertaining, either. They’re machines. They don’t have opinions about that type of stuff. They will, however, spit out the intended results with the use of great keywords.

From now on, it’s my goal to concentrate more on relationships and keywords when writing and sending press releases. The relationships are for the people, the keywords are for the search engines. The separate focuses intersect at the crossroads between the traditional and the future – the newspapers and the internet. The road forks and in both directions there is results for my client.

Until next time,

(stealing some great phrases from my friends)

Be as you are. Just breathe. Make hope.

JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

BOSTON

I’m coming to Boston on Friday, February 27th!

I had a great conversation about jobs, PR, and life with my professor last night. (Thank you!!!) His advice was that I make use of my spring break travel plans and stop in Boston if I get the chance. There’s always an open invitation to crash on my best friend’s futon at BC, I’m going on spring break with her anyway, I love that city – so why not? Moreover, I realized that it was important for me to learn more about the city I want to work in and get some face time with some people who work there. In conclusion, I’m hoping to set up some informational interviews for that Friday.

Do you know any PR people in Boston that would have 20 minutes to sit down with me and my portfolio and tell me honestly what I’m doing that’s great and what I could do better?

If so, please don’t hesitate to email me at janetaronica@gmail.com or message me on Twitter. (@janetaronica)

Thanks!

Add to Technorati Favorites

How I Became Involved in Social Media and What I’ve Learned So Far

Like most college seniors, I joined Facebook freshman year of college. My very first Facebook friends were people from high school and the girls that lived on my floor at Verder Hall at Kent State. I was in it for purely social purposes. I didn’t see it, or sites like it, as something that could potentially play a significant role in my career.

Freshman year (fall of 2005) was also the first time I heard about blogs, during Intro to Mass Communication class. There, I – along with 400 of my “classmates” – heard my professor lecture about the incoming threat of the DUN DUN DUN – Citizen Journalists! Run for your liiiiiivvvvessss. The BLOGGERS are COMING!

The topic of blogging was explained very much in terms of how newspaper and magazine journalism majors better beware, because the bloggers are here to take your jobs.

Throughout college, Facebook remained a place for casual conversation, and albums of some now-deleted pictures. (Like that picture of your passed out roommate spooning the inflatable you-know-what she gave you for your 21st birthday? Yup. Delete those, kids.) It was a way for me to keep in touch with friends, especially when they studied abroad and it wasn’t as easy to just send a text or make a call. (Mark Zuckerburg, I’m thankful for that.) Then came the newsfeeds, and then the grown-ups joined Facebook, and then the applications were added. Now, any business willing to give five minutes to creating a page can have its own place/idenity in the social medium.

I didn’t care about blogs until I had to search them for Kodak coverage at my internship last summer. This prompted me to discover different blogs that I could read on my own. As an infamously reluctant waitress, angry server blogs – most notably, Waiter Rant – profoundly resonated with me. I also discovered Culpwrit (a great source of advice for PR students) around that time.

Fall of senior year, I took a class called Introduction to Digital Media. Inundated with blog, wiki, podcast, Flash, and Second Life projects up to wazoo, I felt both overwhelmed and intrigued at the vastness of the social media environment. I began to see how drastically and quickly the flow of information was changing. However, it took a riveting personal experience for me to comprehend the change.

In November, my friend died in a tragic accident. She was walking down the road and got hit by a truck. For me, the news of this accident was met with unexpected devastation. We swam together in middle school, and I hadn’t spoken to her since high school. Nonetheless, I was blindsided by grief. I’m not a crier, but I wept for days, fixated on news updates of her condition.

She lingered in the ICU that weekend, and the local news reported her changing condition with statuses that were both vague and cliche. “Seriously injured” and “critical condition” were among the updates. I will note two important things about my experience in searching for information about her status:

1. The most up-to-date information was on a Facebook group created to promote a candle-light vigil in her honor. People who had actually visited her or talked to people who had visited shared what information they knew by writing on the wall for the group. As opposed to waiting another ten hours for the next news story – wall posts were made sometimes within just minutes of each other. They weren’t journalists, they were friends, and that made a difference in how their information was perceived.

2. The interactivity of regular news revealed a nasty side to Web 2.0. People who never knew her freely commented on the situation beneath the news stories on the website. She died on a Sunday night, but people starting posting “RIP” things on Friday morning. Now, as you can see with this news story, someone moderates the comments and deletes those reported as “abuse.” But gems like this comment feed continue to flow through cyberspace. Some of these comments make me sick.

This event shook me to the core, and inspired to me to reconsider many things in my life – including but hardly limited to my ideas of what news is. I recognized once and for all that media had changed. Gone were the days when just the reporters had the authority on information. Comment posts held an authority all their own, and information was taken out of the headlines and put back into the conversations exchanged between friends.

If the media changed, I realized PR had changed. And if PR had changed – I had to stand up and face the fact that my career was going to look a lot different than I anticipated.

Since November, I’ve embarced on a personal journey through social media. I began by re-activating my Twitter account (I did it in Septemeber for maybe a week, but didn’t initially see the appeal) and reading a variety of PR and career-advice blogs (especially Penelope Trunk!) This post from a PR pro at Schneider Associates is a great example of a lot of the consensus that I’ve run into, which is that social media is and will be an integral part of my PR future.

I’ve joined a wide variety of sites to experiment and get a feel for what is out there. To be honest, this is one of those self-guided tours, and I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth a couple of times. But I’ve never been afraid to make mistakes, to allow myself to have unintentional experiences that teach me something. I take responsibility for what I put out there. I like to, well, JK JK a lot – but don’t be mistaken: I do take this seriously.

I’ve read that when it comes to Twitter and blogging, you should not only consume information, but contribute it. As a social media newbie, what do I have to say that people will get some use out of? Now don’t get me wrong, I promise to share to share only the top echelon – the most valuable – of LOLcat photos and FAILblog posts with my legion of loyal followers. But other than that, what do I have to say about PR, social media, internships etc. that will actually be worthwhile?

How worthwhile this is, that is for you to decide. But after the experiences I’ve had, I feel confident enough to share a conclusion I’ve come to:

We are citizen journalists. As a former newspaper journalism major, I’m happy to say that I’ve reclaimed my own job and found my own place with blogging. Ethics is a strong focus in traditional journalism, and I think that we can and should begin to apply those ideals to what we blog, comment, post, tweet, tag, etc. Nobody’s perfect. But we can try…harder.

I don’t think that how we edit ourselves should be simply a matter of PG-rating, personal branding and etiquette. Based on my experience, that isn’t necessarily enough pressure or accountability for many people contributing their two-cents on the internet.

Don’t underestimate yourself. People are reading, and the comments you make on news stories, the posts you make on Facebook – have consequences. As a journalist, would you publish something inaccurate on the front page of your paper? No. So as a citizen journalist, maybe it’s not the best idea to blog, comment, post, tag, or tweet information that is inaccurate, particularily when it’s regarding a sensitive topic – for instance, the death of a beautiful, smart, athletic, funny, talented young girl.

Groups like the Society of Professional Journalists have a code of ethics helping support and direct the moral compasses of reporters. Together, citizen journalists must continuously work to establish a standard of what is right.

So until next time,

Become an organ donor. Learn something new. Write what you feel even when it hurts.

JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

25 Things

Have you guys seen this on Facebook? It’s amazing how may people are doing this. By each person tagging 25 people in each post, it’s spreading like wildfire! How cool! Just shows there’s something about S and M. (Social media, that is.)

Here’s my “25 Things” post:

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. First and foremost of the random things: I am a proud MILLENNIAL. I’m sick and tired of all the stuck up research that suggests that people my age are entitled, lazy, praise junkies spoiled by participation awards. Millenials – the flip-flop wearing, Starbucks-drinking, Legends of the Hidden Temple-watching, photo-tagging, wall-writing, tweeting, texting types – are full of potential and optimism. I’m proud to be of a generation full of people unafraid to leave a job if they are unhappy, full of open-minded people who care about what matters most – and that’s each other. <3

2. One day, I will miss being a waitress.

3. Apparently, I have a pattern for dating guys with names starting with “J.” I always love an alliteration.

4. I want to get the word “Ambition” tattooed on my foot. (In Edwardian Script)

5. I think I’m a heck of a lot more fun than I was in high school.

6. I want a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (a tri-color) and I want to name her Carrie. Yes, after that Carrie.

7. I didn’t become a journalist, but I don’t feel like a sell-out. I didn’t get into my dream school, but I don’t feel like a failure.

8. I still have my rejection letter from Newhouse hanging on my wall. I’ll keep it forever.

9. I’ve often wondered how my life would have turned out if I stayed in Ohio.

10. Red velvet cake = the best.

11. I love Twitter! (@JanetAronica)

12. Sometimes I laugh things off instead of dealing with them.

13. I like being a nerd.

14. I really wish I could do a one-armed push up.

15. I brush my teeth like five times a day and feel like something is missing if I’m not wearing perfume.

16. I want to be a bartender.

17. I want to get married in the fall and have the reception under a tent.

18. I went vegetarian in August. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. I actually love tofu.

19. I will never forgive myself for going to Naz because the Comm program there was a JOKE. I’m bitter!

20. But at the same time, I’m glad I was Co-Editor of The Gleaner and got to meet my love, Heather Butterfield

21. I have a website. http://www.janetaronica.com

22. I know I work too hard…

23. …No, I don’t think I’ll ever change.

24. Don’t get lemons in restaurants. Just don’t.

25. If I could meet me when I was 12, I’d tell me I’m beautiful. If I could meet me when I was 16, I’d tell me to take it one day at a time. If I could meet me when I was 18, I’d tell me to to go to Fisher. If I could meet me when I was 20, I’d tell me to be careful who I trust. If I could meet me at this time last year, I’d tell me to just have fun. I met me in the mirror this morning, and I told myself that I may not be perfect but I turned out just fine.

There you have it! And if you read this, heck why not – add me on Facebook.

Until next time,

Stay warm. Make an “already done” list. YouTube “Power Thirst.”

-JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

Google Yo Name, Son

I’ve heard lately that among HR managers, Googling the names of potential employees is all the rage. (http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/10/6-tools-to-monitor-your-online.html). As a soon-to-be college graduate and potential employee extraordinaire, I’m very interested in this.

I didn’t care that much about Googling my name until recently. In my opinion, there are millions of more interesting things to Google than “Janet Aronica.”

I did this back in November, receiving the expected results: social media accounts, newspaper articles from my journalism days, swimming competition results, running times – evidence of an overly-involved life full of physical activity and extracurricular achievement. But something new, to my horror and annoyance, popped up as about the fifth results on Google.

Let’s back up to briefly discuss the computer virus I got back in October. The HPV of computer bugs, if you will. This thing got into my Fisher email account and sent out tens of thousands of spam emails to everyone all across the planet. These spam emails basically said:

“Hi my name is Mrs. Janet Aronica. You’ve won a bagillion quadzillion dollars. Please just send me your bank account number and pin so I can deposit the money in your account.”

I know…

One of these emails got to author Jane Green. She blogged about it, talking all about how crazy this Mrs. Janet Aronica was for trying to scam people. My name was all over the post and it was kind of embarrassing.

I responded to the post with a comment that in so many words explained:

“Hi, I’m Janet Aronica. There is no Mrs. Janet Aronica. I had a virus in my email account and that is why you got this email. Sorry for any inconveinence that the email caused. I don’t want anything to do with your bank information, but I do want a job when I graduate. This post makes me look like a jerk, and I don’t want HR managers to think that if they Google my name and see this. Please delete this post.”

It’s crisis communication, duh.

Within 15 minutes she, or somebody, got back to me with a sincere apology and a notification that she deleted the post. Then she mailed me a copy of her book as an “I’m sorry” gift.

Honestly, that’s an even better response than I could’ve asked for. I really respected it. That’s PR.

There was some more stuff posted on other sites regarding these scam emails. I’m still trying to contact people and clean up the situation so I don’t look like a money-swindling creepo.

How much do I care what people think about me? How important is this online reputation? It’s tough to explain. The people that know me best – the people I care about most – know where these emails came from. Quite frankly, they think it’s another hilarious example of Janet struggling with computers, and life. (Hey, I earned the nickname Struggles somehow.) But the people who know me well enough to know that aren’t the HR managers who could hire me somewhere down the line.

In conclusion, the answer is yes, I do care about my online reputation. And when it comes to looking good for the HR people, I have to be my own PR person.

So until next time…

Take a nap. Hug somebody. Google your name. -JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites

Personal Branding for Less-Than Beginners

Describe yourself. I could describe my friends, my family, my co-workers, and my dog with eloquence and accuracy. But me? I think that’s hard to do subjectively. If you’re hard to describe, you’re hard to define; and if you’re hard to define, you’re really hard to brand.

Each and every single one of us is a complicated, exquisite constellation of sometimes contradicting traits – the fabric of our individuality. I have a suspicion that you are just as multi-faceted as me. I like high heels and sweatpants, Tom Petty and Rihanna, reisling and cabernet, the city and the beach. How do you streamline that? How do you take that personality and translate that into a brand?

It’s been said that life isn’t about finding yourself – it’s about creating yourself. You could create any brand you want. I could’ve made a site that presented me as cutting edge and credible (http://www.ben-grossman.com/), or a sexy social media maven (http://tastyblogsnack.com/). But the truth is: I don’t want to be anyone else because it is just too damn fun to be me.

That whole “just be yourself” mantra is pretty vague and useless as far as advice goes. I think that when it comes to branding, yes, be yourself – but with purpose. Identify the result you want to get from your involvement in social networks and present yourself accordingly. Don’t hide who you are, but accentuate the things about you that will render the result you want.

My intended result: I want a PR job. The hardworking, talented, ambitious “go out and get yourself an internship” side of me is the side that will get me a job. So I’m going to post my resume, blog about PR stuff I do, and show that I have a vested interest (or rather, a passion) for this industry. I’ll even go so far as to capitalize most of my words and avoid dropping f-bombs. I’m a professional, duh.

On the other hand, boring people don’t work in PR. I don’t necessarily have to hide the silly, square peg side of me. It’s good that I think outside the box. (Actually, I cross the street to find the nearest triangle. Then I run a few laps around the triangle before I sit outside of it Indian style and pick daisies while I brainstorm.) My dream is that my creativity and willingness to think different will one day lead to a really great job opportunity.

So specifically how am I branding myself in this way?

  • Blog posts: My goal is to take time once a week to produce well-written posts that have great content and lots of personality. I added the WordPress widget on LinkedIn and will Tweet about new posts as to draw traffic/attention.
  • The waitressing blog: I’m keeping it. It’s funny and honest. That’s a worthwhile side of me to share. But I’ll only Tweet about the ones with minimal cursing and innuendos ( in case people judge me for that sort of thing.)
  • Design: This website was inspired by a lot of things. I got general design ideas from a bunch of themes on Tumblr, and CCS’d the WordPress Cutline theme to make it look this way. As far as color goes, my initial inclination was to do Victoria’s Secret pinks, magentas, and fushias. However, I am acutely aware that I come off pretty girly when I talk about boys, puppies, and shoes. There is no reason to reinforce that with Hello Kitty color schemes. Because that would be like, OMG totally overbearing and stuff lol haha <33333.
  • To N or not to N: My full name is Janet (Jan – it) Nicole Aronica (A-ron-ick-ah). I introduce myself as Janet Aronica, but I sign my name as Janet N. Aronica. I flip between the two. I considered if this was a problem when naming my domain one thing and writing my name at the top of my resume as another, but then I considered that maybe Janet Aronica is an abbreviation for Janet N. Aronica. Or maybe it’s an interchangable nomanclature – like The City versus Circuit City. (And seeing how well that’s going for them…) Today versus The Today Show is another example.

So there you have it. That is the personal branding I’ve developed so far. A last thing I’m trying to develop: A catchy salutation. Here’s one for this week:

Eat your veggies. Tip your waitress. Tell your mom thank you. – JNA

Add to Technorati Favorites