How to get the perfect summer internship!

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So It’s been a while but I promise I have a good excuse. I was accepted as a summer intern for my dream public relations company for the summer! It was an extremely competitive process and I spent a lot of time preparing for every stage of that process so I thought I’d share some of the things I did to help secure my internship. Hopefully it will help some of you.

1) Prepare a killer resume!

Your resume is the first thing they will see so you want to make sure it represents you and your skills adequately. You want to make sure your resume fits within the field you’re going into. My field is public relations therefore I need to show that I have basic software media tool skills. So for more creative fields choose more creative designs, other fields may just want a standard resume (you can check out mine in the portfolio tab of my website).

On your resume make sure you include your education, relevant work experience, skills, extracurricular activities if you have them, contact info and any awards you may have received. I wrote RELEVANT work experience because you want to include jobs that fit within the field you’re going into, or at least find a way to show that the skills you’ve learned or utilized will fit with the skills needed for the internship you’re applying.

*Tip: Double check the job duties of your internship to tailor your work experience to it. I’m not saying to lie… you should have some experience whether that be school, volunteer or previous jobs/internships.*

2) Have a well thought out cover letter

Do not rush through your cover letter, this is your first impression. Introduce yourself and tell how you are best fitted for the internship. Highlight some of your skills and experiences, this is a good time to sell yourself. Make sure you are sincere, if this is an internship you really want express that. They want to know you are serious about the opportunity and that you have what it takes to be there.

I tend to use the first paragraph as an introduction, the second one to pitch myself and my skills, and I conclude in the third paragraph by expressing why I’d love to intern with that specific company.

3) Prep for your interview

I over-prepare for everything so I took notes of possible questions they could ask *thanks google* and prepared answers in advance. Common questions include:

“How has your experience helped prepared you for this internship?”

“Why do you want to work for this company?”

“Tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?”

A good strategy is to practice with a friend or out-loud to yourself, that way it feels more natural once you have the actual interview. Remember to ALWAYS have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. They will almost always ask “Do you have any questions for me?” It’s awkward to just answer no, if you are truly interested you will have questions.

Some questions I asked were:

“What do you expect from an intern?”

“What does a typical work day look like for you?”

“Who would I report to for daily tasks?”

“What is the company dress code?”

If you are truly interested in the internship it will be easy to come up with questions because you will be curious.

4) Always write a thank you note/email.

I had several interviews throughout my process but I tried to remember to always send a formal thank you email to the interviewers thanking them for taking the time to interview me. Remember, the interviewers are busy employees and it’s a big deal for them to take time out to speak to you so make sure you show them you are thankful. It’s not only polite but it makes you look that much more professional.

5) Be yourself

As overwhelming as the entire process may be, try to always be sincere. Others can tell when someone is trying too hard so don’t. The best way to find the opportunity that’s right for you is to be yourself. Remember you will get rejected, I was rejected several times before I was finally accepted and I now appreciate those rejections. If you are being yourself do not be discouraged if you don’t get an opportunity because the right one will come along.

I hope this post will help some of you and good luck to all you future interns!

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Spring Break for Millennial Parents: Kid-Friendly Vacation in Destin, Florida!

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So as a young college student and mommy spring break is a little different for me than it is for many of my peers. I decided to share my family-friendly spring break trip with you guys!

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My family and I spent our Spring Break in Destin, Florida! It’s absolutely gorgeous with bright white sand beaches and gorgeous blue water. It’s also a good combination of college spring breakers and family so for me it was perfect to experience a little bit of both!

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We spent a lot of time at the beach but we also stayed in a gorgeous resort, Destin West beach and bay in Okaloosa Island between Fort Walton and Destin Florida.

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The resort has two sides, the bay side (pictured above) or the gulf side (a view of the beach). It had a bridge over the overpass that allowed guest to walk from one side to the other. I actually preferred the bay side (it was more affordable) because it has several pools, a hot tub and a lazy river. Many of the college students chose to stay on this side so it was buzzing with people. It’s also pretty easy to get to the bridge and walk across to the gulf side to visit the beach.

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Destin was really easy to get around and had lots of areas for walking and activities that both children and adults could enjoy. We visited Harbourwalk village near the Emerald Grande hotel while we were there. destin13

The village has tons of shops, drinks (for both adults and children), Ice cream (even alcoholic ice-cream because apparently thats a thing), Henna tattoo, water sports rentals, you name it! It’s a really nice space to walk with children because it’s separated away from the main roads but also not too close to the water so my little man was free to roam around. I actually stopped to get dippin dots and a henna tattoo here. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming and there were people from all over! I’d definitely suggest visiting.

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My husband actually ended up renting a kayak for an hour to take our little man out into the bay (the gulf had a strong current but in the summer you can venture out there as well). Our little boy was much too active so they didn’t stay too long for fear of flipping over, but you can also rent boats which may be a better option for those of you with young children. You can even take them out to Crab Island, a cool restaurant in the middle of the bay!

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If you like sweets you may want to stop by some local grocery stores for fresh fruits (like we did) but one of my favorite places was Destination Little Donuts in Destin. They made all sorts of specialty donuts with various toppings, all very aesthetically pleasing and delicious!

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We actually stopped by twice because I couldn’t get enough of the Oreo Cheesecake and Cookie Dough (pictured above). They were also really informative and friendly so I’d suggest stopping by if you have a sweet tooth like I do! There were also a lot of great restaurants along the beach. Most of them served seafood, which I actually dislike, but there were a wide variety of options within Destin. We ate at Floyds on our first day and had gorgeous view of the beach while we ate.

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We also visited Fudpuckers, a really interesting restaurant that serves pretty good seafood but also hosts a number of live alligators. You can purchase bait to feed them and even get a picture with a baby gator (their mouths are taped for the photo). My little man was much too excited so we had to take him away for a minute, he kept pulling the alligators feet (not a good idea). We also got the chance to see a rare albino alligator. Pretty cool!

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Of course much of our vacation was spent on the beach. We just couldn’t get over how stunning they were!

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We even got shot by a photographer for a local newspaper!

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All in all it was a pretty fun and relaxing spring break and I’d definitely suggest visiting, whether you’re a student, single, or mother of two! We are already planning our next trip back!

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Five Signs You May Need Some Alone Time!

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Lately I’ve been feeling irritable, cranky and tired constantly. I dread every time my alarm clock goes off in the morning, and Monday’s, oh Monday’s are the absolute worst!

If this resonates with you at all you may need some “YOU” time.

Now I’ve heard it all before, but it really clicked for me once I took the time to consciously consider my behavior and what it meant. Maybe that lightbulb will go off for you as well, and after reading the list below you’ll actually make time to do something for yourself.

Every little thing starts to irritate you

Now I’m a naturally impatient person and you may be too but this is different. You find every little thing starts to annoy you REALLY fast! I mean I even had a moment where I wanted to scream at my tv because Netflix paused for too long… yea definitely NOT normal person behavior right there. If you find yourself screaming at your tv, laptop or other inanimate object or maybe just snapping at the people you love… maybe just maybe you need a little break.

You’ve lost a great deal of motivation

Sometimes we all get a little worn out. Have you had those moments where you just don’t want to get out of bed. Maybe you have a huge to do list that you keep pushing off or maybe you’re just not feeling your daily routine anymore. Hey, I’ve been there! In fact I’m there right now so I feel you. Maybe it’s time to take a mental health day (can we make these mandatory please) and go for a walk or run alone, see a movie, visit a spa or pool or just bathe at home with a bath bomb and some candles. If you can’t afford to take a day off plan an evening just for you! You will thank yourself for it later.

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You’re feeling sluggish and fatigued

Your body will be the first to let you know that you need a break. We live in a noisy culture, between Iphones ringing and bosses or schoolwork we never get true rest. I’ll add that just because you may physically be alone doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting the alone time you need. If you’re at a computer or on the phone the majority of the day you will still feel worn down. Our bodies react to stress and it has a great impact on us. Sometimes a little quiet time is important. If you’re like me and you have a child then quiet time is necessary to stay sane trust me. If you have a spouse or family to babysit schedule time during the day that you can use to have a little rest and this doesn’t necessarily have to be sleep. Just be sure to unplug for a bit and have a little quiet time.

You’re not enjoying your company

Do you find yourself forcing conversations lately? Do you cringe when your phone lights up or someone shows up at your door. If you’re not enjoying hanging out with the people in your life it may be that you’re just not getting enough time for yourself. It shouldn’t feel like a burden to be around your friends and family (unless they are insane). It is okay to say no sometimes and explain that you need a little rest. If they really care they will understand. If not, you’re better off anyway.

You’ve been extremely busy

Sometimes it’s just that simple; you’ve been working way too hard. Remember, we are humans and NOT robots. It’s okay to be proactive but when you start to experience the things above it becomes unhealthy. Sometimes staying busy is a coping mechanism. Take time to rest and consider what’s really going on. Maybe it’s nothing and you really just need rest or maybe it’s something deeper and you’re distracting yourself from it by working day and night. Taking time for yourself allows you to reflect and dig deep, without having time to do this we lose touch with ourselves. So take time to stop and rest!

I hope after reading this you decide to take a little time just for you. It is not selfish to think of your needs from time to time. Your body and mind will thank you for it later!

Comment below with some of the things you do to relax when you’re feeling worn out!

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Understanding SEO; Basic Tips and Tricks

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So for my PR-Tactics class we had a brilliant speaker named Haley Burkhead, owner of marketbeautifully.com, who came to speak with us about SEO and I thought I’d share what I learned.

The term SEO is short for search engine optimization which means optimizing your website, or business so that it can be easily found through search engines. This is allows you to maximize the number of visitors you receive.

A few key-points that she mentioned were:

  • Site Speed: Site speed is how fast your website loads. She mentioned that it’s important that your site loads quickly. According to her a great tool to monitor this is Google analytics site speed tool. It monitors page-load time, how quickly images load, and how quickly the browser analyzes documents and allows for interaction.
  • Keyword Optimization: These are the words you use that make finding your content through search engines easier. She mentioned Google’s keyword planner which helps you find these keywords and even predicts the amount of clicks you may receive using these words.
  • Quality: She stressed the importance of quality content and I couldn’t agree more. I definitely believe gaining visitors has a lot to do with what you’re bringing to the table. One thing she said that stuck out was “work on solving problems.” If you offer a solution people will come.
  • Permalinks: This is the URL on the site for particular content. For example if you’re a blogger you can click on a post and see a unique URL in the search bar. She say’s you should edit these to be short and searchable.
  • Image File Name: The images on your pages should be uploaded with keywords included in the file to make it more searchable. So instead of just uploading images as 001.jpg for example, use keywords.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Make sure your website works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop computers. We live in a world where many consumers and potential clients use their cell phones to make a search and if they are to come across your site you want to make sure it’s user friendly regardless of which device they used to get there.

So those are some of the basics she mentioned and I’m sure glad she did. I’m excited to continue to grow my knowledge of SEO and put these tips to good use.

 

Why detachment can sometimes be a good thing

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I wanted to write this post because I am hoping someone else out there can relate to it. I’ll start by saying we all know that there is so much negative energy in the world right now. The political issues, global disputes, social issues and so on. Many of us can’t go a day without hearing something controversial. It is exhausting to say the least.

There comes a time when it’s no longer possible to find a balance between staying informed with what’s happening in the world and in our communities and also remaining sane.

If you’re anything like me you stress A LOT. There is enough to deal with in day to day life without the added stresses of national and global issues. So you may get to a point where you avoid them. You cut off the news, take a break from social media and just pretend all is well.

I consider myself an empath so hearing and seeing the news literally feels like a thousand needles being jammed into my chest, that on top of the daily stresses of my own life can become overwhelming. As much as I believe we should stay informed sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is to pull yourself away.

For me that looks like days or weeks without acknowledging what’s happening in the world. I pretend racism, sexism, fascism and all the other “isms” don’t exist. You could say I push it to the side and live in la la land for a bit, and I find this to be healthy.

However, I find myself feeling defensive… like I’m waiting for someone to tell me I need to be paying attention to what’s happening, that I’m not allowed to forget (as if that were actually possible). What I’m saying is, it’s necessary to detach yourself for a while when it becomes such a burden that you begin to live in a constant state of worry.

Detachment has always been used negatively but I’m saying that sometimes detaching yourself is necessary for your own mental wellbeing. When you allow yourself to do so it also gives you the opportunity to see things more clearly when you feel comfortable enough to step back into the “real world.”

Now do not confuse this with ignorance, it IS important to know and understand what’s happening in our society but this post is focusing on when knowing becomes overwhelming and thus influences how you feel in your everyday activities. That is the case for me as of lately and I wanted to share that me separating myself from all the bad in the world doesn’t mean I’m ignoring it. I don’t want anyone to feel guilty for avoiding hearing bad things, nor do I want others judging those of us who may take time just forget it all.

It may look like we are pretending these things aren’t happening and that the bad in the world doesn’t exist and while that may be true for some, it is not the case for all of us. For some, it may be that they feel everything so deeply that they need to pull themselves away for their own health. Remember your mental well-being influences how your body reacts. Detachment is just another form of self-care for some.

Don’t be ashamed to pull away and find some clarity and peace. The stresses of life can have a lot of power over you and if it takes pulling away for sometime then that is absolutely okay! Not all of us are blessed with great coping skills. Do what works for you, whatever it takes to keep your mental health in check.

Thanks for reading!

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How to Stay Motivated for Midterms!

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If you’re anything like me you’re probably already exhausted with your spring classes and are struggling to get by. Spring break is just around the corner and you want to keep good grades but would rather be watching Netflix than studying.

If this sounds anything like you, hopefully a few of the tips below will help.

Find your perfect study place

In order to have a successful study session you need to make sure you’re in the right space to do so. If you have loud neighbors, live in a crowded dorm or are easily distracted by tv screens get out and find a quiet place.

Some libraries offer meeting rooms and cubicles you can use to study. You may even try a quiet lobby if you live on campus or a coffee shop. Note: If you try a coffee shop make sure it’s not during peak hours when it’s super busy. Sometimes studying outside with a blanket and a snack is great too! Fresh air can sometimes be all you need to help you focus.

Reward Yourself

There are times when I’d really rather be watching Netflix than studying, in moments like these I’ve set up a system where I study in intervals and reward myself when I have a break.

Try telling yourself if you study for 30 minutes to an hour you can then go get a treat, watch an episode of your favorite show or visit a friend. It may not seem like much but if you do it several times a day you’ll be surprised how much you end up studying.

Find a Study Buddy

If you’re the type that has trouble retaining the information you study or find yourself reading and then going completely blank right after then you may need a little help. Find someone who you know will actually help you study and set up several times a week to meet for a study date. Note: Do NOT ask that friend that you know will not help. You know the one… you’ll end up laughing and looking at memes on Twitter.

Find someone you know will actually help you study and quiz each other. You’d be surprised how much faster you retain information when you not only read it but hear it. Oh and it never hurts to reach out to that friend that always creates a Quizlet for everyone. Bless!

Keep Your Eye on The Prize

When you’re really low on motivation I suggest using a countdown app or widget. Whether you’re graduating soon or just counting the days until spring break, it always helps to have something to look forward to, to keep you motivated.

For me personally I’m motivating myself to get through my exams by reminding myself that spring break is the week after and I’ll hopefully be on the beach in my bikini with my family relaxing!

So go find a quiet place, grab a friend and set those countdown widgets! Hopefully these tips will help. Good luck!

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Die! Press release! Die… or maybe not

So Tom Foremski posted an article entitled “Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die! 11 years ago detailing his strategy for changing how news releases would function at the time.

His opinion was that “press releases are nearly useless” and typically just result in wasted time and effort. He proposed a new strategy for organizing press releases that involved deconstructing it into various sections and tagging the information so that the publisher could pre-assemble it.

While I appreciate the idea of organizing the information in a way that makes it easier for journalists to pull information, his strategy involved using various pages of quotes and information. I’m not sure a strategy of this nature would have a chance in this era.

Journalists are oversaturated with press releases and as busy as their profession is, I think we live in an era of short and sweet. The idea of having several pages of quotes seems unthinkable and I can’t imagine anyone would be willing to read through all of that information.

Modern press releases are formatted to be concise, and are organized to only include the most relevant information. I’m not sure where his idea of including a lot of links would fit within this structure.

I also think press releases still play an important role and wouldn’t quite agree that they are useless. In our culture today we are typically only getting a few snippets of a story and not the entire thing. Despite popular belief, many people still look to major outlets for the full story so I think sending news releases can still play a major role if done properly.

While I may have disagreed with Foremski in terms of formatting, I did agree that those writing press releases should leave the direction of the story to the journalist and not try to put their own spin on it. It only makes sense to allow the journalists to do it since that is their job and it saves wasted energy.

I’m interested to see how press releases will continue to develop and change overtime and what new strategies will be put into place to help them avoid the trash.