Category Archives: Recent Graduate

Want the Job? Channel Barney Stinson. (Seriously.)

Barney Stinson–the man, the myth, the legend–can teach us how to stand out in the competitive job market. Sure, he can also teach guys how to rack up the one-night stands, but let’s just let that rest for now. Beneath that Star Wars-loving, tailored suit-wearing exterior there is a professional who succeeds at pretty much everything he does. Interested in doing the same, but with your job search and professional life? Then by all means, read on.

Dress to impress. The man wears suits like it’s his job. He even sleeps in one, for Pete’s sake. While that might be a bit extreme, the point is made. In most cases, it is better to be overdressed than the only person in the room wearing jeans and a frat boy tank top.

Tell a story–with your resume, that is. Barney’s detailed tales of busty babes and bro code history always have his friends’ attention, and tend to have that “stick” factor. When tailoring a resume or cover letter, it is always good to keep Mr. Stinson in mind–paint a picture and tell a story that sticks. (Lies, exaggerations and racey escapades excluded.)

Live by the code. Not Barney’s infamous Bro Code, but close. Know the company’s code of ethics, and how it aligns with your own.

Sell yourself. Every episode, we see Barney sell himself to a myriad of women. Often times it is using some alias out of his personal playbook, but you have to commend the guy  for recognizing his opportunity and going for it. The take away here is that you are your biggest advocate, and if you can’t sell yourself, no one can. Be your own salesman, and recognize your target audience.

Lastly, get creative. The King of Bro Code certainly does this well with his playbook, (the Lorenzo von Matterhorn is my personal favorite), and the same should be done when searching for a job. Create an online portfolio that showcases your unique creative style, spice up responses to interview questions by using non-generic examples and find a way to set yourself apart from the rest.

Go ahead. Make Barney proud.

Resumes: Revamped, Reworked and Revised

Next Wednesday, November 9, is the University of Oregon’s annual Fall Career Fair. With this date creeping closer, and with my graduation date looming (December 8—eek!), I’ve been joining my fellow super seniors in the act of revamping my resume.

Barney Stinson Video Resume

Who wouldn't hire this guy?! (courtesy of mytvmoments.com)

Never a particularly exciting task, it is important to keep several versions of your resume on hand and to constantly update them. The best way to do this, of course, is to pass your resume on to a knowledgeable pair of eyes in your particular field. As students, professors are a wonderful and easily accessible resource for this—as are recently graduated peers. (Shout out to those of you who have colored my resume with colorful corrections—you know who you are!)

I digress…anyway, the rapidly approaching career fair sparked the idea for me to post about some of the basic ins and outs of resume perfecting. So, here are a few tidbits that I have learned from anonymous editors:

  1. White space is important. When a recruiter receives a resume, he or she does not want to see an array of word vomit crammed into one page—space it out, play with the margins and spaces between headers and descriptions so that even if the resume is a full page in length, it does not feel like a chore to read.
  2.  Use color only if it is relevant to the job description. I once had a fellow student show me her color-coordinated resume, stating that it set hers apart from others. Looking at my black-and-white resume, I asked a PR professor (who also runs her own agency) about adding some color, and she responded with this question: Are you applying for a creative position? Well, no, I am not applying for any particularly creative positions, so she suggested that I keep my resume clean and show creativity with color in other things—my portfolio, for example.
  3. Use descriptive verbs! The first word of each line of descriptions for a position should communicate action. For example, some words that were axed for me were: worked, drafted, learned, help—none of these were descriptive enough to captivate the skimming eye.
  4. Be personable. In the PR industry, professionals are not uptight (generally). Show some personality and transparency in your descriptions and layout.
  5. Keep a consistent font across the cover letter and the resume, and any reference contact information.
  6. That being said, the font does not have to be Times New Roman—play around with it; find a font that helps eliminate dangling words (one word that flows onto the next line—you need that extra space!). However, remember that Comic Sans MS is ALWAYS a no-no. Try Garamond, it is similar to Times but crunches the letters a bit and really helps with spacing.

With this long list of “Do’s”, here are a couple examples of what not to do with a resume:

Even though her resume stands out, Elle’s scent may not be pleasing to everyone. And the pink paper? For a legal position? Not extremely relevant. Entertaining and true to her character, though.

Lying is bad, especially on a resume. At least he can chug a gallon of milk in ten seconds!

I hope that these tips are as helpful to my small pool of readers as they were to me! Happy editing—and remember, if you’re a student at the University of Oregon don’t forget to attend the career fair next week!

Got an Interview? “Bee” Yourself.

As an almost graduate, I began my endless interview loop yesterday morning with a phone interview, which I had never done before. After stressing about it all night, I began to think about what we, as social media connoisseurs who often get caught up in ourselves, can do to stand out among the crowd. My thoughts led to a list (surprise, surprise—lists make me happy, what can I say).

1. Sell yourself. My dad was reviewing my portfolio the other day, and he had a great point when he said:

for sale

A little desperate, but you get the idea. Courtesy of hubpages.com.

“Nicole, everyone that looks at this or who interviews you is going to be thinking, ‘what’s in it for me’? You need to be able to field those questions before they come.” Although my dad is from what seems like the stone age, he has a great point, (he also happens to be one of the most business-savvy people I know). Sell yourself, but remember that you need to do this while also answering the question of what is in it for them.

2. Know the requirements. Before any job that I apply for, I look over the qualifications and requirements, and I contour my resume to highlight how I fit their needs. This also goes into the “what’s in it for them” idea, but here it is important to dig deeper. The requirements for a job should be your talking points. Use them as guidelines for your cover letter, and if you land the interview, use them as talking points to highlight why you are the best candidate for this specific position.

3. Be interested in them. One of my professors once gave me a name to contact for a potential job, and the only piece of advice she gave me was to flatter him. Not in a creepy weird way, but in a professional manner—know the work that they have done, and be able to comment on it. Whether it is on a personal level or a company level, showing an interest in whom you are talking to goes a long way. After all, who doesn’t like a good compliment every now and then?!

4. “Bee” yourself. Every time someone says this to me I am reminded of the moment in Aladdin when the genie turns into a bumblebee and tells Aladdin to “bee” himself. My goodness, Disney is inventive. All joking aside, this was one of the most important lessons of our childhood, and it still carries into our lives today. Remember, public relations/marketing/advertising executives know how to read people. If you are attempting to build up a persona in order to please them, they can tell. The best thing to do is to let your passion for the position shine through and let your true talents be the basis for your conversation and connection with that person. Don’t learn this the hard way like Aladdin did.

Genie Bee

In the words of the wise genie, "Bee yourself." Courtesy of sarahnoelsmusings.blogspot.com

Summertime Grind: Photo Edition

Disclaimer: This post has absolutely nothing to do with sports or public relations. Nevertheless, I WILL have something to say about the NBA lockout once I’ve taken some time to cool off, since it has undoubtedly been the worst news of the decade for us sports lovers. So, if you care to know about my personal life then read on–if not, I don’t blame you, and ciao until next time!

So, what’s been happening with my life since I did this, you ask?: GraduationI’ve been experiencing a slow Eugene summer as I near the end of my college career. Although I walked in the University graduation ceremony, I am not done with classes until December. Due to the massive amounts of downtime in Eugene over the summer, I have picked up on some new hobbies–namely, cooking!

Grilled Salmon

Grilled salmon, polenta and a summer salad

Yummy macaroons

Roasted veggies with chicken

Snickerdoodle cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Turkey sammie with avocado and spicy mustard--great fuel for fishing on the river!

Red velvet cupcakes for a special graduation party

Other than baking and cooking, I’ve become obsessed with Ninkasi beer (but what else is new).

I’ve also been running along the Willamette daily…

…and hiking Spencer’s Butte.

So far, it has been a relaxing summer. I am looking forward to seeing what treasures Oregon has to offer when it is not drowning in rain!