Diving Into the Job Search

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Hello! My long absence on WordPress has honestly been a little embarrassing and I apologize for once again jumping ship for way too long. The last two quarters of school I’ve been concentrating on doing well in school and finishing up journalism classes. My final quarter at UCI started Monday.

For the last two weeks I have been organizing my job search. It is nice to have an extra week of Spring Break (it’s my last one ever!) since I managed to finish my finals early. I had some anxiety last quarter about this exact point in my life–the next step for me–and while I knew I should’ve started doing a job search then, I chickened out. Now, there’s no more time to hide: this is it.

I decided that in order to have the most success in my search, I needed to think about organization. I needed to ask myself basic, tough questions, like where should I live, who should I reach out to in my network, who is in said network. I spent a couple of days last week doing a rudimentary brainstorm, writing things down on paper and picturing myself finding something I loved to do. Now, what was that exactly? I thought about my skills. Did I still want to pursue public relations, and what were my motives in that career?

My former boss very kindly offered to chat with me about career strategy. We wrote down our brainstorm on a whiteboard in his office, and seeing it all written down in one place really helped. He also told me a few of his tricks to get noticed by potential employers or key employees, which I thought was very clever. Since our chat I am now updating an Excel spreadsheet regularly with notes on my network and leads, as well as trying to work through daily goals. I am having the teachers who know me best and my former employers write letters of recommendation.

I am now in the process of finding leads on my own and doing company research. It sounds so simple, but in reality I dread it! I would so much rather watch ‘Gilmore Girls.’ Last night I did a preliminary search on a couple of job boards just to write some names down to explore later. This afternoon’s attempt at perusing the Orange County Book of Lists was better. I felt like the list was much more narrow, given the rigorous selection standards of the Orange County Business Journal.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll be back with an update soon. 🙂 How about you? What did it take for you to find your first job? Share your advice in the comments!

TURNING THE TIDE 2.0

Dear all,

Hello! It has been some time since I last sat down and wrote a Blog. I regret not taking the time to write, because so many special things happened over the summer, and I wish I had kept some sort of record on TURNING THE TIDE. To make up for the all the posts I didn’t write, I’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about my summer, this blog and myself.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m from NorCal and I’m a literary journalism major at University of California, Irvine. Yes, I’m a writer, borne from my love of reading. I am a freelance writer for two startup companies, and plan to move into public relations this fall. This is my final year of college. I’m really excited to use my potential to do good, but I’m definitely nervous at the same time!

Summer highlights:

– Landed my dream journalism internship at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center. I learned the importance of networking, how to listen and how to talk to anyone. This internship helped me find my first public relations opportunity.

– Went on a backpacking trip with my uncles, in NorCal. Want to read more? Check out my article. 🙂

– Had a great time with my friends at the beach on multiple occasions. Having a car is wonderful!

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When I started this blog, I had trouble pinpointing exactly what interested me and keeping readers engaged. I would write about some pretty random stuff. Then, I branched out into writing prompt style posts, which got a bit more traffic. I think the most recent stage was when I wrote about study abroad in Ireland.

Now, I am going to try something new! My new theme makes my blog pop, and motivates me to write engaging content. There’s something deeply satisfying in straying away from a traditional look. Besides the theme, the content will change. From here on out, the blog will focus on photography, student life, careers and current events. Occasionally I will do a writing prompt if I need the practice. I think my new direction will keep me on my toes, since I’ll need to read the news, search for interesting subjects, etc. That said, I’m going to post at least once a week, on Mondays.

To all my past readers, thanks for reading this post and following my blog. I appreciate your patience, and I’m sorry to have left you hanging this summer! I look forward to seeing what you’re up to and will do my best to maintain a presence here on WordPress.To first time visitors, I hope that we can connect. If one of my posts inspires you, please don’t hesitate to comment on it. I’ll take a look at your blog, too.

Cheers,

–Jennifer

On Journalism and Careers

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As a student journalist, I have consistently been doing internships in my field since I started college. Looking back, I’d say that the first internship I had triggered my interest in journalism. I was a rookie reporter at the local paper, that’s for sure, but I learned that I liked jotting down notes from interviews and then turning that information into art for the summer. I had the chance to shadow the other reporters and see how they operated. At the same time, my work had a limited audience, given that I lived in a small town most people wouldn’t know about.

My experiences at my first internship helped me do well in my beginning journalism classes at UC Irvine. I felt like I had definitely picked the right major and that I was likely going to be a journalist after college. I continued to do two more journalism internships to get a feel for the career that I felt I’d do well in. Each had a different work environment and set of skills.

Then, sometime during my junior year in college I started Googling careers related to journalism and one of the biggest (and most promising) was a career in public relations. The pay for a public relations specialist was significantly higher than for a journalist (about $15,000 more of a median salary) and it seemed to offer more stability. I thought about it for a while. I’d get to write, edit, help clients and companies make the most of their businesses, work with the press, give speeches…it sounded like a dream.

I kept reading to see what the requirements were. A Bachelor’s in either journalism, communications, or English…check. Internships in journalism…check. Friendly and outgoing personality…check! I remember thinking, “People actually get paid to do what I would love to do every single day. Count me in.”

Since discovering that PR was a viable option for me, I have also gotten to learn skills outside of my field. I applied for a summer job which I actually took in the fall as a food service worker at the campus dining commons, and have started working at the campus library as a Special Collections and Archives Assistant. It’s nice to make a little money, and I think it’s also an excellent strategy for this generation of students–the more skills you have, the more employable you’ll be in the future.

Recently I landed a journalism internship at the UC Irvine ANTrepreneur Center. I think it’ll be a great opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, students, UCI faculty and local businesses. I will be doing plenty of interviewing and writing, and my work should hopefully reach a wider audience.

Choosing to work on campus was also part of my strategy. You can make it yours, too. Just think: if you live on campus or do not have to drive, it’s a win, and you have the opportunity to see your school a little differently. If you’ve admired the place you’d like to work for a while, you can become a part of what makes it great, and then you can become a representative and even raise the standard.

While everything seems to be falling into place, I’m scared. In one year I will no longer be in school. I’ll be on my own. At the moment I want to go to the Career Center to talk about public relations and what I might need to do differently next year. Interning at a p.r. firm seems promising, but I need to look into it more.

For those of you who haven’t started an internship or gotten a job offer during school, I encourage you to sit down and think seriously about your professional and personal goals. Consider your interests, as well. Write them down and put them in a place you can refer to often. Since I’m not an expert in career counseling I will not go any further except to say read a lot. In fact, read something of educational value every day, whether it is a short story, play, newspaper, magazine, etc. Just read, and I guarantee you’ll come upon one of your interests.

Do you have similar career strategies to mine? What advice would you give students or people seeking a career they feel is a smart move for them? Share your thoughts.

Lofty Ambitions? Let’s Avoid That.

“The question used to be “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and now it’s “what are you going to be when you graduate?” The future was always far away, and now it’s at our feet. And that is so, so scary. But empowering”–Sarah Gray Isenberg

believeMy friend, Sarah, posted this last night on Facebook, and I couldn’t help but think about it. Check out her Blog here, she’s an excellent writer and is a hard worker. She inspires me to follow her example and to stay determined even when the bleak moments come in.

Building on this quote, I want to say that I have my own insecurities when it comes to planning “post college” life. Really, where am I going to be in just about 2.5 short years? Am I going to have regrets about what I chose to do for a living? Will I even have a job lined up right after graduation?

Romanticizing the future is all too easy. At the same time, it’s also dangerous. What we think we will do and what we actually end up doing are usually two very different things. It’s time to think realistically.

There are a few things that I know for certain, that I think shine in my favor. 1) I have a high school diploma. 2) I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree. I will get my diploma if it kills me. UC Irvine might be putting a dent in my bank account, but I don’t plan on quitting. 3) I know that there is more than holding the diploma in my eager hands someday, it’s about how I apply the skills I learned in college to other sectors. 4) Though I haven’t had to start paying my “own bills” (a.k.a pay for things with my own money), I am developing a responsible attitude about money. It’s simple–I want to stay within my means and save money throughout my life.

In this economy, it is imperative for me to make wise choices regarding my education and lifestyle. Graduation is not far off, and that gets me thinking about careers. In preparation for becoming a journalist, I have interned at a metro newspaper and am now interning for San Clemente Patch. I am also going to start writing for UCI’s New University next quarter. I assume that I’ll be doing more work as an intern and then maybe find writing jobs on Craigslist while still writing for NewU. I still see potential to land writing jobs without having to live with pain of doing something that I really hate. I also see most writing jobs being tied closely to the Internet. But I also am preparing to apply for jobs outside the writing category, jobs that maybe aren’t glamorous or what I always thought I’d be doing. No matter where I end up, I will not let my pride get too far ahead of me. A job is a job. I might not stay with that one particular job, but it doesn’t mean I need to complain about what I don’t have.

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