Taking interviews by storm — Tips on rocking your interview and getting your dream job

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In my short 22 years, I’ve applied for over 100 jobs, had countless face-to-face, skype and phone interviews, and received dozens of rejection emails. Because of this, I’d like to think I’m somewhat of a professional interviewee at this point. And after nearly a year of job searching, I finally discovered the secrets of the interview process, built up my confidence and landed my dream job (which I will be telling you guys about in a few weeks!) Here are my tips for getting the most out of your interview:

1. Get up. Get dressed — This is a given. Please wear clothes to your interview. But really, if your interview is at 10 a.m., get up early enough to take a shower, make a nice breakfast, get in some exercise and review your notes. Now when I say “get dressed,” I don’t mean to throw on a wrinkled top and the same slacks you’ve been wearing for a week straight because you’re too lazy to drop them off at the dry cleaners. Putting some effort into your appearance is vital to your interview, because your interviewers will remember the polished girl with the bright smile as opposed to the frumpy girl who looks like she forgot to brush her hair.

But what if it’s a Skype or a phone interview? Get dressed anyway. Put in the same amount of effort as a face-to-face interview because it will get you in the right professional mindset.

2. Don’t be boring. Let your personality shine — Interviews don’t have to be boring, you don’t have to be a robot. The interviewer doesn’t like interviewing people any more than you hate being interviewed. Smile, drop your shoulders (but keep your posture!), crack a few jokes, be yourself and don’t forget to breathe. My biggest tip would be to have fun with it, which sounds crazy but you have to make it fun in order to really shine through to your interviewers. They’ll remember the candidate with the big smile and calm nerves. Trust me.

3. Google the company and the interviewer — This seems like a given, but a lot of people forget to do this and it costs them the job. I’m guilty of this too! You have to know at least the basics of the company, some background on the interviewer and some of the main responsibilities of the job you’re applying for. They want to know why you want to work for them, what you can offer them and how they will benefit if they hire you. So be sure to highlight that information in your interview.

4. Ask them as many questions as they ask you — This interview is not just for them to get to know you, but also for you to get to know them. Even if you could have found some of the information online, ask them anyway because it shows your interest in the position and that you’re taking this seriously. At the end of the interview, they will ask if you have any questions for them. The answer is always, always YES. Always ask questions. I’ve made the mistake of giving them an answer like, “Nope, you answered all my questions already.” Your interview could have been perfect, but that one sentence will ruin your chances. So always ask questions, even if you think they’re silly questions.

5. Send thank you notes — Immediately after your interview, pop a few thank you notes in the mail to your interviewer, the secretary, the editor-in-chief, whoever is in charge of the hiring process. This will make a lasting impression, and even if you don’t get the job, they’ll remember you and might call you back for another position. Plus, it’s a humane thing to do. Good karma, right?

6. Print out copies of your resume and work samples — If they’re calling you in for an interview, they already have your resume, but it can’t hurt to bring a few extra copies. Plus, it’s nicer to have a hard copy, and they’ll appreciate the time you took to print them out some copies. For extra brownie points, provide them with your resume, work samples and references in a neatly bound portfolio. You’re welcome.

7. Do NOT tweet, Facebook or blog about your interview — Your interviewer will Google you as soon as your interview is over, and if they see that you’ve been live-tweeting your interview-woes, they’re not going to consider you as a candidate. So please, get a journal and keep it to yourself.

 

What are your tips for a successful interview?

How to grow your blog (the easy way)

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Hey guys, so last week we discovered why we blog. Now, let’s work on growing our blogs. I’ve been blogging here at Flux and Flow for a little over two years and while I still have a lot to learn, I’ve learned quite a bit, so I figured I’d share my tips on how to grow your blog.

1. Utilize social media — The 21st century is all about instantaneous results, which has been made easy by the introduction of social media and the popularization of the Internet. Use social media to your advantage by posting links to your blog posts, which will be shared and reached by people who will then repost and repost… You get it. This is the easiest way for your blog to get the most views. Do you want to reach people? Get your butt on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and post away!

2. Know your audience — Who are you writing for? Are you a mommy blog, fashion blog or a lifestyle blog? Depending on your topic and audience, your “voice” will differ and it’s vital that you realize that. Develop a voice, and stick to it. 

3. Create a publishing schedule — Consistency is key, and not only will it help you to be an active blogger, but it will give your readers an idea of when to expect new content. When I started out two years ago, I didn’t think this was important, I was blogging for myself, I didn’t think I needed a schedule. But I have never been so wrong. Then I said I would post new content every single day. This was also a terrible idea because I was burnt out, and I think my readers were too. Now I’m posting 3-4 times per week, and it works out perfectly.

Using editorial calendars (I use Google Calendar or Evernote) are also really helpful. I plan out my blog topics weeks in advance, just because that’s the editor in me. Working for magazines and newspapers prompted me for being overly prepared and organized, but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

4. Photos, photos, photos — Visuals are so important for a successful blog post so either use your own, or borrow some. Including photos in your posts keeps your readers interested and posts with photos are more likely to be pinned, retweeted, etc. Here are my favorite resources for free stock photos that don’t really look like stock photos:

Unsplash

Little Visuals

Gratisography

5. Network — Make friends, be active, get out there and do your thing! Blogging doesn’t end at hitting “publish.” Comment on other blogs, reply to comments on your own posts (I’m terrible at this, but I try!), make friends with other bloggers (I have a few of you on SnapChat, and it’s a blast. Add me: @jasminekeclipse) and join blogging communities like BlogHer. The more you comment on other blogs, the more exposure your blog will get, plus it shows the world that you’re an actual person, not just a blog.

Be YOU — By blogging, you’re creating a space that reflects who you are as a human being, not just a “blogger.” You may have an awesome OOTD to show off, but who are you at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night? Be real with your followers, and you’ll develop so much more than a following, you’ll develop a bond (wow, that got unintentionally sappy).

Lastly, create an “About” page. We all hate talking about ourselves in third person, but it really helps people get to know you! Who are you? What are your interests? What is your blog all about? Why should I follow you? Think of it as a mini-resume, but have fun with it!

 

What are your tips for growing a blog?

10 ways to get a good start to your day

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Hey guys, by now I think we’ve established that I have a serious Internet problem, but I fell into the black hole of Tumblr the other night and found this post and fell in love. It helps a lot, and I know it’ll help a lot of you too. So, follow these steps (or don’t), but have a great Friday anyway!

1. Slowly wake up

2. Take a shower

3. Wash your face

4. Brush your teeth

5. Check your emails/updates

6. Listen to music

7. Lie down a little more

8. Go get breakfast. Eat your favorite meal.

9. Write a to do list.

10. Plan out your day.

 

It’s simple, but isn’t that the best way to start out every morning? Simply? What are your favorite ways to start your day?

So you want to be a freelancer

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You want to work from home. You have hundreds of articles sitting in a folder on your desktop gathering virtual dust. You spend your free-time daydreaming about your name in a byline in your favorite publication. You write for fun. Did I just describe you? Then you should be freelancing. Lucky for you, I’ve rounded up the web’s best freelancing resources and how you can get started today. But first, a few (strikingly honest) words from our friends over at Cosmo Magazine, for those of us who think that freelancing will turn you into Carrie Bradshaw:

When I tell people I work for Cosmo, and that I do it from home, the first thing they ask me is “OMG so you’re just like Carrie Bradshaw?!”

The reality is that, one year ago, I quit my office job as a writer/editor, moved to a city with no salaried jobs in my field (smart, huh?), and embarked on a life of freelancing. Everything I knew about freelance writing (ahem, Carrie Bradshaw) looked pretty glamorous and I expected my new gig to be no different—despite the fact that I would longer have a reason to adhere to the alleged fashions of the times, or even wear clothes at all, and I had no one to talk to all day except the stuffed mini alpaca that sits here, judging me, on my desk. 

I’ve learned that being Carrie Bradshaw, or Hannah Horvath for that matter, in real life is about as realistic as pooping rainbows. But, freelancing? It’s still pretty awesome. So, come, gather round my unmade bed, er, Friday office, and let me tell you what freelance writing is really like.

1. Working from home means that sweatpants are your new dress code. 

2. Working from home means that you’re actually working, not housewifing.  

3. Working from home means that you’re actually working, not playing.

4. Working from home means that you’ll lose your people skills.

5. Working from home means you might actually miss the office from time to time.

Sure, freelancing isn’t totally what I thought it would be, but I wouldn’t trade my (sometimes stinky) existence for any other. After all, that endless free processed food comes with a price: You have to sit in the same damn chair for nine hours straight—under fluorescent lights no less—in order to get it.

Plus, now that I’ve worked in sweatpants, I don’t think I could go back to actually getting dressed every day.

Now that’s been said, do you still want to be a freelancer? I hope you said yes, because I’m about to give you some of the web’s most valuable freelancing resources. Use these sites to your advantage, get your work out there and have fun with it!

Ghost Bloggers 

Flex Jobs

Blog Mutt

Zerys

Hire Writers

These are five of my favorite freelancing websites. They pay well and they’re consistent with your paychecks. Plus, they really help you to distribute and publish your pieces to credible sources where your work will actually be seen. And isn’t that what we all want?

 

Why living in Hawaii is a good idea

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**Did you read my post on why living in Hawaii is a bad idea?**

Okay, so you just won the lottery and you now have the money to move anywhere in the world. Here are five reasons why you should choose Hawaii to be your future home:

1. Never-ending beauty. No matter which island you choose to live on, you will constantly be surrounded by beauty and awe-inspiring sights that you’ve only dreamed of. Blue skies, lush greenery, rainbows dancing along the horizon. You get the picture. It’s pretty freakin’ beautiful here. Paradise? Yep, you found it.

2. Crime? What crime? Hawaii is the “Aloha State” for a reason. There’s hardly ever any crime in the islands, which makes Hawaii one of the best places in the world to raise a family (thanks, mom!).

3. Aloha Spirit. Everyone treats everyone like family here. Hugs, smiles and kisses on the cheek are extremely common and heart-warming, so get used to feeling loved!

4. An abundance of outdoor activities. Due to great weather, it’s extremely easy to be active and enjoy the great outdoors. Soak in that vitamin D and get your exercise on while hiking, surfing, running, etc.

5. Diversity unlike any other place on the globe. Hawaii is famous for its diverse people and culture. There’s a mix of Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Hawaiian and Western influences in the islands, that blends together to create an atmosphere that is unique in and of itself.   

 

Why living in Hawaii is a bad idea

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**Disclaimer: I have lived in Hawaii my whole life, I love it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This post is my own personal opinion and should be read with a dash of sarcasm, and I apologize in advance if you are offended and/or you do not agree with the things I have said below.**

Okay, so if your fairy godmother walked up to you tomorrow and said, “Pack your bags, we’re moving to Hawaii!” Would you object? Probably not. But here are five reasons why you should:

1. It’s deathly expensive. Gas? $4.50 a gallon. Milk? $7 a gallon. Rent for a one bedroom apartment? $1800. If you plan to live in paradise, you have to be prepared to pay the price.

2. Limited products/shopping. Believe me when I say this: There is nowhere to shop. You will not be pleased with the store selection. And you will resort to shopping online and paying high shipping costs (if the retailer even ships to Hawaii). Also, we’re very behind on the trends. When I moved to Oregon for college, I was completely shocked at all the stores and trends that I had been missing out on.

3. No sports teams (ugh). Sure, we’ve got the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors… But that’s about it. Texas has their Cowboys, Chicago has their Bears, Oregon has their Ducks. What does Hawaii have? Not much.

4. Traffic. You read that and said, “No way.” But guess what? Hawaii has the second worst traffic in the nation. Yes, you heard that correctly: nation.

5. We don’t really like tourists… Yes, you’re our number one industry, but I have to side with the locals on this one. Sometimes, you’re all a little too much. Tourism is annoying in every city, but especially in Hawaii. While there is an awful lot of love in the “Aloha State,” there’s also a bit of segregation. I remember going to grade school and middle school and being outcasted because I was the haole (white) girl. This happens and if you move here, that’s something you’ll have to get used to.

Don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll have five reasons why living in Hawaii is a great idea ;)

Is a college degree really worth it?

college

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud college graduate, and I would never take back my experience for the world. I enjoyed my time at the University of Oregon. I learned a lot, I grew as a person, “found” myself, discovered my passions and got my degree. But I also spent four years of my life there, dug myself into $120,000 of debt, and got a degree that I’m not even going to put to use (at least not in this next year). So my friends, I raise the question: is a college degree worth it?

Pros

You get a college degree! That was easy. But really, college is good for those of us who are looking for ways to challenge ourselves and prepare ourselves to enter the “real world.”

Moving away from home and to a new city/state/country is a wonderful opportunity for you to really grow and mature. When I left for college, I was really attached to my family and I was scared for my life when they dropped me off at my dorm freshman year. I was so homesick, I didn’t have any sort of sense of direction for my future. I was immature, to say the least. But being away from all the comforts of home forced me to grow the hell up, be a real adult and tackle challenges on my own. I credit college to morphing me into the adult that I am today.

You’re going to make memories, friends and real meals. Okay, just kidding about the real meals part. Let’s be real, we all ate Top Ramen in college. But the memories and the friendships are real, and they’re worth it. I still talk to my college friends every day, and I have a feeling it’ll be that way for a long, long time. Sure, people don’t go to college with the intention of making lifelong friendships, it’s just something that happens. And it’s the greatest side effect there is.

Cons

Obviously furthering your education is always a positive thing, but I personally don’t believe in America’s modern education system. In short, I think it’s flawed. Judging humans on their performance on a 40 question exam instead of their character, work ethic, goals or talents, is wrong. There’s much more to a person than their test score, and basing their “success” off of such simple things shouldn’t be how it’s done. The way of the future is not in how high of a test score you got, but in the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those who will one day lead our country.

Also, how many young Americans are in crippling debt because of their college education? Too many to count. And many of them are too ashamed to tell anyone that they willingly put themselves into over $100,000 of debt to get a college degree (guilty!). If a college degree is required/necessary in order to succeed in this world, then why is it so ridiculously difficult to get? Shouldn’t we be making higher education easier for all to attain, instead of making it more and more difficult by increasing the fees/tuition?

A college degree does not guarantee a job, and this is the most common misconception of college. One of my friends graduated third in his class over three years ago and he still hasn’t been able to land a job. It’s been three months since I graduated and I just now got a job offer. Just because you put yourself through the ringer in college to get that piece of paper, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a job once you walk across that stage. What determines your success is the person you are, not the degree you have. Remember that.

You are who you are, not what you have.