The Myth of Being Busy

One thing that really grinds my gears as a college student is this myth of “being busy.” College students and millennials in general are infamous for being lazy and irresponsible.  This stereotype drives me crazy, because as a hardworking, diligent and motivated 21 year old I think this stereotype is misrepresentative.

Sadly, I am beginning to understand where this label comes from. How many times have you heard someone say they have to bail on a commitment because they are too busy? They have too much to do?  Or even better, they just need a second to relax? If not, maybe you’re the person using these excuses.

Either way, there is a false connotation of busyness sweeping throughout college campuses everywhere! Be careful not to catch this contagious epidemic. If you aren’t sure whether you are busy are not, then you probably aren’t.

The point of this article is not to bash people or make anyone feel like they are being targeted. It is to teach a simple lesson that is essential for business professionals – time management.

Planning ahead for deadlines is so important; however, procrastination is still often a hot topic among young adults. There are a few tips that can help to alleviate the feeling of being “busy”.

  • Learn when you are most productive, and use this time to get things that matter done. When you are feeling productive don’t use it to organize your DVD collection or tag all of your Facebook photos – use it to study or finish a paper.
  • Make your bed in the morning. I know this seems silly, but young adults who make their bed each morning are much less likely to take mid-day naps or lay down to “rest” when they have breaks. If you have 30 minutes to kill in between class and work, complete a simple task like making a grocery list, cleaning your makeup brushes, read a chapter for school, etc.
  • Prepare for the weeks when you have a lot going on. Although many students do not follow this trend – it really does help. Finishing papers, homework assignments and projects up to a week before they are due not only relieves deadline stress, but it allows you a week to find any errors or changes that could improve it.
  • Turn off your phone. One of the most confusing hypocrisies I witness involves our generation’s addiction to technology. Each week I see numerous Facebook and Twitter posts about how people have “So much studying to do” or “So much to do, not enough time.” I am tempted to comment “Then get off social media and get something done!” Turning off your phone and shutting down social media accounts one hour each day will go a long way in getting tasks accomplished.

In short, quit making excuses and learn that having “stuff to do” is a part of life.

You can’t do it all: A lesson from Pope Benedict XVI

Asking for help isn’t always easy. Society has made many of us millennials think we can do it all.

But the realistic truth is… we can’t. The most important thing for young professionals to learn is when to ask for help.

You don’t even have to take my word for it. Would you believe Catholic Church leader Pope Benedict XVI? The Pope’s resignation swept the world early morning February 11, 2013. He will step down at the end of the month due to his declining health. In interviews with the media he explained that his age and health no longer allowed him to perform the duties required of him.

See? Even the Pope knows he can’t do it all, and he reached out for help. While we may not be influential world leaders – the philosophy is the same.

My favorite marketing professor, Gary Gagnon, always emphasized, “You can’t be all things to all people.” This is a lesson for all people of all ages, but especially young adults developing their lifestyle habits.

We all have goals and crafted plans to achieve them. We’re pretty much willing to do whatever it takes to succeed – which can be a recipe for disaster. Taking on too many projects, saying yes to too many favors, trying to please everyone can often leave us stressed out and less productive. Let’s face it – superwoman is a fictional character.

So when you feel like you’re about to break – reach out and ask for help. A support group of friends, family and professional mentors are truly a secret to success.

Build a group of people who care about you who will absorb some of your worries when you’ve taken on too much.It isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather strength, to admit you need help.

Whether it’s your personal or professional life, there are always people willing to help.

How To: Screw Up an Interview

Didn’t get a call back on your last interview? Or you did but it wasn’t good news? Chances are you may have committed one of these interview sins.

If you want to be a tough young female professional you’re going to have to show it. Employers want to know they are hiring the best candidate, and it’s your to convince them it’s you.

Here’s a list of five simple ways to NOT get your dream job:

Be Unappreciative.

The interview process is long and grueling. Not just for you, but for the recruiter and hiring manager that have sifted through hundreds of resumes and are looking for the easiest reason to eliminate you from their long list of potential candidates.

So if you want to make an impact – be thankful. Thank them for taking the time to talk to you, thank them if they open the door for you, and thank them for interest in your qualifications. Okay, now don’t go overboard and be “that girl,” but showing you are courteous and well-mannered goes a long way.

Blend In.

In 6th grade if everyone was wearing a Hollister shirt, you just had to have one too. But this is not 6th grade. The last thing you should do in an interview is be just like everyone else.

Find one or two things that you really think set yourself apart and emphasize them! But make sure they are truly original, because thinking you’re more “innovative” than the next candidate really doesn’t say anything about who you are, or why they should hire you.

Just Show Up.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to an interview your biggest concern is probably what you’re wearing and if your shirt is well ironed. If so, it’s no surprise you haven’t gotten your dream job yet.

Before an interview you need to do research on the company that you are visiting. Don’t just Google “company x” and read the first thing that pops up, but really do some digging. Check their website and see what they’ve been working on, look in the news to see if they’ve gotten publicity over anything lately and look at their stock to see how they’ve been doing financially.

Good or bad findings are both great talking points. Companies like to know you are interested in them specifically – not just finding a paycheck.

Be Modest.

This is the one place you can brag and people won’t roll their eyes at you. Don’t dumb down your accomplishments because you don’t want to seem cocky.

Hiring managers are looking for applicants who make an impact, receive awards and have more than a ‘great internship experience.’ Be detailed, be excited and be honest. If you’ve done great things that are relevant to the position you are applying for make sure you emphasize them!

Read Your Resume.

Most likely, the reason you are sitting in an interview chair is because the company’s recruiter was impressed by your resume and passed it on to the hiring manager. So there is no need to repeat any of the bullet points you delicately crafted for your resume.

Sad, I know. Believe me, I’ve put a lot of time into writing my resume bullet points too. But in an interview talk about specific things you have done that aren’t on your resume. Give them stories and examples that they won’t forget after they shake your hand.

Preparing for Professionalism

Okay, so we all know that appearance is key. What we wear and how we look represent our personal brand. That’s why it is so important to take the time to prep. You can’t be a tough girl with chipped nail polish and split ends. Since many college students, including myself, are hot on the job hunt, I thought I would put together a list of tips I’ve learned from recruiters on preparing for professionalism.

PAINT YOURconservativeanils NAILS APPROPRIATELY. Yes, long acrylic nails with stripes, hearts or sparkles may be this year’s trend, but they aren’t professional. You have two option – keep them natural or keep them conservative. Personally, I opt for light pink or dark red OPI colors, because they look nice and don’t chip as quickly as other brands. Properly and conservatively painted nails show that you take the time to care for yourself.

IRON YOUR SHIRT. Now this is a tip I feel silly including, but you’d be surprised how many young women don’t iron! This tip goes back to attention to detail, but wrinkles look sloppy and careless.

CLEAN YOUR SHOES. One of the most surprising comments I’ve heard is how much recruiters and hiring managers pay attention to a candidIMG_0720ates shoes. First, choose appropriate and conservative shoes that you are comfortable walking in. Do not wear the same shoes you’d stumble out to the bar in ladies! Next, make sure your shoes are free of dirt and scuff marks. The attention to detail you pay to your appearance reflects onto the time you’ll pay attention to detail on the job. Personally, I recommend wearing heels to professional events, because not only does it exert professionalism and power – it boosts your self-confidence!

 GET A TRIM. Most of us are dying for long locks like the Victoria’s Secret Models all seem to have, and some young women sacrifice haircuts because they want their hair to grow out. But we’ve all heard trims every 8 weeks will help our hair grow faster anyways. Especially before a networking opportunity, go and get a trim. You’ll want to look polished and prepared, and it is very difficult to do so with split ends or unruly bangs.

WEAR NYLONS. This tip nylonstook me a bit by surprise, because nylons are somewhat generational. A few decades ago, a woman wouldn’t dare leaving the house in a skirt without wearing nylons, but now days we rarely wear them. Even though many of us still have young flaw-free legs, nylons are a must. Make sure your nylons are snag-free and you choose an appropriate color for your skin tone.

These five tips come directly from hiring recruiters in regards to career fairs, networking nights and interviews. The number one message emphasized by everyone I spoke with was that recruiters are trained to notice the little things. This means if you don’t think they’ll notice a stain on your shirt – they will.