Our One-Year Anniversary!


It has officially been one year (plus a little) since we started “Masters of What?” Does everyone remember our first post? It seems like just yesterday, but at the same time a lot has happened since then. Here’s a recap of our exciting year:

Nicole:

So much has changed for me in the last year. Soon after we started the blog a year ago, I spent six weeks in Michigan for the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. In the past year, I also completed my thesis, officially earned my master’s, started another fellowship and made the biggest decision of my life–choosing a doctoral program. A year ago I really didn’t know what I was going to do after my MA. A Ph.D. was always a goal, but I definitely didn’t know where or when. Now here I am with only a month left in San Diego, preparing to move to Lubbock, TX to attend Texas Tech. It’s definitely been an exciting year and who knows what the next three years in Texas will hold. One thing I do know, is that my life is going to be very busy as I begin to teach my own classes, take my first doctoral-level classes and do lots and lots of research. Because of the new direction my life is taking, I won’t be contributing to “Masters of What?” on a regular basis moving forward. Blake will keep things up and I hope to write a post every now and then!

Blake:

This year flew by. I feel like I don’t even know what to say happened! Right after starting the blog and finishing grad school I celebrated with a great group of girls with a silly Vegas trip. Upon returning, I was working at a non-profit that aids small businesses and hoping to make some changes there – however, as is typical with anything that is government funded change came pretty slow – along with a cutting of my hours. Luckily for me, right around the same time an agency that I had previously interned at was looking for social media intern. After a few months of rushing between two part-time jobs I was offered my super sweet dream job. Since then I’ve been trying to wrap my head around Nicole leaving, I mean we’ve been besties for 20+ years and have been hanging out in the same city for 6 years now. One thing I do know is that without her regular blogging support Masters of What will probably continue on much more sporadically than it previously has…but don’t worry, I’ll still be around 🙂

Now, to ease our sorrows, we’ll leave you with a slideshow of some of the things we’ve done over the past year:

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Just for Fun


We’re taking the week off. No, we don’t have our normal brilliant advice or insightful story. Instead, we have something way better. Fun, funny and/or just plain random YouTube videos!

Do you have any crazy videos you’ve found online? Share them with us!

Jobioz – The Future of Job Hunting?


Lately we’ve been seeing a bit of buzz on our social media channels surrounding a new, online job site called Jobioz. Initially we didn’t take too much notice since we’ve both just been taken out of the job-hunting pursuit (read about Blake’s new job and stay tuned for Nicole’s announcement!). However, a friend reached out to us about the site and since we know how hard finding a job can be for newly graduated young professionals, we decided to delve in a little deeper. Thanks to a virtual interview with our contact, Samantha, we were able to find out a ton more info about this new site spearheaded by SDSU students (our alma mater!).

Jobioz

What is Jobioz?

For starters, Jobioz is a website where college students can host a multimedia portfolio, and search and apply for jobs and internships. The idea behind it is to empower students to tell their story in their own way so that employers know the value that the applicant can bring to the company.

Can you tell us anything about the pool of recruiting companies at this time?

Though we are not officially announcing just yet which companies we will have on the platform, we have at least thirty employers right now interested in trying out the platform when it launches. The companies range from startups and family-owned businesses to national corporations, as well as third-party recruiters and HR specialists. We are starting with businesses in San Diego and Los Angeles, with plans to expand further. We’re confident that we will eventually be able to offer students job openings from some of the top entry-level employers in the country.

How is it different from LinkedIn or other online resume sites?

Jobioz is a multimedia portfolio platform. With Jobioz, students will be able to showcase videos, graphics, photographs and past products on their portfolio to give employers a better sense of all that they have done. For instance, if a student studies abroad, goes on a volunteer trip, or does pro bono work for a nonprofit, a resume cannot capture or convey the value that those experiences can bring to a company. But, if you could post a video introducing yourself and how you built a well in Ghana or was immersed in Spanish culture while studying in Spain for an entire year, employers are going to be able to better understand who you are and what you’ve done.

The fact that Jobioz allows for additional information to be presented in an interactive way makes so much sense to us. In marketing and PR we see big themes of wanting to engage the audience and there’s no better way to do that than showcase images and videos alongside an appealing color palette (I mean, I’m sure we’ve all Pinned a “new fun look” for our resumes we’ll eventually get around to).

Jobioz Funders

Another current trend that Jobioz is following is starting their venture by crowdfunding the startup. When asked the thought process behind this choice Sam replied:

Jobioz is a very lean startup. Most of us are working two or three other jobs to fund this business, some even while taking a full load of classes or working a full-time job. We love what we do and know that Jobioz is going to help a lot of students find jobs and internships–but we need a little help. We are trying to raise $30,000 on Indiegogo to fund the final stages of development. We’re offering some awesome perks, like a lifetime subscription to the pro version of Jobioz, and some fun ones too like a homemade chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. AND when we get to $5,000 we’re going to do something special for our contributors (stay tuned to find out!).

So, be sure to check Jobioz out and contribute to their Indiegogo campaign so they can help you find your next career! Would you be interested in trying a service like Jobioz?

Young Professional Series: Laura Peterson


Today is the third installment of our Young Professional Series (you can see the others here and here)! This interview is with Laura Peterson, a close friend (who Blake has known since pre-school) and K-12 teacher with a passion for education.

me wine tasting

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite aspect about teaching is getting students excited about school and inspiring them to be life-long learners.  I love helping students become more confident in academic areas that they previouslystruggled with and motivating them to succeed. As a teacher, I get the opportunity to positively influence students’ lives and to see the progress they have made over the school year.  The best thing about teaching is that you get paid for doing what you truly love.

How do you think you have to build a “brand” around yourself, to show administration, the kids, the parents? How does this brand/persona change with each of these people (markets)

As a young teacher in this unfavorable education job market, it is very hard to find a stable, full-time, high paying teaching job.  However, I have found that I am able to “brand” myself by showcasing my strong attributes and being assertive both in an interview and job setting. I make sure to go out of my way to get to know other faculty, especially the veteran teachers and administration, so they know I am a “team player” and ready to help out as much as possible. I also make sure I am very fun and caring towards my students so that they will want to report back to their families with positive feedback about my teaching. As for parents, I make sure they feel welcome and know that there is open communication to meet with me and share their thoughts and concerns about their child.

What’s the hardest thing about finding a teaching job right now? How do you stay positive in your search?

Due to severe budget cuts and teacher layoffs over the last few years, I have struggled with finding a permanent teaching job, which can be very disheartening at times. Teaching is my passion, therefore, I try to stay positive and remind myself that all the applications were worth it and that I will ultimately land the perfect job I want. Even though it is not ideal, I do feel that each part-time job and tutoring position I have taken over the years was still building my resume, adding to my overall experience, and making me more valuable for when the right job comes around.

Have you seen similar difficulties out there when you’re job hunting? How do you stay positive?

Young Professional Series: Whitney Walsh


For the second installment of our young professional series, we went to our other third, Whitney. Besides being a bestie to both of us, she also does both of our hair. In fact, it was probably fifth grade when she first dyed Nicole’s hair.

Name: Whitney Walsh

Profession: Hair Stylist

Current Position: Stylist/Color Specialist at Sanctuary Salon

What is your favorite thing about being a hair stylist?

My favorite thing about being a hair stylist is that every day is completely different, and with that, brings new challenges to achieve the hair my clients have pictured. It also allows me to be very creative and be hands on with people.

Whitney doing hair for a wedding.

Whitney doing hair for a wedding.

As a hair stylist you don’t simply do hair, but you are also a business owner. What do you do to promote your business?

As a small business owner, I rely mostly on referrals. To encourage my clients to refer me, I offer rewards for each new client they send in. If I’m having a slow day it’s best to hit the streets and meet new people by walking around and passing out business cards and putting my face and name out there.

As a hairstylist, how important is your personal brand?

At the salon we really try to build a whole salon brand, not so much an individual brand because we’re a team and able to reach more people as a unit rather than individual. People often compliment the atmosphere and us being a family and working well together. Clients want to feel welcome and a positive energy from everyone in the salon, not just one person.

Are you allowed to have a bad hair day?

No, I’m not allowed to have a bad hair day. If I’m having trouble with my do one day, luckily I have nine other stylists who can put me together.

Want to make an appointment with Whitney? Call Sanctuary Salon at 951-956-8269 or check out their Facebook Page!

Call Whitney if you want to look at feel great. The drive to Temecula is way worth it (if you are in SD like us) and you can always hit up some wineries after being pampered!

Call Whitney if you want to look and feel great. The drive to Temecula is way worth it (if you are in SD like us) and you can always hit up some wineries after being pampered!

Young Professional Series: Sarah Grieco


Since this blog often focuses on our lives as young professionals, we decided to interview some young professionals from other industries to share their stories and insights. One thing we want to highlight with this series is the role branding, and personal branding, play in a variety of professions. For our first interview, we reached out to our good friend, Sarah.

Name: Sarah Grieco

Profession: Journalist

Current Position: Web Editor at NBC San Diego

What is your favorite part about being a journalist? How did you know it was the right profession for you?

Grieco_0597My favorite part about being a journalist is providing people the evidence they need to make big decisions. I’ve always believed that if people are provided comprehensive information, they will hopefully take more action. When I leave work every day, I feel like I’ve accomplished something – whether it’s letting people know what new restaurant to try or how the mayor’s push to increase the police force will affect their neighborhood’s safety.

I knew journalism was the profession for me when I would rather write articles in the dark, dungeon-like basement of my student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, than go to the beach. Instead of enjoying California’s perfect weather, I spent the majority of my college years underground, cramped over computers while reading, writing and producing articles for the masses at SDSU. And that made me really, really happy. Still does!

As a journalist, how important is your personal brand?

Very. My personal brand played a huge role in obtaining my job at NBC and it will continue to help me as I move up in my career. Thanks to social media, having a “brand” is a more fluid, normal part of my day. People know I’m a journalist, but things like Twitter and Instagram let them know I have a life outside journalism. People want to work with someone who’s interesting and easy to get along with, and I think my brand translates that pretty well.

What do you do outside of work to promote yourself or your company?

Working for one of the best news outlets in the country makes it easy for me to share the successes of NBC – on social media and in person. I like to contribute in classroom discussions and journalism events, such as Society of Professional Journalists or Online News Association. Sometimes I’ll participate in Tweet chats, like the once MuckRack has once a week, to let other journalists know what kind of stories we’ve done recently.

Occasionally I’ll attend bigger San Diego events, like San Diego Magazine parties, that give me a chance to talk with some of the city’s brightest people. I can get ideas from them about what they care about, and also let them know where to go for the fastest, most accurate news in town.

What role does social media play in your career?

Social media is a huge part of my job – and it’s getting bigger. People’s stories can now be shared across the globe with the click of a button on Facebook or a simple retweet. It’s increasingly important to post articles on my work accounts, in addition to my personal account. Not only does it give me the chance to share crucial information on a platform people visit frequently, but also it allows me to see what people are talking about or how that information benefits them.

What do you wish all PR professionals knew before pitching you?

I wish more PR professionals would reach out to me on Twitter. I sometimes get up to 300 emails a day, and it’s easy for me to lose some pitches. If someone tweeted me a link with a short description, then I’d certainly pay more attention than with a lengthy email that might get deleted. Or, if you need to email me a pitch, make it short. Three sentences max. Then I’ll be able to see whether it’s worth my time without wasting theirs.

We’d like to thank Sarah for sharing such great information and we encourage you to read Sarah’s stories at NBC San Diego and learn more about her at SarahGrieco.com. Is there somebody particular you’d like to see us interview here? Please let us know!

The Social Bowl


Everyone is talking about the Super Bowl and will be for the next week and a half. Will Jim or John win the “Harbowl”? Who will their parents root for? Jim Harbaugh made the right choice by choosing Kaepernick over Smith and Ray Lewis is emotional…. Well, we don’t have commentary on any of that. We will stick to what we know, and that is social media. Yes, the big question is, who wins the SOCIAL BOWL? The San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens?

To keep things simple, we decided to assess only Facebook and Twitter. To help us in our Twitter assessment, we used Visual.ly to create this useful infographic:


create infographics with visual.ly

The main things that stand out here are the number of followers each team has (Niners win) and the number of mentions each team gets per tweet (Ravens win). One thing that may be a fumble for both of them is following so few people. While there are other ways to monitor conversation on Twitter, they could probably learn something by following relevant sports writers, other teams and their own players. Taking into account the Follower: Following ratio and the mentions per Tweet, a Hail Mary is thrown and the RAVENS WIN THE SOCIALBOWL (at least on Twitter)!

Now on to Facebook where we assessed their pages the old fashioned way.

49ers Facebook

1,658,796 likes · 796,178 talking about this · 47,654 were here

VS

Ravens Facebook

1,315,644 likes · 518,590 talking about this · 52,156 were here

There was a lot to look at on these pages, but lets start with the obvious numbers: likes (Niners win), talking about this (Niners win), and visitors (Ravens win). Okay, but what about the content and design?

  • Both have updated cover and profile photos to reflect their trip to the Super Bowl and they have similar “about us” sections (Tie).
  • In our opinion, the Niners use the highlighted post feature too often and it breaks up the visual of their timeline. On the other hand, the Ravens haven’t utilized this feature since their win against the Patriots and it really highlights that accomplishment (Ravens win). However, highlighting more posts wouldn’t hurt.
  • The Ravens’ posts were more focused on the Super Bowl, while the Niners had a few posts that didn’t mention the upcoming game. One may think that non-stop Super Bowl for two weeks would get exhausting, but since their audience is their excited fan base, and it is the biggest game of the year, we say pour it on (Ravens win).
  • Overall, the Ravens posted in a more conversational way with more opportunities for fans to interact beyond commenting on articles. They asked fans to post questions for players, enter contests, etc. For the most part, the Niners posted headlines with a link to a story or video on their site and a photo. Because of the tone and types of posts, we felt that the Niners were disseminating information and the Ravens were inviting conversation (Ravens win).

At the end of the day, these teams are tough both online and on the gridiron. They have both faced a lot of adversity, but only one team can be named Social Bowl Champions, and that is the Baltimore Ravens!*

Will the winner of the Social Bowl dictate the winner of the big game? We’ll have to wait until Feb. 3 to find out! Do you have big Super Bowl party plans? Tell us which team you’re routing for!

*That said, these teams both obviously have professional communication staffs that are doing a great job. These are just our casual observations and if you disagree, we would love to battle it out 🙂

Travel Tips Guest Blog on LittleMissMBA.com


Recently, we were asked to do a guest blog on Little Miss MBA as she took off on a little vacay. As Courtney is a fellow recently-graducated, young-professional (and friend), we jumped at the chance! Below is a little taste of some of our “Young Professional Travel Tips.” For the rest check out Little Miss MBA.

When Courtney asked us to guest blog for Little Miss MBA, we were very happy to do it, but our next thought was—what the heck should we write about? After bouncing around some ideas and talking about how jealous we are

that she is going to Hawaii, the answer became painfully obvious—we can write about travel! Both of us have done our fair share of travel for both business and pleasure including a month-long study abroad trip we took together in 2009 to Western Europe. Here are some of the tips and tricks we learned:

  • Bring a roll of duct tape. Okay, this sounds silly, but duct tape can really come in handy. It works as a lint roller, a quick fix for a ripped hem, and if you do a little too much shopping and burst a zipper on your luggage… viola!

Feldschlosschen

Need more tips? Come and read ’em!

And since you visited us here first we’ll give you an extra tip!Spanish McDonalds

  • Don’t eat at McDonalds….even if it is the ONLY thing opened on a Sunday in Barcelona. This is what you’ll end up with. Dare we say that it’s even worse than the ones we get here in the States?!

Giving Back to Your Profession


The holidays are supposed to be a season of giving and that is something we really saw at Minglebells San Diego. Minglebells is a huge networking event/holiday party where all types of communication professionals in San Diego get together and have a good time, and yes, we had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, but one new friend really stood out. Her name is Carmella and she is the president of the San Diego Ad Club.

Nicole's big raffle win.

Nicole’s big raffle win.

Carmella likely knew 75 percent of the people in the room (or so we’re guessing), but she took the time to connect with us in a very genuine and helpful manner. She recognized us as young professionals and asked us something that any new professional would want to hear, but may be afraid to ask. “Is there anyone you want to meet?” Sure the chance to be introduced to any of the well-connected professionals that were mingling out there in the abyss was nice, but the fact that she asked was nicer.

We talked about that simple gesture on the way home and how we hope that later in our careers we remember how much something small like that means to a new professional, or someone changing careers, or new to town.

We both have amazing mentors that have helped us throughout our careers, but mentorship doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. It can be a simple word of advice, a strategy sesh over coffee, or an introduction. Is there anyone that has made an impact on your career that you would like to recognize this holiday season? Leave us a comment or connect with us on Twitter (our handles are over there, on the right, see ’em?)!

A Recap of Be Business Awesome


Despite being busy and poor, we’ve been trying to get out on the town to attend fun and informative events and expand our networks. Last week, we attended A Night at the Cotton Club at the San Diego Symphony and on Tuesday, we attended Be Business Awesome: An Evening With Scott Stratten (aka @Unmarketing). The Be Business Awesome Event was put on by Social Media Club San Diego and hosted by San Diego REP.

Going into the event, Blake had an idea of what to expect since she had listened to a couple of Scott’s webinars ( “The Business of UnAwesome: How to Avoid the Flipside of Awesome Business” &  “The Business of Awesome: How to Make Your Business Boom”) and already had his book,  The Book of Business Awesome sitting on her coffee table (even if it was unread). Nicole, on the other hand, was following Blake’s demand that we attend this event and had no idea what to expect.

After getting our complimentary drink, signed books, and forced Scott to get up and take a photo with us, we headed into the event. It was at this point that we noticed Scott was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and mandals that clearly said, “IDGAF” – we even had an intense Twitter debate about the mandals (see the Tweets below).

Here’s a few of our favorite takeaways, in both text and Tweet form:

  • Passion + Knowledge=Profit
  • The best way to improve your bottom line is through your frontline
  • Twitter is a conversation, not a dictation
  • Viral=unconditional sharing
  • Marketing is not a task
  • We don’t define our brand – our customers do
  • Hire based on personality, not only the “experience” on a resume (REJOICE fellow new professionals! Scott’s out there spreading the word!)
  • Ask customers & clients what your business should “Start, Stop, and Continue”
  • It would take 4,500,000 “pigeon craps” to damage a Smart Car’s tridion safety cell*

*Info taken from one of the webinars, see the infographic here

All in all it was a great night and we even got to see our good bud, Katie Rowland!