Book Review: The Power of Habit


Since starting grad school, I haven’t read for pleasure much, but this summer had granted me some much appreciated free time and my boyfriend recommended I read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. After he shared a bit of what it was about, I knew he was right.

etc_stack12__01inline__202The book somehow blends marketing, sociology and self-help seamlessly into a series of interconnected stories and anecdotes that make this book impossible to put down. Duhigg discusses habits of individuals, organizations and societies. He explains where habits come from, the components of a habit and how to reform them. While the book itself is easy to read, my academic side was satisfied with the abundance of citations! I feel like Duhigg really did his research and if I questioned any of his statements, I could easily flip back and see where he got his information.

Understanding habits isn’t only useful on a personal level (and trust me, you will see habits in every part of your life after this book), but it is also useful for communicators. Duhigg provides helpful insights about how people make decisions, and shares several case studies about how companies use this information.

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Staying Motivated at Work


Get Back To Work

Nobody likes to admit it, but there are sometimes moments in an office job when you just aren’t motivated. I’m not talking about days on end (because then maybe you should look for a new job), I’m talking about that afternoon lull where you just don’t feel like working or you are in the middle of a project that doesn’t particularly interest you. It doesn’t mean that you are a horrible employee or hate your job, it just means you need a little boost to help you feel refreshed, motivated and inspired. Here’s what we came up with or have learned from others to help us get the work churning out again:

  1. Mix it up. If you have more than one project you are working on, try going back and forth between things to keep it fresh and to avoid getting bored filling out that content calendar. But, don’t go too crazy switching around, remember that your output needs some consistency.
  2. Change scenery. Sometimes a change of location is just what you need for inspiration. If your work allows it, try working from the coffee shop down the street, outside, or even the conference room. It might help jolt you out of that “blah” you’re feeling.
  3. Take a break. It probably depends on your office rules and culture, but there’s nothing wrong with getting up to stretch, taking a walk to grab coffee or even distracting yourself for a few minutes with some personal Facebook time, online shopping, or my personal favorite, BuzzFeed.
  4. Chat with a coworker/peer. We’ve all hit the afternoon hum-drum so talk it out with someone! Turn to the person next to you or even open up an IM system and (depending on the work at hand) ask for a bit of help, talk about different strategies, or simply ask about their weekend plans. Sometimes, us communicators need to remember to communicate!
  5. Challenge yourself. Maybe this won’t work for all tasks, but for a lot of things we do on a regular basis, we get used to the status quo. Press releases, social media posts, media pitches, etc. can all become formulaic if you let them. Challenge yourself to try something new, be creative and try to make the best _______ you ever have.

I feel like these apply to writing lit reviews or grading papers, too. Any other tricks we should know about?

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?

I Can’t Keep Calm…


I GOT A JOB

Yup, you read that right! I landed myself a job!

If you’ve followed Masters of What? for any time at all, you’ve learned that ever since snatching up that MBA I’ve been furiously searching for my “Big Girl Job” (you can read more about my pursuit in some past posts). But today I’m here to reveal that starting Monday I’ll be a full-fledged team member at Red Door Interactive.

Doing what, you ask? Well, I will be the newest member of their Cross Channel Marketing team as a Social Media Coordinator working with some great clients and helping on some exciting social campaigns (you can check out some of RDI’s clients and past campaigns on their site).

So, enough about me. Let’s turn this back to a new-pro, business learning situation. How did I land such a sweet job with a killer company? Internships. That’s right folks, all those internships you’re looking at PAY OFF!

If you’ve done your appropriate online-stalking of my LinkedIn profile you know that I spent the Summer of 2011 as an intern at Red Door. Well, as of January 2013, I was back as an intern (albeit in a slightly different role as social media intern). So, make sure you’re always keeping your eye out for available opportunities and staying in contact with past connections – that’s how I even found out RDI needed someone in their social department (thanks, Anne!).

Want to start your career at RDI? They’re looking to fill a few positions. If you know a stellar Senior Paid Search Specialist or a Senior Interactive Copywriter, be sure to send them the lead.

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 Hiring Scale…


So, numero UNO on a lot of New Year’s resolutions lists is: FIND A NEW JOB! Right? It’s not that we don’t all like the jobs we’re at, but everyone wants “big-girl-jobs.” No, a “big-girl-job” has nothing to do with the teeeeny bit of blubber we added over the holiday season, instead a “big-girl-job” is one that has CAREER potential. Somewhere that we love working at and in return they give us health bennies (I mean as of last week, Nicole and I are BOTH in the 25-club, which means 1 more year – or less – until we’re flying solo with healthcare).

Anyway, after that long segue, right around Jan. 1st, I saw a Tweet touting the “Hiring Scale” by WANTEDAnalytics. As it was a slow night Internet-stalking people, I decided to give it a go. The tool immediately calls itself “the fastest way to fill or find a job.” Yes, I am sure there is some puffery afloat, but obviously I’m now expecting results and I will be CMO somewhere quite soon. If you’re expecting some rigorous application process, never fear, you’re only a measly seven steps away from the perfect career.

Hiring Scale

Step 1: Fill in your Keyword (MARKETING for me) and your ideal location (SAN DIEGO)

Step 2: The Hiring Scale will tell you if you should expect your job search to be harder or easier than the national average (suck it, I’m on the easy-street to CMO – told ya!)Hiring Scale 2

Step 3: Find out your competition and opportunities

Step 4: Review your options (basically all those jobs you’ve seen out there already)Hiring Scale 3

Step 5: See your proposed salary expectations vs. the National average (so, I shouldn’t be expecting anything less than $63,000 – HA)

Step 6: See all the companies that have just hired somebody for the position you’re looking for. Awesome, Qualcomm just hired someone – why are you rubbing it in my face?Hiring Scale 4

Step 7: Go to all those places you were already looking for jobs an apply to something

Yup. This is what happens when you’re desperate to get ahead and LOVE online surveys….you get nada…nada damn thing. I’ll end this post with a hearty, GOOD LUCK to all you job searchers out there and please share any job seeking pitfalls that you have run into!

Our New Year’s Resolutions


It’s that time of year again! Time to make resolutions for the new year that we’ll forget in two months. But this time it’s different for us, this time we’re putting our resolutions out on the internet (with a million other people) in the hopes that we’ll actually keep them, or inspire someone else. Oh, yes, this is breaking one of our “Social Media Pet Peeves” (see the blog here), but screw it, we’re allowed to break our own rules!

Ok, so here goes:

  1. Eat Healthy, Work Out, Feel Better About Ourselves Obviously we’re jumping on the New Year’s bandwagon for this one, but it’s a good goal. We’re aiming to tie on those running shoes more often, start thinking about what we eat, and get bikini-ready. I mean we live in San Diego, we pretty much need to be bikini-ready all year long. A few apps that will spur our momentum for this goal are: MapMyRun, Nike Training, MyFitnessPal, Pandora, and Songza.
  2. Join Relevant Clubs – There MAY have been some monetary gifts given this Christmas (the “curse” of being our age – too young to not get gifts but too old to think of something original). What better way to spend our new found cash stash than join a few clubs in our area. This is an opportunity to stay engaged with people in our professions as well as receive some discounts on networking events!
  3. Attend Networking Events Once a Month – So, now that we’re joining these clubs and receiving discounts on events, we better be going! Whether they’re free or fee-based we’ve historically had great times at these events and want to make sure we keep attending (even if we’d rather be chillin’ in our PJs)!
  4. Read Books That Will Help Us Grow as Young Professionals – After finishing grad school it’s really difficult to want to read another book about market research or engagement tactics, but we need to stay fresh! School gave us the insight to see the “ideal” way to act in our professions. It may not always be that way but it’s good to remember the basics, and be given some new insights on a regular basis. Our goal is to read one professionally focused book between pleasure reading. A girl can only get so much insight from Cosmo or the latest trendy read.
  5. Become More Engaged With Co-Workers – We both have some great professional  changes coming in the new year. Our goal is to be more engaged in our new work environments than we may have been previously. We’ve seen the power of “knowing someone” and our goal is to get to know the people around us and learn anything they have to teach us.
  6. Plan Upcoming Blogs Further in Advance – We have become very bad at this. In our first months we had blogs lined up for multiple posts. Being able to write with no pressure and having ideas and written blogs on hand made posting easy. Our resolution is to have at leas 2 pre-written blogs on hand in case there was no inspiration in any given week.

Well, those are our goals. In the coming months, we’ll see how successful we are at them. What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you been successful at keeping them in the past?

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!