How to plug in to the tech industry

There’s definitely a love-hate relationship going on with tech.

“I love technology!” – me when my long-distance boyfriend and I find an app that lets us watch the same Black Mirror episode on Netflix in sync

“I hate technology!” – me after watching said Black Mirror episode

We celebrate technology for making our lives easier, from health care advancements to staying in touch with faraway friends. We love that we can order things from Amazon and listen to whatever songs we want on Spotify. But we also fear it. We hate that social media can make us feel isolated. We hate that robots might be taking over the world. But regardless of how you feel about technology, it’s important to understand what’s going on.

Because love it or hate it, it’s everywhere. And staying informed is staying empowered. Even if we aren’t directly in tech careers, we still need to understand what is happening in the world at large, and these days it’s often tech. And in general…technology really is a good thing. Raise your hand if you’ve taken an Uber/Lyft in the past week, despite all the negative publicity around ride-sharing services. Raise your hand if you listen to Spotify. If you watch Netflix. If you send Snapchats. If you work out with a FitBit. If you have a bank account. If you USE GOOGLE.

As a PR professional in tech, I kind of straddle both the tech and the everyday consumer worlds, so I know what it’s like to feel like WTF is going on, while also having to know what’s going on because it’s my job.

So. Where do we start?

5 tips for keeping up with tech

Start paying attention to the innovations around you in everyday life.

Don’t just go to Sephora and try on makeup virtually and take it for granted. Really pay attention to what you’re doing. How did they figure out how to match your skin tone to the right foundation color? It’s not magic. It’s artificial intelligence and it rocks. AI is not trying to steal your job, okay? It’s just trying to save you from making the mistake of leaving the store with an expensive tube of something that will turn you orange.

Subscribe to newsletters. 

Like any other corporate American living the corporate dream, I start my day by reading the morning news. Except instead of the paper, it’s all my email newsletters. As soon as I knew I was interested in doing tech PR, I subscribed to newsletters like the Fortune Data Sheet and The Hustle (it’s like TheSkimm but more tech-focused).

Read the front pages of technology news outlets like Wired.

If you want to do a deeper dive, there are a ton of news outlets out there just for tech news. And TBH, it’s a refreshing news cycle compared to the Trump train wreck I see on mainstream media outlets. Sometimes it’s nice to just read about innovation and cool things happening and the people trying to move the world forward.

A lot of lifestyle websites cover tech news, like Refinery29 and Brit + Co.

Not really into the tech media? No prob. These days you’ll likely find tech news on the sites you enjoy reading already, because like I said…Tech. Is. Everywhere. It’s in fashion, it’s in music, it’s in beauty, it’s in Starbucks. What do you think powers your mobile-ordered PSL this fall? Again, it’s not magic. It’s your app. And actually in this case, maybe a little bit of magic because those lattes are MAGICAL.

And in case you do none of the above, here’s my personal cheat sheet to general big things happening in the tech world that you should probably know:


Technology isn’t so bad once you know what you’re dealing with, and I hope you’re inspired to be at least a little bit more aware of what’s happening around you. Also, watching Silicon Valley at HBO definitely counts.

XO,

CC

 

#Trending: 4 of the best ways to stay on top of your industry’s trends

Whether you’re a fashion blogger, a social media specialist, or a publicist like myself, you’ll need to not only keep track of what’s happening, but also stay ahead of it. Read a random job description and you’ll probably find a bullet point along the lines of “keeps up with industry trends,” or in other words, you better know what’s going on.

This might be one of the geekiest posts I’ve ever written, but who cares? I don’t. I’m having a fabulous time knowing everything there is to know, and you should too. Be the person at the meeting (and at the party) who can step in with “Well, I noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the new unicorn Frappucino…” or whatever it is your team might care about.

Constantly staying ahead of trends sounds like a superhuman thing to be able to do, and it totally isn’t…but it will make you look like a superhuman, so let’s just go with it. Just like Batman gets his powers from his gadgets, we can get our trendspotting superpower from ours. Now that I’ve made an actual superhero reference, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and move on.

Here’s the rundown on my favorite tools for tracking trends:

4 Ways to Keep Track of Industry Trends

Read up on trade publications & subscribe to their daily newsletters.

Every industry’s got its trade pubs- not just the normal magazines that everyone reads, but the industry experts that know what’s coming. Woman’s Wear Daily and Racked are examples of trade pubs in the beauty and fashion industry. Ad Age and Adweek are both important trade outlets in the advertising industry. The more specialized you get with your reading, the more likely you’ll be on top of what’s happening. For instance, one of my clients does augmented reality and virtual reality, and I got real up close and personal with the video trade media outlets like FierceVideo and Cablefax.

In an unexpected career move, another one of my clients is Eaze, a prominent marijuana delivery company in California, and I did not even know where to begin with the cannabis industry. I never expected to be working in weed. So I did a deep dive into the cannabis trade outlets (High Times, Cannabis Business Times, Ganjapreneur) and it’s given me the knowledge I need to know what will be relevant in the weed world.

Check out Google Trends to see what people are searching

Google Trends is GAME-CHANGING (they did not sponsor this post, btw. I wish). I swear it will make you a trendspotting wizard. It shows you the latest trending searches (today it was Miami Dolphins, National Dog Day, and Beyonce) and lets you search for the most popular trends by geographic region.

This is how you can find out that New Zealand is the country most interested in Fortnite this week, or the month that the most people searched for “summer nail polish colors.” Play around with it and experience the magic.

Twitter: Thank you, Captain Obvious

Yes, Twitter (and Facebook, and Instagram, for that matter) are obvious go-tos for exploring trending topics. But obvious for a reason: They show you what the trending hashtags are, and you can follow specific hashtags to stay updated. For instance, if you want to see what local bloggers are up to, hashtags like #LAblogger and #Chicagoblogger are a good starting point. This is probably the most natural way people keep up with trends, and also why influencers are so impactful, and it’s getting easier and easier to control what you see on your feed.

Do some secondary market research

I went into a lot more detail on this in my post on getting good at research, but I’ll give you a recap here: Dig up the dirt from good sources.

  • News sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Newsweek, BBC, Bloomberg
  • Blogs: Trendspotting.com, Trendwatching.com, or any blogs that a reputable company in your industry publishes.
  • Databases: Factiva, PEW Research Center, Mintel, Gallup, Nielsen, Deloitte, Accenture, U.S. Census data, Experian

Feel like a trend-tracking wizard yet? I hope my tricks of the trade will help you feel like the most informed person in the room. If you have your own secret weapons, share them in the comments!

XO,

CC

Decision fatigue: What it is and how to fight it

Every day, we are bombarded with decisions, big or small. If you really think about it, it’s a miracle we don’t go completely insane.

Think about just your morning: You decide whether to get out of bed or hit snooze. You decide what to wear. You decide whether to respond to an email. You decide what bus to catch, or if you want to walk, or drive. You decide what makeup you wear and what hairstyle you feel like putting effort into and then when you get to the office, you decide what task you’re going to tackle first, if you’re not already stuck deciding what to grab for breakfast.

And this is all before 9 a.m.

I am the world’s most indecisive person, no matter what the decision is. I’m such a classic overthinker that I can’t even decide between two colors of a top at Forever 21, and then I end up either buying both, or neither, or I just go with black. So I end up with a lot of black in my closet.

It also means I exhaust myself every day. We all do. We tire ourselves out just from making decisions all day. Judges do it when deciding cases. Quarterbacks do it during games. You just can’t keep deciding and deciding things all day, without it taking a toll. This whole situation is called decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is basically the phenomenon that making decisions all day will eventually exhaust you and deplete your willpower and self-control, so you start making dumb decisions just from being tired of it all. Hence buying Cheetos at the grocery store when you meant to stick to broccoli, or in my case, going with the color black because I can’t pick between blue and pink. We feel overwhelmed because in modern times we’ve got so many choices (as opposed to cavewoman days, when your dinner was what you managed to catch that night, and not one of the million ridiculous concoctions at Trader Joe’s).

The good news is that once you know about it, you can start making your life easier. So, knowing we get tired of decisions, what can we do about it?

How to fight decision fatigue

Never make decisions on an empty stomach.

Research shows that when we’re hangry, we’re more likely to make bad decisions. Glucose levels might actually affect your ability to make decisions (if you’re low on sugar, you’re low on willpower). So grab a Snickers bar the next time you’re not feeling like yourself. Because as Snickers already knows, you’re not you when you’re hungry.

Sleep on it when you’re tired.

If you have a big decision to make and it’s late in the day and you just can’t think anymore…don’t. Just stop and make the decision later. That’s why “sleep on it” is a thing: You wake up each morning with a clearer head and no decision fatigue. And if sleep isn’t an option? Take at least ten minutes for a walk, free of any devices or distracting thoughts. It will give your brain a break.

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Simplify your life where you can.

You know how Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit all the time, or how Obama only wore blue and gray suits while president? This eliminated that wardrobe decision and they could spend more energy on important decisions. And while you might not be able to show up to work every day in the same outfit, you can at least pare down your choices (hint: start with a capsule wardrobe). Maybe you can spend a little more time meal prepping on Sundays so you don’t have to decide what to do for lunch every day. Or you can decide on a set morning routine so that you don’t deplete yourself within just a couple hours of being awake.

Get organized.

The fewer things you have on your desk, the better you’ll feel. Even if you aren’t a neat freak, it can often clutter your brain just to have physical clutter in your environment. With to-do lists and notebooks and all kinds of paperwork, your mind will just keep turning to those things and flipping the switch too much. Just get rid of it. Clear your space and you’ll be able to focus more on the decisions that matter.

Take away the fear that your decision is irreversible.

99% of the decisions we make are not permanent. If I end up hating something I bought, I can return it. Even for a bigger choice, like moving to a new city, I can always just move somewhere else. We often get stuck thinking that a decision is the end-all be-all, when it usually isn’t at all. Ask yourself: What’s the worst case scenario? What happens if I make the “wrong” decision? If the answer is something like, “I won’t enjoy my lunch as much as I would have if I’d gone with the other restaurant” then you should probably spend like five minutes on that choice, max.

Limit your choices. 

Can’t decide what to get at Starbucks? Tell yourself you can get either an iced coffee or a vanilla latte. Choosing between two eyeshadow palettes? Pick one factor that’s most important to you- like price- and decide based on that one important factor. Writing a blog post and can’t decide on a topic? Put yourself in a box and limit yourself to a prompt or theme- for example, “Self-Care Sunday.”

Paralyzed at Forever 21? Well, I can’t help you there, the place is a madhouse.


More awesome reading on decision fatigue:


Do you feel like you’re affected by decision fatigue? Tell me more so I feel better about my own overthinking brain!

XO,

CC

 

Money Talks: How Much Should You Really Be Making? Here’s How to Check

Let’s talk cold hard cash for a minute here, because I’m going to get real with you: Part of the problem we face in achieving salary parity is that we don’t talk about it enough. And while we continue working toward equal pay, we can start making change just by changing our daily conversations around money.

When I was job searching in my last semester of college, one of the first things I paid attention to was salary, because the dreaded salary negotiation part of the interview process gave me ridiculous anxiety. How TF was I supposed to negotiate salary when I was feeling lucky to get an offer at all? Who was I to push back, when for all I knew, I was already getting a good offer?

The issue with that mindset is obviously that if you don’t push back, you could very easily be leaving money on the table- and worse yet, you could be setting the bar low and setting yourself up for years of lower pay. Think about it this way- if you accept your initial offer at the beginning of your career, it could cost you $1 million over time. Because that money you left on the table- even $5,000- would have gotten higher and higher over time, and haunted you for years. Thanks but no thanks. I’ll take the $1 mill and run with it.

The key to negotiating your salary is to come prepared. Arm yourself with information about your specific career path, your location, industry averages and your own experience. Here’s how you can check how much you should really be making, so that you have the info you need to ask for the salary you deserve and provide a smart answer to the sweat-inducing question, “What are your salary expectations for this role?”

Start with your industry average, by location and sector

While this will only give you a rough estimate, it’s extremely helpful to know what the industry average is for your job. Next, go beyond the industry (for example, my industry was PR) and check individual sectors (for example, technology, health/beauty, consumer, B2B). I found averages in PRWeek, a PR trade publication, and knew from the get-go what I could expect to make as an entry-level PR professional in technology at a small agency in San Francisco.

Get a narrower ballpark estimate from job search sites

Peep sites like Glassdoor to find salary estimates at specific companies, job titles and locations. I used Glassdoor to set expectations for what I could earn at different PR jobs in different locations- the salary at a large PR agency in St. Louis was very different from a small agency in San Francisco. Salary.com, Indeed, and Payscale.com are other good sites to check. This will give you a good range to keep in mind when you’re hit with your first offer- and then you’ll have a pretty accurate idea of whether you’re getting low-balled. It’s also really fascinating and I found myself deep in the salary rabbit hole on Glassdoor looking at salaries in completely irrelevant jobs. It’s a fun time. Go look.

Talk to other professionals in your field

While it might seem awk at first, you can simply ask others what to expect. I have yet to see anyone offended when I ask- if anything, people appreciate a candid, authentic conversation about your career. I talked to trusted mentors to get their honest opinions, and I also had honest conversations with my peers who were also graduating and getting job offers. My friends in my PR classes and I made it a point to openly discuss our salaries, and as a result we all got a better picture of what we all should be earning.

Consider your own background and qualifications.

What’s your education level? If you have your master’s degree, you might deserve a pay bump. Got any experience? Internships count. Remember that you have something to bring to the table, even as an entry-level applicant. Make a list of everything you’ve got- from work experience, to specialized courses you’ve taken, to soft skills like public speaking and project management. Be ready to use this list to make your case for more salary.


 

Have you ever successfully negotiated your salary? Got any advice on sussing out the right pay? Share your experience in the comments and keep the money conversation going $$$

XO,

CC

3 Beach Reads for Bosses

After an insanely busy week, I finally had a Saturday for a good old-fashioned book binge. Not a Netflix binge…a book binge. Because I’m a nerd like that. And also because I ran out of shows on Netflix that interest me. You can only watch so many conspiracy documentaries before you start to lose it. Any suggestions for my next binge, anyone?

In the meantime, I abandoned the Netflix library and hit up the real library, and snagged a few of my favorite books for career inspiration. You guys, I’ve been seriously feeling the senioritis (it’s even worse your last semester of grad school) and my motivation is having some problems. And sometimes there’s nothing like a good book to get your energy back up.

The books I’ve listed below are like self-help books, except way better because they’re written by incredible business figures who have actually been there and done that, and aren’t just writing platitudes like Believe in yourself and the universe will magically make things happen for you. Those are nice and all, but I like action. I like real-life stories. I like authors who have led companies and changed entire organizations. These three books will give you that and more.

Books for Bosses

Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

Okay, so this one is a classic for a reason and I knew I had to read it at some point, so I gave it a whirl. And it. was. amazing. I have never felt so moved by a book, and that says a lot. I think it was the big dose of reality that men continue to hold more leadership roles, and that women face more risk when they try to strive for those top spots.

If you’re in the mood for a rallying cry to reach your full potential and make your impact by achieving your career goals, this is the book for you. Go learn how to save the world. No pressure though.

Onward, by Howard Schultz

Starbucks has a soul, and it’s because of Howard Schultz. The place could have easily been perceived as an evil corporation taking over the world, and it may be taking over the world, but it’s definitely not be evil. I mean, really…how can the company that created the Frappuccino ever be evil?

In all seriousness, though, this book is about how Schultz came back to Starbucks as CEO after having stepped down, and he showed how the struggling Starbucks reinvented itself as a company with genuine values and winning in a good way. It’s awesome for anyone interested in learning about leadership styles and “how they did it” stories. Also awesome for Starbucks addicts.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

This one is another classic that you’ll find on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf in the business section. It’s not as well known as the first two I listed, but it’s so worth the read. I actually was assigned to read this book in one of my advertising classes, and at first I was not excited at the thought of more assigned reading, but then I picked up this book and straight up binged it like a Netflix show.

The book basically tells an entire story about a CEO who takes over a struggling team, and it reads like a soap opera. Seriously. Gossip Girl doesn’t even get better than some of the plot twists in this thing. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But you get it– it’s a fun read. And then at the end, you get a lowdown of the lessons about solving team issues that the story showed. If you’ve ever felt frustrated in a group project, this one’s for you.


Have you read any books lately that inspired you when you were feeling less than motivated? LMK!

XO,

CC

5 Creativity Boosters for When You’re Working From Home

As much as I love working in a coffee shop, library, or an office, sometimes it’s nice to just wake up and make coffee and wear sweatpants all day while you get things done. And sometimes you just need some quiet alone time to keep your sanity intact.

The huge downside of working from home is getting into that creative workflow mode when you might not be in the most inspiring environment (not that you can’t get great ideas from a living room couch, but it doesn’t help). That’s why I put together this list of my favorite strategies for getting your grind on from the comfort of that couch.

Put on some background noise.

I love the coffee shop atmosphere because it has just the right balance of noise and non-noise, which research has proven to boost creativity. I don’t know about you, but I can’t work in complete silence, and it helps to have ambience in the background when you’re at home.

Coffitivity is an amazing website that I just discovered a few weeks ago. It actually plays coffee shop noises, and you can actually pick from different types of coffee shop noise (the lunchtime rush? a college campus?) to get the vibe you want. If coffee shop noise isn’t your thing, put on a mindless TV show or your best Spotify playlist to nail the right sound for your work mode. Believe it or not, Keeping Up With the Kardashians gives me some of my most productive moments.

Go back to the drawing board.

A literal drawing board! I missed having the whiteboards and easels that office conference rooms have for brainstorming, so I bought a full-size easel at Michael’s and set it up at home. It’s the perfect blank canvas for when I need to draw out what I’m thinking, or make lists, or write down an inspiring quote. Whiteboards and easels are the ultimate place for ideas, and having that place at home will help you when creativity strikes at home.

Block out time when your brain is at its best.

Everyone has a time of the day that they feel most “on”– that is, when your brain is most productive. You’re always supposed to save the hardest tasks that require the most brainpower for when your brain has the most, well, power. That means if you know you work best in the AM, crank out your most work in the morning and save everything else (emails, phone calls, smaller tasks) for the afternoon. If you’re a night owl, do the reverse. And defend that time fiercely. Don’t let anyone take it up. Put time on your calendar if you need to show everyone that you can’t be disturbed.

Do something active, even just for a few minutes.

When you’re working in an office, you often get up and moving, even just to go to a meeting, but at home it’s easy to get stuck sitting for hours at a time. I have a yoga mat by my desk, for when I need to get the blood flowing. Even if it takes just a few yoga poses or a 5-minute walk, you feel refreshed and energetic when the home environment starts to make you feel blah.

Take an hour to shake up your routine.

Whatever you don’t get to spend an hour doing at the office, take the chance to do at home. Read a book you wouldn’t normally have time for, or catch up on the email newsletters that you don’t usually read. Buy fresh flowers for yourself and put them on your desk. Go through your closet and put together new outfits. Take a bath! Go see a matinee movie like they do on Mad Men when they’re feeling creatively stuck and need to clear the cobwebs. Shaking it up and doing something different can be a huge boost to your thinking, and while you’re taking your mind off your work, sometimes your mind will sort things out on its own.


Have you found any good strategies for getting that flow going while you’re WFH? I hope my methods have worked for you!

XO,

CC

The Caffeinated Internship Series, Part II: The Resume

Welcome to Part 2 of my internship series! In this series of blog posts, I give advice on the internship search (a lot of which can also be applied to the entry level job search)! I’ve scored my share of life-changing internships, so I’m super excited to pass on what I’ve learned to all of you.

You know how people always go, “Oh, she looked good on paper, but she wasn’t great in person,” or “He wasn’t impressive on paper, but he’s really awesome when you meet him!”?

We’re going to work on getting you to be fantastic both on paper and in person. But first things first: Paper. Because usually before you wow them in the interview, you have to wow them on paper. Starting with a necessary evil: The resume.

The Caffeinated Resume

How does one caffeinate their resume? Two things:

  • Clean design
  • Compelling, specific job descriptions

That’s it. Easier said than done, though.

Clean design

A well-designed resume doesn’t mean an over-the-top resume. The best resumes are often the simplest, and you don’t need to be a graphic design whiz to make sure your resume looks pretty and polished. Here are my best pointers:

  • Choose one or two design elements that stand out. Do you want your name to be in a unique, handwritten cursive font? Do you have a cool logo? Are you all about the borders? Pick a couple distinctive aspects, and make the rest as simple as possible. If you’ve already developed a personal brand, this is a good place to incorporate any colors and designs that speak to your brand.
  • Use a simple body font that’s easy to read on all computers and mobile devices: Like Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Didot, Garamond, Georgia and Helvetica.
  • If you don’t feel comfy in Photoshop or InDesign, use Canva or a similar (free!) online design program that makes graphic design easy for normal people. Canva used to be my best-kept secret for looking like a design wizard.
  • Use an understated palette with one bold accent color. Mine is white, gray and black, but I use pink for a few of the design elements as an accent. I love pink, but I don’t want to overwhelm the people looking at my experience.
  • Put the most important information at the top. Your name, website, and most relevant experience should all be at the tippy-top.
  • Ditch the objective section. Your resume is about what you are doing for the company, not what the company can do for your personal goals.
  • Pretty paper is a plus. We know that resumes should always be printed on nice, heavy paper, but depending on your field, you might want to take it a step up. My resume is a watercolor design, so I print it on watercolor paper!

Above all:

  • Focus on your achievements. Sometimes if you go too crazy with the design, you take away from what the hiring manager should really be looking at, which is your amazing experience! Keep the spotlight on your words and keep the design simple.

Let’s talk about highlighting some of those achievements next!

Compelling job descriptions

  • Keywords, keywords, keywords. They’re like the hashtags on an Instagram post: If you don’t use them, people won’t find you. Same goes for a resume. If you don’t use words in your resume that match the words in the job posting, the hiring managers might not even see your resume. It’s no secret that lot of those online systems will sort through resumes based on whether they match the keywords in the job description, but a lot of people still have no idea that this is a thing. Unfortunately, it is a thing, so play the game and put in those keywords!

For example: If the job description says “Event planning experience a plus,” you can write in one of your bullet points, “Planned events, including blah blah blah.” Better yet, you can include “Event planning” in the Skills section.

  • Use action words: I know you know this one, but I’m saying it anyways. “Organized. Managed. Coordinated. Maintained. Led. Created.” You get the gist.
  • Give examples: Be specific in what you did. Sticking with the event planning example: When you say “Planned events,” you can be more specific by saying, “Planned events with increased attendance and fundraising efforts, including the 5K for the Cure that had a record 17,000 attendees.”
  • Humble brag: The resume is the place to do it. You have no doubt done something great, so stand up and shout it from the rooftops (in the most objective way possible). Numbers are the best way to do this, like “Increased participation by 70%” or in my own PR case, “Secured a placement in Blah Blah Magazine, resulting in over One Gajillion impressions.”

There you have it- my favorite pointers for creating a beautiful resume. There are so many different directions to take your personal style, but don’t forget to let your experience shine! Sound off in the comments if you have your own tips and tricks. Best of luck when you send that baby out!!

XO,

CC

Nailing the Morning Routine

Somewhere between my first year of college and first year of grad school, the unthinkable happened: I became a Morning Person.

I’d always thought Morning People were evil because only the devil could feel so alive at such an ungodly hour.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and last summer I finally had the necessity to get to my summer PR internship bright and early, with a smile on my face, a polished outfit and the ability to jump right into whatever crisis was already happening at 7:30 a.m. So I had to trick myself into becoming a Morning Person. And that was when I realized that Morning People have it MADE. Why? Several reasons:

  • No one bothers you until around 9:30, so you can actually have time to yourself to knock a few tasks out before you get sucked into meetings and new tasks
  • You’re the first one in the office, so you get automatic points just for showing up and being there early. People notice that. They also notice when you rush in out of breath at 9:45 and get to the meeting unprepared.
  • It gives you back an extra hour or two to do personal things like meditate, work out, make a good breakfast, read, or whatever else makes you happy. #selfcare

So it’s obviously beneficial to be an evil Morning Person. But how do you do it? It’s all in the routine. You can’t just start doing these things, you have to establish it as a habit. Just like going to the gym is a habit (a habit that you might even pick up better if you start a morning routine).

A Caffeinated Californian Morning

6:30: Triage: I do a quick skim of my emails to make sure nothing has gone terribly wrong in the day yet, or that there’s nothing urgent I need to respond to. I flag any emails that will need my attention when I get to work. Then I roll back over and go back to sleep for another 15 minutes.

6:45: Beauty: I do my morning skincare and makeup routine, which involves washing my face and brushing my teeth and applying makeup and all that fun hygienic stuff. Then I get dressed– I usually try to pick out an outfit the night before so I don’t have to spend time worrying about what to wear.

7:00: Mindfulness: I meditate for about 3-5 minutes using the Headspace app (it’s amazing) and then make myself drink water, since I’ve needed to get better at staying hydrated and starting with water before I get into the coffee!

7:15: Breakfast Briefing: I make a quick breakfast, like avocado toast or a bagel, and turn on the coffee. Then I sit down and read through all my daily news: The Skimm, New York Times, Fast Company, etc. This helps me know what’s going on from the start and stay updated, so I go into work or class informed.

7:30: Blogging: I do some writing if I have extra time, and it helps me start my day creatively and reflectively. It’s like getting all my creative energy out while I can so I can better focus on my work duties throughout the day.

7:45: Commute: I’ve been lucky enough that my commute has been a walk, whether it was the 20-minute walk to the office in downtown Chicago over the summer, or the five-minute walk to class during the school year. When I’m working, I try to get there around 8 a.m.. My morning walk takes the place of a morning workout, like yoga or stretching, and I do my real working out at night, when my brain is tired of thinking and it just wants to take a break while my body does some working.

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Some tips for creating a routine

  1. Take time for creative outlets. Do you enjoy reading? Blogging? Painting? Listening to music? If you add something you love doing to your morning routine, it will make you actually look forward to mornings.
  2. Be mindful of your health. A lot of people work out in the mornings. Even though I don’t work out, I use my morning to meditate, to take care of a personal health need. I also use the morning to drink as much water as possible (before I start forgetting) and do some stretching to feel physically ready for the day.
  3. Block out time in your calendar. My Google Calendar literally has a slot for “Meditate”, scheduled at the same time every morning. If you don’t defend your morning time as a scheduled routine, you won’t take it as seriously.
  4. Be consistent. While holidays and weekends are different, for the most part you need to get it together and participate in your routine every day. It will suck at first. And then you’ll be shocked at how fast you get used to it.
  5. Prep the night before. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Fill the coffee maker. Set out your clothes. Make your lunch (I’ve started meal prepping on Sunday nights).

Need more ideas for establishing your morning routine? My Morning Routine is a weekly newsletter that you can sign up for (it’s free), and each week you get a new morning routine in your inbox from a real person in the working world, usually someone successful and productive like a CEO or travel blogger.


 

Have you started establishing a morning routine? How long have you been sticking to it? Is it easier to live your best life? Tell all!

XO,

CC

 

 

The Caffeinated Internship Series, Part I: Doing the research

Welcome to Part 1 of my internship series! In this series of blog posts, I give advice on the internship search (a lot of which can also be applied to the entry level job search)! I’ve scored my share of life-changing internships, so I’m super excited to pass on what I’ve learned to all of you.

Once January hits, it’s go time for internship application season. A few applications might have already opened, especially in the accounting/finance sector, but most companies across industries don’t start the hiring process until late winter/spring. So you’re here at the right time! Welcome, you ambitious badass, you.

Okay, so let’s dive right in. First things first– you need to find internships to apply to in the first place, right? For many, this is the hard part, because it can be time-consuming to find openings. But don’t worry, I gotchu. Here are some of my favorite tricks for starting the search:

Create a spreadsheet.

This is your home base for all things internship search. On a Google sheet or Excel– whichever scares you less– make an Internship Search 2018 sheet, with columns for the following categories:

  • company name
  • internship title
  • a link to the application
  • materials needed (does it ask for recommendation letters? does it have a weird essay or project to test your skills?)
  • deadline
  • extra details (anything interesting about the company or connections you have)
  • status (here is where you’ll fill in whether you’ve applied, gotten a response back, etc.).

Once you have a place to list all the applications and openings you find, it’s time to go find them!

Narrow down your criteria for a good fit.

Do you need to be in a specific location, or are you open to a number of cities? Does it need to be paid? What kind of company are you looking for– a big advertising agency? A small local business? These will all be important to keep in mind as you start searching.

Let the Googling begin.

Start with the basic job sites, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster are all fine and good, but not every company will post their openings there (especially internships). So in many cases, you’ll need to go directly through the company website, which means you should be googling the companies themselves.

When I was looking for PR internships my junior year of college, I knew I wanted to work in fashion, beauty or lifestyle, so I specifically searched for Free People, Nordstrom, etc. Some of these seemed way beyond my reach, but you never know what will happen: Nordstrom reached out to me for interviews, and I ended up making it to the final round even though I was just a junior.

Once you start finding openings, you’ll put them into your handy dandy spreadsheet that you created earlier. Woohoo!

As you keep going, you’ll see new opportunities pop up. Internships are constantly being posted, so you pretty much never run out of things to apply to. It’s also a good idea to set up notifications for new job postings on apps like LinkedIn Jobs and Glassdoor, so that you receive constant updates on what’s opening up.

Network. Network network network.

I know. It’s a necessary evil. But you know what? Sometimes it’s exactly what needs to happen for your dreams to fall in to place. It’s not as scary as people make it sound, especially now that we have LinkedIn. So start reaching out to professors that might have industry connections. Go to career fairs (they’re fun! I swear!) and find out what companies look for. Use your school alumni network. Talk up the guy at the bar who just happened to intern in your dream industry last summer. Yes, even parties are the perfect place to network. See? Not scary. Fun. I can tell you’re not convinced. But trust me.

There are so many networking opportunities that you wouldn’t have even thought about before. Go get ’em, tiger.

Question Time (things you might be wondering at this point)

Q: How many internships should be on my list?

A: Don’t stop ’til you get enough! You should always be adding to the list, right up to when you get that offer letter from your dream job. But if you want a solid number, the reality is that you should be applying to around 30 jobs. I am not joking around.

Q: Are you trying to kill me?

A: Maybe. But okay, you can make this so much more manageable than you think. Break down your list into 7-10 “priority” applications to focus on at a time, based on their deadline/urgency, and how much you want it. Then knock out one or two apps a day. See? Not so bad.

Q: What if my dream company doesn’t have an internship program?

A: List them anyways, and see if you can still intern there by reaching out directly and offering your services. This is where the cold email comes in: You find the right person to contact, figure out what their needs are, and send them an email describing who you are and how you can contribute to filling those needs with your skills. Kinda like a cover letter, but shorter and in email form. You got this.

And FYI, cold emails are often a great idea even when you apply through a formal application system. We’ll cover that next in Part II: The Cover Letter and Resume. Stay tuned!


How are you feeling? Overwhelmed? Excited? Internship/job apps can be stressful, but I’m super hopeful that I can help. The search is on!!

XO,

CC

Keeping it positive in 2018: How to bring a new attitude to the new year

2018 is coming. Are you ready for it?

I know I am. After what might have been the hardest year of my life, I am so ready for a new start. The funny thing is, 2018 isn’t a new start. It’s just a new number that I have to remember to write when I write the date. But it somehow represents a new chance to change something about your life for the better.

Not that we need an excuse to do that, but New Year’s gives us an excuse to do that with style. It’s not every night you can celebrate life changes with champagne. Or maybe it is. Shoot. I’ve been doing it wrong.

But anyways. My point: New Year’s is a perfect time to think about having a more positive attitude.

How do you know when you need an attitude adjustment? Is it when you wake up and realize you can’t remember the last time you woke up excited for the day? Is it when you break down into tears from one small setback (which may or may not include broken escalators)? Or is it when you just have this general feeling that you’re just not giving enough, to your job, to your friends, to the world, to your life?

Maybe you feel this. Or maybe you don’t, and you just want more ways to feel positive. Whatever your situation, I’ve been there, and I know the power of positive thinking sounds cheesy, but hear me out: It’s legit. Your mind is a powerful thing, and once you believe in that power, you can honestly do whatever the hell you want. This includes eating ice cream for breakfast, and having a positive attitude. Both very important priorities.

And as usual, I’ve got the details…


What you should be doing this year to keep a positive attitude

  • My analytical-brain twist on the whole “count your blessings” game: Whenever something happens that puts you in a bad mood or bums you out in any way, big or small, write it down. Whenever something good happens, write that down too in a separate list. Compare the lists. Did that many bad things actually happen, or does the good outweigh the bad? Were all the bad things that big of a deal?
  • When a challenge or crisis comes up (you mess up at work, you have a big presentation coming up and your team isn’t working well together, your boyfriend is talking to that girl you hate, you drop your pizza…okay, some bad examples in there but these things tend to throw us off), allow yourself to have a private mini freak-out session. This can be as simple as screaming for ten seconds into a pillow. Let it all out. Cry if you need to. But then you’re done. Panic time is over. And then you can focus on solving the problem.
  • Speaking of problems, there is a solution for all of them. Believe this. Make it your mantra. If you buy into the prophecy that there is a solution, you’ll be a lot more likely to fulfill your own prophecy and actually find the solution.
  • Figure out what helps you feel invincible. It can be clothing (I have this gorgeous floral print Free People kimono that for some reason gives me all the confidence in the world when I wear it), a song, a workout, a perfume, a photo, anything. It can be a combination of all of the above. And then keep those things close. I love the scent of rose, and I love skincare, so I keep a rose water face spray at my desk for a quick spritz whenever I need to feel refreshed and powerful. Sounds a little crazy but it works!
  • Heed the wisdom of Legally Blonde: Endorphins make you happy. I’ll let you finish the rest of that line, but the point is, get the endorphins going by exercising frequently. If you feel your mood dipping, take a 5-minute walk and see how you feel after. My guess is you’ll feel magical compared to your mood before.
  • Create a “smile file,” or a list of all the good things people have said to you. I have a folder with emails from my supervisors whenever they tell me I did a great job on something, and I look back at it any time I need a boost.
  • Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. This especially means keeping positive people close and cutting negative people out. If some toxic friend is bringing down your mood with constant complaints and anxiety-inducing behavior, distance yourself ASAP because you do not need that around. Even the most optimistic among us can get dragged down by pessimistic people if they let it happen.
  • Focus on a positive vision: It’s like they say with practicing a sport or doing well on a test. If you even just imagine yourself performing the perfect pirouette in the ballet performance, you’re already setting yourself up to do the real thing. Focus on believing in your ability to do what you need to do. Envisioning success and happiness will help you make it happen. Because self-fulfilling prophecies are a real thing and the power is all yours.

What you think, you become.

What you feel, you attract.

What you imagine, you create.

– Buddha (but also Pinterest)


Happy New Year and thanks for reading! I have a lot of things to be positive about, including this blog and all of my readers. I can’t wait to see what the positive energy brings this year. Cheers!

XO,

CC