Uncategorized, blog, blogpost, myblog, blog post, 2018

How to Answer Top 10 Interview Questions

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Interviewing for a job can be tough. You want to be honest but still show yourself in the best light. It’s a nerve-wracking process!  Learn about the best strategies to approach 10 common interview questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

This is where you can give your elevator speech. Make sure what you say aligns with how your qualifications match the job description. No need to give your life story from birth or go into personal matters. Focus on the meaningful job experience you’ve had. Bonus point if you throw in a fun fact that highlights your personality. I like to mention I was President of my college Quidditch team because that shows my leadership experience and shows I like Harry Potter. It usually causes the interviewer to ask what Quidditch is or gawk that it’s  real sport.

2. Why are you leaving your current role?

Never bad mouth a former employer. Don’t talk smack about co-workers, the company, the role, anything. Keep it positive. If currently employed, you can say that you’re looking for career growth. No one can fault you for wanting to grow your career. I like to say I’m looking for a new challenge or a place where I can use my strengths.

3. Why should I hire you?

I’m always tempted to smart-ass this question and answer “Because.” Something tells me that answer would be frowned upon. When answering this interview question, mention your relevant skills. You should be prepared for this question because it’s honestly what the whole interview is about and everyone knows you should prepare before the interview. You can’t stammer or hesitate on this one. Think about what the company and the interviewer needs and show them YOU are the solution.

4. Why do you want to work at our company?

This question translates to “Do you know who we are? Have you done your research?” Try to invest an hour or so researching the company’s website and their LinkedIn profile. Try to read their annual report or latest news release. Every hour of an interview = 2 hours of research.  Bonus points for researching who will be interviewing you. Do you have anything in common with them? Subtly bring that up in the interview. “You went to Denison? I also went to Denison!”  or   “I couldn’t help but notice you used to work at Disney World. My family has gone there every year since I was born. What a magical place!”

5. Why have you been out of work for so long?

Ick, this question just plain sucks and feels rude to me but you gotta answer it.  Try and mention any volunteer experience you’ve done, any freelancing you done and frame caring for your family as the full-time demanding job that it is. Admit that you’re taking time to reflect on who you are and what job would be best for you. Talk about how you read the book What Color is Your Parachute or did some personality tests to better understand how you can best serve a company.

6. Tell me a situation when your work was criticized.

Tell a story. Paint them a picture that they will remember after the interview. Admit that you were at fault or failed somehow but give it a positive spin. Show the resolution and emphasize that you welcome criticism and how it helps you grow. (Pro tip: Avoid mentioning your tendency to cry every time you’re criticized).

7. Could you have done better in your last job?

Always. Point out hindsight is 20/20 and very carefully give an instance or tell a story of something you would’ve done differently or would’ve liked to have done. Mention you’re a lifelong learner and always improving yourself. This question could quickly turn south, so approach with caution.

8. What are your goals?

Mention 1-2 specific work-related or professional goals. Don’t say you have no goals or list vague goals. State a SMART goal that relates to your professional career. Or, you can talk about a personal goal.

9. How much money do you want?

Oh geez, I think people have written entire books about how to answer this question. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about this question too. I vote to ask “Do you have a budget or pay range in mind?” but then again I’ve heard that the first person to throw out a number wins. I don’t like to say my current salary because I’m not applying for my current role, I’m applying for a new role, so it should have a new salary.  Do you research and know what you’re worth and state your range from X to Y. Keep in mind the company’s benefits and what those are worth to you. If it’s an hourly job you’re looking at, take the hourly rate and multiply by 2080 to find your annual salary.

10. How old are you?

This is an illegal question that I’ve been asked before and answered. You certainly don’t have to answer illegal questions about how many kids you have, religion, sexual orientation, birth control use, citizenship and marriage. You can reply with “How is this relevant to the position?”

 

Interviewing is hard! It can be tough to brag about yourself or show that you are the best candidate for the role. With experience, you’ll get better and it will hopefully start to feel more like a friendly conversation than an interrogation.

2017, blog, debbie gillum, debbiegillum

A Day in the Life: Q + A with Debbie Gillum

Recently, I had the honor of being featured on Portfolio Creative’s blog. They do really great “Day in the Life” features on creative professionals living in Columbus. I wanted to share the post here on my website:

Hey, I’m Debbie and I’m the Marketing and Digital Communications Specialist at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio. I currently live in downtown Cbus across the street from the North Market (above Barley’s and Brewcadia). I’m originally from Indianapolis but moved to Hilliard in middle school and have been in the Buckeye state ever since. I went to Denison University, a small private liberal-arts college and studied English and Communication. I was President of the Quidditch team and editor of the student newspaper. Now, I’m a Founding member of Women in Digital, a national group devoted to empowering women in digital careers.  

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Morning
I’m utterly addicted to coffee so I always consume an enormous amount of black coffee in the morning. I listen to the radio as I get ready because it helps me stay informed about what’s going on in the world. I’m a fan of making smoothies for breakfast. It’s a yummy way to sneak in a lot of healthy foods. On Fridays, I’ll treat myself and swing by Upper Cup Coffee for a muffin and an amazing large cup of Joe.


Afternoon
At work, I live and breathe social media. My favorite part of my job is interacting with fans who shop at Volunteers of America thrift stores. I love writing blog posts sharing the best thrifting tips and tricks. As a kid, I always enjoyed creative writing and as I got older, I liked strategic problem solving so it’s exciting to be in a career where I can do both for a living. I keep an on-going to-do list at work that helps me stay organized and gives me a rush of satisfaction when I can cross off a task. Seems like there’s always a future fundraising or open house event to plan for, so I’m often crafting email invitations, postcards, signs and event programs. I keep my beloved radio on in my office all day and it’s usually tuned to either NPR (big fan of All Sides with Ann Fisher), CD102.5 (love the variety and local music) or WNCI (Dave and Jimmy’s Morning Zoo).
My favorite place for an afternoon pick-me-up coffee is Cherbourg Bakery in downtown Bexley. They take such pride in their coffee and artfully craft each pourover.

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Evening
In the evening, I take horseback riding lessons out in Canal Winchester. I grew up riding my own horse and have adored horses all my life. I love the thrill of jumping and the comforting nuzzle of horses. For dinner, I go to Houndogs in Clintonville with my boyfriend and friends for Wednesday PB&J (a pizza, pitcher of beer and shot of Jameson).  I have two side hustles helping a trivia company and mobile low-cost veterinarian with their social media and blog posts. I love keeping busy!


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2017, blog, blogpost, may

Career Growth Tips for Millennial PR Professionals

Being a young professional in the public relations industry is so exciting! And yet, kind of scary at the same time. There’s a lot to juggle and unfortunately, your Communications 102 course didn’t cover networking. Here’s some advice for millennials looking to grow their career in the PR industry.
Utilize all of LinkedIn
You probably made a LinkedIn when you were in college and it’s been collecting dust for a few years. Well, brush off that dust, look up your password and log back in.
  •         Add descriptions and job titles for previous work experience
    •    Include college and high school internships as well as volunteer work
    • List job duties, responsibilities, achievements, projects, and instances where you went above and beyond your job description. Include work samples and show off projects.
  •         Write articles on LinkedIn. This asserts your expertise on a topic, will be displayed at the top of your profile and shows you’re participating and adding content to the LinkedIn community.  
  •         Endorse skills and write recommendations for co-workers and people you’ve worked with in the past. What goes around comes around, as the great Justin Timberlake once said.
  •         Update your Headline and keep in mind LinkedIn’s algorithm uses these keywords.
  •         Write a summary that stands out from the crowd, avoids jargon and cliché’s and reflects who you are. Have some fun with it.
  •         Use a professional profile photo that is a nice headshot that doesn’t look like it came straight from Instagram. Sorry Mayfair filter, you don’t belong on LinkedIn.
  •         Participate in LinkedIn by Liking and Commenting on articles in your news feed. But, keep in mind, your entire network will be able to see what you like and comment on. With great power comes great responsibility.

Participate in Industry Groups
Connect with individuals who share your passion for PR in your community. Look at the websites of groups like American Marketing Association (AMA), American Advertising Federation (AAF), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) or other related groups in your area. These groups are great for staying up to date on industry trends and networking.
  •         Sign up for their email newsletters
  •         Attend their events to learn more about what they do and who they are
  •         Consider investing in a yearly membership
  •         Get involved by joining a committee
  •         Stay up to date with PR industry trends by subscribing to relevant email newsletters and reading trade magazines.

Networking doesn’t have to be work
Sometimes the word networking can make introverts want to pull the covers over their heads. Re-frame the word by thinking about networking as making new friends and just keeping in touch with them.
·        You can meet people to network with anywhere, not just at specified networking events. A great place to meet new people is through volunteering at local events like fairs or festivals.
·        Most people will be happy to sit down with you and offer their perspective and advice. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and will be flattered you asked.
·        Offer to grab coffee with someone you’d like to get to know more. Come prepared by looking at their LinkedIn profile beforehand and jotting down some relevant questions. Pay for their coffee and respect their time by keeping it under an hour.
·        Take time to nurture relationships and make a commitment to go outside your comfort zone to get to know new people. It’s okay to talk about non-work related topics and this can even help you find things you have in common.
Keep it Professional or Private
Potential employers will likely search your online presence and don’t want to see your drunk tweets. Take time to clean up your online presence.
·        Google your name and see what links and photos come up. Clean up the less than flattering content.
·        Make your social media platforms private if you have any questionable content.
·        Be aware of how you carry yourself online and try to keep it professional as much as possible.
Be Proud of Your Work
Humility is an admirable trait, except when it comes to job interviews and portfolios.
·        Keep track of your successful projects, campaigns, and works by adding them to your LinkedIn or portfolio.
·        Maintain a personal website that showcases who you are as a PR Professional, your resume or skills, contact info and most importantly, your work samples or portfolio.
·        When chatting with others in the industry, it’s okay to give yourself some props and mention a successful campaign you managed. Mentioning an achievement once is not the same as bragging. Hogging the conversation and only talking about how great you are is bragging.
Have a Side Hustle
As a young professional, it can be hard to get the necessary experience. If you’re starting out, consider offering up your skills and expertise to small organizations or charities.
·        This is a great way to increase your portfolio, learn other skills, meet new people and increase your value to an employer
·        Reach out to local non-profits or small businesses and offer to write press releases, plan events, create graphics, help boost their social media presence, etc.
·        Be realistic about how much time you have to commit to a side hustle. Do you have the necessary time to help this organization on evenings and weekends?
·        Make sure it doesn’t interfere with your current position and your company allows it.
·        Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you have to work for free. Stand up for yourself and ask to be reasonably compensated.  

Wow, that was a lot. It’s okay not to do everything all at once and expect perfection. Don’t compare yourself to where other young professionals are in their career. Focus on improving yourself and learning new skills. Good luck on your journey and always be yourself!  
2017, april, blog, classpass, fitness, may, myblog, review

ClassPass

I wanted to start exercising this spring. When I was researching gyms to possibly join in Columbus, I stumbled upon ClassPass. I’d seen their Facebook Ads and wanted to learn more about them. The trial offer was a good deal and I was excited about the idea of trying new studios to consider joining. 
From April 17- May 17 I did ten various fitness classes in Columbus. At first I thought ten classes a month wouldn’t be enough but I later found it tough to squeeze in all ten classes into my busy schedule.
I enjoyed ClassPass and would recommend it to those who like variety, new adventures and can afford it. 
There were times in classes when I just had to take a deep breath and laugh at myself. There’s always going to be people in a class who have done that routine or those moves for years and are way better than you. That’s okay. I liked trying new classes that I otherwise wouldn’t have booked. I also met some other nice girls, some of them also “ClassPass” like me. 

Here’s the fitness classes in Columbus I did and how I reviewed them: 

Fit Jump

Tue, 05/16
6:00 – 7:00 pm
1645 Gateway Cir, Grove City, OH, 43123

Did not like this class. It was boring and repetitive.  The instructor was a high school freshmen who kept looking at a printed out sheet of notes. She never corrected anyone’s form or said anything motivational. I could hardly hear her. We’d bounce for a minute, do push ups for a minute, then repeat. I found myself zoning out and counting down the minutes til the class was over. The instructor seemed to be doing the same. At one point, we did exercises on the ground and I could’ve done those at home myself. I wanted to do exercises on the trampolines or in the ball pit. This class was disappointing.  

Intro to Aerial Silks

Mon, 05/15
6:00 – 7:30 pm
1411 W 3rd Ave, Columbus, OH, 43212

I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this class but I actually did. It was easier than pole dancing but still required upper body strength. I was challenged and the instructor was willing to help. She was so patient and kind. That made all the difference. I was amazed at what I was able to do. I wouldn’t mind taking this class again. I was a bit sore the next day. 

Barre in the Village

Mon, 5/8
6:00 – 7:00 pm
503 City Park Ave, Columbus, OH, 43215
This wasn’t my favorite class. I felt very cramped and close to my neighbor. I couldn’t extend my legs or arms all the way without hitting her. Throughout class, I wasn’t sure if I was doing any of the moves right. The instructor was loud and friendly. She introduced herself by asking me if I had any injuries. Um, no. If I did, I’d let you know. My arms felt sore the next day so I guess it was a good workout.

SpinFlex60

Sun, 5/7
5:15 – 6:15 pm
6367 Sawmill Rd, Dublin, OH, 43017
This was a great workout and I liked the variety and loved the instructor. She was really down-to-earth, motivational and offered modifications and corrections. It’s a very nice studio, right by Trader Joes. I would go back and definitely take classes from Sarah again. She was fantastic.

Barre7

Thu, 5/4
6:00 – 7:00 pm
275 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH, 43215
Julie is the best instructor I’ve ever had. It was a great workout. I wish I could give it six stars! She’s so inspirational and filled with knowledge. It was a challenging yet achievable workout. Highly recommend this class to everyone.

Fit Jump

Mon, 5/1
7:00 – 8:00 pm
3967 Presidential Pkwy, Powell, OH, 43065
It was a tough but fun workout. I couldn’t help but smile when we were bouncing on the trampoline but then that smile faded when we started doing suicides, frog legs, push ups, etc. I worked up quite a sweat. The instructor is tough but fair. I wish she had explained how exactly to do some of the more tricky moves. The class was small with just me and 5 “regulars”

Zumba

Fri, 4/28
6:30 – 7:15 pm
640 Lakeview Plaza Blvd, Suite A, Columbus, OH, 43085
Not super intense, but a great way to blow off some steam. Had a good time 

Beginner Pole

Wed, 4/26
7:45 – 8:45 pm
3408 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH, 43214
I left class feeling frustrated. The class was labeled Beginner but the majority of the class had been dancing for years/ had their own pole in their basement/ could do spinning pole dancing. Everyone else in the class got the hang of it instantly. The instructor, Devon, gave up on me after awkwardly trying to help me twice. It wasn’t much of a workout and the pole was crazy slippery. Only take this class if you can do a few pull ups and have great upper body strength. And wear shorts. You can’t do the class in yoga capri pants. You have to wear shorts. Even though their website says you can wear yoga pants. Don’t.

Hydro Power Jam

Mon, 4/24
7:00 – 8:00 pm
3111 Hayden Rd, Columbus, OH, 43235
Laura is a really nice instructor. The workout wasn’t the most intense. I wanted it to be more challenging. There were a lot of older women in the group and some of them seem more focused on gossiping than doing the moves. Sawmill has a nice pool, locker room, hot tub and sauna.

Dance Mixx

Fri, 4/21
6:00 – 7:00 pm
1145 Kenny Centre Mall, Columbus, OH, 43220
The staff is really friendly and welcoming. The instructor came over and introduced herself and explained how the class would go. I liked the music and the dance moves. The instructor was so upbeat and motivating. It was a good workout.

And that’s all I have to say about my experience with a one-month trial of ClassPass in Columbus. 
2017, debbie, images, may, social media, work sample

Hidden Creek social media posts

These are some potential social media posts I created for Hidden Creek Landscaping. 
My Advice: 
-Be Humorous 
Don’t shy away from puns and plant-humor 
– Add a Call-to-Action to the employee recognition posts
“Comment below if you’ve had the pleasure of working with any of these great employees” 
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Finally we are almost done with worrying about frost. The crocuses are popping up. Can’t wait to welcome spring! #firstdayofspring #march20
Important Question We Need to Ask: If a plant is sad, do other plants photosympathize with it? #planthumor #lol
Plants grow from a combination of water, sunlight and food. Hidden Creek Landscaping grows from reading your feedback. Please take a moment to review us today! http://ow.ly/5BeU306hEbe
When you do good work, you’re proud of it. Using our landscape expertise, we  crafted a personalized and pristine space for The Palmer House, right over in New Albany. See what we can do for you today! http://ow.ly/7V9E307PsYH 
Want to join our great team? We currently have openings for our landscape installation and landscape management divisions. #joinourteam #jobopening To see job openings visit: http://ow.ly/5riM307Pwei 
Want to beautify your property without breaking open the piggy bank? Hidden Creek Landscape is the solution. Our residential landscaping services will make your neighbors green with envy
All content created by and property of Debbie Gillum. All rights reserved