Skills

Their are many mistake’s you can make, but not all of which you’ll have the chance too make up for.

If that sentence didn’t make you cringe or shake your head, please keep reading. Poor grammar and spelling are both disappointing and alarming when we look at how prevalent they are. Ever go through comments on a blog post and read a perfectly insightful opinion, but it was perfectly botched with errors? It’s frightening. To casually communicate through text can be relatively inconsequential – skipping your commas won’t rock the boat when texting mom. But some errors have bigger implications, and are worsened when used in professional or educational settings.

Getting into such habits as failing to (or deliberately choosing not to) distinguish the difference between there, they’re, and their or incorrectly using plural possessives (cats’, cat’s, cats) can have repercussions. Here are my top three reasons why you should never make these mistakes again:

1. It gives the impression that you are not attentive to detail.

So you’re typing away and happen to put the apostrophe in the wrong place, or you use your when you meant to type you’re, and you think to yourself  “whatever, they know what I meant.” Sure, the reader knows what you meant, but you risk them wondering what other types of small mistakes you make. When you’re just starting out in your career and earning your stripes, getting it right is non-negotiable.

What to do:

Simply take a second glance at your email. If you’re unsure about a word or phrase, Google it or have a coworker take a look. For extra cookie points, ask your boss’s opinion. They’ll appreciate your effort and can make other suggestions for improvement.

2. It makes you sound, well, not smart.

Whether you’re the CEO, the director, or just starting out as an entry-level associate, the last thing you want is have others assume you don’t know your literary basics (because you do!). You want to be seen as a valuable contributor to your team, and your brilliant suggestions and ideas can be doubted if your emails are flooded with poor grammar and typos. It could discredit you as a source of knowledge and even cause a misunderstanding (you meant to mention your college degree, not your collage degree!).

What to do:

When expressing your ideas, be as clear and concise as humanly possible. State the objective, the procedure (if applicable), and the anticipated outcome. For efficiency, preempt possible questions and include the answers. It’s not a 10-page essay for creative writing, so don’t be afraid to use bullet points. To conclude your email, add “please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.” It shows your willingness to further help explain details as needed.

3. It could cost you a job interview.

Mark Manson (one of my favorite bloggers) refers to grammar mistakes as “basic errors.” In job applications, this faux-pas gets people thrown in the “instant deletion” pile. While he admits to extend some leniency with those who aren’t in the business of writing/editing (such as digital artists), I still personally believe there’s no excuse to mess them up anyway.

What to do:

Proofread! Proofread it a million times, and then have your friend, mom, dad, neighbor, and dog proofread it. You want to have multiple sources to give you the maximum amount of feedback. Make adjustments until it’s perfect.

There you have it! As a warning, beware of those subtle errors that aren’t always staring you right in the face. We’re all guilty of missing the mark at one point or another, but it’s important to try and correct it whenever possible.  As millennials, we are, after all, the most educated generation in history.

Image: Stewart Black

EducationSkills

Hi, my name is Raven and I don’t delete old emails. This is embarrassing to admit, but I still have emails from freshman year of college. I’m a junior now, which means that I still have almost every email I have received since 2012. I am not going to tell you the exact number but I will say that if I could somehow transform my emails into currency, I’d have a lot of money.

I don’t know why I struggle with deleting emails after I read them. I do, however, know that I am not the only person who needs to do some spring cleaning on their inbox. I could continue to let the emails accumulate and see how much I’ll have senior year before I graduate. But I know that’s not a good idea, especially since checking my email will be become more tedious than it has to be.

This is one of the reasons why going back to delete old emails is so important. If you’re like me and get at least twenty emails per day, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by all of the unread messages you have. When just looking at all of the emails I have begins to overwhelm me, I tend to not look at all of them, which isn’t good because it’s easier to overlook something important that way. I get a few emails in and then I decide to go do something else because my brain feels like it’s going to explode from staring at the screen for so long.

I know that this is not a good thing to do, which is why I suggest setting aside some time and dedicate it to doing some inbox cleaning. Even though you might not want to, take the time to look through any unread email, delete the ones you don’t read and organize the ones you do need into folders. I know this sounds like a pain, but once you do this checking your email will cease being so scary.

Old habits can become hard to break if you don’t stop the cycle. You don’t want to enter into the workforce or even continue through your college career without organizing your inbox and making sure it isn’t too cluttered. Having an inbox with over four thousand emails both read and unread will become the norm if you don’t try to break the habit of letting your emails accumulate.

The importance of cleaning out your inbox goes beyond eliminating the stress that comes with checking your email; it is also a good way to stay on top of the things you need to do. I know that I am not the only one with a messy inbox, so I hope that those of you who are reading this will think about the importance of deleting old unnecessary emails. Once you’re through with the entire process, it will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Maybe that’s not even close to what you’ll feel but having a neat and orderly inbox will make a life a lot easier.

And when you’re in college, easy is always a good thing.

So what are you waiting for? Go clean out that inbox!

Image: PicJumbo

Skills

You’ve been sending emails, organizing files, making excel sheets, running errands, and learning all summer. Whether it’s a fashion, photography, or finance internship, chances are you’ll be leaving soon. Sometimes it’s because you’re going back to university in another state, or maybe you’re taking 21 credits and you can’t fit it into your schedule. Maybe the internship wasn’t right for you but you wanted to at least give it a try. Either way, it’s time to say good­bye, and there are a few things you need to do beforehand.

1. Let your boss know.

Whether it’s a job or internship, it’s good to give a two weeks notice that you will be leaving the company. Make sure to write a formal letter and to give a verbal heads up. It’s bad to leave a gaping hole where you used to work, and this gives employers a chance to find someone to take over your responsibilities. This is a good chance to explain what you liked about the internship, and if you want to come back next summer you should mention it!

2. Attain contact information.

Get his number. Or her number. Or their numbers. Before you leave, make sure you have the email, LinkedIn, Facebook (if you so dare), or any other social media/contact info of people you worked with. You want to keep in contact with people who you want to remember. Just remember to contact them once every four months to say hi! You want to be able to maintain a good relationship, and who knows, they might help you out or vice versa in the future! This is also a good way to let others know you’re leaving so it won’t be awkward that you just disappeared.

3. Clean your workspace.

Once upon a summer, I was led to a bright desk on the top floor of an office building. The vibe was chill, the lighting was comfortable, and the desk, well, the desk was covered in dust, had hygiene products in the drawer, and lacked a functioning stapler. The former intern did not bother to bring her leftover peanut butter, half melted chocolate, or instant nail polish with her after she left. This isn’t very nice, and doesn’t reflect the respect and effort she could have put into her internship! Please, take your things with you, straighten out your desk, wipe things down, and leave it nice and welcoming for the next intern!

4. Work hard until the very end.

This is important! Even though you know you’ll be leaving in two weeks, you want to leave a good impression. Don’t lose steam! Have a final hurrah! Do your best and make it the best end of an internship. You’ll feel accomplished and your coworkers will appreciate it. Best of all, you’ll be motivated to have a good start for the semester. Who wouldn’t like that?

As the summer winds down, things will change. The weather, your closet, the internship, and the semester. Things will come and go, and we have to go along with that flow. I hope these tips can help you prep for this change, and that it is all smooth sailing from here.

Image: deathtostockphoto

CultureEducationSkills

Haven. Sanctuary. Kingdom. It doesn’t matter what you call your room but, at the end of the day, it’s yours. You can paint the walls any color you want to, put up posters that represent things you like, blast your favorite music, and be as messy as you want to be. That is, if you’re not the kind of person who needs for things to be in a particular order.

The point is, our rooms belong to us and, for the most part, that means we don’t have to share our personal space (I feel sorry for those of you who have to share your room with siblings. I’m an only child). It’s a different story when you get to college, however. Not only will someone else be living a few feet away from you, but that someone will more than likely be a complete stranger.

That pretty much was what freaked me out when I got assigned my roommate. And it didn’t help that I had just watched The Roommate (Note: Do not under any circumstances watch this movie before starting school). After seeing that movie, I kept thinking about what kind of person my roommate would be. Among other things, I was afraid that she wouldn’t like me and that we’d have nothing in common. To be completely honest, I was just extremely nervous about the whole thing.

And I’m sure quite a few of you are too.

Sharing a room with a stranger is not easy but it’s not as hard as you think it is. Sure, you might not have anything in common with your roommate. Sure, you might find being in the same room with them to be extremely awkward the first couple of days. But all of that will pass. You just have to keep in mind that, just like you, your roommate is experiencing college for the first time, too. They probably have the same fears that you have about college and that, in an of itself, can be a good thing.

So why not work to find some common ground? You don’t have to be best friends with that person right away, but the truth about having a roommate is…there’s no avoiding them. It’s impossible to live with someone for eight or nine months and not talk to them. In fact, if you want to have a great relationship with your roommate, the best way to do that is to talk. It can be small talk at first. Ask about where they are from, what they plan on majoring in, what classes they’re taking etc. Chances are they came from a different country (my roommate freshman year was from China) or a city/state you’ve never traveled to. They might even have the same intended major as you or have a similar schedule. It doesn’t matter what questions you decide to ask but it is important that you get to know them. Trust me, it’ll make sharing a room with them a little easier.

Remember what I said about having your own room? Well, your dorm room is technically your personal space but it’s also the personal space of another person. While you can hang up posters and decorate your side of the room the way you want to, keep in mind that you shouldn’t blast music whenever you want to or turn on the TV when you’re roommate is trying to study. That’s not to say that you can’t do any of those things, but another truth about having a roommate is…you’re going to want to set some ground rules. It’s always good to sit down and talk about each other’s likes and dislikes, figure out who’s going to take out the garbage on what days, and if one (or the both of you) are in a relationship, ask if it’s okay to have your boyfriend or girlfriend stay over.

These are the kinds of things you might want to clear with each other if not the day you move in, then in the next few days to the first few weeks of school. If you don’t set some ground rules, then there’s no telling what you both like and dislike. So it’s better to hash that out sooner rather than later. I’ve seen quite a few people, my freshman year, change rooms because of issues with their roommates doing things they didn’t like i.e throwing dirty laundry on the floor. Yeah, if you’re not into that, you have to let your roommate know from the get-go otherwise they’re just going to continue to do it.

This brings me to my next truth about sharing a room with a stranger: if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Talk to your RAs and ask them about how you can go about getting a different roommate. I’m not sure how it works on other campuses but at mine, I know that before ultimately deciding to go through with the change, you have a meeting with your roommate, the RA and a few other people to see if the problem is something that can be resolved. Whatever that process may be, just know that if you have a roommate who doesn’t have good hygiene or is outright rude, you don’t have to put up with it. Having a roommate can and should be a wonderful experience, so don’t settle for a horrible one.

Again, I have only known a few people who have had bad experiences with their roommates so the chances of you getting placed with one are very slim. Just start school with an open mind, talk to your roommate and remember that, while your room is your room, it’s your roommate’s room, too. You can both work together to make your room your haven, your sanctuary, your kingdom.

So, when you find out who your roommate is going to be, why not shoot them an email? It doesn’t have to be a long, overly excited one if you don’t want it to be. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple, “Hi, my name is…”

Don’t be a stranger!

Image: Dormify.com

EducationSkills

Let’s face it: interviews are stressful! There’s no denying that interviews lead to increased anxiety, rushes of adrenaline, and panic over not knowing what to say. Use these tricks below to help you shine and prove why you are the best candidate for the job.

Basics:

1)   Maintain eye contact.

2)   Give a firm handshake.

3)   Remember to smile.

4)   Arrive ten minutes early.

5)   Dress appropriately.

When in doubt, dress nicer than you think you need to. Looking sloppy is the easiest and quickest way to start off on the wrong foot.

6)   Bring an extra copy of your résumé*.

*Don’t necessarily keep this in front of you, but have a fresh copy stowed away in a bag or briefcase. Use your own judgment to assess whether or not to offer a copy to the interviewer.

7) Keep a notebook and pen in front of you.

Not-So-Basics:

8) Ignore that little voice in your head.

There is a common saying that we are all our own worst critics. That little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t prepared enough, that you aren’t qualified for the position, that you aren’t ready, IGNORE it! Switch off the emotional voice and focus in on the pragmatic one. Don’t stand in your own way! You can do this!

9) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Carpe likes to prepare in two simple ways: personal and professional.

For the personal preparation, update your résumé. Make sure it is up-to-date with the most relevant information (i.e. if you are now a sophomore in high school consider removing random activities from before freshman year; if you are now a sophomore in college consider removing anything from high school that does not highlight an important personal asset). Take a look at Purdue University’s Online Resource for how to create a great résumé.

Secondly, prepare professionally by doing thorough research on the company you are interviewing for and the people you are interviewing with. Two good places to start are on Linkedin and through the website of the company or group you are interviewing with.

10) Have information in front of you.

Create “cheat sheets” for yourself. Print out a copy of your own résumé and highlight the three main parts that stand out. This will provide you with a quick reference for your personal agenda (see below). Warning: don’t look down at paper for more than a quick glance to guide your thoughts. You want to keep the conversation flowing.

11) Set a personal agenda.

Before the interview begins, decide on a couple standout points that you want to work into the conversation. It could be as simple as a fun fact about yourself to help the interviewers remember you, or something more specific like the latest project you worked on and how it challenged you. Depending on how long the interview lasts, try to work in 1-3 important points that you believe will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

12) Send a reminder e-mail.

Sending a brief and polite e-mail the day before an interview can be a good way to make sure the interviewer is still available to meet. Let them know what you will be wearing and reiterate that you are excited to speak with them in person. Sending this short email will help sooth your nerves the night before.

13) Send a follow-up email.

Always send a follow-up email or card to thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. I would recommend sending this follow-up a few hours after the interview or early the next morning.

14) Offer to pay.

If you are meeting for coffee or a small meal, offer to pay. It is appropriate to spend about 5 to 15 dollars.

15) Be able to confidently answer, “Why do you want to work here?”

You need to know why you want the job. If you can’t think of a reason right away, reconsider if you are aiming high enough or following a true passion. At Carpe we pivot all the time to follow what inspires us, and you should do the same.

16) Don’t be afraid to ask, “Why should I work here?”

You matter. You are valuable. You are going to be contributing to a team and working hard, so ask the tough questions and don’t be afraid to demand what you deserve.

No matter how informal or formal an interview is, these steps will help guide you in the right direction.

How do you prepare for an interview? Let us know!