Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Skills Obtained From Service Learning

In completing this project, I have learned some new skills that I will put into use during the rest of my school year and my career. I have learned the skill of patience when working with others that are not as technologically advanced as you. I have also learned that working with others can make you aware of things out of your scope of vision. Service learning helps you put things in perspective and teaches people to use their knowledge to help others.

This project relates to the learning objectives of the course because it taught us how to put the skills we learned in class about professional writing and use them to help others. Service-learning relates to my long term career goals because some service-learning projects are events and I could use my event planning knowledge to volunteer to plan these events for others in need.

Advice for Future Students

For students taking Professional Writing, I would recommend paying attention to everything the instructor has to say. This class has offered me many useful tips on becoming more professional in my writing and my online identity. I would recommend this class to any person who wants to get a better idea of how to market themselves to future employers. It also gives you a different look at how things are run in your chosen career field and how you can prepare yourself to be a step ahead of others seeking the job you are trying to obtain. This was a wonderful class and I wish the instructor and the other students the best of luck.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What I Have Learned Through My Service Learning Project

Working with this non-profit organization has taught me a few things. The Southside Community Kitchen helps many different people. I have learned that non-profit organizations need all the help they can get. The people that volunteer at these organizations have full-time jobs, families, and other obligations that take up their time. Volunteering for these organizations is a great way to help others. I have learned this community based organization feeds hungry children living in Lansing, MI. They also help the senior citizens who may not have the means to feed themselves. This organization is available for anyone in the area who may not be able to feed themselves and gives people an opportunity to receive at least one good meal a day.

I have a different idea of the Lansing community after working with the Southside Community Kitchen. I didn't realize how many people they help and how many people in Lansing need this type of help. I think this is a great organization that helps as many people as they are able too and I hope to continue working with them in the future.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Small Group Project

Our small group worked very well together. Damien, Jeremy and I each worked on separate parts but after we has collected our initial information, we came together and put each piece in the brochure and offered ideas on how to improve the different parts. Each group member took the suggestions and I feel the entire brochure looks wonderful.

The strength of our group came from our willingness to listen to each other and use different suggestions that were offered. We were creative in how we presented the different aspects of the Japanese culture and etiquette. Weaknesses our group had were we weren't sure how much information to include, and how to best present our ideas. We overcame this by including information we thought would best help any visitor to Japan or any person that is trying to do business with the Japanese.

I feel it is best to listen to others you are working with because that is how some of the best ideas are formed. Group work is a great way to meet others in your class or office and a brilliant way to get a lot of quality work done in a short amount of time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Service Learning Project

I am excited to begin working on my service learning project. I will be working with the Southside Community Kitchen. They are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization supported by over 35 area churches and directed by a 14-member volunteer board. They are a certified charity of the United Way. They were established in 1988 and are supported by over 35 area churches and governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. The mission for the Southside Community Kitchen is: "To provide well-balanced, nourishing meals to the hungry people of Lansing in a caring, dignified environment where they are reassured of their worth as God's unique works of creation". My contact for this project is Sandra Pearson, who is the President of the 2009 Board of Directors. Each year, they serve about 10,000 meals and they also have over 100 volunteers that work nearly 3,500 hours per year to help prepare and serve meals at the Kitchen and sort food at the Red Cross.

I will be working on a brochure for them and possibly a newsletter. Sandra (Sandy) has given me copies of the latest brochure and newsletter and has asked for help in updating them. I have created brochures and newsletters for my fathers business in the past so this won't be anything new for me. I hope to create something that is easy to read, but very informative. I want these documents to help generate more donations and volunteerism for this charity.

While completing this project, I hope to gain more knowledge about the Southside Community Kitchen. I also hope to learn what else I can do to help this organization. I want to know that I can help their charity stick out and get people more interested in helping.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Effective Web Page Design

Effective web page design is very important because it will determine if people are able to use your website and understand it. If it is not user friendly, then people will not want to use it. It should be easy to skim through and people will be able to see what the site is about without having to read every detail on the page.

When designing a web page, here are some important aspects to keep in mind:
  • Keep it simple, yet effective. Don't use a lot of flashy plug-ins, especially if you are not sure if they work.

  • Check spelling. Any errors in spelling will lead readers on to the next web page and away from yours.

  • Use simple font that is easy to read. Don't change font type any more than two times or it will be too distracting to the reader.

  • Use titles or headers. Again, keep it simple. Make it easy for the reader to find what they are looking for-not have to search things out. People looking at the website will only give it a short amount of time before moving on.

  • Maintain your site. Keep it up do date with current information and don't neglect it.

  • Contact information should be easy to find and readers should not have to go searching for it.

Web pages are so important in today's world. They can affect how people perceive you or your business. If you want to be noticed, make your web page stand out. Make it so good that people will recommend it to their friends or co-workers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Service Learning

Service learning projects seem to benefit everyone involved. I find it hard to understand why more people wouldn't want to volunteer and help others. As a person who has spent a couple of years volunteering, I know the rewards are great. I started volunteering when I became a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service-based co-ed fraternity.

The expectations I have for this project are many. It will be wonderful to get back into volunteering, after a short break. I expect to help others and will receive great satisfaction from that. It will be good to give back to the community of Lansing. It will be easy for me to start working with my chosen project because I know someone on the board. This may lead to other volunteering opportunities. This will be good and I hope to motivate others to donate their time and efforts to volunteering opportunities.

I don't have many apprehensions about this project. I will be volunteering at a local soup kitchen and I know one of the persons on the board of directors. I know they need as much help as they can get. Potential problems I can see would be they don't need professional writing as much as they need volunteers to help with the meals.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Strategies For Effective and Consistent Language Choices

Strategies I will use to ensure effective communication include the following:
  1. Staying up to date on current events involving the hospitality industry.
  2. Communicating with other special event coordinators to create a better workplace and understand issues that may arise with events.
  3. Read different trade publications, such as BizBash and Convene, to keep up to date on different ideas that other special event coordinators have put into place.
  4. I will use to discover different trends that are taking place in the wedding industry and to find different vendors in the area I am working.
  5. I will attend conventions and meetings to meet others in my field and to further my education on different areas of the event planning industry.
  6. I will join organizations such as the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the International Special Events Society (ISES).
  7. I will ask questions when I don't understand something, such as jargon I am not familiar with.

The strategies listed above should help me immensely in my field. Joining professional organizations is not only a great way to meet others in your field, it can be helpful in providing information about different aspects of your job that you may not have been aware of. Reading publications put out about your industry is a great way to get information as well. It's important to be as up to date and accurate as you can in any industry. There are always different trends happening in weddings, such as the current trend to be green, and it's important to know how others did this and how you can incorporate some of your own ideas into this. Asking questions is never a bad idea, it's always better to know than to guess.

Being aware of different trends in your industry and staying on top of new developments and ideas is the best way to get ahead in your job and to make sure you are doing the best job possible. It's better for both you and your clients to stay up to date and imaginative in this job. It's all about creativity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Behavior in the Workplace: The Do's and Don'ts of Social Networking

Social networking can be a fantastic way to get your name into the business field and let people know more about you. When using networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and other sites such as this, people tend to be free with what they publish, but as one of my articles shows, companies can research you through these websites and if they like what they see, they can offer you a job.

Here is a list of Do's and Don'ts for Social Networking:
1. Do pay attention to people you are "friending" on these sites. If they are people from work, they may not need to know everything about you.

2. Do create a separate Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking site for people you meet in interviews or people you meet professionally.

3. Don't tag yourself in photos that are of a comprising nature. Make sure you untag photos your friends have posted on these sites.

4. Don't use office time to update and check your social networking sites. Do that on your own time, not while you are getting paid.

5. Do have a set amount of time you want to spend on these sites and don't neglect work, family, and.or friends for these sites.

6. Don't forget to set the privacy settings on your social networking sites. Decide who can see things and what things they are privileged to see.

7. Do think before you post your opinions and moods. Remember, the whole world could be seeing this.

8. Don't share bad or personal news on these sites. Don't post things that could make people uncomfortable, such as "I found out I'm not pregnant today"

9. Do be the same in person as you are online. Don't change your personality because you are online, and therefore feel safer. Be yourself at all times!

10. Don't badmouth previous/current employers or bosses. In fact, don't badmouth anyone on your social networking sites.

In short, be smart about what you post on your social networking sites. You never know who will see it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Who am I?" Managing my online identity

Managing an online identity can be a scary prospect for some. If you are a person who chooses to share everything online, including photos and personal blog posts, it can be hard to reel it in. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace have made it easier for people to connect with one another, but they have also made it a lot easier for people you don't know to obtain personal information.

When managing your online reputation (your personal brand), a person must decide what they would want potential employees to know about them. Do you really want your new boss to know how many drinks you had last night? Probably not. The website we visited earlier this week to calculate how digitally distinct we were is a great way to get started on finding out just how much information about you is out there.

Googling yourself is another good way to see what type of information comes up when you type in your name. Google also has a link that will send you an email every time your name shows up in anything on the web. This can be a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly search they provide for you. I recommend going through the first couple of pages of images and videos, not just the text that shows up. I would also recommend changing the privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and any other social networking site you have.

If you want to set up a more professional image of yourself online, I recommend I set this up last night and have already received information on a potential job. This website allows you to post your resume, make connections with others in your job field, previous employers, and anyone else you may know. It seems to be a great way to network, and they post jobs in that may interest you.

The Internet can be a great tool in marketing yourself, but it can also damage your reputation without you ever being the wiser. Be smart about what people can see and learn about you; you never know who will be looking.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Top 5 Hardest Interview Questions

Interviews can be very stressful situations that can cause a person to panic, fumble over words, and create blank minds. I've found the best way to interview is to be yourself, and take deep breaths before answering anything. The other thing to remember is that the interviewer is not trying to make you nervous, just make you be yourself and show how you can handle things. Here are a few interview questions that I find difficult, and answers that I think are acceptable.
1. What are your weaknesses?
I would say that I can be sensitive when I feel people are getting upset and I have a need to calm them down and be rational. I would also say that I can be controlling because I like things to in order and always have a plan for how things should work out. I have been working on both of these weaknesses and have become more adaptable and have learned to let things go that I have no control over.
2. Why did you leave your last job?
This question can be difficult to answer, especially if you left your job because you didn't work well with your last boss. When answering this question, I say that I left my job because I wanted to finish my education so I could work in my chosen profession, special events coordinating. I would also say that while I enjoyed my last job, it was time for me to leave, and move on to a place where there was more growth opportunity.
3. What can you contribute to us that other applicants can't?
This question provides you with a time to shine. This question allows you to tell of your greatest strengths. I would answer that although I said one of my greatest weaknesses is to want to control things, it also allows me to plan ahead, which is a major part of becoming a special events coordinator. While doing this job, you have to plan for the unexpected and make sure things are done on time and with a schedule. I can also offer experience working in different aspects of the industry,including catering, working as a manager at a front desk, I have a wedding planning certification, taken a class on floral arrangement, and worked as an intern with an event planning company. I would also take this opportunity to talk about how I helped plan days and vacations for guests. I would also talk about my passion for this job, and how its something I have always wanted to do, and that I am committed to producing the best results for the client and watching events come together and doing accomplishing what the client wants, while offering them different suggestions to make their event more special. This is also an opportunity to talk a little about the company's accomplishments and how you could build from that.
4. What do you think is a fair wage/salary for this position?
This is always a tough question to answer. It's a little easier if they put the salary range on the job posting, because you could always negotiate for that. It's best to look up the typical salary range for that location and job. I would tell them an appropriate wage but say I would be willing to start at a lower wage to gain experience because the job is important to me but would hope that we could revisit the subject at a later time.
5. Tell me about yourself.
This question is the time to tell about your accomplishments. I would tell them about getting hired as a seasonal employee at Big Sky Resort, but after only a few months, I was promoted to manager over three different departments. I would also talk about how catering provided me with a different look at how things are run in a different part of the events coordinating. I would tell how I have been on the Dean's list for the past two semesters and this shows my dedication to learning and accomplishing goals. I would say the past three jobs I have had have prepared me for a career in the hospitality industry and my ultimate goal is to become the head special events coordinator for a resort or conference center.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There are many different principals that guide my life. Covey's first habit, "Be Proactive", is the most important habit. It's about changing the way you look at things, and instead of thinking there is nothing you can do, know there are different options and look at all of them and get it done! Habit five is also something I can relate too. It is "seek first to understand, then to be understood." It's important to understand people and their issues, then after you are clear on what they are trying to say, make sure they understand what you are trying to say. The third habit, "Put First Things First", is the third habit that I think is most important. This habit is important because you want to make sure you get the most important things done first and put things in perspective. I am inspired by people and places, this inspiration challenges me to learn new ideas and different things such as reading, looking at art work, and traveling. In both my personal and professional life, I enjoy helping people and try to do so as much as I can. I strive to be an inspiration to others to learn more and enjoy their life. Traveling is a major part of my life, along with family and love of life and learning. I think the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm", is a great motivational quote for me. To me, it means have enthusiasm about everything and you never know what you can accomplish.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Betsy Cowles is a woman intent on furthering her education. She attended Central Michigan University for two years after she graduated from Springport High School in 2002. She then moved back to her hometown to help take care of her father and attended Lansing Community College for two semesters. After the two semesters at LCC, she moved to Big Sky, Montana to work as a manager at Big Sky Resort for almost two years. She has been attending Davenport University in Lansing for the past two semesters and has been on the Dean's List for both semesters. She will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in Business Management in August of 2011.