The Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews: Internships and Jobs Alike

Flushed cheeks, palpitating heart, tense muscles, and sweaty palms sweep over as you enter the office for the interview of a lifetime. As you sit down with the interviewer standing in front of you, you introduce yourself, shake hands, and casually take a seat. After adjusting to your designated chair, she asks for your portfolio, and all you have is a small, bland resume; she looks at you, makes some notes, and begins a rather short interview. Walking away, you feel slightly embarrassed, wishing you could have done things differently.

taken by Nicolette Bilezikian of Nicolette Arielle Photography

This is simply one example of what could happen when one is inadequately prepared for an interview. Therefore, the key to success is preparation. Hopefully these tips can take you from feeling terrified to confident and secure, knowing you have what it takes.

“There are a variety of things that someone can do to set themselves apart,” comments Target Field Campus Recruiter and Human Resource Talent Acquisition, Jennifer Reidy. “Being prepared and having all your stuff together shows employers more than one realizes.”

It all starts with a resume. It needs to show that you are the most equipped and qualified for the job you are interviewing about. The resume should include a multitude of things; work experience, personal statement, qualifications, technical skills, other proficiencies, and basic contact information should all be there. However, more than just mere words, a resume can say the majority of what employers are looking for.

“A resume should be basic and not too flashy, showing continuity,” explains Ashley Daniels, the Business Solutions Specialist at Ultimate Staffing. “Make your words more impactful. Like when people explain what they accomplished, instead of merely listing under experience what they were

This is a small excerpt from my resume.

This is a small excerpt from my resume.

responsible for.” Use action verbs to start off your bullet point under experience, words like “collaborated,” “coordinated,” “designed,” and “promoted” for example. Using strong words grabs their attention and pushes the employer to read more instead of simply skimming over your resume.

“A lot of people have asked me how they could get a job without particular career experience, and there are actually some quite beneficial ways to do that,” smiles Reidy. “Show us how you want to grow visually and verbally; hone in on your blogs or personal work if it applies. Don’t diminish your work. For a job, it’s ok to ‘toot your own horn’ because it shows us who you are. If you’re great at graphic design, then show us. Make us remember you.”

With that information learned, it is important to tie it all together. For further yet equally important interview etiquette, dress to impress; neutral colors are the best approach because it is professional and it won’t distract.

A neutral outfit looks clean and professional. Avoid loud colors.

A neutral outfit looks clean and professional. Avoid loud colors.

Arrive 10-15 minutes early because it shows how important you put the interview itself, as well as respecting the interviewer’s time; sometimes it is even beneficial to drive by the location before to know exactly where you need to go. When you walk in, greet them with “Nice to meet you. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.” Daniels and Reidy both agree that first impressions are huge, and having a greeting like that sets you up for success.

My handwritten "Thank You" cards to my interviewers. I actually ended up receiving the internship with Target!

My handwritten “Thank You” cards to my interviewers. I actually ended up receiving the internship with Target!

During the interview, have good posture and sit up straight, and if at all possible, don’t slouch or cross your legs; instead, cross your ankles because it is more professional and easier not to fidget. Another thing is to do your research about the company; know what they do and show that you care about what they care about. When you use their money words like words from their mission statement or values, you’re furthering your chances of a job offer.

And to end it all, write a handwritten thank you letter to your interviewer, stating that you appreciated their time, that is was nice to meet them, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. But be sure to mail it the very next day, better if the same day.

Some of my internship offer letter from Target!

Some of my internship offer letter from Target!

With these same skills, I interviewed for a Corporate Target internship and was chosen! So don’t doubt the tips, from firsthand experience, it works!

Going the extra mile shows them you are serious about the job, and that you are indeed, the best person for the job.


Skydiving at it’s Finest

In Lakeland, Florida, there are many different things to see and explore, however to the residents, it at times becomes difficult to find new and exciting things to do… things like First Friday downtown, the flea markets and farmers’ market, the drive-in movie, and more.

What would you do if skydiving was one of them?

Me head-first free falling to Earth!

Me head-first free falling to Earth! Jumped with JUMP Florida Skydive in Plant City, Florida.

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane on a warm, sunny day for a great price not only gives you a chance to explore outside of the typical Lakeland city limits, but it gives you extraordinary sites from 12,000 miles up, only a few miles away.

In the place ascending

In the place ascending, getting pumped!

With the loveliest of deal sites, Groupon has made skydiving available more than once and can have deals extremely close to Lakeland, like where I most recently jumped for the second time, in Plant City, Florida, about 15 minutes away from Lakeland, with the JUMP Florida Skydive Center. My first jump was in July 2012, in Orlando, Florida, and I had to go again and bring more people.

The entire group after everyone went skydiving. Great Instructors! Great Jump!

The entire group after everyone went skydiving. Great Instructors! Great Jump!

Jumping out of an airplane is a grand opportunity for a thrill, and it’s even better in numbers, so bring a friend or two and make it an experience for  someone’s birthday even. That’s what me, my roommate, her brother, and another friend did for my roommate’s 21st birthday last month.

Rachel Roskoski free falling during skydiving!

Rachel Roskoski free falling during skydiving!

Rachel and Daniel Roskoski getting prepared to skydive, January 2013.

Rachel and Daniel Roskoski getting prepared to skydive, January 2013.

“You only turn 21 once and I wanted to make it absolutely incredible,” beamed Rachel Roskoski, 21, who was going to skydive for the very first time. “I’m pretty scared, but I know it will be fun, it’s just having to jump out! The rush is going to get me.”

Upon arriving at the JUMP Florida Skydive Airport, we waited our turn and  watched some other skydivers on video promo, and when they called out names, we were pumped.

Jason Yazmitz and I about to Skydive. We're pumped!

Jason Yazmitz and I about to Skydive. We’re pumped!

“I’ve never done anything this crazy!” states Jason Yazmitz, 23, a friend jumping in our group. He explained that as he was going up he was thinking, “my blood is pumping and I can’t stop thinking about what the view will be like two miles up.”

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane really takes one breath away; the rushing wind on all sides in the midst of perfect silence except your own yelling voice.

“It was exhilarating! I’m already thinking of times when I can come again, and for sure with this group, we have a blast,” smiles Daniel Roskoski.

There is truly no other feeling like front flipping out of an airplane, falling head-first towards the ground with startling speed, and I would suggest it to everyone! Save up, and at their affordable price, convenient location, and wonderful staff and facility, skydiving is now a no-brainer. Above all else, the best part is, it’s right in Lakeland’s backyard.






Love: Lessons Learned and the Future


Whether or not we’ve been in a serious committed relationship, we’ve all had some experience with relationships; wondering if you like your prom date more than a friend, thinking you like someone in your college ethics class, someone you’ve known all your life just now being attractive in a new way, or simply someone you just met takes your breath away. Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t end on good terms, and others, wedding bells dawn a new chapter for a couple. But through it all, it is only a failure if nothing is learned in the process.

Relationships can be intimidating and exhilarating all at the same time: exciting, fresh, new, terrifying, and wonderful all at the same time. The goal is to find someone that compliments you and your passions, learning from your mistakes, improving, and finding love.

Amy Samuels, junior, Southeastern University

Amy Samuels, junior, Southeastern University

“I really liked spending quality time together,” comments Amy Samuels, a junior at Southeastern University, when asked what went well in past relationships. “Also, doing competitive activities that brings out the crazy sides in both of us makes it tons of fun.”

For some couples engaging in playful banter or fun competitions make the relationship focus on having fun and spending quality time together. For others, it’s finding what make the other person “tick” that went so well.

“Figuring out our love languages and abiding by them,” states Sally Ibarra, also a junior at Southeastern University. “For example, my love languages are quality time and physical touch, so having good memories with that

Sally Ibarra, junior, Southeastern University.

Sally Ibarra, junior, Southeastern University.

person and creating a story to tell about our relationship but also having good memories spiritually like sharing our spiritual disciplines and creating that atmosphere for our daily lives.”

Whatever method you choose, it is vital in relationships to find what makes the other person “tick” and build a healthy friendship at the center of it all. Learning what the core of a relationship did not come overnight, and sometimes that comes from looking back and seeing we could have done better.

When asked about reflection on past relationships, and how they wish to improve on the next, this is what some had to say:

“I looked back and realized that I needed to be better at communicating and voicing my opinion,” comments Samuels. “The sooner you can communicate and share your emotions, the more you will grow spiritually in a relationship.”

Derek Forehand, sophomore, Southeastern University.

Derek Forehand, sophomore, Southeastern University.

“I had to learn that what you do and things you say look completely different in a relationship,” explains sophomore Derek Forehand. “I also learned that everything has a consequence, good or bad.”

“I’ve definitely found myself being self fish at times with certain areas of my life such as time an time management,” states Ibarra, who is in a long-distance relationship.

But take heart! What they’ve learned has helped them improve on the next,

taken July 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

taken July 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

and being honest with each other is key to growth, and moving forward to find that true love everyone talks about, the “fireworks” that we dream of.

“Short and sweet, love is a verb,” shines Ibarra. “God is love and if we follow that example we are on the right track. A level of intimate connection that you decide to take action towards.”

“Love is not this gushy, head over heels, and butterflies in stomach feeling,” comments Samuels. “To me those feelings are wonderful…but they are just feelings. True love is a choice and an action. It a choice to put Christ first and then your relationship. It is a choice to constantly put someone else’s feeling before yours. Love is not a game, and it is not a word that should be thrown around lightly. I feel like one will know they are in love, when this man can bring out the best in you, sees you at your worst times and supports you still, and brings you closer and pushes you to be the best you can be!”

For Forehand, love is “the decision you make to put someone else ahead of you and to value you them more than you value yourself.”

Whatever your definition of love is, whatever your past relationships lessons learned, or if you’re discovering love for the first time, look at love and relationships with hope, knowing that the future is bright.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find that love that makes your dreams come true, and at your 50th wedding anniversary, you can smile on the things you learned, enjoyed, and the love you found.

My Grandparents at their 50th Wedding Anniversary. June 2012

My Grandparents at their 50th Wedding Anniversary. June 2012

Personality Profile: Liz Colburn

Five feet in height, Starbucks in hand, and a fashionista is what you can expect from Assistant Project Manager of Student Body Leadership Council, Liz Colburn. As a lover of planning event, “The Office,”, and fashion, Colburn is a woman of influence, laughter and leading power.

Liz Colburn

For this talented event planner, communication is both an art and skill; whether it’s written or spoken, executed or planned. That’s why having a triple threat like Colburn at the forefront of an event planning team at Southeastern University is treasured. Colburn offers more than just communication to the team. Her spunky attitude and progressive viewpoints in public relations and fashion are what makes her admired within the event planning team.

“Event planning is my version of art,” states Colburn, and with a mindset like that, one can’t help but want to be around her and make beautiful things.

Her first involvement with Student Body Leadership Council, SBLC respectively, was hearing about it through the grape vine. She had heard that SBLC put on campus wide events of all spectrums for the school and it sparked her interest. Without any formal experience, she applied for a marketing position and “by the grace of God” she got hired. Starting as a marketing, she created and designed marketing for her events and worked her way up to the position she is in now taking storm.

Liz and myself at a Conference in Altanta, Georgia in October, 2012.

Liz and myself at a Conference in Altanta, Georgia in October, 2012.

“I want my events this year to be unforgettable,” explains Colburn about her expectations in her new position for the coming year. “I want people to remember at the end of the year that TNL, the talent show, and Homecoming were the best yet!” Clearly, she has set her sights on achieving the best events the school has ever seen. In the planning of her events, she wants people to leave saying “wow”, wanting everyone to take something away and remember the fun time that was shared.

Her interest started early in life as she was always gravitating towards even planning. Through high school Colburn was in student government planning proms and homecoming and found it was here niche. It was then when she became interested in graphic design and advertising. She commented, “SBLC is the best of both worlds! Event planning and graphics—Love it!”

Thought Colburn works diligently in her position, she understands and insists on personal time to have fun and relax. Expect to see her on her days off laying by the pool, listening to the radio, accompanied by her floppy pool hat.

“My favorite things to do are pretty much like any other college female—shop, beach, movies, etc., ” as she takes a sip of her iced Starbucks drink and adjusts her sunglasses. “Like shopping; shopping is more than a hobby for me, it’s a way of life!” winks Colburn.

Liz Colburn

With her event planning experience, Colburn aims to take her skills to New York City to try with the big leagues. She has always been in love with New York City and admits that her love for the city is pretty intense. Even admitting her room is covered with pictures, posters, and things of NYC.

“I feel something I feel no where else when I am there,” remarks Colburn, “and where else will I have better opportunities to plan major events like fancy weddings or fashion shows?” She looks forward to the future with high anticipation of pursuing her passion for PR and event planning in such a unique place, and nothing will stop her until she reaches that goal.

Who knows, maybe when she moves to NYC, she can finally meet her celebrity crush, hopeful future husband, Steve Carell. She admits that it might sound weird because he is older and not the typical guy to be attracted to, but she picks humor over good looks any day. “He is my favorite male actor because on one else can make me laugh like he does! His character from the ‘The Office’ (Michael Scott) is by far, my favorite television character of all time.” As a fun-loving, spontaneous woman, Colburn loves a good laugh and aims to being life to any room she’s in.

Bringing that life into a room, Colburn lovingly confesses that she obnoxiously sings her picks from the “Billboard Charts,” or keeping everyone up to date with anything ‘Hollywood’—she knows basically about everything you need to know since she thoroughly enjoys movies, acting, television, and famous people and their “crazy lives”. Not to forget her undying love and affection for her most prized possession—her sweet pup Beesh. Who else would you know to bring their pup to meet Santa and get its picture with him too?

The Whole Crew from TNL, an Event Liz Colburn co-led

The Whole Crew from TNL, an Event Liz Colburn and her team planned with SBLC

To say that Liz Colburn is a dynamic, entrancing, and life-loving woman would be an understatement. Her passion for event planning, PR, and fashion make her a force to be reckoned with. The experience she is obtaining now is equipping her to be prepared for reaching her goals, and her hobbies and loves will keep her having fun and enjoying life along the way. In the years to come, she aspires to become an Executive Coordinator for the team and to one day be leading NYC’s infamous Fashion Week. Keep your eyes on this fashion-forward trendsetter, because one day you’ll be reading about her in the magazines as transforming and reinventing the event planning industry, all with her Starbucks and sunglasses in hand.

Liz Colburn's Blog!

Liz Colburn’s Blog!

Check out Liz’s blog “Randomly Ravishing!” She’s quite a blogging gem 😉

The Giving Keys

Ever see something like a child smile at a playful, sweet puppy? or the way warm sunshine can kiss your cheeks on a spring afternoon? What about the things you hear and it warms your heart, encourages your uniqueness, embracing your flaws, giving hope to others, and well, yourself? Sounds like a grand thing, and how could all those emotions be wrapped up in one thing? The answer, and continuing story, is simple….

Taken from

Taken from

The Giving Keys is an organization that gives back to struggling people, as well as provides hope and a reminder of strength to those that need it. The function of the organization is the idea that you buy a key necklace, with whatever word you want; words to pick from include “hope”, “truth”, “live”, “love”, and “peace” to name a few. That key is found somewhere and collected to have your hand-picked word metal stamped and placed on a chain as a necklace.

The premise is that each key has it’s own story – blemished, used, tattered, but beautiful – just like the receiver. And furthermore, when someone gets the key, they must give it away at some point to a person they feel needs the message. After that, The Giving Keys wants to hear the stories of your path with the key and how you gave it away. The word stamped on represents the encouragement you need, a word that got you through a hard time, or something you are working to obtain; truly, just as each key is unique, so is the story behind the key’s wearer, and that word is up to you.

Caitlin Crosby, founder of The Giving Keys

Caitlin Crosby, founder of The Giving Keys

With great encouragement you would receive from the Giving Keys, amazing things start small. It all began with a New York hotel room key. Actress and singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby, the founder of The Giving Keys, wore a key as a necklace and had the idea to start engraving old, used keys with inspirational words at a locksmith in LA. When she would perform, she sold the keys at her merchandise tables, and the demand was nonstop; she would in between shows run around trying to find keys and engrave them to keep up with demands in fact.

After seeing a need for her growing inspirational keys, she ran into a homeless couple on the infamous Hollywood Blvd, Cera and Rob, and knew she found the right people for the organization. Once partnering with The Giving Keys and making it thrive by finding, engraving, and distributing keys, a once homeless couple came to buy their very own apartment. Not only are The Giving Keys changing the lives of the ones buying them, but changing the lives of the ones engraving them too.

One of the Thriving Couples

One of the Thriving Couples

Are you feeling those warm feelings in your stomach yet? As the business started to develop, more partner relationships were built and now The Giving Keys have ten employees that are trying to transition out of homelessness. Through this time, the organization have helped them open bank accounts, provided financial planning support, and now five of the ten earned to get their own apartments and support themselves.

I just recently received my giving keys, and I love them. I order a key with the word “hope” on it, to help remind me the hope I have in the future and in God, despite present circumstances being scary. When I got it, I found that the other side had

My Keys

The keys I bought; I love them! Thanks Giving Keys

accidentally been engraved with the word “grace”; oddly enough, I have been praying for grace in situations that my family is going through with health complications. What a seeming accident turned out to be such a good encouragement and reminder. The other was marked “trust”, where it describes this time in my life. Now oftentimes I proudly wear my keys, filling a reminder of inspiration to my day, as well as looking great to the eye.

These words mean an immense amount to me; in a time where my life was crumbling – family members dying left and right, being diagnosed with a rough body syndrome, and feeling down – hope in God was all I had. Trust, for times when I didn’t understand why life has’t turned around, but believing God to hold us. And grace, for times when you need mercy covering you survive. So what’s your word? your key? When you figure it out, I hope you wear your key, pay it forward, and write a story.

The Giving Keys

The Giving Keys

To buy a Giving Key, for yourself or for a friend, visit the lovely site,