Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let the Job Search Begin!

Graduation keeps getting closer and closer (100 days and counting for me). As the end of April creeps toward me, the job search has begun. Job searches are time consuming and can be disastrous if not organized well. So when it came time to choose how I was going to organize mine, there was one obvious choice.

Now you can't read my blog or follow me on Twitter without realizing that I'm a huge fan of Evernote (and that's probably an understatement). So of course I am using this wonderful application to keep my job search organized. In this post I'm going to share my process, as well as some of the tips that I've picked up from my own Career Services Advisors at Pitt.

Let's start with the basics. We all have a resume. In fact, we all probably have multiple variations of our resume. As I've started collecting resumes for different applications, I keep them all in Evernote, so I have them all no matter where I am. I also keep a copy in Dropbox as well, just to be safe.

A lot of the job listings that you find will be online. You might decide to apply for something, and get a call for an interview months later. By that time, the listing may or may not still be on the company's website. Advisors have told me to be sure to print out the description and keep it in paper form. But as we all know, there's a better way. Using the Evernote Web Clipper, I clip the description into my Job Search Notebook. I'll then tag the note with the company. As I start to prepare my application, I add each document to that note.

Another recommendation made to me was to keep a spreadsheet with information pertaining to every application submitted. I am keeping all of this in Evernote as well. Here's a screenshot of my Job Application note. (For privacy, I've blurred out most of the information but I will explain it all)

1. Position: Pretty self explanatory but this is where I put the official position title that I'm applying for.
2. Company: Also self explanatory.
3. Link to Job Description: When I clip the job description into my Evernote account, I create a note link. I then paste that link into my table, so I can quickly reference the right document from anywhere.
4. Contact Person: Rather than listing someone's name and email here, I prefer to simply make their name a link to their email. This way, all I have to do is click on their name and Mail launches, with an email already addressed to them.
5. All Materials Submitted: Here I use check boxes, signifying that I have done everything necessary for the application. This makes it easy to glance at my table and see which applications I still need to work on.
6. Follow Up: It is always recommended to follow up after submitting a job application, whether that be with a phone call, an email, or a thank you note after an interview. No matter what form you choose,it can be a lot to keep track of. Using check boxes again, I've created a simple way to know who I've followed up with, and who I still need to contact.
7. Application Status: This is where I'm keeping my own information on my application. Some examples of statuses I have are: Haven't Submitted, Submitted, Phone Interview, etc. Some companies have a way to check your status online. Others you will have to wait to be contacted. Either way, it's a good idea to pay attention to where you are in terms of each application.
So whether you're looking for internships, grad schools, or jobs like me, the search can be a long and stressful process. Hopefully these tips will help you keep it all organized! And help me find that perfect job!

Have any questions? Want to share how you're organizing your job search? Comment below or find me on Twitter @OtterMC!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looking For Some Help

Hey everyone!

So this is a bit of a different kind of post for me. I do have another post scheduled for Thursday that I'm really excited about. So stay tuned for that!

But anyway, I need some help. You may or may not know this, but I am an English Writing major. As this is my final semester, I'm getting started on my Senior Writing piece. This is an essay of at least 40 pages of creative nonfiction, on pretty much anything that I want. I'll be working on this for the entire semester and this piece will make up basically all of my grade for the class.

So here's where you all come in. I am looking for people who love their job, people who have managed to turn something they love into their career, anyone who keeps doing what they're passionate about. If that sounds like you, I want to talk to you! Or if that sounds like someone you know, I want to talk to them too! I'm looking to conduct some short interviews, which can be done via email, phone call, Skype, Twitter, letter writing, carrier pigeon... Whatever sounds best to you.

So if you want to help me out, and I really hope you do, please comment below, email me (, or send me a message on Twitter (@OtterMC). I'm really looking forward to hearing from all of you! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Joining ScanSnap

I've written a lot of posts about different technology that I love and use. One product I'm a particular fan of is my Fujitsu ScanSnap. To celebrate my love of scanner, I've joined the ScanSnap Squad. My first post for them can be found here. Be sure to check it out! I'm excited to talk more about ScanSnap and how it can be best used for school.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Evernote Structure

I've gotten a lot of questions as to how I set up my notebooks and tags in Evernote for my school work. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, depending on what works best for you. I recently changed up my own structure to better reflect my current needs. I'll go through both setups to give multiple ideas.

I've come to use Evernote for a lot more than just my school work. I'm also using it to organize my job search, my recipes, my workouts, and more. So for different functions, I'll tag differently. This post is only about how I tag for school work.

So as students, we have a lot of different things going on: classes, clubs, internships, etc. For most of my college career, I used a separate notebook for each class and club. All of these notebooks were collected into a notebook stack titled "College." I also had a "High School" stack. This system worked very well for me, making it easy to separate my notes into exactly what I needed to view at that moment.

As I'm heading into my final semester of school, the amount of notebooks I had was getting a little out of hand for my liking. I wanted to streamline things, especially since I knew that I would soon be transitioning from college life to the working world, meaning I wouldn't be accessing my school notes nearly as often. Hence my restructuring.

What I decided to do was rather simple. Instead of having separate notebooks for everything, each class, club, and internship got its own tag. By using the select all function in each notebook, I easily added this tag to every note at once. All of the notes were then moved into one "College" notebook. I did the same thing with my "High School" Stack. Now, instead of having two separate stacks, with well over 50 notebooks, I have one "School" stack with two notebooks.

Besides the tags for each class, I also add tags for the type of note. For example, when I'm taking notes in class, I'll tag the note with the name of the class, as well as "Class Notes." I have several other tags like this, such as "handout," "research," or "assignment."

So, by using this structure, if I had an exam in my literature class, I can view all the notes from that class tag. From there, I can search for a specific topic, or I can limit my view to just notes from that class with the tag "class notes" if that's what I'm using to study.

Now I've also gotten some questions as to whether or not I tag based on the topic of my notes. I personally don't. Evernote has some pretty intense search capabilities so I have always been able to find what I needed with that. If I were doing a much larger project, such as a dissertation, I might choose to tag in this way then, however, for now, I've found my current tagging structure to be more than enough.

Looking for some more ideas on tagging structures? Check out Allan Johnson's post here. He's a fellow Evernote Ambassador!

How do you set up your tags for school? Comment below or let me know @OtterMC on Twitter! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How I Survived Finals Week Without My Computer

Technology is great… until it doesn't work, always at the worst possible time. For college students, this is especially true. We become dependent on our technology, doing most of our work on our personal computers and devices. So what happens when we can't use them? Unfortunately, during finals week of this past semester, with my computer out of commission, I found out.

I've talked to a lot of students who've dealt with computer problems during college. I've heard stories of losing papers the night before they're due, hard drives crashing in the middle of projects when they didn't have a backup, being forced to gather class notes from other people in the weeks before finals. Certainly doesn't help endear anyone to the idea of using technology in education.

We are told again and again to backup everything and often. But how many of us do? I certainly don't nearly as often as I should. So when I had to hand over my laptop for repairs the weekend before finals, everyone expected me to panic (and trust me I did for a few minutes). I thought about typing and turning in papers, studying for exams, all of my projects saved to my hard drive.And then, after about five minutes, I relaxed.  If only there was something that would back up all of my stuff, without having to think about it. Oh wait. There is!

Everyone knows that I love Evernote. I have all of my notes and a lot more in my account. So even though I couldn't access my desktop client, I had everything on my phone, my iPad, and in the web client. The web client became my most helpful platform. At Pitt, we have a pretty great computer lab system: 8 labs with over 500 computers, running 3 different operating systems. Any student can log onto these computers. So whenever I needed to work on something in my Evernote account, I logged onto a computer, went to Evernote's website, and picked up from right where I left off.

But what about editing files, formatting papers, working on presentations? While I could keep all of these in my Evernote account, it would take up a great deal of my monthly allowance. In comes Dropbox, another service that I'm a big fan of. For those of you who aren't familiar, Dropbox is a cloud based service that syncs files, photos, etc. to your account, making them available across your computers, devices, and from the web. I have my Dropbox account set up to sync everything saved in my Documents folder on my computer, meaning that I can then log into my account from any web browser, and download whatever files I need.

So no, maybe we don't run our backups as often as we should. But that doesn't mean that we have to be left in a jam when our computers decide to fail on us. Using a couple different services, we can easily have access to everything we need from anywhere.

How do you keep your files and notes backed up? Leave me a comment or let me know @OtterMC on Twitter! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Top 5 Evernote 5 Features for Students

Pretty recently, Evernote updated both Evernote for Mac and Evernote for iOS. Safe to say, Evernote 5 is pretty awesome. Each app got a complete makeover and they both look great (plus I still can't get over the fact that I'm in the intro of the iOS app). Evernote introduced a ton of new features into their apps and you can check them all out here (Mac) (iOS) but I wanted to look at 5 features that I think will be especially helpful to students.*

1. Shortcuts: There are certain notes/notebooks that I use all the time. My Homework Planner notebook comes to mind. With the Shortcuts feature in Evernote for Mac, you can add these notes and notebooks to your shortcuts on the upper left hand side, giving you access to your most important information quickly and easily from anywhere in the app. Right below your shortcuts is a list of your 5 most recent notes, which is also helpful for multitasking.

2. Activity Feed/Shared Notebooks: We all share information with someone. Whether we are using shared notebooks to work on a group project or just to make sure that someone else has access to important stuff, shared notebooks come in handy. It's great that now these notebooks are shown right with all of your private notebooks, both on your Mac and your iOS devices. Also, in Evernote 5 for Mac, Activity Feed is better than ever too, so you always know when someone has updated a notebook.

3. Notebook Stacks on iPad: Pretty self explanatory, but you can now view Notebook Stacks on iPad, which makes staying organized on the go that much easier.

4. Improved Page Camera: As students (or anyone really), just because we try to go paperless, doesn't mean that everyone else does. So sometimes we have to get our paper into our Evernote account. There are plenty of ways to do this: scanners, photos, etc. But Evernote has improved the Page Camera from within the iOS app. This is one of the easiest ways to get stuff into your account as quickly as possible.

5. TypeAhead Search: Last but not least is TypeAhead Search. College students are often pressed for time. While it may not seem like a huge time saver, seeing ahead to what notes you have in your account can be really helpful. Sometimes we have so much information in our heads that we can't remember exactly what we named a particular note or what information was where. Now we can see ahead, helping us remember.

What are your favorite new Evernote features? Let me know @OtterMC!

*All of this is my personal opinion.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Visit to Evernote Headquarters

As I get closer and closer to graduation (166 days and counting), I've been thinking a lot about the things that have gotten me through the past few years. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Redwood City, CA, to visit Evernote Headquarters. As the Student Ambassador, Evernote is something that I definitely cannot picture my college experience without, which made my visit that much more exciting.

While I was sitting in the airport waiting for my connecting flight, I heard that Evernote 5 for iOS had gone live. Talk about perfect timing! I had just enough time to download the update onto my iPhone before I had to board the flight. Needless to say, I spent a good portion of the flight playing with the app rather than doing all the studying I promised myself I was going to do. If you haven't checked out the new app yet, do it now. And be sure to log out of your account once you've downloaded it. Then you'll get to see some User Stories, featuring five of the Ambassadors including myself!

After finally making it to Redwood City, I had the chance to meet up with my fellow ambassadors at Martin's West for some great food. It was so good to see everyone again and meet some new people as well!

Friday morning kicked off early with a workout at Evernote HQ with the Fitness Ambassador, Chad Williams (@AnthroPhysique). It was a great workout. Afterwards, we had a little time to explore before everyone else arrived.

Eventually the rest of the Ambassadors joined us for breakfast, which was accompanied by this awesome gift box.

Even before I opened it, I knew that it was going to be filled with complete awesomeness. I was right.

Lots of goodies from San Francisco, another Evernote Ambassador T-Shirt, some gift certificates from partners, and yes, a LiveScribe Sky Smartpen! Literally five minutes before opening this up I had been talking about how much I wanted to try this pen out. I can't wait to use it in my classes and meetings. Look out for a post on how it works soon.

In addition to all of that, I now have a smaller Moleskine notebook to keep my larger one company. I'll be writing up a post about using these for school as well.

The rest of the day was packed with sessions from pretty much every department imaginable from Evernote. We got to meet with product managers, developers, PR, plus the great people that we email and collaborate with all the time through the program. Oh yeah, and CEO, Phil Libin. Everyone was incredible and made us all feel like celebrities (that may have also had something to do with the cameras following us around all day as if we were on a reality show).

At the end of the day, we got to gather with all of the Evernote employees for drinks and… A S'MORES BAR. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love s'mores. As if Evernote HQ had not already become my favorite place ever, this completely secured it in the top spot.

Overall, this trip was amazing. I can't wait to go back and see everyone again. If you aren't using Evernote, check it out. Feel free to ask me any questions that you have! Also, check out some of my fellow Ambassadors' posts about our visit:

You can find all of the ambassadors here.