Social Media Summit

Those working in PR and corporate communications may be interested in the Social Media Summit to be held in Chicago this September. The event will feature how-tos and best practices to put social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) to work for your organization.

You may also find interesting information on, a web site offering “news, ideas, and conversations for communicators worldwide.” 

The site also features an interesting interview with University of Michigan communications professional Jessica Soulliere, who discusses how her team developed video podcasts (vodcasts) to promote the work of faculty at the medical school.

Upcoming networking opportunities

Grand River Connection, a networking group in the Lansing area, has monthly opportunities for young professionals to come together and socialize. This month’s event will be Tuesday, July 22, from 6-8pm in the Stadium District. Check out the Grand River Connection website for more details.

Blog Indiana is a two-day conference about blogging and social media. Sessions topics include blogging for beginners, using blogs in your business, monetizing your blog, and political blogging. Anyone with an interest in technology and new media is welcome to attend. The conference will be held August 16-17 at the IUPUI Campus Center in Indianapolis, IN. Check out the conference website to learn more and register.

Tweet-ups are events where fans of Twitter meet in real life to keep the conversation going. In Michigan, there has been an active tweet-up group in Detroit for a while now, but Lansing and Grand Rapids are new to the scene. Below are upcoming tweet-ups for all three areas.

Grand Rapids Tweet-up
Thursday, July 17 @ 7pm
Hopcat, Grand Rapids, MI

Mid-Michigan Tweet-up
Thursday, July 31 @ 5pm
Dublin Square, East Lansing, MI

Detroit Tweet-up Network
Friday, August 15 @ 7-9pm
GM Heritage Center, Sterling Heights, MI

What networking opportunities are you taking advantage of?

Freelance resources for professional writers

Setting your own hours, being your own boss, naming your price. These are some of the perks I hear about when people talk about why they freelance, and every time I think, “Wow, that sounds fantastic…but how do I freelance?”

Professional writers have a lot to offer when it comes to freelancing because writing, editing, and design are marketable skills. But freelancing also means knowing how to manage yourself and your business. I know I am constantly working to improve my self-management, but I know next to nothing about managing a business. When I set out to explore the idea of freelance, I found some resources that are helpful for professional writers who want to learn about the business side while maintaining the creativity and flexibility that make it so attractive.

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Designing your online portfolio: some tips and resources

For professional writers, online portfolios can make a difference when it comes to landing an internship or job. Employers want to see concrete examples of your skills, and handing over a branded personal card with your portfolio’s URL on it is one way to make yourself memorable while giving them a glimpse at your talent. Whether you’re a writer, editor, designer, or all three, an online portfolio can help you organize your experience and get a handle on why you love doing what you do.

So how do you go about creating an online portfolio? I would recommend starting off with a piece of paper and a writing utensil of your choice. Jot down class projects, previous job-related projects, or personal projects that you have done that represent your top skills (tip: you can refer to your resume to match up projects with experience).

Before you get to the process of actually designing your online portfolio, you should have a sense of how it will represent you. This means thinking about portfolio sections, sample documents, color choices, typography, and graphics. It also means thinking about what your “about me” statement might include. What are your professional goals? Do you have a writing/editing/design philosophy? Why are you a professional writer? These are just a few of the questions that may guide your statement. Think of it as a cover letter for your online portfolio, one that welcomes visitors and introduces them to you and your talent. Continue reading

In the Workplace with Shauna Nicholson

Name: Shauna Nicholson
Title: Marketing Manager at Biznet Internet Solutions
Website/Blog: /
Location: Metro Detroit, MI

Shauna Nicholson

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
My undergrad degree is a BS in Technical and Professional Communication—essentially technical writing; my concentration (saving grace) was Multimedia Writing. I started out as a marketing coordinator running the entire marketing department at a telecom company. Being ambitious, I grew bored with that and started exploring how social media marketing could work/was working… that led me to working solely in web marketing and I couldn’t be happier.

Tell us about your current job.
Essentially, I have three core responsibilities: marketing Biznet, networking, and marketing Biznet clients. I’m often tasked with creating social media plans, networking solutions, and SEO-infused content.

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Best cities for young professionals

Forbes just released its “Best Cities For Young Professionals” list, which ranks the biggest metro areas on economic opportunity and appeal for young professionals.

And the top five are…

  1. San Francisco
  2. Boston
  3. Houston
  4. New York
  5. Minneapolis

Check out all 40 cities on the list. I was excited to see Detroit on there, ranked #33 for the low cost of living and top-quartile salaries for college and professional school graduates.

The ranking takes into account the locations of Forbes’ 400 best big companies and 200 best small companies, along with revenue, corporate practices, sales, earnings growth, and stock market performance. Median salaries are also compared with the cost of living for each city to see how much young professionals are able to take home each pay day.

This list is helpful for those who are job searching and would like a robust young professional community. Forbes also offers other resources for recent grads and young professionals, such as making the most of a career fair, dressing for success, and networking.

In the Workplace with Stephanie Tardy

Name: Stephanie Tardy
Title: Blogger and Designer
Website/Blog: Handmade Detroit and Phantom Limb
Location: Detroit, MI

Stephanie Tardy

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
I went to Michigan State and graduated with a BA in journalism, focusing on publication design. After school, I went to work at a newspaper, then another newspaper, both times as a copy editor and designer. There has been the occasional freelance assignment or column, mainly covering and reviewing pop culture or the arts.

Three years ago, I started selling paper goods and art under the name Phantom Limb. This was really just an extension of my design background – a way to get more hands on with the creative process.

Seeing a lack of opportunity for alternative crafters in my city, I then started Handmade Detroit, a collective that creates opportunities for these artists.

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Jobs for Professional Writers in Lansing

Awhile back I posted about job searching in the Lansing area. As a brief follow up, I’d like to post some other interesting local job openings:

Communications Writer

Director of Market Communications

Public Relations Director

Communications Manager

 There are plenty more opportunities out there for creative professionals in the Capital City — just keep looking! If you have any resources or tips to share about job hunting in the Lansing area, please feel free to post in the comments.

New design resource: The Daily Heller

I love finding new resources for design information and inspiration. The Daily Heller landed in my email inbox today and I thought I would share. For the first installation, Heller muses on the AMC series “Mad Men” DVD case design.

Steven Heller is the legendary graphic designer who “has been writing for PRINT since 1982. He is the co-chair of the MFA Designer as author program at the School of Visual Arts. For 33 years, he was an art director at The New York Times. He has authored or contributed to more than 100 books on design and popular culture.”

You can subscribe to the Daily Heller here.


In the Workplace with Victoria Pater

Victoria Pater's Fresh brandName: Victoria Pater
Title: Visual Design + Branding Specialist
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
I attended Ferris State University for Graphic Design. Their bachelor’s program is housed in the College of Business, so students gain skills that will help prepare them for the real world. I believe we started out with 65 freshmen and graduated with a tight knit class of 15 students. From there I took a job at a small design firm in Lansing. It didn’t turn out to be the kind of workplace I could grow in, so I reevaluated what I wanted out of my career.

Tell us about your current job.
I am currently working as a Visual Designer / Brand Specialist at a forex trading company. We recently went through the re-branding process and are trying to bring both the web and print materials up to par. There is talk of changing up the navigation and creating a better user experience for new and existing clients. We currently have offices in New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo, and Sydney. I hear there are a few more opening up elsewhere this year. Our headquarters is in Grand Rapids, so we handle all the design work. I am extremely interested in the different cultures we market and hope I get the chance to visit and fully explore…you know, so I can better serve them!

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