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5 Things You MUST Do Before Your Interview

Morgan Vega | Pen to Paid

5 Things You MUST Do Before Your Interview | Pen to Paid |

So you just found out you got an interview.

Congratulations! (Check out our 3 Reasons You Shouldn't Be Nervous for Your Interview if you’re starting to feel those interview jitters.)

Now—of course, after celebrating—it’s time to get prepared. Here’s 5 things you must do before your interview.


1. Buy your interview clothes.

This one may seem like a given, but it’s usually the step you think you’re all set on, and then something goes wrong. You can’t find your other shoe. Your hose has a noticeable run. You just realized there’s a stain on your blazer.

Lay out your interview attire way before your interview. Try it on. Does it make you feel comfortable and confident? If not, it’s time for a shopping trip.


2. Get thank you notes.

You should always send thank you notes to your interviewers after your interview.

Having been on the other side as an interviewer, interviews are time consuming as well as stressful. You want to hire someone who is not only capable, but who would be a great fit for your work environment.

So pick up some thank you notes—they go a long way! (And make sure to send them within 24 hours of your interview!)


3. Research the company.

This may also seem like a given, but we have been guilty in our early interview days of not researching the company enough or at all. They want to see that you’ve done your homework. They want to see that you know who they are and are interviewing because you think you’d be a great fit for their organization.

Do your research, and mention what interested you about the company during your interview!


4. Print copies of your resume.

You may not need them, but print some copies of your resume. Your interviewer may ask for a copy, or you may need to take a quick look during your interview.


5. Look up directions to the interview location.

Again, we’ve been guilty of not looking up directions to the interview location ahead of time. You want to feel confident the day of your interview, and there’s nothing worse than getting in car to realize you’re not as sure as you thought you were.

Use Google Maps, and print your directions (just in case you lose service on your way)!


In what other ways are planning to prepare for your interview? Let us know in the comments!

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Be Nervous for Your Interview

Morgan Vega | Pen to Paid

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Be Nervous for Your Interview | Pen to Paid |

Feeling nervous about your upcoming interview? Not sleeping? Obsessing over the questions they might ask you? We’ve been there.

You’re nervous because you care. You’re nervous because you’re excited about the position. But you don’t need to be so nervous.

Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t be nervous for your interview.


1. They think you can do the job.

You wouldn’t be asked to interview if they didn’t already think you capable of accomplishing the tasks necessary of the position. You’re asked to interview to determine whether or not you’re a good cultural fit and the best fit. (More on that in reason three.)

So, be confident in your abilities and experiences!


2. You’re interviewing them too.

They’re in the hot seat as much as you are. Not only are you trying to make a great first impression, they should be too. They may be deciding whether or not you would be a good cultural fit, but you should be deciding the same thing.

Do they make you feel welcome? Do they speak highly of their colleagues? Read 5 Questions to Consider BEFORE You Accept a Job, and know you’re not the only one trying to impress!


3. People hire people they like.

We’ve mentioned being a “cultural fit” a couple times, and this is really important because people hire people they like. You spend an enormous amount of time with the people you work with. You want to be around people you like, and so do they.

Be yourself, smile, speak confidently, and remember you want to work with people you like too!


Let us know in the comments your strategies for overcoming interview jitters!

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success

Morgan Vega | Pen to Paid

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

Is one of your new year’s resolutions to read more, write more, achieve a career milestone, speak your truth, or be confident? These 10 books, all soon-to-be published, will help you be your best self this year.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

1. Turn Your Pain Into Art by Ariel Bloomer

Some of our best story ideas are inspired by obstacles and struggles we have faced. Your writing will come from experience and be therapeutic. We’re putting this book on our Amazon Wish List to learn more about Bloomer’s take on this process. 

Have you used an obstacle for writing inspiration? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

2. When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want by Mike Lewis

Not liking your part- or full-time job? Not focusing on your writing? We’ve been there. And apparently so has Lewis, and he’s here to share when and how to ditch your below-standards job.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

3. DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World by Krista Suh

Suh, the creator of the Pussyhat Project, brings us one of our most anticipated books of the year for being our best selves. (Plus, the cover is super cute.)

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

4. Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence by Amy Alkon

Sometimes our doubt keeps us from achieving our goals and from being confident. We’re counting on Alkon to give us some strategies to overcome ourselves this year.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

5. Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t by Peta Kelly

We millennials care about the world and making a difference, so of course we were intrigued by this title.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

6. Work It: Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business by Carrie Kerpen

Who doesn’t want to read about secrets for success from badass women? Kerpen even includes tips from Sheryl Sandberg! Let’s be bold this year, everybody.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

7. In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules by Karen Karbo

This might be our favorite book on this list. Writing is a study of life, and we believe writing makes us better people. We’re convinced that earing women’s life lessons will make us better people and better writers.

Also, just for fun, share in the comments a writing rule you broke that worked!

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

8. Badass Babe Workbook: Creative Exercises, Drawing Activities, Empowering Stories, and Fuel for Your Personal Revolution, Inspired by Over 100 Trailblazing Women by Julie Van Grol

We plan to get creative this year with Van Grol’s workbook. Hopefully it leads to new story ideas, and at the very least, helps us destress!

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

9. The Wildflower's Workbook: A Journal for Self-Discovery in Nature Diary by Katie Daisy

Flowers. Self-discovery. Two things we can get behind. This book may be less book and more journal, but hopefully it prompts you to find out new things about yourself, which will help you on your writing and career journey.

10 Books to Read This Year for Writing and Career Success | Pen to Paid |

10. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Again, 2018 looks like the year for overcoming our self-doubt. We love the idea of “washing our face” to get rid of the lies we’ve told ourselves in order to see the person we’ve been all along.

What writing and career goals do you hope to accomplish this year? What could potentially hold you back from those goals? Let us know in the comments!


Tell us your favorite book from this list or if there’s a book not on this list that you plan to read to help you be successful in your writing and career this year!

5 Questions to Consider BEFORE You Accept a Job

Morgan Vega | Pen to Paid

5 Questions to Consider BEFORE You Accept a Job | Pen to Paid |

We’re going to go ahead and give you the biggest takeaway from this post: you are interviewing the employer as much as they are interviewing you.

Not every employer will be a good fit for your personality, career goals, lifestyle, etc. They have a choice whether or not to hire you, and you have a choice whether or not to accept a job offer. If you’re considering accepting a position, here are 5 questions to consider before you do.

1. Did you feel welcomed when you arrived for your interview?

If yes, this could indicate that the office is friendly and has job satisfaction. If not, beware! Don’t expect to feel welcomed for your first day on the job (or any day on the job, for that matter) if you don’t feel welcomed for your interview.

2. How did your potential fellow colleagues interact with you and with each other?

Were they kind to you and to each other? Did they laugh? Or were they cold and guarded? Avoid working in drama. You will spend most of your waking hours with your colleagues, so make sure they’re positive and amiable people. Who you work with has a lot to do with whether or not you’re happy at your job.

3. Was the office full or empty during lunch time?

If full, expect to be swamped and work through lunch. If empty, your employer may maintain a healthy work-life balance for its employees. As a writer, this balance should be important to you. You’ll need time outside of work for your writing. Make sure your future employer provides a balance!

4. Does the office culture and environment match your desired office culture and environment?

If you know you want an office, a window, and the ability to shut your door, make sure that you’ll have these things if you accept the job. Know yourself and your working needs.

5. Is this job a stepping stone to your dream job?

Not all first jobs out of college need to directly relate to your major or be what you envisioned, but you should still think ahead. Does the job at least provide you with transferrable skills that could apply to your dream job? Make sure this job is leading you down your desired career path.

Student loans can make you feel desperate and eager to take the first job you’re offered. But just because you are offered a job doesn’t mean you have to or should take it. Remember that this job is where you’ll spend the majority of your time for at least the next year. Don’t accept a job that will add stress, drama, and future dissatisfaction to your life.

5 Reasons Why Your Writing Life is Easier as a Student

Morgan Vega | Pen to Paid

5 Reasons Why Your Writing Life is Easier as a Student | Pen to Paid |

Napping, watching Netflix, working out at the gym, and partying can be everyday activities in college, but for student writers, sometimes writing isn’t. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: if you claim to be a writer, you have to write. Being a student doesn’t change that.

Don’t be discouraged, though. Finding time to write in college is easier than you think. Here are 5 reasons why your writing life is easier as a student, to consider before you graduate.

1. You control your schedule.

Once you graduate from college, your schedule will be controlled by your employer. Your working hours will take up most of your day and your remaining waking hours will be limited. Finding time to write between doing laundry, making dinner, working out, cleaning the kitchen, ironing your clothes, keeping up with bills, and on and on is difficult (though not impossible).

As a student, you control your schedule. You can have morning classes or afternoon classes or both. You can have classes back to back or you can have them spaced out. You sign up for your classes and most likely have breaks between them.

Make your class schedule with designated writing time in mind!

2. You have free time.

Though that afternoon nap can be tempting, you have time to write during your day, unlike 8-to-5 workers. College has many stresses: exams, papers, homework, social pressures. But once you leave college, you’ll realize how much time you had.

Use your time wisely!

3. You have a part-time—not a full-time—job.

If you do have a job while in college, it’s (hopefully) part-time. Again, you still have control over your class and working schedule as a student. That’s a luxury you won’t have as a full-time employee!

4. You stay motivated with on-campus writing groups.

Once you graduate, finding writing groups becomes tricky, and even when you find one, getting there isn’t a five-minute walk across campus. It can be a thirty-minute drive after you’ve worked nine hours.

Your fellow writers—classmates and professors!—are conveniently all around you.   

5. You have writing assignments.

As a writing student, you write for your classes. You write for classes outside of your major too. Depending on your job out of college, you may not have someone telling you to write anymore. Writing may not be required of you. Your drive to write will have to be internal rather than external, and your writing time will no longer be carved out of your day for you.

While it is, make sure you are investing time and energy into your writing assignments. Whether it's a personal essay, a research paper, or a short story, all of your writing assignments will help you grow as a writer.

Don't take your writing assignments for granted! 

These reasons will ring truer once you've graduated, but you've been warned! Finding time to write out of college is more difficult than while in college. Get serious about your writing career now, and it will pay off after graduation.