Learning Google Analytics

Mind. Blown. I had no idea how much information websites are able to collect from users prior to taking the Google Analytics course.

This free online class hosted by the Google Analytics Academy taught me how to efficiently manage and analyze a company website. Specifically, it taught me how to create an account for a business, implement tracking codes, analyze reports, and set up goals and campaign tracking. 

For example, I now know how to figure out the demographics of the individuals engaging with the website that I am running, and how to track their behaviors. When the company I work for runs campaigns, I will be able to monitor them and then perform analyses in order to figure out how successful they are.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.22.42 PMGoogle Analytics. (24 April, 2017). Google analytics for beginners certificate of completion. [Screenshot]. Retrieved from https://analytics.google.com/analyt ics/academy/course/6/certificate

As one can tell by reading this website, my personal brand surrounds my goals to become a successful businesswoman in the marketing or advertising field one day. I attempt to portray this through content that is lively, enjoyable, and easy to understand.

I always strive to try and learn new things since I do not know what type of position I want to hold. This strengthens my personal brand, as it empowers me to become a well-rounded individual. Being a versatile person sets me up for success in the workplace, as companies cherish an employee with this characteristic.

Throughout these past three months I have learned to utilize many new tools such as Photoshop, Piktochart, Final Cut Pro, and InDesign, that I was able to add to my portfolio. Though each one of these has significantly contributed to my personal brand, learning how to operate Google Analytics will probably be the most beneficial for my future.

Reason being, we live in a technologically advanced world where technology is continuing to rise. Online shopping and advertising is becoming more popular than ever. Therefore, marketers who know how to successfully run a website, track online campaigns, and collect other statistical data relevant to the company will be in demand. Learning Google Analytics for Beginners was just the start for me. In order to enhance my personal brand even more, I am making it a goal to complete all four courses that the Google Analytics Academy has to offer, plus become Google Adwords certified by the end of the summer.

I feel confident and powerful when I acquire the knowledge of using programs that will help me thrive in the future. It also motivates me, as I am eager to utilize them in real life situations to help a company grow and succeed.



Handy Dandy Hootsuite

For every social media specialist and marketer, Hootsuite is a gift sent from God. This tool allows one to manage multiple social media networks at once, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and they just recently added Instagram!

I learned to use this system when I was an intern for the headquarters of Lake Michigan Credit Union. As a marketing intern, part of my job was to manage the social media accounts, which included Twitter and Facebook.

Every Monday I would plan out posts for the following week. I would write 7 for Facebook and 21 for Twitter. Next, my manager would edit them. Then, every Friday I would spend about an hour scheduling these posts on Hootsuite.

Hootsuite allows one to simply type a post, attach a picture if necessary, and then choose the date and time he/she wants it to be published. This made managing social media SO much easier because after I was done scheduling on Friday, I did not have to worry about creating content to post for the next week; I knew that one post would be published on Facebook and three on Twitter each day. I would still monitor the accounts in order to stay connected with my consumers, but being able to arrange the posts in advance saved me a plethora of time.

This system also came in handy when I went on Spring Break. Instead of having to take time out of my vacation to worry about work, I was able to schedule all of the posts before I left. That way, I could thoroughly enjoy my vacation without any distractions.

I had a goal of increasing the amount of likes/followers and activity on both of these social networking pages. The photo below demonstrates that I succeeded; I could not have done it without the assistance of Hootsuite.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.09.06 PMIssuu. (20 April, 2017). Lake Michigan Credit Union Internship Report. [Screenshot]. https ://issuu.com/sarahharken/docs/internship_report

The following pictures are examples of some of the posts that I created and scheduled with this tool. I was not able to find screenshots of my posts scheduled on the actual system, however, on the Facebook posts in the upper lefthand corner it reads, “Published by Hootsuite.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.14.58 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.14.48 PMIssuu. (20 April, 2017). Lake Michigan Credit Union Internship Report. [Screenshot]. https ://issuu.com/sarahharken/docs/internship_report

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.11.25 PMIssuu. (20 April, 2017). Lake Michigan Credit Union Internship Report. [Screenshot]. https ://issuu.com/sarahharken/docs/internship_report

I highly recommend checking this tool out even if it’s just for personal use! Hootsuite will help you boost your page engagement and interact with your followers more consistently.

Farewell, Grand Valley.

Every year, Grand Valley State University puts on a networking and farewell event for the seniors called Toast with T. Haas. Thomas Haas, commonly known by the students as T. Haas, is the president of the school.

During this two hour span, snacks and beverages were provided for the guests to enjoy while socializing. About half way through the night, T. Haas took the podium to give a speech, and then made a farewell toast in honor of us seniors.

When it comes to networking, I feel like there is a common misconception that one has to build relationships with those whom are above him/her. For example, students tend to use networking to meet employees who are already established within a company.

What many do not realize is that it is also beneficial to build these relationships with other students who are on the same level as or below the individual. Reason being, in the near future these peers are the ones who are going to be earning jobs throughout various companies in similar fields. Therefore, their connection could be valuable in multiple ways.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.29.15 PMHarken, S. (Photographer). (2017, April). Grand Rapids: GVSU Devos Center.

At Toast with T. Haas, I was able to meet several students in my field who will be graduating next week. Some of them have jobs lined up and some are still searching. I will be connecting with them on LinkedIn within the next couple of weeks in order to keep in touch. Who knows, upon my return from Spain next June, these individuals could come in handy when I begin my job search!

Though I was able to establish professional relationships at this event, I still thoroughly enjoyed the night. It was a great way to signify my time here at Grand Valley State University.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 8.37.59 PMHarken, S. (Photographer). (2017, April). Grand Rapids: GVSU Devos Center.

TGF Career Counselors

It’s usually difficult for me to make decisions on my own. Sometimes I know what choices I want to make but as a human being, I need a little reassurance. Most of the time I turn to my family and friends, but when it comes to career choices I like to visit Mr. Troy Farley.

Troy is the director of the GVSU Career Center, and he also serves as an advisor to students. He is amazing at his job and I always thoroughly enjoy our conversations.

My first visit to him was in April of 2016. The reason I met with him is because I had a billion ideas of what I might want to do after I graduate and needed some direction.

Since he has worked in the business industry for plenty of years and has guided hundreds of students, he is extremely knowledgable. He provided me with additional contacts to chat with in order to give me some more information on combining my marketing skills with the health industry, which was where my heart was at the time. After talking with him I felt more confident about my future.

My next visit was on Monday, April 3rd. This was a situation where I have already made a decision, but wanted to hear his thoughts on my choice. Thankfully, Troy told me that he believes my plan to take a leap year in Spain is wonderful.

By looking at my resume he said that this trip will do nothing but enhance it. He told me that individuals who are truly cultured are attractive to many companies: “A study abroad is good, but living abroad? Way better.” Troy also verified the fact that if a person is bilingual, he/she will start out making more money than one who is not.

After chatting about Spain, he suggested that I come back to see him before I leave so that we can compile a list of potential companies that I may be interested in working for upon my return to the United States. To my surprise, he recommended that I begin a serious job search around January! I am thankful that he suggested it because if he had not, I would not have began in depth research until April.

Once we were done talking about my career path, he filled me in on his children, which I always love hearing about. He always has the coolest stories to share about one of his sons. Our conversation ended up lasting an hour!

Troy Farley is hands down one of the greatest career counselors I have ever met. I look forward to visiting him again at the end of the summer.

To make an appointment with him, call the career center at (616) 331-3311!

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 11.43.27 AM

Harken, S. (Photographer). (2017, April). Grand Rapids: GVSU Career Center.

Insights on Job Searching

College is all fun and games until winter semester of senior year rolls around and shit gets real. Suddenly you realize that you have to start making major life decisions and that adult-ing is in the near future.

Growing up can suck, which is why it is important to find a somewhat enjoyable job in an area where you can make yourself happy. To do this, one must research, research, and research some more!

Fortunately for me, a couple of months ago I decided that I am not satisfied with starting a big girl job yet so I’m moving to Spain for 10 months to teach English. However, my advisor suggested that it would be beneficial for me to begin a career search anyways.

Since I have never searched for a professional job before I decided to try out a few different websites in order to figure out which one I like the best. I tested out Indeed, LinkedIn, and Beyond.

Each one of these sites were simple to use and presented multiple jobs that caught my attention (listed below). However, the job search on LinkedIn was my favorite:

The social media platform has this cool feature that provided me with names of alumni from my college that work at the companies of the jobs I am interested in. This allows me to make a connection with that individual and ask him/her questions about the company prior to applying or interviewing. Additionally, LinkedIn makes it easy to click on a company’s profile in order to learn more about it.

Below is a photo of the LinkedIn job search page. This website even compiled a list of jobs I may be interested in by pulling information from my profile and analyzing my activity! If in need of a job, I highly recommend checking this site out.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 9.35.29 PM.pngLinkedIn. (13 April, 2017). Jobs [Screenshot]. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/

Job #1: 

Job #2:

  • Position: Digital Marketing Manager (Nashville)
  • Company: Universal Music Group
  • Link: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/270915364/
  • Experience Required:
    • Degree in relevant field, music industry or artist relation experience preferred, and a minimum 2 years prior marketing experience required.
    • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, basic knowledge HTML and CSS, and knowledge of photo editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Canva.

Job #3:

  • Position: Market Associate (Boston)
  • Company: Expedia
  • Link: https://expedia.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/search/job/USA
  • Experience Required: 
    • 0-2 years of experience, Bachelor’s Degree; major in tourism or hospitality is a plus but not required
    • Must have an appetite for innovative technology, fast-changing business environment, and data-driven decision making .

Job #4:

  • Position: Digital Marketing Specialist (Grand Rapids)
  • Company: Gordon Food Service
  • Link: https://career4.successfactors.com/career
  • Experience Required: 
    • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Communications or related field.
    • Three to five years previous experience in digital marketing.
    • Prior experience using marketing measurement and analytics tools to measure performance of campaigns – Google Premium, HootSuite, Email analytics, responsive analytics.
    • Proven skills in editing and writing content for digital presentation – emails, landing pages, social posts, web content.

Job #5

  • Position: Digital Marketing Manager (News York)
  • Company: Bandier
  • Link: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/268817066/
  • Experience Required:
    • 3-5 years of experience in B2C Digital Marketing (preferably retail)
    • Analytics proficiency with Google Analytics, multi-attribution modeling, customer segmentation
    • Benchmark performance across all online channels and advise on KPIs as well as monitor spend and daily performance of all marketing channels.

Business Cards!

Though we are living in a world where there is a push toward being paperless, there is still one item that will most likely always be printed: business cards. These mini pieces of card stock can be utilized by any professional. They usually include a name, title, and contact information.

The benefit to having a business card is that it allows one to simply spread information about himself or herself to others. There are many situations where these come in handy, including when one meets somebody and has the desire to stay in touch, when networking, or when one is attempting to uphold a clientele or a following.

For example, the business card I designed below was created in attempt to gain a following on my travel blog. When I studied abroad last semester I wrote posts on the first seven weeks I was there. The original purpose of these was to keep my family and friends back home up-to-date with my life, and to document everything so that I can always remember my experience. However, my hope is that I can begin to guide those who have the desire to study abroad or travel. I plan to continue writing about traveling tips, where to visit, and details on the cities I explore when I move to Spain in August. This business card allows me to spread the word about my blog by simply passing them out to anyone and everyone:

Front: BizCardFrontInDesign. (29 March, 2017). BusinessCard. 


BizCardInDesign. (29 March, 2017). BusinessCard.

This double sided business card was created on InDesign. This program allows one to either upload a template or begin from scratch. I decided to start from scratch and discovered that it was not that difficult! By using layers, I was able to create the perfect layout.

ProofBCInDesign. (29 March, 2017). BusinessCard [Screenshot]. 

Once I get home from Spain I will have to make a new business card since I will be searching for a full-time position. After I land a job, I will have to make yet another one with my new company name and title! Therefore, I am glad I learned how to use InDesign!

Utilizing an Innovative Mindset

Technology today presents endless opportunities for people and businesses to market themselves. Since I am one with an innovative mindset, I am constantly searching for new ways to enhance my professional profile.

I recently learned about a tool called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If utilized correctly, SEO can maximize the number of times a person’s site gets clicked on. It does this by connecting words that employers or customers may search for with key words on a person’s or business’ website.

Since I am graduating in the near future and will be searching for a job within the next year, it is important to me that I place key words throughout my online profile so that potential employers can discover me. To figure out what phrases I should place on my site, I used the Google Ads Keyword Tool.

This tool offered by Google is helpful and simple to use. All I had to do was type in phrases that I believe accurately describe my experiences and skills, then press enter. The picture below shows my results:

adwordsGoogle. (14 March, 2017). AdWords [Screenshot]. Retrieved from https://adwords.google.com/h ome/tools/keyword-planner/

I was taught that the words with high average monthly searches but low competition are the best to place throughout my site. With that in mind, I created five sentences with the phrases included that I believe will help me be noticed and stand out amongst others:

  1. After I teach English in Spain for 10 months I will be bilingual, as I will know how to speak Spanish.
  2. Being a fitness enthusiast with a Marketing degree, I am positive that I would excel in health promotions.
  3. While interning at the headquarters of Lake Michigan Credit Union I developed a passion for creating content marketing campaigns.
  4. My experiences throughout my internships, classes, and my personal life have set me up to succeed as a social media specialist. 
  5. My experience abroad will allow me to bring an open mind and a diverse mindset to the workplace.

From here on out, I will be using the Google Ads Keyword tool way more often!