Ladies and Gents, it is time to change our perspective on Mondays. Time to stop whining and moaning on Sunday night about how you hate the dreaded monster we associate with Monday and turn the tables. Life is too short to hate waking up after a weekend of being away from the office only to be miserable. It is time to take Monday by the horns and slay like it is Friday!
Prepare Your Schedule for the Week
If you already have your planner marked up and ready for the week, then you are ahead of the game. If you don't have a planner, then you need to get off your butt and buy one at Target or OfficeMax. Keeping yourself organized and knowing your week ahead of time will save you from scrambling around like a crazy person at your office on Monday.
Write Down Your Weekly & Daily Goals
Everyday has a purpose, even Mondays believe it or not. On Sunday night before bed, write down in your journal or planner your daily goals and an overall weekly goal. This will make you feel large-and-in-charge as this technique will help you stay focused and motivated.
To make sure you are not running late in the morning after you drag yourself out of bed, make sure the night before you have your outfit ready and pressed, your lunch prepped and your briefcase already packed and organized. This will give you extra time to drink some coffee due to not rushing and have a peaceful moment before heading out the door
The outlook of the day is determined by your attitude, so think positively. What personally helps me is having an inspirational quote of the day or even a playlist for my ride into work to get myself pumped.
NOW GO GET EM'
In my half decade of being in HR, I have seen some things that are double take worthy. Interviewing is not the most comfortable task to go through, it is quite a stressful experience as you are self-consciously thinking "Am I saying the right thing?" or "I wonder what they think about me." I have been on both sides of the fence as an interviewer for several companies as well as an interviewee- so I know the nerve racking feeling. There are millions of articles on how to ace an interview, but I would like to give advice on what NOT to do based on scenarios I personally encountered as an interviewer.
Not Knowing the Company You Are Interviewing With
For any recruiter or HR professional, this has to be on the top of the list when it comes to 86ing your name off of the potential hire list. It is understandable that you may have applied for over 30 jobs within the past week, but when you receive the phone call to schedule an interview, 9 times out of 10 the person calling stated the company name. Also, make sure you do preliminary research on each company you apply to. Sometimes during the scheduling process, the recruiter may ask "What made you apply to our company?" This is a way for a recruiter to see how serious you are about the position.
Wearing A Beetle Juice Suit
When interviewing you want to come in as a clean canvas. You want people to remember you for your personality and poise and not as the person who wore the loud pants that look like a circus tent. When it comes to dressing for an interview KEEP IT SIMPLE. Black, navy blue or grey suit with a non-printed collared shirt is classic and sleek.
I feel like this is something that shouldn't be said… but since I have personally seen this (and the candidate made a bubble too) it has to be said. When this happens, I feel like I need to bring out my inner Albert Goldman aka Starina and yell across the room. Leave your gum at home… if not at home, then your car or spit it out before walking through the door.
Faking The Funk
Never "fake the funk" or lie about your experience, it will only make you look bad at the end of the day. This also includes over embellishing your resume. It is understandable that we want to slay our interviews and be on the top of the heap in the candidate pool, but it is always impossible to dig your way out of a lie- If you get caught, even after coming on as a new employee, you will most likely get the boot.
Using Derogatory Language
It is never and I mean NEVER okay to start dropping the "F-bomb" or any language you would not want Mother Teresa to hear. I had an experience where a woman felt like it was okay to use the "N-word" during an interview because she was a black woman like me… Big NO! Stay professional and keep the language clean. The recruiter will perceive that if you speak like that during an interview, then you will speak that way in front of clients, business partners and customers.
Coming Into an Interview Sauced
Sauced. Turnt. Lit. Faded. In other words drunk. Do not booze up and walk into an interview, this is not karaoke at TGIFridays.
Interview the Interviewer
It is always great when a potential candidate goes through an interview and when it is time for them to ask questions they do so. It shows that the candidate wants to know the culture and work life aspects of the company. What you do not want to do is begin to interview your interviewer. Asking questions like "How long have you worked here?", "What's challenging about your job?" and "Where did you work prior to coming here?" is not the best route to go. Remember, the interviewer already has a job and did not bring you in the grill them. Stick with general questions about the company and how you can make an impact on the department you could potentially be working with.
It was a scorching, unbearably humid day and a long four hour car ride with my parents from Philadelphia to Newport News, Virginia with a cramped car full of my young adult life. I was moving back home after my five year run at Temple U and ready to start traveling for an interview in New York City the following week. Somewhere between Baltimore and D.C., at a rest stop that looked like a scene from The Hills Have Eyes, my phone buzzed with an email from the tech company I was interviewing with. My heart was jumping inside- my face glowed as bright as the screen on my rhinestone cased phone. A few days before, I was emailing back and forth with the administrative assistant to set aside some time to discuss travel arrangements and my hotel stay. All I could think about was killing this interview and dreaming about being able to move up to The Big Apple, living life like a yuppie version of Carrie Bradshaw.
When I opened the email, I felt like someone shot me with a 12 gauge and left my body to fester on a deserted highway- the company decided at the last minute to offer the position to an internal candidate and cancel everything.
At the time, my whole idea of post collegiate success was landing a career in my field and climb up the company ladder for 40 years or so until retirement. Plan B? Please, I didn’t have a plan A.1! At the time, I did not really know what I was good at… my talents or what my passion was in life. I was $100,000 in debt and the dream was to work in the dog-eat-dog world of Corporate America, survive and have a little extra to get myself something nice every once in a while. There were no other options in my newly graduated 23 year old mind. Plan A HAD to work… because, it was all I had.
The current working world is a “gig” economy. Having a side hustle is becoming a must more than ever. It is surprising that the word “career” is still even in existence, especially for Gen Y. The working world and economy is not how it was back when the Baby Boomers or even Gen X entered the work force. The realm of working for a company until you reach retirement is slowly spiraling into extinction. Hell, most of us will probably go through several different employers and career paths within that time frame. Let’s face it, having a B.A. is becoming BS and not as valued as it was a couple of generations before us. You have to have more to your persona than your intricately framed $100,000 receipt hanging on the wall and a polished resume, because millions among millions of fresh faced degree holding young professionals have the same.
If you are one of the lucky ones to land your dream job, the rug can be pulled from under you at any moment. You have to have your game plan, even when you are on top of your game. What is your next move? What skills do you have? What are your passions? These are things you have to ask yourself and think deeply about in case things don’t work out. You have to have more than just a Plan B.
1. Networking and Maintaining Your Network
Building your network is key when it comes to staying competitive and setting yourself up with a backup plan or three. Networking shouldn’t stop when you land a job. Joining professional associations, attending company events and career fairs are ways to meet new people who are knowledgeable in the industry. Whether you believe it or not, your friends and coworkers are a vast network of individuals. Stay in touch and in the loop on events, you never know, the next get together you may attend may be the launch of a budding career.
2. Having A Hobby
If you are having a hard time landing your “Plan A” job, doing something that you love and enjoy is a route to go. You may think that your weekend obsession of scrap booking or making jewelry might be just a hobby, but hobbies can be platforms to start your own business. You are highly knowledgeable and skilled at your craft – the love that you have for a hobby naturally pushes you to become an expert and innovative. As they say- you don’t work a day doing what you love.
3. Being Open To Opportunities
Never say what you wouldn’t do, especially when you are in a position where you need experience to get your foot in the door. You have to look at the bigger picture. Do not discredit jobs that you may consider “small”. Throughout high school and college I worked in food service as a busser, waitress, bartender and even a line cook. These jobs taught me strong communication and customer service skills, advertising, attention to detail and problem solving. The job may not be glamorous, but it is about making the most out of the opportunities that you have to reach your goals.
4. Finding Your Passion
For some, finding a passion in life may be something that is already in front of them. For others, like me, finding a passion may take time and a little soul searching. I was turning 24 when I discovered my passion. I would work during the day and film makeup videos in my aunt and uncle’s fluorescent lit bathroom late at night. After continuously making videos, I realized that my passion was creating. I joined several online beauty communities, made a website while constantly reading and learning about editing and filming. Finding your passion expands your horizons and network.
Always make your next move your best move and play smart when moving along in your career. Remember, the path in life is not always linear, it is the curves and contours in the path that shapes us, but it is always good when you have paths B-Z to keep things moving towards A.
Staying motivated can be very difficult at times. There are days where I have hundreds of ideas floating in my head, but cannot seem to find a way to execute them. Sometimes it is like the light bulb in my head all of a sudden exploded and the motivation I once had just fizzles away. For times of lack of motivation, which we ALL experience, we have to stay inspired and keep our eyes on the prize. Being inspired is a major driver when we want to complete daily task and reach long-term goals. Whether your inspiration is from music, people you admire, art and beyond, always going back to your inspirations will jump start you to get back on track.
1. Make a Manifestation Board
Believe it or not, I got the idea from one of my favorite shows GIRLS on HBO. In the first season of the show, Shoshana (played by Zosia Mamet) created a Manifestation board full of inspiring magazine clippings and quotes- Think back to middle school and high school when you used to make collages. Whether you use a cork board or use your fridge making a Manifestation Board is a great way to have a visual reminder stay motivated.
Reading can be a drag for some of us, but reading books by business professionals and celebrity autobiographies can wake up the motivation seed that is buried inside of you. I did not start to really enjoy reading until I was 24, I try monthly to have a new book and the books are mainly about business and fashion. If you are into technology- then pick up books about how famous software companies developed. If you are into sports – read an autobiography about one of your favorite athlete. What I love about reading is that it sends you to a different place and perspective, especially when I read books about how entrepreneurs started their businesses from the ground up. Even if it is an article in a magazine READ to gain industry knowledge.
3. Follow People Who Are Doing What You Want To Do
I love blogging and making YouTube videos, but at times I can hit a dry spell creating content. I literally spend hours daily looking at YouTube videos and reading some of my favorite blogs (ManRepeller and Michelle Phan to name a couple) to see trending topics. Feeding off of people within your industry or the industry you would like to be helps to get you motivated. For me it gives me the sense of “If they can do it, so can I.”
With all the stress factors in life, whether it may be work, bills and prioritizing your busy schedule- It is good to block the world out and just take a chill pill. Our monotonous daily routines can get us in a mental bind that we forget the main purpose of life –LIVING.
Ever since elementary school I put a ton of pressure on myself; Who needs parents to push you when you are constantly pushing yourself to be an over achiever? Everything that I have set my mind to I always accomplished. I remember when I began working for a startup after graduating from college. For years I would barely take a day off, even if I were sick because I thought that work was my entire life. Being absent meant to me that I could be replaced and I did not want to look bad in the eyes of my superiors. That constant reassurance in my mind for job security through showing how hard I could work started dragging me to the ground and even affecting my home life. My mind would not shut off from work, this would cause me to fall asleep on the couch thirty minutes after my fiancé came home. I was burnt out over things that I cannot control.
I needed to find a way to release and live a less stressful life, because I knew that I would be heading down a path of mental breakdown mania before even reaching thirty (i.e. Britney Spears circa 2007). As time went on I found a new gig, left the startup, and then lost my job. All of my fears felt like they Spartan kicked me in the chest and I just broke down. Little did I know this minor setback was going to be the beginning of a new life and a new way of thinking.
One night, after sending numerous resumes and working on my website and YouTube, I decided that I needed to clear my head and FAST. I remember thinking back about an interview Russell Simmons did as he talked about how he meditates every day to keep a strong mind and healthy life. I decided to go in my bedroom, illuminate the room with candles with only the sounds of a meditation soundtrack of rushing water and just BREATHE. The first night that I did this, I blocked out everything (even the sounds of my fiancé playing GTA V and causing a five star SWAT chase) and felt so refreshed, even through my time of career uncertainty. I do a meditation routine nightly and this helps to close out the current day and prepare positively for the next day.
1. Find A Quiet Place
Find a place in your home where you can be uninterrupted, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes. Turn off all distractions such as your TV, radio and phone (unless you use your phone for music).
2. Use Scented Candles and Incense For A Calming Atmosphere
Meditating is all about a peaceful calm atmosphere. Scents like lavender and vanilla are commonly used to calm our bodies from stress. I personally like to mix beach and ocean inspired scents along with vanilla candles.
3. You Do Not Have To Be A Particular Religion To Meditate
Don’t think that you have to be affiliated with a religion to meditate. You can use this time to think about personal goals and daily goals. Personally, I use the time to do rhythmic breathing, pray, set goals and repeat motivational phrases as if I were my own coach. Remember, you are your biggest motivator.
The most important thing is to relax. Leave work at work! You already dedicated 40+ hours at the office; do not neglect your personal time. That was a major problem I had for years and I made a vow that I would not bring that added stress. Turn off your work phone and laptop; it CAN wait until the morning.
The working world can be crazy at times, maybe even a tad stressful trying to stay competitive. We all don't start off at the top in a big office overlooking some major body of water. You have to work hard and make the most out of your current position. Don't let having an entry level job discourage you from keeping your eye on the prize. We all have goals and dreams; whether it be being a C-Suite level executive of a company in your field or even owning a corporation, you got to put in work!
Change is Good: Don't let change hold you back from being the dynamo that you are. Embracing change and taking on projects that are not automatically assigned to you can boost not only your skill set, but boost your personal brand.
Don't Be A Negative Nancy-Problem Solve: When you start off conversations with "I can't" or constantly saying "No" to task and questions, you can come off as a person who does not want to get the job done. Of course, there are some instances where there could be a limitation and it just can't be done, but trying to find a solution and staying positive shows strong initiative. This separates people who are just coming in for a paycheck from the future leaders.
Be An Expert In The Business & Industry: Knowing the ins and outs of the business from operations to market saturation can put you to another level. I personally love knowing what is going on within a specific industry by reading publications and social media. If you have an opportunity to cross-train with a different department then GO FOR IT! Knowledge is power.
Communication Is Key: Whether it is good or bad, ensure that your team members and supervisor(s) are in loop on everything that is going on. Make sure when you are communicating via email that you are as concise and to the point as possible. No one wants to read a novel and then finally after 30 minutes get to the main point. Also, do not be afraid to talk to people face-to-face if possible. Remember, email has no emotion, so you do not want someone to have a misunderstanding. Even after you have an important conversation, follow it up with an email to have on record that the situation was discussed.
Self Management: Always remember that your word is your bond. If you say that you will turn something in on Thursday, prioritize your time so you can get it done. If you can turn in an item early, then do so. It is understandable that there are 50 million things going on, so stop and take a moment to collect yourself. Schedule out your time so you are not feeling overwhelmed and knock out your task.
I am not trying to be preachy, but starting to save in your 20's is very important. It is exciting that you are on an excellent career path and working your way up the ladder. Having extra money to spend is always a plus, but you always have to have something to the side for a rainy day or even on a brighter note, budgeting for a vacation.
What worked for me was having a checking account solely for bills and expenses, then opening up a savings account with a different bank from my checking account. I know some of you just said "That is just doing the most!", but it really works out well. If your savings and checking are connected through the same bank, you will be more tempted to dig into your savings to splurge because obtaining that money is convenient.
Always save at least 10% of every paycheck. I have been doing this since my teens. If your company has direct deposit, set it up so that 10% goes to your savings account. Act like that money is not apart of your paycheck by counting your savings as a bill. Soon you will be racking up money in no time. Recalculate the amount that goes into your savings as you get pay raises.
If you do use your savings as a rainy day/ vacation fund, make sure that you do not wipe it bone dry to just pay for vacation. Most banks will charge you a $5 fee if you are below a minimum amount. I suggest keeping two times the minimum at your lowest in your savings.
There is not a more rewarding feeling than being smart with your finances.
Think of your resume as an advertisement from a major magazine. What does it say about you? Why are you valuable? What can you bring to the table? In my years working in human resources, I have seen thousands of resumes, some good, some that needed work, and some that were completely off the wall.
In today's economy, the job market has become more competitive than ever. Just because you have a college degree from XYZ University DOES NOT mean you are entitled to a job. It is time for you to advertise why you are the best person for the job, and how you will bring value to the company you wish to work for.
When putting your resume together, ensure that you have a neat, organized, and easy to read format. Most word processors and the internet have sample templates for resumes. Make sure you have a font that is easy to read, and include the experience that is applicable to the job description. Also, include your education, certificates, and awards. If you graduated from college, DO NOT include where you graduated from high school, it takes up room and it is unnecessary if you completed an undergraduate program.
Make It Action Packed
In your bullet points, underneath each position you have held, make your resume eye catching by having each bullet start with an action word. Example resume action words: reconciled, provided, projected, analyzed, oriented, developed, and created.
Do Not Undermine Your Experience
I remember speaking to someone over a year ago that was applying for a position with a marketing firm and said that they would not be considered, because they did not have experience. I looked at this person's resume, and saw that they had years of retail and restaurant experience. I said to the person that they have used marketing techniques their whole career so far. In retail, if there is a new product coming out, you help spread the word by in store promotions. In the food industry, employees are advertising new product and up selling. Never sell yourself short. You will be surprised how many jobs can relate to the career of your dreams.
Cover letters are not always necessary, but I like them because they allow you to expand on accomplishments that would not fit on your resume. I think of cover letters as a preface to an epic novel, it allows you to display your knowledge about what you know about the company and why you would be a great fit.
No Pictures Please
This is a HR nightmare... do not, and I mean DO NOT add a picture at the corner of your resume. I know what you were thinking when you were adding it, "If this company can see how great I look, they will want to bring me in for an interview." Normally, recruiters will put these resumes to the side, because if the candidate goes through the interview process and does not get the job, the candidate can say it was due to discrimination for XYZ reason. It is always great to put a face with a name, but unless you are applying to a modeling agency, then don't impose your picture to your resume.
Companies look for well rounded candidates that are involved with activities outside of work. Do you play on an intramural team? Are you a mentor for a youth group? Make sure to include this in your resume to set yourself apart from other applicants.
For those of you who may not know, Wende Zomnir is the Co-Founder of Urban Decay Cosmetics. I have been using the brand since way back when Urban Decay was selling nail polish kits on QVC, which my mom bought me for my birthday one year. This story I am about to tell is something that I would not encourage people to do to be noticed by an employer, but what I did opened my eyes to so many things...
During my last semester in college I was sending out my resume everywhere, especially to cosmetic companies because of my love for the industry. Since I was receiving my BBA in International Business and Human Resources Management,I was applying to entry level positions within those fields, for companies that did not have open positions I sent an inquire with my resume attached. I was determined to get my post-collegiate life started and I was open to relocating to a new city, more so because I did not want to move back home to Virginia. As the days went by and graduation creeped closer, I would sit at my lap top for hours between classes sending off my resume to companies. Months would go by, not one word of an interview, or I would be super stoked to see a new email came through my phone, but with a harsh rejection letter about my inquire. Things like this did not make me quit, it pushed me harder to prove that something was out there for me.
Graduation passed, and I was still at it with my job search. As I went online to look at new products from Urban Decay, I went to their career section and found a contact list. I emailed one of the HR contacts, stating how much I admired the company and why I wanted to be part of their ever growing team. The contact let me know that the company was based in California, and that they would keep my resume on file. At this point, I felt like I had an out of body experience. I wanted to make it known that I am perfect to work for this company. I was on Facebook, and curiously wanted to know if Co-Owner Wende Zomnir had a Facebook... and she did. I wanted to go for the source, and in my mind that was the best option at the time. I drafted an email stating who I was, my credentials- the whole nine yards. Also, I let Wende know that I got in touch with the HR contact at the company and I sent my resume to their office. I hurriedly clicked the send button and just stared at my computer... What in the hell did I just do? All of a sudden I felt like my determination worked against me. How rude was I to literally send a message to her personal Facebook about me wanting full time employment with her company, I mean goodness, I could have found her on LinkedIn like a professional would do.
About a month went by, and I was about to go to New York City for my first time that summer to see a concert. As I was packing my overnight bag, my Facebook notification went off. It was a message... from Wende Zomnir. My stomach went to my throat like a kid that swallowed a hard candy, because in my head I knew this message would not be great. I opened the message... and to my surprise she wrote the sweetest thing. She thanked me for getting in touch and loving the brand. Wende let me know if anything was a fit from the team that they would see if my experience would be a great fit. That was so nice of her to do, I was speechless and this made my trip to the Big Apple even better.
Currently, I do not have a job with the makeup giant, but that is fine with me. I was proud of myself for being a go-getter and taking my rejections as fuel to push forward. I have always admired Wende and always will. During that whole experience I know that I can do anything that my heart desires. During that same month, I had interviews with companies I never thought in 100 years would consider me. Even to this day, standing out is not a bad thing. So what if you get rejected, it never hurts to try, because you will never know until you put 100% into something. Now I am taking things to the next level with my youtube channel, my website, and you never know a makeup line of my own could happen a couple years down the road. The world is your oyster, hard work and determination does pay off.