Getting Organized in Your Job Search (5 Helpful Tips!)

 

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Job hunting can feel like a full-time job and can easily become an over-whelming daily task, which can make it stressful and discouraging. I’ve come up with a list of 5 useful TIPS when searching for a job.

  1. SET UP A GAME PLAN
  •  Create a strategy when applying to jobs. What worked best for me was creating a Google Spreadsheet that way it is accessible anywhere I was and I could update it accordingly, especially in case I did not have my laptop with me.  Excel is fine as well but you’ll always have to have your laptop with you.

Below is an example of my spreadsheet and what I labeled in the columns. Label accordingly to what works and makes sense for you.

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2. KEEP A CLEAN INBOX

  • Create a separate folder for your job search emails, replies, and interviews.

One thing I noticed that began to happen when applying to jobs was my email inbox. It was getting flooded every single day with job alerts, automated application responses, etc. It was too much for me and I felt over whelmed. So I had to get pro-active and create folders/labels to organize my inbox. If I got a bunch of job alert emails from Indeed, I would move them into my Job Search folder/label to keep my primary inbox as clear as possible.

3. KEEP A SPECIFIC TASK

  •  It was easy for me apply to a bunch of different jobs that varied or were not relevant to one another. It was too much for me to handle at a certain point because it would be all over the place. So I decided to apply for jobs that were related to each other on certain days.
  • For example, Admin positions on Mondays and then Editing/Writing on Tuesdays, Human Resources Thursday or even one full week of one and a new one next week or just applying for different entry level positions a day, whatever you find that works STICK TO IT. In the long run it’ll help with keeping on track and organized.

4. KEEP UP WITH FOLLOW-UPS (much harder than it seems for me, for some reason)

  • Keep up with email addresses with different recruiter’s name as well as the links for the job description, specifically with third party cites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed and Craigslist, in case you would like to follow up or look at the job description again.

That was really useful when applying to jobs on Craigslist and Indeed. Instead of going through my inbox and searching for the recruiters email, or trying to find business cards, I could just look at my spreadsheet and copy the email address saving time in the long run.

4.  BE CONSISTENT

  • It is extremely helpful to maintain this structure. I noticed that when I didn’t follow through with this method my inbox would be flooded and I’ll have to find a day to play catch-up with tons of emails.
  • It is especially difficult to keep this up while your working full-time because keeping track of what you apply to takes time and you have a whole set of other tasks to complete at work. So you most likely won’t have enough down-time to use this strategy.

LASTLY,

5. TAKE BREAKS/ “reward” yourself

  • When you are unemployed and on the job hunt it is really important to give yourself breaks. At the end of the day, week/weekend. When I was unemployed and actively searching, going on interviews, networking, using different resources, etc., I would “reward” myself by taking a weekend off or even a week from applying to jobs to focus on other things like my friends, hobbies, going out and being social. Job searching is not a fast process it can take months before you land anything so giving yourself some space to “recover” is necessary.

Keep applying and don’t give up. Push through the defeat, the 20 thousandth interview and maintain your confidence in your abilities.

Expectations vs. Reality after College

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looking for a job after college

I have been avoiding the discussion of life after college for a while and I have experienced many trials and tribulations after deciding not to go straight to Graduate school after graduating from College.  It has been quite a journey from one year ago, til now…

Hopefully I can give a little insight to people in my situation and/or current college students who are pursuing a degree in English. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret pursuing my degree in English, however, I do wish I also mastered a certain trade that would be useful for finding a career or job after graduation. This doesn’t just apply to English majors either, but I am speaking from my own experience.

I was forewarned about the struggle of English majors while I was a Freshman, and again in my junior year of college but I pretty much ignored them because I just knew that I would have no trouble getting a job after college. There were so many things I could do with an English Degree (shrug and deep sigh).

I was faced with the typical questions of, “What are you going to do with an English Degree?” “Do you want to teach?” “Are you going to become a teacher?” “Are you going to go to Graduate school?”, etc. It was overwhelming but I knew I wanted to get into the workforce, not to teach but to join the corporate world.

Little did I know however, or wanted to accept I guess, that it wasn’t going to be that easy.

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I did brief research on different career opportunities for English majors other than teaching and I got a vast array of fields and careers I never even thought to go into with an English Degree. At that time it proved that teaching wasn’t the only jog for me to do. But I was faced with the realization that those types positions are in competition with Communications, Journalism, Business, and even some Psychology majors as well. The market is better than it was in 2009 but citizens over the age of 55 are no longer retiring or planning to retire as they once were when the economy was better and financial security was there. This leaves senior citizens still in the job market which essentially is still competition. Even more so, other majors are looked at even before English majors; because the truth is that English majors and undervalued in the cooperate world.

Now I expect a lot of critics to think that I should have known better or not have been so naive, which in some respect I understand, however, my skills are equally valuable in any work setting that is comparable with any other major and I say that confidently because most jobs/careers consist of on-the-job training/learning. This is not to de-value different careers but I’ve worked at enough companies to know that my degree is not inferior.

But hindsight is 20/20 right?

My advise now to seniors in college who don’t plan on becoming a teacher is begin actively job searching. Create a spreadsheet to help keep you organized in your search. I go into detail about here http://bit.ly/2e1c93h. Also, start applying to at least five jobs a day. I let my senior year pass me by, having applied to no more than 15 jobs (if that). I had the excuse of my senior project not giving me time to do it but I could have made time. POINT BLANK. Reach out to your networks. Email former intern supervisors, mentors, ask your parents or older siblings to help network if that is a privilege that you have. Get a group of friends who are also looking to work right away and motivate each other to apply.

I can count on all 10 fingers and may even need extra hands to count all of my friends and associates who took the teaching or graduate school route post-undergrad. I have only a few friends who went right into the corporate world. TFA was a big recruiter at my college.

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I reached out to my mentor who helped me out tremendously as well as a non-profit organization that I was a part of since high school. They really helped bridge gaps in my resume with work experience.

Lastly, become a better listener. That was the big lesson learned coming back home and not seeing my career begin to form that way I hoped after college. But in all of this, stay positive; your confidence, ego and self esteem will be tested (it’s a given), you will hear more no’s than you’ve ever heard in your life. But how you bounce back will be what shapes your character. Continue to surround yourself around people who re-enforce your skills and abilities. Keep your spirit well fed :). Remind yourself that you’re AWESOME and let no one make you feel otherwise! Even your own-self.

Back to 125th Sreet

Back to 125th street

125th

I remember how uncomfortable

I was the day we went to take family

photos. It was summer time in Harlem.

 

We walked up from Lenox to 5th Avenue,

traffic would keep us in the cab longer

than necessary.

I didn’t want to get out of that car!

I’d be given away by my lace white

and green African gown.

 

Daddy and mommy walked with a familiar

stride. A confident walk I had not mimicked yet.

My hands were sweating, and my mind was creating

words as if I knew what their American

eyes were saying about my African family.

 

Every step matched every gaze. Some eyes in

praise, others in question. I asked God that

day not to let me run into anyone from school.

 

This portrait, my favorite now.

Looking as I do now, walking as I do now

seeing how I see now, this portrait takes

me back to 125th where my walk

talks and says I belong.

Good Girls Get Cheated on Too: The “idea” that Beyonce is incapable of being cheated on

Good Girls

Jay Z or should I say JAY-Z released his 13th album titled 4:44, on Tidal, Friday June 30th. On that album, JAY-Z fesses up to his infidelity and the affair he had on his wife, Beyonce.

Let it not go unnoticed that the “Bee-hive,” Beyonce’s super fans, went off on JAY-Z and attacked him via social media, reading him for filth. Now while I enjoyed much of the back-lash that he received, I couldn’t get past the fact that Beyonce is still married and very much in love with this man.

Doesn’t it seem a little too late to harass JAY-Z?

But furthermore, I was intrigued and confused by a lot of the social media posts that listed all of the great qualities of Beyonce (which are abundant and overflowing) that “SHOULD” guarantee her from ever being cheated on.

To elaborate, a lot of what I was seeing on my Facebook timeline and on Twitter was statements (Beyonce as the reference) that were saying how you can be the best x,y,z or do and have this, that and the third and still get cheated on; so what is the point of fully going into a relationship? But hopefully we can see that this a flawed and misleading analysis on a relationship we really don’t know much about.

This way of thinking is really promoting that you need to be these certain things in order not to get cheated on. BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT’S BULLSHIT. Or at least I hope we know that. What you bring to the table is not a safety blanket for infidelity. It’s not a shield. It is simply the qualities that you have going for yourself that makes you who you are.

It just reminded me of the old ideology that, in this particular case, a woman should posses domestic and physical attributes in order to find a husband and keep him happy. We’ve come to see that this is false. You cannot stop someone from cheating. Just don’t cheat. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD.

But to be fair, there’s a disconnect with celebrities and reality, even though there shouldn’t be. At least not as wide as it is now-a-days. Lets remember that regular life situations happens to EVERYONE. No one is exempt. And unfortunately, these celebrities have to keep a certain image all the time that we forget that these are people too, who go through the same things that we all go through. We all know the good girl or guy who gets cheated on. And by good we should clarify that we really mean, faithful & loyal.

There are so many celebrities like Ciara, Mary J. Blidge, Rasheeda and Beyonce who went through heartbreak and we can easily parallel them to people we know in our personal lives. Yet we treat them as if they are different than us, don’t relate to us, or have our same problems. At the end of the day, they cry and bleed the same way we ALL as human beings do.

We know people who are the sweetest, kindest, and loving, who cheat as well as not so good people who cheat. So I’m sorry if you thought Beyonce was exempt. Doesn’t mean that she deserved it! Because JAY-Z should count his lucky damn stars that she took him back. We all know that no one is perfect, but lets stop creating a false sense of security when talking about “how not to get cheated on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a different opinion, or view on the cheating culture that seems to be present today, please share it below in the comment section below!

 

 

5 Pros and Cons of Doing Temp Work

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When I was younger, temp agencies, also known as staffing agencies was sort of this myth or joke that was incorporated into some of my favorite TV shows and not really a “real” thing. But little did I know that temp agencies have been around for decades and have a thriving business market.

I was quickly acquainted with multiple agencies some months after college and thrown, or rather welcomed into the world of temping. In the beginning it was a lot to process and understand because temping is fast paced and job assignments come and go on a regular basis. There are different components that go on behind the scenes in terms of agency contracts and agency- client relationships (aka keeping clients happy). As a result you can feel used by a temp agency or the complete opposite, and thrive off of the world of Freelance and temp-work.

If used effectively, temp agencies can be a great way for one to explore different career paths while gaining experience that will lead to future, more permanent career paths and goals. After working with 3 different staffing agencies over the course of 12 months I have come up with a list of 5 Pros and Cons of temping, as well as advice on how to utilize temp agencies to your own advantage.

Pros-

(My experience from January 2016 -December 2016)

  1. Relevant job experience

As I mentioned in my previous blog, “Expectation vs. Reality after college” I was fresh out of undergrad with decent internship experience but NO actual WORK experience. As a result, I was getting rejected left and right. Temping helps build your resume and set you up to apply to jobs that require a year or more of experience.

  1. Ability to figure out what career path you want to take by working in different offices under different positions.

I was able to work in different work environments and experience different office cultures, learning what I like and don’t like. A close friend of mine was able to move around to many different offices and become efficient in navigating the corporate format when it comes to communication in different fields.

  1. Aids in identifying what your excel at (qualities you didn’t even know you had or overlooked)

I realized while temping that I was really good with people and my communication skills weren’t too bad. I honed in on that and made sure to learn and soak up information from those with more experience than myself.

  1. Flexibility with your time and schedule

While temping I was able to set my schedule a little more freely. To be more specific, I had jobs that were for a week, to a couple months or even day by day, I was able to have time to cater to outside interests that didn’t pay the bills, but was pretty passionate about. For example, during my time looking for permanent work I started this blog page and was making changes and updates more often, lets say than I do now.

  1. Indirect Knowledge that you gain

What I mean by that is, as a temp, you come across and meet SO MANY different people with different stories and more often than not, they are willing to share! You’d be surprised to hear how many people started where you started and maybe even felt lost at some points; but they figured it out and eventually you do too. Their experience and advice can influence your future choices in your career in a good way, just from a conversation, a coffee date or lunch date.

Cons-

  1. Sent on crappy job assignments

Be prepared to be sent on a job that you legitimately hate and really wish you never agreed to.

2, No job assignment(s) at all

There are dry spells as a temp and that’s just the way it is, especially if you’re in a big city, the competition is high and there are seasons where the job market is high and when its low. This effects your stability to pay bills, your debt, provide yourself with basic needs and honestly just get by which is the stressful part being a temp.

3, Hidden Facts

Many things aren’t laid out in front of you until after you sign a contract. You realize a little too late that you aren’t as protected as you may feel when you sign on to the agency. I remember being placed and working at an advertising firm earning $15/ hour and later found out that the temp who was there before me was making $20/hr. I then further learned that the agency had the ability to keep the price at $20/hr to their client (the advertising agency) but pay the temp $5 less and keep it for themselves (hard to believe I know but true and legal). Look it up. Another fact to swallow is when you’re temping for a company that has many other temps (from the same and different staffing agencies) you realize that you have more experience than others but are getting paid less than them. You can request a raise but the likelihood of that is slim because your staffing agency could always find someone else.

  1.  NO PAID HOLIDAYS/VACA/SICK DAYS

If you are not physically at work, working, YOU WILL NOT GET PAID. At each of the agencies I have been with, NONE offered paid holiday, vacation, or sick time. However, I know there are some agencies that do BUT I wasn’t lucky enough to work for/at one.

  1. NO SECURITY

You can be fired at any time and there is no liability because you are being outsourced. It’s unfortunate but one of the biggest risk with temping. You just have to move on and wait for another assignment or hopefully before that happens find a full time position elsewhere, or become a permanent employee.

 

Another useful article about temping: https://www.jobunlocker.com/blog/how-do-temp-agencies-work-9-tips-you-cant-afford-to-miss/

 

Getting Involved in your community; Non- Profit Organization: Sisters With Purpose

Working together in our community…

Sisters With Purpose Inc. was created to assist youth in East New York’s communities successfully navigate adolescence in a 21st century urban neighborhood through mentoring and counseling.  The focus is in areas of Cultural Enrichment, Violence Prevention, the establishment of Healthy Lifestyles & Relationships, Closing the Digital Gender Gap, Financial Literacy, and Etiquette & Social Skills.

President and founder of Sisters With Purpose, Susie Williams is extremely proud of these young people as her mission has always been to provide them the support and resources they need to be self sufficient; feel empowered and improve their lives and the lives of others while raising self esteem and building self confidence.

These teens and pre-teens have become devoted community members showing how they are also willing to help those in need.  For Thanksgiving they prepared and delivered food baskets with much of the items coming from their own homes.  They also took part in the Breast Cancer Awareness forum. And in March of this year they will host the Women’s History Luncheon.  If you were to speak with them they would say

“Our goal is to raise funds for the construction of  our own local dance studio.”

The dance studio will not only be a safe haven for the youth to practice and exercise but it will also serve as a multi-purpose facility for public rental to host events.  This dream can become reality with help from sponsors like you!

Click on the link below to donate today. No amount too small! Follow the link below for more information.

https://swpinc.wixsite.com/2017cotillion

Thanks for your support

Lyft co-founder: Self-driving cars will make transportation the “ultimate subscription service” — Quartz

Last week was a big one for self-driving car debuts. Uber showed off its modified Ford Fusions at an elaborate, two-day media event in Pittsburgh, then put the cars into service for locals. Ford invited journalists to test “drive” its autonomous vehicles at its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and Volvo unveiled its first production-model driverless…

via Lyft co-founder: Self-driving cars will make transportation the “ultimate subscription service” — Quartz

How America’s obsession with TV cop shows like “Law and Order SVU” enables police brutality in real life — Quartz

“I’ve got no problem with stop and frisk tonight,” the comfortingly humane desk sergeant declares in season 17, episode 5 of Law & Order: SVU. His message is clear: Searching without probable cause is not okay in most situations—but this is a special case. A violent home invader and rapist is on the loose, and…

via How America’s obsession with TV cop shows like “Law and Order SVU” enables police brutality in real life — Quartz

Your Baking Me Crazy!

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Now that you’ve gotten past my corny but clever tittle, lets jump right into what you came here for :).

This new but old trend of “baking,” also known as “cooking” has re-surfaced into the beauty world, although, it never really left the Drag world. Now if you’re like me, you’re really feeling this new trend and you’re watching other beauty enthusiasts and their finished makeup looking flawless, and now, you of course have to try it! And as eager and excited as you are to do it, reality faces you, laughing at your flaky face (I’m specifically talking under eye area) in the mirror thinking who done did it! Your makeup isn’t looking as good or flawless as you imagined and your face is stuck in why me mode.

Hopefully this serves as acknowledgement and realization for those who like me, have small fine lines underneath their eyes. YOUR NOT ALONE.

On my quest to find some sympathy or understanding of why my face looked an ashy mess, anticipating that I couldn’t be the only having this issue, there was no video in sight.No blog. Nothing. But there was no way that I wasn’t the only person having this issue. The only comforting video that I found was by the MUA: Wayne Goss (whom I absolutely love).

In an effort to prove that it wasn’t just a “bad day” I did an entire “beat” face and wound up finding a solution to my problem. How ironic right!? Wayne Goss mentions in his video the importance of hydrating the under-eye area so I heavily moisturized underneath my eyes, and I mean overly moisturized! just to see what would happen regardless of how I prepped my face. And because I overly moisturized, that combated the dryness that would otherwise occur from the setting powder.

I have witnessed and watched beauty videos where the person is showing a beauty routine and the individual has added baking into their everyday makeup routine. I personally don’t have the time in the morning before work to add that into my routine, and the truth of the matter is that it’s quite unnecessary.

Of course we all know the pros and cons of baking your makeup like helping your concealer last longer, really bringing out the highlight or spotlight effect on the face, and an overall flawless look. But why add an additional 10-15 minutes to your routine when majority of the time you won’t be heading anywhere important everyday after work. And besides, an occasional touch-up here or there isn’t a sin all of a sudden, it is still just as effective.

Now unless your doing a photo-shoot, girls/guys night out, performing on stage, etc., there is really no need to bake your makeup everyday . The true purpose for that technique is to ensure your makeup lasts even under the lights of a photo-shoot, under stage lights on a stage, and that makes complete sense. So for my fine- lines-under-eyes girls and guys too 😉 if you are really into the look the baking method gives you, I will ensure that you have moisturized under your eye AT LEAST 3 times… AND I REALLY MEAN AT LEAST 3 TIMES before you apply your concealer/makeup and bake.

Weather is an important factor as well. I use heavier oils to pair with my moisturizer before I apply my makeup. For example, in the Winter time I’ll use coconut or olive oil under my eyes with my Clinique face moisturizer and in the Summer time I use jojoba oil instead.  So for us there really  isn’t a way to over-moisturize because the moisture you give will help plumb up that under-eye area so the concealer and powder doesn’t settle in between the lines or cake up in a weird way that isn’t flattering.

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Here are pictures of what happens most of the time when I bake my makeup… The 1st picture is a close up on my fine lines and the second is an example of the weird spots I’m referencing, texture spots is what I call them. Setting spray helps alleviate the spots so they aren’t as obvious.

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Example 2

 

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Example 2

 

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Example 2

 

Quartz Article- Performing Vagina Monologues at a prison

“My vagina is angry!” a woman’s voice loudly echoed through a large gym at a minimum security prison in Queens, New York. Minutes later, the gasping and moaning of an imitated orgasm filled the space, accompanied by the loud, uncomfortable laughter and knee slapping of the men in the audience. Clad in black and red,…

via What happens when you perform “The Vagina Monologues” at a male prison — Quartz

Quick and Easy Morning Detox Coffee

 

coffeebeans

I have recently been on a healthy lifestyle journey and have been inquiring about different ways to detoxify the body and keep my bowel movements flowing as necessary. This may be a little TMI, so if your disgusted easily, you may want to click away now.

I was doing this diet called the “Super Shred Diet” by Ian K. Smith and I got to a point (around week 3 of the diet) where my bowels weren’t moving regularly. Three days or more would go by without having to go to the bathroom (and I’m not talking about urinating).  I obviously knew that wasn’t normal and I wanted an alternative to the teas that I normally drink when I want to detox. Disclaimer: I have never done a “teatox” for several days straight. That doesn’t work for me with my current lifestyle, but maybe in the future I will try that (not saying never). I just pick 1 day of the week (usually the weekend because I’ll be by my bathroom majority of the day) and drink my tea before I go to bed and the following morning the tea will do its thang. Again I do this around twice a month and pick only 1 day of the week not 3 or 7. I made the decision not to teatox on a regular, consistent basis because based on research I’ve done on how often one should do a heavy duty/ intense (3-7 or 7-10 day) tea detox; which is no more than 2-4 times a year. Again, everyone is different and has different needs so, more or less days will be effective for someone else. But doing this overtime without limit can do more harm than good. That is why I wanted something more simple but just as effective.

I wound up asking a fellow colleague of mine who has gone through a lifestyle change as well and her milestone is inspirational to me. She informed me that her sister was really into herbal remedies and different detoxing techniques so she called her and she gave me what I now call my “morning detox coffee.”

It consists of:

  1. 8-12 ounces of coffee
  2. 1/4 tsp of Ground Tumeric
  3. 1/4 tsp of ground Cinnamon (a stick should do the same thing)
  4. 2-3 shakes of ground Cayenne Pepper (if your not a fan of spicy 1 shake is fine)
  5. mix very well for spices to all come together with coffee (best if coffee is pipping hot) Tip: Once you get to the bottom of your cup or mug, the ground cinnamon will most likely collect at the bottom making it hard to continue to drink which at that point I add water to it to help drink the rest of discard of it once I get to that point.

The great thing about this concoction is that it actually tastes good and the Tumeric lightens up the coffee in a nice way (like what milk does). I personally have not tried adding milk to the mixture but if you like milk in your coffee than you can try that at YOUR OWN discretion. I also do not add sugar or honey because I have learned to acquire the natural taste of coffee (plus that keeps the calories from adding up). This mixture has been  added into my morning routine, 2-3 times a week and it doesn’t disappoint. I recommend researching all three spices in order to understand their different properties and why they’re good for your body. Good luck and I hope this helps you or someone you know!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus: Name of teas I use to detox (make sure to read instructions before making tea)

  1. Ballerina tea
  2. Dandelion tea
  3. Traditional Medicinals Everyday detox tea