Level up your job search in 2017 with a creative resume + Life Updates

Resume, career, freelance

get The Job you deserve in 2017!

The New Year is upon us which means  (hopefully) you’ve already plotted, planned and written down your goals for 2017. One goal that undoubtedly shows up on most lists at the start of the New Year is “increase income” either with a new job, more freelance/side work or a combination of the two. A fresh resume that stands out from the rest is one way to breathe new life into your job/gig search.

If you haven’t done a major overhaul to your resume within the last year, we need to talk. An outside of the box resume is the only way to go in 2017. The competition is stiff so it’s time to toss that old stock Monster.com drivel and break out design elements like illustrative icons, fancy fonts, profile photos and cool colors (GASP). Yes, I said color. It’s 2017 for goodness sake!

If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why do I even need a resume?”. That may be true for many but you never know what opportunity may cross your path. There’s an old Proverb from a hood philosopher that goes, “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”. Typically, I use my online portfolio and writing samples in lieu of a resume for freelance work but I have applied to gigs that require one so better to be safe than sorry.

The key is to write and design your resume in such a way that it reflects your personality and… Click To Tweet

If you’re a “creative”, you definitely want your resume to stand out heads and tails above the rest. There is heavy competition in most creative industries. If you’re wondering what a “creative” is, I’m referring to the graphic designers, makeup artists, photographers, freelance writers, copywriters, marketers, advertising professionals, fashion designers, public relations managers, etc. Everyone is vying for these cool jobs and the opportunity to “level up” up their skills and experience.

I’m going to give you the lowdown on how I created a resume that landed me an awesome Marketing/Communications opportunity at a Fortune 500 company and a spot in a Top 10 graduate school M.S. Communications program! I’ve also received responses from ad agencies that I applied to which is better than cold, hard silence. Ad agencies are a tough sell with little to no agency experience.

But first, here are a few reasons why you should toss that black and white yawner of a resume and get creative:

Employers get a glimpse of the kind of employee you’ll be

Do you go that extra mile? Your resume is the first chance you get to make a good impression. You don’t want it to be ho-hum like the other 500 applicants. Take it a step further and show them who you are before the interview. A resume doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it a fun project! It sets the tone for your interview and your tenure assuming you get the job.

Employers get an idea of your design sensibility

Do you shun risk or do you take chances? To be honest, I’ve contemplated an untraditional resume in the past but I wasn’t quite brave enough to go through with it. I was in commercial/retail real estate for a long time and conventional (read: boring) resumes were the norm. I consider my personal style to be one part conservative to two parts edgy, so it always made me nervous to be too “out there” with potential employers. You don’t want to turn them off but you can strike a balance, even if your industry is more suit and tie than flip flop and khakis.

 you’re an ‘outside the box’ thinker

Are you a leader or a follower? You can say you think outside of the box and take chances…or you can show them. It takes guts to do something out of the norm. Career websites give us a standard resume format and we follow suit like zombies. You’re not going to do that this year!

If you have a design background, blog or brand then you should take advantage of it by using your own brand colors so it’s consistent. You can be certain that the person doing the hiring will visit your website, if you have one (you do have one, right?). Wouldn’t it be nice if your aesthetic flowed straight through from start to finish? This shows them that you know the importance of branding. Believe it or not, even if you work in corporate America you are your own brand.

why i overhauled my resume plus life updates

Last year, I decided to take a mini-break from freelancing to stick my toes in the corporate America pond once again. I’ve wanted to be a part of corporate communications since I graduated with my Journalism degree many moons ago. My website and freelance business and blog were a strategic part of my exit from an industry that I didn’t enjoy and, quite frankly, wasn’t very good at because I wasn’t using my natural talents and gifts. It wasn’t until 2015 when I “picked myself” that I found some success in pursuing my dreams and now I couldn’t be happier.

I was doing well freelancing with amazing high-paying clients but to be honest, my work/life balance was in the shitter for awhile. That wasn’t fun which made my productivity respond in kind. I missed having a consistent paycheck that didn’t require back to back 12-hour+  workdays. I still take one off projects but it’s a lot more fun now that I get to pick and choose projects that speak to me.

With the advice of my best friend whom I admire and respect, I decided to look for something in corporate communications. I knew I’d have to start over from the bottom which wasn’t a problem for me being the free spirit I am. I was transitioning to a new career and needed to learn best practices in a structured environment.  I took on a part-time role at a large global Fortune 500 technology company to see if communications and marketing were something  I wanted to pursue full-time. I know it sounds crazy but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat to live the life I’ve always dreamt of!

I learned more about email marketing, analytics and SEO in those first few months than I ever would have on my own. Best decision I ever made! I loved it so much that I applied to two top 10 highly ranked competitive graduate schools for a Masters in Strategic Communications and was accepted to both.

I never hated corporate America completely…I just wanted more flexibility and to live life on my terms. My new resume was instrumental in achieving both of those goals. Now that you know what brought me to this point, let’s get to the good stuff.

I used Canva (free) for templates and inspiration. Canva has so many different layouts, elements and options to choose from. It makes it a fun process!

For my most recent resume for grad school, I was inspired by the resume of Marissa Mayer, President of  Yahoo. Her resume is simply amazing! There are so many interesting elements to borrow from including a photo, quote, icons, abstract lines, graphics, strengths and languages.

I’m in the technology space so I liked the lines that were incorporated. It grabs your attention without being too in your face. Surely, you can use one or two of these design elements in your own resume.

Level up your resume
more Tips:
  • Have your resume professionally printed for interviews and face to face meetings as colors vary from printer to printer
  • Compress file size, if emailing large document
  • Hyperlink your website in the resume, if possible
  • Use a professional photo and make it consistent across your social media profiles and website/online portfolio
  • Have someone else proofread for errors and typos
  • Don’t forget to add facts and figures

I hope this gives you some ideas to get the job you deserve in 2017! A fresh new resume will invigorate your job search. Thanks for reading!

How to Brain Dump and Increase Your Productivity

Brain Dumping your way to success

How To Brain Dump and Increase Your Productivity

It’s amazing how changing your mindset can lead to massive levels of productivity.  By making incremental changes in your daily routine, you can get more ish done…fast. Duh, right? It’s a difficult thing to do but once you start you’ll wonder why you waited so long. That’s why I’m doing a multi-part part series around mindset and mindfulness. I’ll be writing about implementing strategies to increase your productivity and lower your stress. Today I’m focusing on the power of brain dumping. We’ll call this brain dumping 101. There are so many benefits to brain dumping including The Law of Attraction.

There's power in getting tasks & ideas onto paper where you can see them. Click To Tweet

“A brain-dump is a complete transfer of accessible knowledge about a particular subject from your brain to some other storage medium, such as paper or your computer’s hard drive”. – WhatIs.com

In childhood, I used journals and planners as a way to document my journey and chronical my feelings. Some of the journals I still have and need to burn. These days I’m obsessed with using them as a way to stay organized by brain dumping. My “To Do” lists are never-ending little lifesavers. A good list is effectively brain dumping which is productivity central.

As a creative person and woman (let’s be real), there are tons of things bouncing around in my head at any given time between work, family, health. It’s vital that I get things out of my headspace and transfer them to a place that I can refer to. As I stare onto the page of undone tasks, It holds me accountable. I’m a visual person so I highly recommend brain dumping if you are as well. I’m putting it all out there for and with you. Let’s make it a goal to be more efficient and organized together.

You can brain dump digitally or on paper. I use a combination of both depending on my mood and whatever’s within reach at the time, however, when I need to dig deeper…paper it is.

Here are a few tips and tricks that I use.

Schedule It

Schedule a time to braindump and do it consistently. Set aside time to make it happen because ,if you’re anything like me, it won’t get done otherwise. I’m obsessive about lists. I make a list every night of the 3-5 things I want to get accomplished the next day. I also make a list on Sundays for the week ahead. I can’t recall where I got this nugget but several people do it now. Instead of waking up pondering my next move it’s already decided for me. Whether or not I take action on it 100% of the time is another story. I also have a running list of my goals for the  month and year that I retool as needed. Get in the habit of brain dumping and it’ll feel strange when you neglect to do it.

Make It Fun

I’ll be honest, I haven’t gotten this far yet. I’m pretty boring with my dumps (sorry). Many listers make it fun with stickers, colored pencils, glitter pens and cute book markers. If investing a little moolah in crafty supplies and tools makes you more productive…go for it! I love a beautiful pen and journal myself. I remember shopping for school supplies as a kid and school didn’t suck quite as much for awhile. Am I the only one?

If you love pretty journals check out my shop. ALL Journals are now 10% off! No code needed.

10% OFF All Journals Thru April.

Brain Dump

The first step in brain dumping is to write it all down. Don’t worry about categorizing your list  just yet. For now, just take stock of all tasks or ideas that need action. It doesn’t matter what the tasks are…mail a birthday card, buy stamps, grocery store run, cupcakes for child’s classroom. Dump it all on paper like a crazy person. You’ll see it pile it up pretty fast but better on paper than bouncing around in your head.

Categorize It 

You’ve been keeping a running list of tasks/ideas all week and now it’s time categorize it. This makes it easier to tackle chunks at a time. Those pretty colored markers you bought are more than just eye candy. Group similar items or color code them (green for money, yellow for fitness, red for school-related activities, etc.). When you group similar together you won’t have to do much mental jumping around. You move seamlessly from task to task. It also makes a good stopping point so you can divvy up tasks by days or urgency.

Tip: Categorizing errands by location is a great way to conserve energy and gas.

Gather Information

Gather documents or information needed to complete your tasks or to take action on ideas. For instance, compile all bills or account numbers you need beforehand. A good list or brain dump keeps you on track and organized which increases your productivity big time.

Now you’re ready to tackle the items on your list. If you brain dump frequently and take action, you’ll begin to see a great shift in your productivity level.

 

Do you brain dump or list on a consistent basis? What tips and tricks do you use to stay productive?

 

How To Goal Plan And Kill It In 2016

Niapose

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I hope you had an amazing New Year’s Eve! If you’re anything like me, you were home playing board games with family/friends and fighting sleep to make it to midnight.

But here we are. We made it to 2016 and what a blessing it is! A new year means another opportunity to get it right, whatever it is.

I always find it refreshing that we get to go into a new year with a renewed mind, body and spirit. Click To Tweet

I have an awful memory regarding most things. Everyone who knows me makes fun of me because of it. I like to think it’s because once I’m done with someone or something, I’m done. I don’t really look back once I’ve had closure. I guess my brain needs that space to learn how to function in new arenas or maybe I’m just getting old. Nah!

At any rate, I’ve been goal planning my 2016 for months now, happily leaving 2015 in my dust. I’m an obsessive goal-setter, totally OCD about it. I write my goals down on paper years in advance, retooling them often and I do my best to achieve them. Some work out better than others…such is life.

I also do my vision board at the beginning of each year. You can read more about that process here.

Back to goal setting.

Categorizing Goals

One method that I learned about years ago is to put goals into categories. I like to use a variation of the following categories:

Career (new job, career change, more clients, professional development courses, grad school)

Family (date nights, kids, family quality time)

Financial (save money, increase income, reduce debt, tithe consistently)

Physical (eat better, exercise more, meditate, yoga)

Personal/Misc. (read more books, less social media, be more present)

You get the picture. These are some examples so feel free to customize them to suit the different areas of your life. It definitely helps me as not to get too overwhelmed.

SMART Goals, Smarter You

Another way to lay out your goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T.

smart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By developing SMART goals, you’re able to drill down thus making them more attainable.

For example, if one of your financial goals is to “save money” you would make it SMART by writing:

S – Save money.

M – $1,000/month in savings (You now have a benchmark amount to measure this goal).

A – Achieve this goal by working an extra 10 hrs/week & spending $200 less somewhere.

R – This ties into your overall financial goal to be more self-reliant.

T – If you saved $1,000/month, you would have $12,000 by year-end.

Now you can realistically measure how on or off target you are on an ongoing basis.

My preference for staying organized with my goals is by using a beautiful planner and/or journal.

Planner-Journal

These are the main strategies that I use to goal plan. They make me dig deeper into each area of importance to me. I fine tune them throughout the year because…LIFE. 

What kinds of methods or strategies do you use to goal plan?

How To Vision Board Your Way To Success In 2016 (Video)

Vision board.jpg

What is your vision for your life and business in 2016?

If you haven’t taken time to reflect on what you’d like to accomplish going into the New Year, you should start working on a vision board as the year comes to an end.

A vision board is the process of using visuals to lay out your life as you’d like to see it. Imagine your written list of goals except with images such as magazine clippings, photographs and quotes and you have a vision board.

It might sound like a bunch of hippies sitting around a fire with magazines and scissors singing Kumbaya hoping to attract good karma.

You wouldn’t be too far off if you thought that.

The vision board goes back to the theory that you bring into your life the energy that you put into the universe. The old Proverb says “life and death are in the power of the tongue” and philosophers such as Plato, as far back as 391 B.C.,  wrote “likes tend toward likes”.

It’s called The Law of Attraction and it goes like this:

The Law of Attraction is the name given to the maxim “like attracts like” which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.” – Wikipedia

Modern day fans of this concept include Oprah Winfrey and Steve Harvey both of whom have sworn by the vision board as the reason for their wins personally and professionally.

You may still be asking the question, “how will this help me?”.  A detailed vision board can benefit you by making goals visual which then allows you to refer back to them often throughout the year.

I have created vision boards for the past 3 years and most of my goals associated with them came to pass.

The old school method includes a poster board and magazines. I like to throw in a few girlfriends and wine for good measure but that’s a personal call.

Technology has made it even easier to create digital vision boards with apps like Wishboard and Vision Board Pro. You could also create a collage on your phone with an app such as Pic Collage and save the image as the wallpaper on your laptop or phone.

It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive process just thoughtful.

I also recommend including measurable goals on your vision board. For example, my goal is to at a minimum replace the income I made at my former full time job as a freelancer. I will put that number at the top of my board in big bold numbers.

If we consider how much time we spend on our devices,  it puts our goals front and center daily. It’s also perfect for revising them as life changes occur.

Feel free to use whatever method works best for you to magnetize the vision for your life but the key is to start now.

It’s the end of 2015 and as we look forward to the New Year, let’s speak and visualize this positive energy into our lives and get it done.

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