a highway exit sign that says "DREAM JOB NEXT EXIT"

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As I proceed to prepare for a new job, I had to take a look at my resume in its current form. Big problem! My resume is designed for a totally different profession and needs a total makeover. A career change is never easy and the problem is where to start. This can be a challenge but not impossible. So, if you’re facing this, or even if you’re just starting out, here’s where to start:

  • Don’t start with your resume. The very first thing to do is to carefully look at the job that you intend to do. Don’t just look at one but look at several. What are the specific skills required? Your resume should be designed for the skills of the job and reflect every job detail.
  • Only then should you consider your experience. Of course, it may not exactly be the same but your experience should match the skills needed for the job. For example, a job in communications requires social media maintenance. Well you may not have this on the job but you can start your own social media postings. Create a blog or start posting regularly on social sites. The main goal is make your resume fulfil the job skills.

So if you’re like me and changed careers or if your degree isn’t relevant to the job you are applying for, don’t worry. Many people start out in one field and then change or get a degree in one field and end up doing something quite different.

It’s all about skills and experience.

Remember: Plan ahead to get ahead!


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This week I wanted to discuss why blogging can serve as an essential component of our professional development. I believe that professional development is worthwhile and necessary and that’s why I chose it as my topic. So the first thing to ask yourself is: what is the purpose of the blog? We need to have a clear idea of our destination. If you know what you want to blog about and what you want to achieve, you are more likely to get it. Of course, you can have more than one purpose and go in whatever direction you want to.

However, for me greatest benefit in blogging is that it allows me to motivate others with positive reinforcement as I share my stories, insights and give advice. As a motivational tool, I record my journey through the use of digital media, and reflect on my experiences. I have a constant way of processing information and a place to display that information. Even with a small audience, the act of sharing is driving me to continue the challenge of building a community of like-minded readers and expanding my interest to promote ideas and educational pedagogy.

For example, I am now looking at resumes and what style to use. Do I want bullet points or paragraph style? Should I lead with my experience or accomplishments? I will address these important questions in my next post with definitive choices. But that’s how blogging helps me to think and write more clearly. It helps me to organize my thoughts and explore them in a more thoughtful way. It gives me a better understanding of the way I think and can portray myself in a clearer manner. As a result, I am able to connect with others in a more comprehensive way.

Look at it as having a digital voice where the benefits occur not only when you write but when you read other people’s blogs.

Remember: Plan ahead to get ahead!

Blogging Thru Summer

a keyboard key that says "HIRE ME" in red letters

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Hi Everyone, Happy Summer!

Summer is usually a time when students take time off from the rituals of school. However, if you’re like me and soon to graduate summer is a time to prepare for the task of job hunting. That’s why my summer is being spent preparing my resume, cover letter, e-portfolio, and social media accounts. It may seem like a lot but all are very important things to have ready.  

My posts over the summer will give tips and advice on:

  • Presenting your accomplishments and achievements
  • Listing your experience
  • Advertising your strengths
  • Making use of clear and articulate writing
  • Avoiding spelling and punctuation errors

I will also offer advice to any aspiring writers and bloggers who wish to share their thoughts and words with the college community and on social media. Perhaps you’re like me and want to blog about your professional journey, but you also want your blog to be fun. Blogging may require a bit more effort than other popular topics but once you get the ball rolling you may find blogging to be a very rewarding practice that helps to build your career.

My summer motto: Plan ahead to get ahead!

Controlling Our Digital Presence and Identity


Cohen, J., & Kenny, T. (n.d.). Producing new and digital media: Your guide to savvy use of the Web.


Lately, I have been thinking about my personal brand and how important it is. It was very easy for me to review all my social media accounts and determine what my digital presence and identity is. The fact is, I only have a few: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Although Facebook is my most prominent one, I do have a small digital presence on Twitter and Instagram. I would say what I don’t post on Facebook tells more about me than what I do post. By that, I mean that I rarely post.  So for me, it’s more about creating a digital identity that I would want to be known for.

But the fact, it is easy to forget that what we post online can remain online even if we delete it and this can potentially hurt our career and relationships. Anything we choose to upload, tweet, reblog, favorite, “like”, can be endless and very hard to erase. Whether our information is shared intentionally or unintentionally, our digital footprint is being gathered by various companies and employers and often used to obtain personal information about us. According to Cohen and Kenny “from the moment you turned on your first computer and double-clicked on the icon for the web browser of your choice, you have created an abundance of personal information, available through search engines such as Google or Yahoo!” (207). That is why it is far better to be in control of our digital identity than to allow something to take control. But whether we are branding, as in my case, or re-branding, it is important to be aware of the information that is out there about us. Even if we didn’t post the information, it may be attached to someone else’s post.

But how do we control our digital identity? Understanding the significance of our digital footprint is an important step in protecting our online identity. Cohen and Kenny (pp. 205-206) ask readers to consider what their online identity is and then take charge of it. To answer this question takes some thought, not because it is a hard question but because it is an important one and starts with knowing what we do everyday that is recorded. That doesn’t mean that we should be afraid to go online and visit sites. The best thing to do is not to stay offline but to be conscious of what we post.

The best way to control our digital identity is by deciding what communities we want to be a part of and what content we want to post. We should also decide what social media profiles we want to use such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Also important is to use positive aspects to help create our personal branding for example, a personal blog can highlight our strengths and personality. Finally, we should realize that controlling our digital presence and identity is long-term challenge that requires dedication and persistence.

Never Give Up – You’re Closer Than You Think


a drawing of two men underground, digging for diamonds with pickaxes

Most successes are not overnight successes. They take time to achieve and while life can be hard, staying the course will increase your chances of being successful. You should be proud that you are trying and stay positive. Remember, a positive attitude yields positive results and you are closer than you think.

Yet, I know it’s not easy. As a mature student who has taken a very long road to graduating, with one more semester to go, I can truly say that it’s worth pursuing.

But see below for tips from wikiHow on never giving up:

1. Develop a more positive attitude. Though you may find it nearly impossible to be positive if you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing is working for you, it’s important to stay as optimistic as you can if you want to never give up. Being positive makes you see all of the good things in your life that you may be missing out on because you’re focusing on the negative things. It will also make you more open to more opportunities and possibilities because you’ll be looking at life with a “can do” attitude.

  • It’s true. Being more positive will not only make it easier for you to deal with challenges, but it will help you embrace new ones. If you’re bitter or focused on all of your failures, then you won’t be able to move forward.
  • If you catch yourself complaining or whining, try countering your negative comment with two positive ones.
  • Though you shouldn’t feel like you’re faking it when you’re acting positive while feeling sad on the inside, you should know that the more you fake it, the more you’ll slowly begin to see the brighter side of life.
  • One way to be more optimistic is to surround yourself with happier people who make you appreciate life more. If all of your friends are negative and discouraging, then yeah, it’ll be hard to have a positive mindset and to feel like you shouldn’t give up.

2. Learn to embrace change. If you want to work on developing the right mindset for not giving up, then you have to be able to roll with the punches and to not only accept change, but to thrive in it. Sure, you might have been thrown for a loop when your boyfriend broke up with you out of nowhere or when your family announced you were moving to a new city, but you have to learn to adapt to a new situation, to focus on whatever aspects of it exist, and to make a game plan for thriving in a new situation.

  • As Sheryl Crow once said, sometimes “A change will do you good.” Even if you’re shocked or thrown off guard, tell yourself that this could be the very best thing for you.
  • Look at change as an opportunity to learn something new, to meet new people, and to become a more well-rounded person. Though you may not see any positive aspects of the situation just yet, you should be proud of yourself for handling it with grace and for moving forward.

3. Learn from your mistakes. If you want to be able to not give up, then you have to get into a mindset that allows you to come to terms with the mistakes you’ve made and to learn from them so you don’t keep having the same old problems. Though you may feel only discouraged or embarrassed when you first make a mistake, you should take a step back to understand what you did wrong and make a plan for not making the same mistake the next time.

  • Though nobody wants to make a mistake, mistakes help you learn how to avoid future problems. For example, you may feel like you really messed up by dating a possessive boyfriend who ended up breaking your heart, but this mistake earlier in life may save you from picking the wrong husband in the future.
  • Don’t be in denial about the fact that you could have acted differently. If you’re so focused on looking perfect all the time, then you won’t ever learn.

4. Know that there will always be more opportunities for success. If you want to work on never giving up, then you have to have the mentality that there will always be more ways to succeed in the future. Though it’s important to live in the present, you should work on getting excited about the future instead of thinking that it has nothing to offer you; if you have the attitude that you’ve missed the boat somehow, then good opportunities will never come because you won’t be able to see them.

  • You may feel that, because you didn’t get the dream job you’ve been on three rounds of interviews for, that you’ll never find a career that suits you, but in the long run, you’ll see that you’ll be able to find plenty of jobs that also feel like that perfect fit, even if it takes a while to get there.
  • You can also work on opening up your definition of success. Sure, you might have thought that true success would be selling your novel when you were 25, but at 30, you may see that success can also be found in teaching literature to eager high school students.

    I hope these tips are inspiring to you and help you to never give up. Feel free to add your comments on never giving up.

Procrastination – Breaking the Habit

"Procrastination flowchart: do something right now: No"

Now that it’s spring break, I decided to use it to get ahead of my studies. Even though I am guilty of procrastinating at times, I really try my best to overcome the habit. But I am not alone and many people have the same habit. So how do we overcome it?

a green keyboard key that says "Tomorrow"

What I usually do is create two to-do-lists. The first one is a daily list with everything that I have to do for the entire day. As I go through the day, I check off each item on my list. It feels good when I am able to cross things off and see my list getting smaller. Sometimes it’s even necessary to set a time for things to be done. This prevents me from putting things off until later. I also make sure that the important things get done first. If there is something that does not get done that day, it goes on the following day’s list.

A boy playing with a lizard, and the words "There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else."

The second list is the long-term list. This is an ultimate list and as I accomplish things, I check them off. I get a sense of accomplishment knowing that I have done what I needed to do. I know it’s easier said than done, but force yourself to do it. It’s a good habit that, if developed, will give you clarity. Your list will be large at first, but will eventually grow smaller as you complete your tasks.

cartoon of a man looking at a computer, with the words "I'm very busy doing things I don't need to do in order to avoid doing anything I'm actually supposed to be doing."

The main thing to remember is that no one is perfect and everything takes time. But be your own motivator and reward yourself when it’s done. Maybe give yourself a special treat because we all need reinforcement. And just like I do, have positive people in your life who can encourage you to stay on task. Telling someone what you plan to do further confirms your commitment to doing it.

Lastly, don’t worry about the distractions. Believe me, they will come. Just practice doing one thing at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself.

I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

We can do this!

Emotional Intelligence – Why Is It So Important?

the cover of a book called "Tom Norman: Emotional Intelligence" with a photo of a woman from the back in a cornfield, her arms raised

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Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. What I find so amazing is that some people are born with it and some people learn it along the way. Although some researchers say you either have it or you don’t.

The following excerpt by Jessica Cambridge and Tom Norman discusses the importance of emotional intelligence:

Chapter 1: An Overview on Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (also known as EQ) is the person’s ability to manage, use, identify and understand emotions in optimistic ways to overcome struggles, have compassion with others, resolve conflict, relieve stress and communicate effectively. EQ creates an impact in various aspects of our lives, such as the way we behave and interact with other people.

If you have a high EQ, you can recognize your own emotional state as well as others. Your EQ serves as your level of understanding the emotional aspect of relating with people in order to establish genuine relationships, achieve greater success at work and live a more fulfilling life.

Why EQ Is Very Important?

As we all know, it’s not only the smartest people that are the most fulfilled and successful in life. Perhaps you know someone who is 100% academically-inclined but he or she doesn’t know how to value personal relationships. Having intellectual intelligence (or IQ) is not enough to become successful in life. An above average IQ can get you to college – true! But in the end it’s your EQ that will help you handle the emotions, anxiety and stress of college life especially during examinations.

Emotional intelligence affects:

Your relationship with others – By controlling and understanding your emotions, you’ll be able to express how you understand and feel the emotions coming from your family, friends and work colleagues. Also, this allows you to communicate with them more effectively and develop a meaningful work and personal life.

  • Your mentality – Unmanaged stress creates impact in your mentality, making you susceptible to depression and anxiety. If you cannot manage or understand your emotions, there is a good chance that you will suffer from mood swings which can ruin work or personal relationships and leave you feeling isolated.
  • Your physical being – If you are unable to overcome stress, this can lead to severe health problems. Unmanaged stress speeds up the aging process, contributes to infertility, raises blood pressure, suppresses the body’s immune system and increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. In line with this, the crucial step to improving your EQ is by learning how to manage stress levels in your body.
  • Your work performance – Having an EQ helps you shove the social complexities of your workplace, lead and encourage workmates and most importantly, excel in your performance. Today, most companies view emotional intelligence as important as their employees’ technical ability hence they require EQ tests when hiring.

Personally, I think that emotional intelligence can be developed and that we can train out minds to think in a rational way. That means, taking time to think things through before acting.

Preparing for Interviews

the cover of a book called "the essential guide for Hiring & Getting Hired"

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As I get closer to graduating, I know how important it is to prepare for interviews. In fact, I was reminded that interviewers make judgements within the first five minutes of an interview. It’s been a long time since I went on an interview and I have so much depending on me getting a job. So I came across this checklist as a place to start my preparation and maybe it can help you too.

Adler, L. (n.d.). Essential guide for hiring & getting hired.

Preparing for the Interview Checklist

  • Be Prepared. Don’t wing the interview. Prepare as much as you would for any important management presentation.
  • Don’t look at your resume during the interview. Looking is a sign of nervousness or fabrication. You need to know everything on the resume without hesitation.
  • Use the SAFW format to answer each question. A complete 1-2 minute answer is the sweet spot for length and content.
  • Get the interviewer to describe real job needs. Force the interviewer to ask about relevant topics.
  • Focus on the opportunity, ignore the compensation.  Compensation increases will follow great performance.
  • Demonstrate interest and acts about next steps. Get the interviewer to commit to something, and if he or she hesitates, find out why and respond.
  • Demonstrate how you develop solutions rather than giving the solution. Most problem-solving questions are designed to understand how a person develops a solution, rather than the actual answer.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Everyone gets a little nervous during the interview. To get through the initial two minutes of discomfort, practice getting nervous by answering questions to a friend or family member.

My biggest takeaway is that it is important to be in control of the interview. That means, answering in such a way that you feel in control. Also you should make sure that you absolutely know what is on your resume and know all your accomplishments. Who knows you more than you know yourself?

The Fear of Criticism

a green chalkboard with the word "FEAR" written and crossed out, in white chalk

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“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things” Frank A. Clark.

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving” Dale Carnegie.

For a recent class topic, I wrote about criticism, or rather, the fear of criticism. This got me thinking about how to handle criticism in a professional environment. Criticism means to find fault with someone or thing and remark or comment about it. There are two types of criticism – constructive criticism and destructive criticism. It is true that both forms are difficult to deal with and can hurt our feelings, but learning how to cope with criticism can reduce the fear and discouragement we often feel.

Constructive criticism is motivated by a desire to help us improve and grow and destructive criticism is intended to be harmful and can lower our self-esteem. But the truth is that we all make mistakes and criticism will never stop. There will always be both destructive and constructive criticism and we can either use it in a positive or negative way. Whether at school or work, criticism is a part of life. The first step in dealing with criticism is to evaluate the person delivering the message. Who is the person and how was it given?

It’s difficult for us to accept criticism when it’s coming from someone who is not credible in our eyes. So, you should determine if you value their opinion. What is the intention of the person who is criticizing you? Are they judgmental? Do they mean well? Is it someone you like and respect, or is it someone you would rather keep away from? Or maybe it’s a boss who you have to take seriously because it could cost you your job. Once you determine the value of the person, it becomes easier to detach the criticism from the person and the environment.

The second step is to deconstruct the criticism. Look for something—even if it is just a grain—that you can take from what is being said to better yourself? You can’t grow and improve if you can’t take criticism. So the key thing to do is to step back and look at what’s being said and focus on the parts that are most useful. You may find that there is some truth to what is being said.

But regardless if criticism has any basis or not, at the end of the day, what really counts is our attitude towards it.


How do you cope with criticism?

Has it ever held you back and how did you get over it?

Are you still struggling with it?



Self-appraisals – Know Thyself

a gavel and the words "YOU BE THE JUDGE"

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You may not be in a job that gives you an evaluation but I highly recommend that you do a self-appraisal. It will tell you where you stand and you can begin to make improvements if necessay. See the below steps to completing appraisal in six steps by  Dominique Jones | Posted December 3rd, 2013 | Performance Management

Six steps to completing a great self-appraisal.

1. Share your brilliant successes. Look at previous feedback received, projects you’ve completed and initiatives you’ve launched — all excellent fodder. If you haven’t done so in the past, start keeping a performance journal. It will make your next self-appraisal that much easier to complete.

2. Share what you’ve learned. What have you learned in the past year? Look to identify the ways in which you’ve been able to enhance your skills; describe the new skills you’ve mastered and how they’ve helped you in your career development. Describe how you’ve applied these new skills to your job and how they support the goals of your department and organization.

3. Share your challenges. This isn’t an annual opportunity for shameless self- promotion. It’s an opportunity for some humility. Be candid about your challenges in the year. Describe how you overcame them or the steps you will take in the year ahead to address them.

4. Be honest. Don’t embellish your accomplishments. Think hard about how you choose your ratings for yourself. Your manager will likely want you to support your ratings so be prepared to provide examples of your successes (why you deserve that high rating) and examples of your not-so-great performance (why you may deserve a weaker rating).

5. Take time to do it well. Your manager can tell if you rushed your self-appraisal. So take the time needed to do it justice (schedule time for it in your calendar!). After all, your self-appraisal is all about you, and you’re worth it! Use all the space/features provided in the form to tell your story.

6. Don’t attempt to complete it in one go. Treat your self-appraisal like a work of art that builds over time. You’ll be much happier with the end result if you give yourself time to reflect and carefully support your self-assessment. As I mention above, use examples to support your assertions, and please, please make sure that you spell- and grammar-check your documents. These are all signs of how seriously you take the process and its importance to you.