Schoolin’ Life

Hello Passionistas!

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This graduation season has been one for the books, it will forever be an everlasting memory in my heart. After so many late nights and early mornings, I graduated from Ashford University with my M.B.S with a specialization in Project Management.

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My grad school experience was not what I had planned but everything worked out just fine. I am a hands on type of girl. So I wanted to attend grad school in the classroom, on a campus, where I would be able to interact with my fellow classmates and professors. But in reality, I had to work a full time job to support myself, which didn’t leave much time for classroom dreams. I was able to find a online program that fit my lifestyle perfectly. 18 months, a bunch of long nights and tears later, I received my graduation invitation to walk across the stage.

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About a week ago, I left the east coast and traveled to the west coast to celebrate my latest accomplishment. The graduation was in San Diego, CA. So I decided to take a couple of days to vacation in Los Angeles with my family and friends.

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It was my first time in Cali and I enjoyed very moment of it. I’m not really big on vacations because I am a workaholic. This year I have started a new job, created a new business venture out of my passion, and completed grad school- so a few days to let my hair blow in the wind a bit. You know I couldn’t go to California without going to Disneyland, so go to my IG account (@passionlocked) to see photos from my 1st Disneyland trip.
28ec5eef-b86d-4e1f-aef9-f3f4c7504702-1353-000001edbf6eeb9fBut what makes it even more special is my baby boy, who graduated from high school the day before I received by second degree. I’m super proud and excited for him. His life is just beginning! We are about 7 years apart, so I’ve always thought of him as my baby. He’s all grown up now. As the youngest of the bunch, I know my baby brother and I made our parents proud to see the young women and man we have both become.

 

In the words of Beyonce, “Time really moves fast, you was just 16.”

Because I am an extra celebratory person, I made my brother take graduation pictures with me, here’s some of them:
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Special shouts out to all the 2017 graduates

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New Beginnings

Hello Passionistas!

It has been too long since I’ve written a blog post. But I have been super busy, making boss moves. I recently completed all of my course requirements for grad school. That’s right! Your girl will be walking across the stage in May for her M.B.A. I am also getting my ducks in a row for my new business venue. And I am taking more time out spend with my family and friends. But that’s not all…. FINALLY I have some exciting news to share with all of you.

 I SAID YESSSS…. To a new job!!!!! Lol

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Today is the start of my second week at my new job and I could not be happier. If you have been following PassionLocked over the pass couple of months, you’ve seen my post about the JOB HUNT.

Wait. Stop. If you have not read Apply Yourself!, The Job Seeker or The 31-Day Challenge,  please go check them out and come back to this post.

 

 

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I made a plan. I sought it out. I never gave up. Even now, I’m still working hard, pursing even more. So this post is dedicated to New Beginnings and Eternal Happiness.

 

 

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No matter who you are and what you dream of, never let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your dreams… including yourself. Nothing happens over night, but you must keep pushing. Remember, good things come to those who wait.

Follow PassionLocked on Instagram: @passionlocked

A Passionista’s Guide to Phone Interview Success

Hello Passionista’s

If you’re having a phone interview, it is likely that a third- party recruiter has reached out to you or the hiring manager for a job you’ve applied for is interested in you as a candidate for a job. This is great news! Commonly, someone will reach out to you via email to see when you are available to speak to them about the job posting. When you receive this initial email here a few things you should do:

  • Review the job description of the position applied forIf you are anything like me (at this point of life) applying for jobs is a part of your daily routine. It is important to know exactly which position and company you are being contacted about. For some this is common sense. But you’d be surprised how many people go on interviews and have no knowledge of the responsibilities and details of the job.
  • Find quiet time in your schedule to conduct the interviewWhen you respond to the recruiter or hiring manager, you want to make sure your schedule is clear and you have enough quiet time to speak with them. Nothing is worse than being on a phone interview but stuck in a noisy area. Plan your day accordingly.
  • Respond to the email with multiple dates and times you are availableRecruiters and Hiring Managers have busy schedules and are in and out of meeting all day. By giving them several options of your availability, you’ll receive a faster turn around with confirmation of your phone interview. This will also show them that you are flexible with your time, which is important during the hiring process.

Continue reading “A Passionista’s Guide to Phone Interview Success”

Communication is

Today’s topic is COMMUNICATION… I am big on communication within my personal and professional life. But today, I need to speak on professional communication. As a professional that has the responsibility of managing and communicating with others in the workplace, it is your civil duty to take responsibility for your own communication skills. If you suck at communication and you know it, everyday you should work on becoming a better communicator.

Here are a few tips on how to be a self-starter and enhance your communication skills

  1. Ask for feedback from your co-workers and direct reports

Constructive criticism makes us better as people and professionals. Never be afraid to ask for feedback. Early on my career, I had a manager that schedule weekly project update meetings with me. Once a week we would sit down and go over the status of all my project. My manager suggested we give 2-way feedback during each meeting. This opened the door for her to give me constructive criticism, and meet to give her feedback as my manager. I really respected the dialogue we shared during those meetings.  We were two amazing black women in a corporate office. We did not always agree, but we were a unit. We had a balance and understanding on communication between ourselves, which made the work environment comfortable and easy.

  1. Listen to the feedback you receive

There is no point of asking for feedback if you don’t plan on taking it in. If you receive negative feedback, analyze it. Ask yourself? Why would you get negative feedback? How can you apply changes to improve? This is where accountability comes into place. If you get negative feedback, its up to you and only you to adjust accordingly.

  1. Use google, find resources that can help you improve professionally

Many companies do not invest in training anymore. The classroom doesn’t teach interpersonal skills. Communication skills are developed overtime, and they may change over and over again. If you need training for e-mail communication etiquette in the work place, google it.  There are online resources available for just about everything in the world we live in today. There are articles, YouTube tutorials, lecture videos, and many of them are free. It is up to you to find what you need to improve.

  1. Set goals for yourself

Goal setting helps keep you accountable. Making small goals will also help you ensure you improve. I would suggest short term goals that challenges you to improve each week.

  1. Celebrate your improvement

After every achievement, celebrate yourself and your improvement. For example, if your goal is to enhance your formal e-mail etiquette, and you improve of the course of a month- treat yourself.

 

 

The 31- Day Challenge!

It’s November 1st, and the 31-day challenge is over.

October was the beginning of me taking control of my career. I am a few months away from finishing graduate school and I have the power to take control. The 31-days of Applying Yourself challenge was successfully and I am proud of myself.

Let’s recap….

October 1st, I challenged myself and you to take control of your career and seek growth. The challenge was to apply for a desirable positions each day of the month. The goal was to get an interview and take the necessary steps towards growth in your career.

Each day I sat behind my computer searching and applying for the “next big thing” in my career. Within this month I received a few follow up phone calls and e-mails, even more rejection letters, and two interviews. I used my resources to update my resume and LinkedIn profile. I developed an application tracker to keep track of the company and position I have applied for.

So what’s next…

I will continue to apply myself. I challenge you to continue to apply yourself. The opportunities are out there but no one is going to hand them to you. You have to work for it. As these 31- days come to an end, I am still motivated to grow my career as a professional. So, now I will go back and follow up on those pending job applications, search for more positions that may be a great fit for me, and network through LinkedIn to get connected with the right people.

Don’t Give Up! Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and your career will not be either.

If you have any questions about the challenge and how I did it, I’m happy to share…. Just Ask!

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TTYL

The Job Seeker

Hello Friends,

I am 25 days into the “Apply Yourself” 31-day challenge, and it has been a challenge. But I will not give up. I actually have a few updates from this challenge. If this is your first time reading about the “Apply Yourself” challenge…. Go read my last posts.

Within the past few days, I have received a rejection letter, a follow up notification on a job opportunity, and an interview invitation. That’s right! The goal was to get an interview, and I got an interview. But the challenge is to apply to a job each day for the next 31 days. At this time, I have applied for 25 desirable positions and keeping track of everything using an excel spreadsheet.

Now, let me tell you about my interview. The interview was short and sweet. The interviewer asked me questions related to my qualifications, but did not extend the opportunity for me to ask questions in return. The interview process was explained as a three step process. First step being the preliminary interview, a shadow /observation day, on to a more extensive team interview. Lastly, I was given a brief scope of the business. This is when I realized it was a SKAM. Yes, a JOB SKAM! The information I was given in the interview was completely different from the job description and company website. Normally, something like this would discourage me, but after the interview I actually felt proud of myself. I went on a interview. I was polished and professional. Although I will not be taking the job, if offered. It was great practice for when the next interview. I feel very prepared for my next interview which will be at the end of this week… wish me luck!

In my last post, I told you about upgrading my LinkedIn account to a premium account. My LinkedIn account is flagged as a Job Seeker. The features of this account include advanced search tools, access to a wider talent pool and ability to InMail people who you are not connected with. So far I have been using the InMail a lot. When I find a job on LinkedIn I’d like to apply for, I use the InMail tool to send the recruiter a message letting them know my interest for the job. Not only have I used LinkedIn to find job to apply for but also Indeed.com, and CPGJobs.com.

Recently, I found some great reading material for the application process and preparing your resume. I will put the link before. I also have been reaching out to some mentors and pass co-workers to get feedback on my resume and cover letter. You know there is always room for improvement in those areas.

So far I am enjoying the process of this challenge and I can’t wait to share my interview experience with you …

Until next time,

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https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-job-search-tips-that-are-so-basic-people-forget-them

No Interviews Yet, But Still Applying!

Hey Friends,

I am 14 days into the  31 days of  “Applying Yourself” Challenge. If you don’t know what I am talking about, stop right now and go read my last blog, “Apply Yourself”.

So far I have applied to 14 desirable positions in the marketing field. It has been confirmed that all 14 applications have been received. Most times when you apply to a job online, you receive a confirmation email from the HR department. Now-a-days it’s all automated. I have not heard back from anyone yet. But I am optimistic and it is only Week 1. I understand that most companies post jobs for a couple of weeks and sometimes months before they start the reviewing process. So right I’m playing the waiting game for the jobs I have applied for and I will continue to apply myself to more jobs as the 31-day challenge continues.

My goal out of this is to get an interview. An Interview is the first step. If you get an interview, you are doing something right. Interviews are a big deal. If this 31-day challenge gets me one interview I will feel accomplished. If this 31-day challenge lands me a new job opportunity, I will feel like I’m on top of the world.

The other day, I was thinking of ways I can  boost this 31-day challenge. Add it to, somehow! Not just apply for the jobs but seek out the job. I decided to upgrade my LinkedIn account to a premium membership. It’s a free 30- day trial and $29 a month after the first 30 days. I wanted to test out the benefits of being able to InMail other LinkedIn members that I do not have direct connections with. Also, be able to have a larger scope to who’s viewing my profile and get some insight on job postings from LinkedIn. Hopefully this will help guide me in the right professional direction for this challenge. So far I have looked up people from the companies  I have applied to, introducing myself a letting them know I’m interested in joining the company.

Over the last couple of days, I have revised my resume and cover letter. Just re-wording some things and making everything look polished. This upcoming week, I plan to start following up on my submitted applications. This process will be interesting because everything is done online now. So, I have to do some research to find recruiters and HR contacts. But following up on an application with an e-mail of interest speaks volume to the leadership you can bring to the company.

One thing I also wanted to share with you is how I am keeping track of everything. I developed an Application Tracker in Excel. This is where I list the Company, Applied Position and Reference number, along with the date I applied. I also have a column for Associates contacted. This is where I list the individuals I have reached out to concerning the job. As well as a column for Application Outcomes, so I can keep track of when I hear back from each company. If you are currently taking this 31- day challenge with me or are thinking about doing so in the future, I would be happy to share a template with you. Just comment below or email passionlockedblog@gmail.com.

See you all next week with new updates!

featured image: Copyright Sihuo0860371/iStockPhoto

Apply Yourself!

Hey Friends,

It’s October and I’m taking control of my career. My goal this year is to get a job. I have a job, but I’m looking for growth in my career. I mean that is why I’m going through 1,000 years of school, it seems like.

But at the beginning of this year, I was in contact with a company that I thought was going to hire me. It would have been the perfect opportunity for me at this stage of my career. After getting the typical phone call, “We decided to go with another candidate with a bit more experience”, I got really unmotivated. And for months I didn’t apply to any more jobs. But the end of the year is near and I still have a goal to achieve. I am going to do what I have to do on my part to make sure my goal is met.

So I am challenging myself to 31 days of Applying. I’ve already started. Basically, I’m going to do my research and seek jobs that will be a growth opportunity for my career, and apply. To support this challenge, I have updated several versions of my resume. I have developed cover letter, what I believe to be strong. I have composed a formal document of professional references. Lastly, I have prepared work samples just in case they are requested.

If any of you are looking to find a new job, gain career growth or simply make a career change, I advise you to join the challenge. Throughout the month I will give weekly updates of this process and what outcomes I receive.  If any of you have been through this process, please share your story.

Talk to you all next week with my first 31 days of Applying update.

The Fashionova Interviewee

Friends, we gotta talk!

At this age it surprises me how many of my peers do not know how to dress for an interview or for a business professional job. I think this was something that was beat into my brain in eighth grade.

Recently, a classmate of mine went on an interview for a corporate accounting job, we meet up after the interview to catch up. I was shocked to see what was selected as her interview attire. She wore a black pencil skirt that hugged her curves, a fitted white tee shirt, and a cheetah print blazer and red high heels. I asked her how did she feel about the job interview and she was unsure if she impressed the interviewer. So, I simply explained to her that if I was interviewing her and she came into my office with that outfit on I wouldn’t hire her. The interview would be very short and I wouldn’t even look at her resume a second time. She was shocked by my statement but I was being completely honest. In fact, I was shocked by her outfit of choice. She explained that she didn’t see anything wrong with what she wore and she found the outfit to be professional. At that moment I realized that she honestly did not know any better. No one had never taught her the rules to interview attire.

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From Styles Weekly 

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So I’m going to break it down for you all, right now from head to toe:

Starting with the hair. Very simple and out of the face. Try to keep the hair colors and highlights very natural or neutral.

Makeup. Natural colors very simple. Please, Please, Please do not walk in an interview with a bold eye or lip color. It’s distracting! YOu want the interviewer to pay attention to you and what you are saying, not you lips and eyeshadow.

Jewelry. Little to non. Stud eye rings. No hoops, that is not at all professional. One necklace. One bracelet. That’s all you need.

Ladies please, be sure that you clothes lay on your body not fit the body. We all work hard to keep our bodies in a certain shape but the workplace is not the place to show it off. Wait until happy hour. For an interview, I would always do a skirt suit or dress with a blazer. Stay away from loud patterns and colors. Solid grey’s, navy blue, or black are safe. No matter how big  or small your breast are they can be covered up and this is the time that they should be. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to bend over and the girls are showing. Pantyholes, not too many people like pantyholes anymore but they make the outfit look more put together. I’m not suggesting you wear them everyday but to the interview is a must.

Lastly, shoes! CLOSE TOE ONLY.  There is a difference between business heels and high heels. Don’t walk into a interview with your designer 6 inch heels on. Not necessary! A classic black or nude business pump will do just fine. And they are not at all expensive, $20 at Payless at the most.

You may not think the way you look on your interview matters but it does. It’s the first impression of you. When the interviewer reads your resume that are picturing you by your accomplishments and accolades. Don’t blur that image of yourself with the wrong interview attire. You want the interviewer to continue to be impressed with the person they see after reading your award winning resume.

When you get the job you can put on those 6 inch heels and that fitted skirt and celebrate with your new beginning with you girls over drinks. Cheers.

 

Career Coffee Bar

Hello Dear!

I have something from my weekend that I want to share with you all. I was super excited about it and still am.

So, Saturday morning, I hosted a CAREER COFFEE BAR. It was an idea that crossed my busy ol’ mind one day. The idea was to get my friends together and do something productive. Confession – it was only one friend  LOL

Okay let me tell you how this happened. I had this big idea in my head to host a Career Coffee Bar, where my friends and I gathered together to help each other with our career goals. I mean we help each other with so much more… make up and hair tips… dating advice… fashion tips… never anything about our career goals. So, Why not?

The Career Coffee Bar is designed to use your friends to analyze your experience and help you explore new venture to achieve your career goals. I plan on hosting a grand event with all of my friends and friends of friends, but first I wanted to test this theory of excitement. I mean I get excited about the lamest things and my friends don’t.

IMG_3966 2My good friend Myeesha (@paix_bebe) was my testee on Saturday. I made a fabulous sausage egg and cheese quiche. I prepared juice, hot tea and coffee. We sat at my breakfast table (yes, I have a breakfast table) like adults with our resumes and laptops out. The conversations wasn’t about what we wanted to do that night, or what new guy we’re seeing, or even if our lip stick was poppin’ or not… The conversation was about our goals and it wasn’t boring. We wrote out our aspirations and goals. Then we reviewed each other resume and searched for opportunities that each of us could benefit from. I even found some new LinkedIn groups to join and learned how to endorse my connections. The goal was for me to help Myeesha find new ventures to explore as she seeking to further her career, and she do the same for me. In this little amount of time, I feel like we got so much accomplished. It even helped me form a plan to work towards my career aspirations.

I can not wait to host a larger event with more friends and their friends!!!

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By the way, Thanks for stopping by PassionLocked. Don’t forget to subscribe, like and share. And I will see you back here next week.