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Photo by Annette Shanahan

 

Have you ever felt like work (or school) is all you ever do? Are your social life and hobbies on the back-burner because you have “no time”?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You are just craving that empty canvas, that date night, or even that glass of wine in a hot bath, but you have so many obligations to take care of before you can even attempt taking time for yourself.

This is an indication of an unhealthy work-life balance.

What is a Healthy Work-Life Balance? 

Now that we’ve gotten an idea of an unhealthy balance, let’s take a look at a healthy one.

Basically, a healthy work-life balance is occurring when an individual’s happiness and satisfaction levels are highest. We tend to feel best about our lives when we have a decent social life, time for our hobbies and interests, and time to nurture ourselves.

When our work-life balance is optimal, we tend to also perform better at our jobs and in school.

 

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Photo by Annette Shanahan

 

What the Research Says

The research indicates that when we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, our happiness levels increase and our productivity levels increase.

Many professionals in the communications filed suggest that keeping “me-time” in your schedule can be the difference between that ‘A’ and that ‘B’ grade on your final exams. They also suggest that relaxation is a major success factor; overwhelming yourself is not.

Give Yourself a Break

Remember to always take care of you first. Work and your other obligations can wait an extra evening. If you are all about work, chances are that your performance is lacking and your stress levels are heightened. Especially around the holidays, you are prioritizing everyone and everything else over yourself. Don’t be a scrooge. Give yourself a break, literally.

Remember, “All work and no play makes me a dull [woman]”.

NEXT WEEK: The Benefits of Professional Dress

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Have you ever wondered what was relevant, in terms of experience, in applying for a job? Have you ever wondered if you should include that waitressing job you had your freshman year on your resume?

Well, it all comes down to the description of the job you are applying for and your ability to apply transferable skills.

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What Does Your Resume Say About You? 

Your resume speaks volumes of who you are, your interests, and your experiences; thus, it is important to ensure of its message quality.

You want to come off as knowledgeable, able, and willing. The terms you use to describe what you learned in your past experiences can make or break the success of your resume.

Here are some examples of successful resumes.

Knowing Your Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are the skills that you can use in multiple settings. One of the most common transferable skills is “customer service skills”.

You can consult your daily mentors or other resources on how to pick out your transferable skills. Once you know them, you can use them in most of the positions you apply for. As well, once you know your skills, you can elaborate them in your cover letters to cleverly exploit yourself.

Applying the Knowledge

For example, your cleaning job that you held all through college for spare cash has given you am abundance of skills in dealing with people and learning patience. But it may not be appropriate when applying for an editorial position. Unless you have little to no experience in the field and are about to adequately apply the skills you learned to the criteria of the position you are applying for.

Now, go get started on your resume-tailoring!

NEXT WEEK: Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

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Did you know that thousands of people are being hired via Social Media connections?

Perhaps I am the only one who is so surprised by the number of people hired by Social Media, especially since personal Social Media use was considered an issue in business in the past, but it is a trend that is currently benefiting a number of businesses and industries.

The Implecations

Facebook has become a pool of potential employees and employers in the job-search process. People are “friending” business executives, CEO’s, and Human Resource personnel in order to make an impression on them to get hired. Sound like an invasion of privacy?

Apparently not. People who have well established Social Media presences and impressive pages/profiles are breaking the barrier and using their Social Media skills to their advantage.

LinkedIn, in particular, builds professional connections and helps people find employment. For instance, I am “connected” with an editor that I have never met in Madison, WI, because she knows my 3rd cousin.

This opens up a world of opportunities.

 

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Using Social Media to Your Advantage

By frequently using your various Social Media accounts, you can grow your personal network and put yourself out there to be recognized. Here are some general facts and tips about Social Media use:

  • Most everyone (person and corporation) has at least one Social Media account.
  • You likely have Social Media accounts (if you do not, get one!).
  • Building your profile to look professional, fun, energetic, enthusiastic, and competent will encourage people to seek you out in the crowd.

Tip: Try “friending” some human resource personnel, managers, and general employees in the industry/company you are interested in. (Sending them a message describing what you are looking for out of the “connection” will make it less creepy)

Recommendations:

Your Social Networks can help you get a job. You should be on as many networks as you can, obtain as many “friends”, “connections”, and “subscribers” as you can in order to maximize your chances and opportunities.

Tweet frequently, post photos of you doing the things that you love (with class, not vulgarity), share posts by the corporations you love, and stay up-to-date on the important people in the companies that you want to work for.

I actually know a woman who is now the tour manager for a rapper in Los Angeles, CA, all because she kept up with said rapper’s Twitter page, ReTweeted his posts, posted that she was looking for employment in the entertainment industry, and portrayed herself as “outgoing” on her Twitter account. She now travels the world on tour for a living.

She Tweeted last week that she was in Paris.

WOW!

 

NEXT WEEK: Tailoring Your Resume

 

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Think for a minute about how many social networks you are on. Then think back to all the social networks you have been on in the past.

How do you portray yourself on these networks? Are they consistent?

All of the accounts that you have, and all the ones you used to have on MySpace, AOL, and MSN, are accessible via search engines. Is all of the searchable content something you want employers to see?

 

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What Is Your Social Media Presence?

Your social media presence is the way you “look” on the internet. Everything under your name (or including your name) makes up that presence. If you have a Google Plus account with your name, it can be found (though, much of your visible content in these sites can be monitored under “Privacy”).

You can be easily searched via a variety of search engines.

Searching YOU

One of the best ways to monitor your social media presence is to search yourself. This the way that employers will find you, and they WILL find you. If you had a goth phase in high school, you should go back and make sure that your MSN profile from that time period is not still activated or accessible.

You want your social media presence to be consistent and expressive of you (without fowl language or graphic content). In fact, many interviewers and employers want to see consistent profile images across all of your active profiles so you are easier to find (and, yes, you want to be found).

Only using ambiguous aliases in order to stay “under the radar” is not good, employers will just assume you have something to hide if they cannot find you on any social media networks. In fact, most companies today want to see you on many social media networks to see that you are active and able to keep up with trends.

 

Tip: Most companies have a strong social media presence as well. You can search the companies you are aiming for and tailor your own accounts to reflect the style and content of these companies. No, I do not mean to plagiarize their content; but if their social media presence reflects comedy or computer graphics, try to post similar things on your accounts.

 

NEXT WEEK: Social Media and Success

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Photo by Annette Shanahan

 

I know it sounds cliché:

“Have you ever had one of those rough days, whether at school or at work, where you mind just shuts off halfway through the day? Have you ever had a day where you just feel groggy, like you’re in a haze?

It could be due to poor diet and lack of excersize.”

Cliché? Yes. True? Most definitely. 

They call it being “in sync”, when your body and mind become one. Perfecting synergy throughout your body is very important to being successful; when your body is healthy, your mind is healthy.

 

A Healthy Body

As most know, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has so many benefits: disease prevention, injury prevention, better organ function, increased sex drive, increased energy, and (of course) a healthy weight.

Being healthy is more than just eating healthy. In order to stay on top of your health, you have to exercise as well. Cardio is very important (no, not just running). You can hula hoop, dance, walk, jump, run in circles, or even do a few rapid side steps a day to get the proper blood flow to all areas of the body.

As well, those groggy days and restless thoughts that keep you up at night will severely diminish with dedication to being healthy.

 

A Healthy Mind

According to Doctor’s James Lando and Sheree Marshall Williams, uniting mind and body health is extremely important for overall health. The benefits of physical health straighten out hormonal imbalances all over the body, including the brain.

If you are not able to think clearly on a regular basis, changing your personal health could be just the ticket you are looking for.

 

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Photo by Annette Shanahan

 

Some Added Mental Awareness

For additional clarity, meditation and self reflection can help “unclog” your thought process. When you are unaware of your emotions on a subject that you are struggling with, it can mess up your thought process on it. There are so many tools for self reflection:

  • writing
  • vocalizing
  • closing your eyes and discussing with yourself what the real problem is
  • venting to a close friend

Meditation is also an extremely useful tool to mental health. Being able to clear your mind and thoughts can help organize the “filing cabinets” of thought that we all have.

Think of your mind as an office, disorganization leads to stress. Once you are able to step out of the office for a little bit and organize your files, your will be much more productive in the long-run.

 

NEXT WEEK: Your Social Media Presence

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Photo by Annette Shanahan

Here you are, one in a million. There is no other quite like you. Now, how do you get the interviewer to see it?

Standing out in the crowd is important to building a successful image. Your branding image is the distinct way that people see you. One retired interviewer at St. Claire Hospital in Baraboo, WI, said, “Out of the hundreds of interviews I conducted, only one sticks out in my head. She walked in wearing a bright red and blue, tailored, skirt suit. I will never forget how confident she was.”

That woman knew how to own her image.

Setting the Stage

First off, your image is not just about your appearance. Image has to do with the way you carry yourself, combined with a good set of skills and competencies. Think of it as your “brand“.

A brand is something recognizable. You see the Apple logo and people know what it is. Your branding image is the same. The positions you apply for, the experience on your resume, the references you use, and the sincerity of your smile all play a part in your branding image.

The Appropriate Image

Your image should be tailored to the way you want to be seen. When marketing a product, the focus is typically on one area that dominates the market: price, quality, location, etc. Obviously they want to stick out in the crowd. This is the same with your image.

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Photo by Annette Shanahan

You should hone in on your major strengths by observing your own skills and areas of expertise. Once you have found a direction, you can work out the kinks; accountants should brand themselves by experience and professional dress. Artists should brand themselves with visually stimulation artifacts.

Know yourself and know your audience, and you will better be able to perfect your image.

For more on your professional image, click here.

Why is it so Important?

The way people see you is the way that they shape their thoughts and feelings about you. If you come off as cocky as opposed to confident, people will treat you differently and be less amped to take you seriously.

As well, let’s face it, people talk. If you have a bad interview with one company, odds are that a few others in the industry will hear of it. If you dominate an interview, others will know.

 

NEXT WEEK: A Healthy Body Leads to a Healthy Mind

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We have all been denied an interview, it happens. Not every company is going to find you to be the perfect candidate that you know you are. Landing an interview can be quite difficult, so how do we keep our focus on the goal?

Tailor Your Application Document

First off, most of us are flexible in the areas we want to go in to. Sales people have an array of opportunity: sales manager, sales associate, sales research developer, etc. Accountants can apply for jobs with business in many different industries, from big-time law agencies to your local grocery store. We all have options and each position may be looking for specific criteria. Know your audience, know the job requirements and tasks, and know how to tailor your application process.

There are specific documents that companies require for an application:

1. Resumé

2. Cover Letter

3. Reference Page

Even if you are applying via Email, these documents are often required, thus you should learn to perfect them.

The Resumé

The resume is typically the most important part of getting an interview. It lists your past and present professional, academic, and applicable personal experiences. Your resumé needs to say something about you without flat-out saying anything. Your resumé has to reflect your past experiences and present skills that you are able to apply to various other situations.

The Cover Letter

Not all companies require a cover letter, but it never hurts to write one anyway — especially if applying via Email. The cover letter further applies and elaborates what is in your resumé. When writing a cover letter, you want to convey yourself as competent, malleable, and determined.

Another important aspect of your cover letter is the research you conduct on the company you are applying for. You should research the industry, company, and job description in order to apply your experiences to the job you are applying for.

The Reference Page

Some companies want a reference list before the interview process, other want it during the interview or after. Either way, it is important to know what they expect out of your references. You should use 3-5 people that you have worked for/with in a professional setting as your references. Always include a name, relationship to the individual, affiliation, address, and phone number (Email is optional).

Each of these documents is important in mastering how to be the best you you can be (on paper) in the competitive application process. Show the company that you are the perfect candidate and leave them wondering, “How have we gotten by without her?” before they even meet you.

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NEXT WEEK: PERFECTING YOUR BRANDING IMAGE

 

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Have you been feeling discouraged lately? Loss of motivation? Lacking Inspiration? Have you been feeling beaten down?

You should dress up!

Embodied Cognition is a phenomenon studied in communications that suggests people perform at their best when they are dressed for success. Many others may call this phenomenon “Fake It ‘Til You Make It”.

What the Research Indicates

Studies show that dressing up can have a psychological effect on your daily performance. In one particular study, subjects wore lab-coats and were tested on basic skills. The results may seem ridiculous, but the subject wearing lab-coats did significantly better than those who were not wearing one.

The researchers at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University called this phenomenon “Enclothed Cognition”.

Perfecting Your Routine

If you are feeling discouraged, you should try dressing yourself up to make the rest of the world think you are feeling confident:

  1. Stretch first thing in the morning. Try a quick yoga sequence. Your muscles and posture will thank you.
  2. Take a morning shower to help yourself feel refreshed and be sure to cleanse your face (it is the forefront of perception).
  3. Do your hair in your favorite style. Need suggestions on the latest styles?
  4. Apply some light make-up, even if it is just mascara. A little boost can go a long way in boosting your confidence!
  5. Pick out an outfit (including shoes) that says, “I am feeling confident” to both you and people of your everyday encounters.
  6. Lastly, don’t forget to eat a light breakfast.

Take these steps each morning to test this “Embodied Cognition” theory for yourself. If anything, you will learn to fake it until you make it!

 

NEXT WEEK:

SCORING THE GOAL: LANDING AN INTERVIEW!

 

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Focusing on Women

Women are a particular focus. Since the 1950s, we have worked our way up the social ladder. Now, we are admirable faces of business and success, but we have not achieved total equality.

There are many discouraging differences in the workplace between men and women. We often feel small — as we were made to — compared to men, which encourages our motivation. We still have mountains to climb in order to achieve the equality that we deserve, and we need a little inspiration to help us get there.

Women have endless potential. We often overlook our abilities and “settle” for what we have. In reality, we truly are a unique asset to future growth. We tend to have a completely different approach to success, and business has shown favor in differentiation. We require authentic communication, leadership, and relational encouragement. We demand respect. We are inspired by unique sources, sources that I intend to analyze.

What Inspires Us?

Everyone needs a little inspiration when they are down. The goal of this blog is just that; to inspire women in a time when gender equality is less then what we demand, to inspire women to reach their potential. As many know, mental, physical, and spiritual health increase confidence, and we all know that when we are feeling confident, we are willing to accept criticism and turn it in to inspiration.

There are many contributors to our success. This blog is going to focus on all things women; women’s health, women’s confidence, and getting to know what inspires you. Yes, this blog is about you.

My name is Morgan Schmidt and I aim to require and inspire success for women such as yourself.

NEXT WEEK: BEATEN DOWN? DRESS UP!

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