Landing the Second Interview

How to get hired

Hello Friday, it’s so nice to see you again! This week has been full of snow and other chilly things that have made making plans a little difficult. My flight home was cancelled due to the winter storm the Washington, DC region will be experiencing tonight. I’m actually thankful because the last thing I want my mom to have to do is drive in icy conditions to pick me up from the airport.

Since I’m going through a new phase of job hunting, I thought I’d share some of my “snag a job” tips. By no means am I an expert on getting a job, but I have been a job hunter and interviewee quite a few times. What I’ve learned has helped me understand people better and acknowledge important unwritten rules no one tells you about. Follow my lead!

Tips for the Big Interview

  • Watch out for scams: The number of “scam jobs” I’ve seen posted on every career site is incredible. If the title of the posting includes the words “entry level” or “training provided,” be very cautious. It might be legit but read the posting further for more clues on if the job is what it appears to be. For example, if you come across a title like “Entry level event planners wanted, no experience required” I can almost promise you that those “events” you’ll be planning are actually trade shows at Sam’s Club or Costco. Get your hair net and apron ready!
  • Landing the second interview: Getting an over-the-phone interview is hard enough, but getting an in-person interview is even harder! Prepare what you are going to say ahead of time. Have your resume ready because you will have to walk the employer through your experiences. If you stutter through this, it sounds like you aren’t prepared and that won’t land you another interview.
  • The in-person interview: Wahoo! You made it to this step, don’t screw it up by looking unprofessional. My mom went to an interview at our local library for a desk clerk position and the woman being interviewed ahead of her was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. This is possibly the worst outfit you could wear! Let me break down a business professional look:
    • Crisp blouse (white or cream are my favorites for a clean first impression)
    • Fitted skirt (slightly above the knee is appropriate; patterns should be kept minimal but a striped skirt in muted tones are nice)
    • Smart shoe (no heels you can’t walk in or anything strappy, nude kitten heel is best)
    • Classic jewelry (a watch and pearl earrings is professional and says a lot about you; large hoop earrings or clanking bracelets also says a lot about you in a negative way)
  • Don’t look up- When you’re speaking to someone face-to-face, avoid looking up in the air when they ask you a question. You appear to be pulling answers out of the sky. Look down with your eyes and you appear contemplative.

Please leave your interviewing and job hunting tips in a comment below! Best of luck for everyone in the middle of job hunting!
witty n pretty

Tips for Moving Home

Happy Monday morning my friends! It was a wet, dreary weekend but I still found little things to make me happy, such as a hot coffee and my dad’s homemade fried chicken. As a new day begins, one of my favorite things to do is sit outside on my balcony and sip my coffee while browsing through some of your blogs. I hope my blog offers the same kind of happiness that many of yours do!

tips for moving home

In other news of mine, I’m moving back to my mom and dad’s next week. I moved out 5 months ago after I got my first job and unfortunately, the contract on it expires in November. My roommate and I signed a lease for 5 months only because neither of us had strong job security. While I’m happy that I have a place to go and a few kitty cats waiting for my return, it’s a little difficult to go from having tons of freedom to having a tighter schedule. This isn’t the first time I’ve moved back home. Summer breaks during college and in between internships have brought me back several times.

Four Tips for Moving Home

I’ve learned several things about this process that I’d like to share with you. In a world where more and more college graduates have to move back home because they can’t find a job, I feel as though there’s a few things they (or we) should know.

  1. Have no expectations– “It’s going to be awful. My parents are going to drive me crazy. It’ll be like being a child again.” No, not necessarily. My dad used to say “expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed”. He’s absolutely right. If you have a bad attitude going into it, then you can’t expect everything to go swimmingly. In fact, don’t expect anything. Having a vision in your head (whether good or bad) about what it’s going to be like is the fastest way to be shocked when your vision wasn’t realistic.
  2. Remember it’s temporary– Living at home won’t last forever. It just won’t unless you sit in your basement all day playing video games. Looking for a job is a full time job in itself! You’re moving home because you can’t find work and the goal is to find work. What do you think you’re going to do all day? Apply for jobs so this living situation is in fact, temporary.
  3. Create a routine– You need a sense of normalcy in your life or you will go crazy. Living at home is the new ‘normal’ and the faster you embrace it, the better off you’ll be. Humans crave familiarity, so having a schedule to work off of daily will really help you be comfortable with your life. My routine will probably be somewhere along the lines of wake up, have coffee, shower, clean room, apply to jobs, get lunch, go to gym, apply to jobs, blog, dinner, and relax. Create one that works for you.
  4. Find ways to make extra cash– As a way to pay down my credit card, I started selling unwanted clothes on eBay and believe me it works. Are you going to become a millionaire? No. However, an extra $200 or even more a month really helps so you have a bit of spending money to go get dinner with friends or catch a movie.

Feel free to comment with your own tips! I really love hearing what you all have to say! ‘Like’ my Facebook page too for updates!

witty n pretty

10 Things that Suck About the Job Hunt

things_that_suck_about_job_huntingIt’s finally Wednesday! This week is just dragging for whatever reason. I’ve been applying to jobs like crazy so that’s more than likely why. Several months ago, I was hired for a temporary position in Washington, DC. That position’s contract is going to expire in a few months and I need to find a new, permanent job (preferably near a Starbucks). I’ve been thinking to myself how ridiculous the application process is nowadays. My parents were telling me how differently things were done “way back when”. Frankly, it sounded a lot less complicated. Since we’re on the subject, I’m going to share with you the most annoying things about job hunting. I guarantee you’ll at least laugh or be able to sympathize with me.

  1. Lack of salary information– It’s like “here’s a job that sounds pretty decent but we aren’t going to tell you how much it pays.” I get it, employers don’t want to advertise a specific number when the best applicant they find isn’t worth that much, but at least give me an idea of what the minimum salary is so I can decide whether I should waste my time with the lengthy application process you inevitably have. This brings me to the next annoying thing.
  2. The lengthy application process– There are only a few applications I’ve filled out that I thought were efficient and made sense. Most of the other processes are long, ask repetitive questions, and are clearly designed for a computer to pick through looking for keywords. If your resume (which you inevitably have to reenter into their “employment history” section) doesn’t include these keywords, then it will be tossed into cyber space’s garbage can.
  3. Filling out a profile– For many of the bigger companies, before you can even apply for a position you have to create a profile. This means you come up with a username, password, and give a few other details about yourself. That’s all fine and dandy until you have to do it a million times.
  4. Empty promises– “If you’re qualifications meet what we’re looking for, we will be in touch. If not, we’ll keep your resume on file for 6 months in case another job opens up that better fits with your skill set.” Yeah, I’ve heard that before.
  5. The let down– You’ve applied, waited for someone to get back to you, gotten excited, and then you get this email: “Thank you for your interest in ___ position.┬áThe initial screening of applications has been completed. At this time we have decided to move forward with other candidates whose experience and background better match the requirements for the position.” Thanks for the computer generated response. I do appreciate it. Sarcasm intended.
  6. Cover letters– Who honestly reads these? You spend at least 30 minutes tailoring the cover letter to the company’s needs and then nothing comes of it. The end.
  7. Strength and weakness questions– Do you really think I’m going to tell you what my biggest weakness is? Since a computer is probably sifting through those answers too, I think it would be real funny to say that my biggest weakness is being on time for work. At least it would make me laugh.
  8. “Entry level” positions– Years ago when the economy was on the up and up, an entry level position was tailored to the recent college graduate who had maybe an internship or two on their resume. Now, underneath all of the other qualifications for an entry level position, you need, drum roll please, one to two years of experience! Because that makes perfect sense.
  9. Advertised entry level positions– Yes, I know this contradicts my complaints from my last point but in my application experience, anytime a position is advertised as being entry level it usually ends up being a scam. For example, I applied for a job being advertised as “entry level communications assistant”. I thought I had struck gold when I found this! Better yet, I even got an interview for it. A day later, I got on the phone with my interviewer and she told me more about the job. Apparently my job as a “communications assistant” would include going door-to-door “communicating” to people about the amazing coupons they can buy from me. No thanks, I think I’m good.
  10. The people that say they’ll “keep their eyes open– People are busy and have busy lives, I understand that. It just puts a damper on my mood when I ask someone who I think will actually know something about finding a job in a certain locale and they don’t and then follow it up with “I’ll keep my eyes open.” You’re a human, an hour from now you’ll forget we had this conversation, but I know you mean well.

I know, I’m a negative Nancy and I’ve already been told by my mom that I’ll never get a job with that attitude. Frankly, this whole blog post was just comedic relief. Sometimes you just have to let the sarcasm flow and have yourself a good laugh about it. One day, hopefully in the near future, I’ll find a job I love to do and a company I want to work for. Right now, I’m just going to laugh about life and keep submitting applications.

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6 Things I Can’t Live Without (in this phase of life)

Like other soon-to-be college graduates, I’m young, vivacious, and just starting out in life. It’s a tough world outside the comfort of our college campuses. Apparently, there’s something called student loan “payments” and moving “back home” if you can’t find a job. Gone are the days of stressing over papers and finals; that’s child’s play! The real fun begins now.

There are a few things that I literally can’t live without at this point in time. Those “things” have become apparent to me in the last year or so. The first thing on my list is…

  1. Things_i_can't_live_withoutMy girl friends. Seriously, they’ve come to my rescue a million times this week already. Between keeping my mind off of things that were troubling me or just helping me shrug off emotionally draining issues, they’ve had my back! I’m grateful for this lovely lady in the picture with me for inviting me out Saturday night. I definitely needed it.
  2. The second thing I can’t live without right now (or ever) is my mom. She just never gives up on me even when I’ve given up on myself! Plus, she makes crazy good comfort food.
  3. A steamy shower. My goodness, I could just live under my shower head and let the heat just work it’s magic on my muscles. I’m rather tense these days.
  4. Dark chocolate has recently become my best friend due to it’s heart-healthy label and the bittersweet goodness it packs. After a long day, I need, scratch that, I deserve a few pieces of it!
  5. My furry felines have become the best little listeners and even better cuddlers. Pets are therapeutic for people. They just are. I adore having mine around and delight in the adorable little sounds they make, their crazy antics, and determination to catch the “red dot.”
  6. The final thing I can’t live without is Indeed.com. It has become my best friend for job hunting. Being able to search by job title and location makes things so much easier.

There’s probably a million other little things I’m forgetting but these are my top six. This season in my life hasn’t been easy but I’m thankful for the extra help I have to get me through it. I honestly don’t know when things will start to change for the better and I wish I did. Sometimes all you can do is hold tight to the blessing you do have and pray for the rest to fall into place.

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Life’s Ups and Downs

starbucks_drinkHey lovely readers. I haven’t been posting consistently like I know I should be but the last week or so has been rather difficult. I had interviewed for a job last week and I thought I had an amazing shot at it but it turns out I was wrong. I just got declined for the job today. It stung a bit, actually quite a lot. I’ll never understand why these things don’t work out but for whatever reason, they just don’t.

I’m sitting at my favorite spot in Starbucks eating a snowman cookie and drinking a gingerbread latte. Two things that will help me cope for sure! I also ran into Target to get my favorite cherry M&Ms and of course came out with a bunch of stuff I never intended to buy. However, all of it was on sale. Bought Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part 2 for only $5! I’ll be watching that tonight while I eat away my sorrows. They also had the perfect gold braided belt ($4 on clearance) to go with a new dress my wonderful mom got me. Finally, they had a mirrored jewelry box on sale for $12. I’ve been wanting it for about 2 years but I’m too cheap to pay the full price ($35).

I guess God puts little pieces of happiness in our lives when we need them most. Today, I definitely needed them! Sometimes life just throws a wrench in your plans. I think part of living a good life is learning to accept these “wrenches” and moving on. Just a thought. I’ll start writing again tomorrow; already have something in the works.

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