Inspire Your Career Growth: 10 Tips for Hungry Young Women
The job search process can be a restorative time of self-development.
Here are ten tips and resources to keep you sane, inspired, and reaping the nourishing benefits of change.
Right now it's October, which means that the air is crisp, the days are a bit shorter, and the nights are a bit cooler and longer. Although it is bittersweet to say goodbye to Summer's warm temps and free-wheeling weekends, the upside is that this season's change brings with it the opportunity to reflect and focus on personal projects for fall and the year ahead.
For myself, this season has set off a personal quest of goal-setting, networking, and career reflection as I look for my next opportunity. The job search process can be one that is highly reflective and restorative, as long as you take the appropriate time to chisel the person you are now into a more refined, ideal version of yourself.
Over the past two months I have been on the look-out for resources that will help me clarify my thinking, refine my purpose, and inspire my soul. From the time I have spent researching, reading, journaling, writing, and networking, I think have found some wonderful resources that have kept me feeling inspired and motivated. Here's the best of what I've discovered.
1. Stay Sane and Learn Something New: The New York Times Smarter Living Newsletter.
A repository of all things good and essential for living one's best life, this newsletter is not solely wellness-related (one can sign up to receive the Times' edition of Well for that,) but it does touch on such essential issues as mindfulness and goal-setting. It is not solely a lifestyle newsletter either, as the tips surround topics such as how to create an easy skincare routine, and how to get and keep a bartender's attention. Sometimes inspiring, usually funny, always essential, this is one newsletter I look forward to reading every time it hits my inbox. Taking time to focus on things other than your job search keeps you balanced, positive, and quite frankly — more fun to be around.
Connect the dots of your story.
Also: trust your gut, think long-term, mentor other women, and always work alongside smart and talented people you trust.
2. Gain Some Clarity and Craft Your Story: WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE??, a professional manifesto by Millie Train
Millie Tran is a seriously inspiring woman, whose experiences thus far make her an impressive journalist, marketer, and thinker. She's the Global Growth Editor at New York Times, where she spends her time finding new ways to attract emerging audiences to the world's best newspaper. Prior to that, she was the Director of Global Adaptation at Buzzfeed after working at the American Press Institute. The secret to Tran's success? She claims it comes from connecting the dots of her story, trusting her gut, thinking long-term, mentoring and sponsoring women, and working alongside smart and talented people. The google doc she created was intended to inspire and coach those looking to taking a long and reflective long-term look at their career and is impressive for both the simplicity and complexity of the ideas shared within. It reads like a zine, but the content feels more like a TED talk. It's short, powerful, and is an especially good read for those on the job search who need to craft a perfect elevator pitch without the empty jargon. Women, and especially young women working in media or advertising will find it especially useful. Tran is a woman to watch, so I recommend following her on Twitter and keeping track of her blog too.
See others the way you'd like to be seen.
To connect deeply, remember that whoever is across the interview table from you has an inner life as rich as your own.
3. Squash Your Imposter Syndrome: Seek Sonder
Seth Godin defines the word 'sonder' on his blog as "that moment when you realize everyone around you has an internal life as rich and as conflicted as yours. "This particular post has a valuable and essential lesson for job-seekers especially. When we take the time to remember that the person sitting across from us at the interview table has suffered as much as they have triumphed, has goals and dreams, is both afraid and triumphant, it makes it that much easier for us to let go of our interview anxieties, be present, and connect with them fully— no matter how much your stomach may be fluttering.
4. Gather Your Resources and Create A Killer Portfolio: The Free Resources of Copywriter Kayla Hollatz
Hollatz is a freelance copywriter living in Minneapolis whose work is stylish, witty, and fun. Not to mention, everything she lends her copy to is designed just exceedingly well. I recommend subscribing to her newsletter, where Hollatz shares tons of great tips on how to breathe new life in to your website copy as well as the design of your portfolio or site. Her website is a great resource for copywriters, small-business-owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs alike. I have been using the tips in her newsletter to re-write some of my own website copy, and look forward to applying her very astute advice to my own portfolio when the free time comes. I recommend following Hollatz on Twitter and via her blog for more tips and funny witticisms.
5. Splurge on a Membership to a Chic Co-Working Space:
The Coven will be the first women's co-working community in the Twin Cities area, a welcome change and addition to my local community. Participation in the Coven's club and services will be membership based, with individuals having the option to opt-in at an annual or monthly service rate to join in on the fun. And while the main purpose of the Coven will be to "keep women in boss mode" through offering an inspiring and functional place to work and network, the organization also plans to offer a rich program of events, pop-ups, forums, and features to support women in the Twin Cities in all arenas of their personal and professional lives. THat means that if you don't quite have the ability to pay for a membership at this time, you can still benefit from attending their events, mixers, and workshops. If you are interested in becoming a member before opening day, the Coven is currently offering a limited number of founding memberships that can be purchased through their crowd-funding campaign set to launch October 17th. For more information, check them out at thecovenmpls.com and follow them on Instagram at @thecovenmpls
Step 6: Craft Your Map to Success by Investing In a Good Planner
There's nothing that feels quite as good as opening your planner to a fresh page in order to plot your world domination.
To accomplish your goals, a good planner is essential. Although many people use their phones to keep track of meetings, important deadlines, and to-do's , I find that having a paper planner is essential to sticking to my deadlines, tasks, and long-term goals. Something about writing things down and putting a date on it adds that extra layer of accountability that I find essential. Plus, whenever I buy a new notebook or planner, I feel freshly motivated. My newest one is part of the May Designs for Blue Sky collection currently at Target. May Designs is a stationary company based out of Austin Texas, known for their cute collection of paper products, calendars, and notebooks. Their flagship product is the May Book, a cleverly-designed midori-style traveler's notebook that can be customized with their own selection of paper notebooks and date books. The designs are bright and fun. They also just launched a limited edition line at Target in conjunction with Blue Sky. I particularly love their traveler's notebook calendars. This one with a pink marbleized cover as well as a more subdued grey version both made their way onto my desk this week.
If you're more of a filofax type, I hear ya. A5 planners are great beause they are super customizable. Bonus: basically any stationary, craft, or office supply store will carry dated and lined inserts that will fit this common size, making them a practical choice. I love the planners and accessories that Swedish company Kikki-K carries. If you're looking for something slightly more affordable, Webster's Pages at Jo-Ann Fabrics and the Recollections planner line at Michaels are also good bets.
Lewis, who works freelance for clients on both the east and west coast, found herself flummoxed by the lack of community and collaboration in the Twin Cities compared to other large metros where she has lived before, and so she started Foolproof as a way to bring more freelance creatives together in the form of shared workspaces and monthly workshops. Located in Vandalia Tower in St. Paul, MN, the space boasts Lewis' recognizable blend of happy, irrevrent minimalism and joyful pops of color. The next networking event, "How to Brand Yourself" is slated to occur the evening of Thursday October 26th and looks to be a super good time. Sign up here if you are interested, and to learn more about the co-working space, check out thisisfoolproof.com
Step 8: Make Time for Your Wellness Practice
while searching for that next big break, remember to keep your self-care game strong.
8. Remember to Make Time for Your Practice with Wellness Resources: Om and The City
One thing I have found to be true is that while searching for that next big break, it's important to keep your personal self-care game strong. This means continuing make time for exercise and meditation, even when you are focused on accomplishing big goals. A great online resource for all things wellness is Om and the City, a lifestyle blog written by an inspiring and beautiful young yogi named Jules. It’s become my one-stop shop for wellness advice and is full of great tips designed to help anyone live their best life. I love her advice on building more time for mindfulness and meditation into one's schedule. You'll be inspired by her beautiful photography, clever recipes, and easy ideas for better living. Bookmarked and something I check regularly, Jules' zen-like style has inspired me to carve out time for myself, even when the going gets tough. Bringing joy to your practice as well as to your professional journey gives you a sense of outer confidence and inner calm that will shine through whenever it's time to nail that interview or show up for your first day at a new job.
Mentor other women.
At one time you were a less experienced version of yourself. As you network and seek informational interviews, remember to lift other people up with you.
9. Know Your Worth and Find Women to Support: Ladies Get Paid
Ladies Get Paid is an organization based in NYC whose mission is to advocate for women in the workplace and to gain pay parity between genders. The organization has chapters around the United States that host events, and members can also join their slack communities, search salary databases online, receive their weekly newsletters, and attend webinars on such topics as negotiating pay raises and traversing difficult work situations. I am super excited that now the Twin Cities area (where I happen to live) has a new chapter of their own. Last week I attended their first networking event at Bauhaus Brewlabs and it was a great time! Their next event, a town-hall style discussion forum, will be held at Rocket55 on Thursday November 16th and is sure to be a good time for those looking to connect with other fellow career gals. For more information, visit the website at ladiesgetpaid.org, and be sure to buy a ticket to their event here.
10. Get Your Name Out There: Business Cards from MOO
This is one of those tips where I really needed to take my own advice on. I haven't had business cards for the longest time because I always used whatever card my employer created for me. While those are important to have and distribute as well, if you're someone like me who takes pride in their side hustle you should really have a way to link people in IRL to your own website or business. If you're looking to make a slight pivot into a new industry or career, having your own business cards that say exactly what you want to say and look exactly the way you want them to look becomes essential. I finally got my act together and started designing new business cards on Moo.com after my boyfriend recommended their services and I literally have no idea what took me so long. The templates are customizable, and they offer a ton of different looks no matter your occupation. The whole process only takes a couple hours, and bam — now you're newly official.
These tips have kept me on the right track, motivated, and meeting new people. For more tips and articles like this one, subscribe to my monthly newsletter below!