10 Things Millennials Need to Check and Then Double Check on Their Resume

Oh resumes, they are very much a pain, but I’m here to tell you that even in a modern-day job search, they are still a necessary evil. Many have tagged me the Resume Whisperer because over the years I have acquired a talent in resume makeovers. While I don’t have the ability to look at everyone’s resume, what I can tell you is that your resume should always be READY FOR PRIME TIME—even if you aren’t currently in the market for a new job. You never know when you may be sitting on the plane next to the CEO of your dream job, and he or she says, “send me your resume.” Taking 2-3 days to get around to updating it is not an option! Also, some think that if you are an entrepreneur you no longer need a resume. FAKE NEWS. A document that reflects your work history and experience is always a good idea. I can give you all the reasons why, or you can just trust me. In the meantime, I urge the millennials (and non-millennials) reading this to review the following resume check list. Identify your gaps and FIX THEM NOW.

  1. Does your resume include your current job and position? Don’t put this off, always update your resume as your career evolves. Whenever I hear a Gen-Xer or Baby Boomer say “I haven’t updated my resume in 10 years” I cringe. Millennials- don’t fall into this hole.
  2. Do you have your LinkedIn profile URL listed with your contact information? If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one—and a customized URL.
  3. Is your resume in an easy to read format? You are biased- get a second opinion.
  4. Do your job descriptions contains action words? If no, you can find some good ones here and here (I love any chance I get to use the word spearheaded). Remember you want your resume to show off what skills you have and used—not a laundry list of your daily to-dos. As a millennial, highlight new areas where you had to expand your knowledge in a new area or an interesting project that you worked on.
  5. Are there any typos and is punctuation correct? This is a big one, always have a second pair of eyes review.
  6. Have you listed any jobs that frankly as an adult, no one really cares about anymore? For example, if you are 30 and still listing your high school job at McDonald’s, it’s time to take it off.
  7. Do you have jobs (not internships) listed that you worked for less than six months? If yes, then evaluate how vital they are to your career path story. If it makes you look like you are afraid of job commitment, consider removing. Or have your story ready on why your job lasted less time than Ariande Grande’s engagement to Pete Davidson.
  8. Is there anything on your resume that is not true—trust me, it will come back to bite you. REMOVE. I learned the hard way that taking Spanish classes in high school and listing yourself as fluent in Spanish are two very different things.
  9. Will your resume stand out from the crowd? If you can’t find anything, take some time to brainstorm, but don’t make anything up (see #8). Think about what you do well and find a way to weave that into your resume.
  10. Is your resume in a PDF format? Some may disagree, but I highly recommend NEVER sending out your resume in WORD or allowing a job search site to “create one” for you. If you PDF it, you will know exactly what your resume looks like once it’s opened on someone else’s computer, tablet or phone. The same cannot be said for other formats.

The Millennial Election Year—Five Ways Millennials Can Impact the Elections Between Now and November 6

 

One week ago, pop sensation Taylor Swift posted a message to her 112 million Instagram followers that endorsed two Democrats running for office and called for her followers to register to vote in the upcoming midterms and actually SHOW UP to the polls. Many were shocked that in this current environment where everything from friendships to relationships to endorsement deals are ending based on where you stand politically, that Taylor Swift would choose to use her voice and influence for political action. Well—whether or not you agree with her politics, her ability to marry social media with social activism worked. Vote.org, the voting registration website Taylor Swift directed her followers to saw a surge of 65,000 people register to vote in a 24-hour period (for context, 56,669 were registered the entire month of August).

While I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift’s post didn’t make my parents more “politically aware” of the importance of the upcoming midterm elections (note to self to ask my parents if they know who Taylor Swift is), clearly there is a whole generation of social media millennials (and Gen-Z) who saw her post and took action. Millennials have the power to be the deciding force in the upcoming midterm elections. This group makes up about 22% of the US population and will soon be the largest living generation. The question is, will millennials actually show up to vote? (insert the I don’ know emoji here).

Well I am no Taylor Swift, but I do want to encourage anyone who is reading this blog to become politically educated (it’s the adult thing to do) and make sure you let your voice be heard in some shape or form on November 6th. In the spirit of providing actionable information (not advice this time), here are 5 ways for millennial action this election year:

  1. REGISTER TO VOTE. Check to see if you are registered to vote on vote.org or by clicking here. If you are not registered, check here to see if there is still time to register (this varies state to state). For example, in California the deadline is October 22—do not just assume it’s too late.
  2. VOTE EARLY. Yes, November 6 is election day, but in many states the party is already poppin and you can vote NOW. Also, look at your calendar—are you going to be out in town (I’ll be in South Africa so I am voting this week), stuck in meetings all day, or running to your best friend’s birthday happy hour after work? Basically if there is anything that will deter you from voting on election day (and likely standing in a long ass line), consider voting sooner rather than later. Click here to find out if you can cast your vote early.
  3. GET INFOMRED. If you want to get more info on the issues, check out the Skimm’s Digital Issues Center, which was created to give millennial voters details on issues and candidates. Don’t be naïve and think that what happens in Congress or even on your local city council doesn’t impact you personally (those little dockless scooters could be gone overnight with a strike of a pen). Also don’t forget, Congress has power over issues such as student loan debt and whether birth control is covered by your insurance company.
  4. GET INVOLVED. Don’t be discouraged if it’s too late for you to register in your state—still register so you will be ready for the next election. There are also other things you can do- encourage your friends to vote, drive people to the polls, help out with local get the vote out efforts. Check out the opportunities on the Rock The Vote (They need graphic designers, video editors, not to mention traditional phone bankers.) Also, check out Text The Vote—an initiative to send texts to unregistered millennial voters and help them get registered. Lastly, if you swing left or consider yourself progressive, check out The Last Weekend for volunteer activities between now and election day (btw, I’m not trying to be partisan, I just couldn’t find any similar millennial Republican get out the vote websites).
  5. VOTE. If you don’t live in an early voting state, or you just want the thrill of posting your “I Voted” sticker on IG on election day, don’t wait until November 6 to look up your polling location. Find out now where you have to go, what you need to bring, and block off time on your calendar. Don’t forget to give your boss a heads up that you will be late for work or leaving early. Just don’t talk about it, be about it!

 

 

Just Because You Grew Up With Someone, Does Not Mean You Grow Up With Them

Many people have heard the “rumor” that the older you get the smaller your “true” friendship circles get. Well I am here to tell you that it’s a not a rumor, it’s just one of the things about adulting that few people are real about. When you think about it, during college and in your 20’s and early 30’s, most people date a variety of men and women, some who remain close friends and some who you would not go across the street to even say hi. Although friendships don’t usually have the same emotion as a romantic relationship—it is still very common to outgrow or grow apart from those whom you “grew up” with. And that’s perfectly ok. As you transition into adulting, priorities change, values change, and frankly YOU change. If you aren’t changing and evolving, then that’s the bigger problem.

Now I’m not recommending a big dramatic breakup with a longtime childhood friend, but what I am saying is that it’s ok to no longer feel like you have to force friendships that are no longer benefiting you.  There will come a time when you will begin to reevaluate your relationships as life starts to get in the way. The tendency to prioritize your oldest friendships may seem logical and a no brainer but may not be for the best. Part of adulting is realizing when you are at the conclusion of a great friendship, appreciating the supporting roles you’ve played in each other’s lives and recognizing when it’s time to move on. There are also situations when demands and/or expectations may require a friendship siesta and you reconnect later with little effort.

If you ever start to feel stressed on how to balance a large friendship pool, take some time to evaluate what stage each of your friendships is in. For me, I have some friends from high school where months can go by without contact because our lives are very different. Yet, when we connect, no time is spent debating who contacted whom last, instead we just pick up where we left off and enjoy our time together. I have also had non-romantic male friends that I have been incredibly close with over the years—who then go on to get married, resulting in a change of our friendship dynamic or sometimes the conclusion of the friendship.

To break it down, most friendships usually fall into 4 categories:

-Friends you grew up with

-Friends you’ve made through forced togetherness (ie co-workers)

-Surface social friends

-Growth friends

Your growth friends can also be in category 1 or 2.  Most importantly they are the people you want (and can count on) to be by your side through life’s ups and downs. If you feel a friendship is one-sided or no longer adding value to your life, be honest and let that friend know. How do you break but with a friend, you ask?  Keep it simple: sometimes gradual radio silence is the best way or just stating “‘I can’t be the friend that you want/need me to be right now” (I’m on the fence about if this is something you can send via text…)

Remember, just because you grew up with someone, does not mean you continue to grow with them.

 

I got a small circle, I’m not with different crews
We walk the same path, but got on different shoes
Live in the same building, but we got different views -Drake

Right Above It
Lil Wayne
Featuring Drake

 

Why I Changed My Morning Routine and Why You Should Too

A recent survey revealed that there are a number of similarities and differences across the generation spectrum when it comes to our morning routines. It probably comes at no surprise that younger generations wake up to their phones and quickly get pulled into social media, even before their feet hit the ground. I was guilty of being one of those people who immediately was engulfed in their social media feed, email, text messages and online news as soon as I woke up. I realized that this morning routine (or lack of routine) was feeding into my anxiety issues that I then carried with me the rest of the day. So, I decided to do some research and make some small changes to how I start my day. Here’s how:

  1. Sunlight—as soon as I wake up I open up my curtains. Truth be told, because I’m single and don’t have to listen to anyone else complain, many nights I sleep with my curtains open so that the sunlight wakes me up. I love the calm and peacefulness of waking up to the sun rising verses my phone alarm (which plays You Better Work B*itch by Brittney Spears).
  2. Water—immediately I go to the kitchen and have a glass of lemon water with pink Himalayan salt and get back in bed. Shout out to the Skinny Confidential podcast for this tip—here’s 20 reasonsof why this water/lemon/salt combo it good for you.
  3. Meditate—I meditate (in my bed, which I know is weird) for 10 minutes while I drink my water and use either the Headspace app or the Insight Timer (Morning Peace and Grace is my go-to).
  4. Make my Bed—after I meditate I make my bed. Making my bed everyday gives me so much personal satisfaction and makes me feel like I am starting the day with a sense of organization and accomplishment—and seriously it takes like 2-3 minutes.
  5. The Daily Podcast—I know I go on about how much I love this podcast, but honestly I am a former news-junkie who had to give up watching the news in recent months, so this podcast gives me my fix. And if you have an Alexa, you can just tell her to play
    “The Daily Podcast.”
  6. Tongue Scraping—while I listen to The Daily, I now do tongue scraping (yes, its gross but I can’t believe I just started to do this), and get ready for the gym depending on the day of the week. Depending on how long the episode is, I might finish it while I walk my dog or on my walk to the gym or listen to it during my morning coffee post workout.

This may sound like a lot, but most of this takes 15-20 minutes. My mind so feels much clearer and I am not starting my day feeling anxious. Honestly, it sets the tone for the rest of the day to be productive and me to be intentional with everything I do. My routine may not be for everyone, but do some research on the morning routines of highly successful people (or even ask your mentor) and then create your own. While I use my phone for meditation and podcasts, I make a point to not allow social media, email or news to cloud my mind first thing in the morning anymore.

My advice is  don’t just get up everyday, but wake up with intention and with a routine that sets the foundation for the rest of your day.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.  — John C. Maxwell

Stop, Drop (the Phone), & Think: How Spending One Hour a Week THINKING Can Change Your Life

How often do you stop everything you are doing to just think?

Or to take it one step further, to think, evaluate and plan out your day, week, month, year, future etc. If you are like me, the answer is probably that you don’t. As I reflected on this question a few months ago, I realized that I spend much more time planning the perfect vacation than I spend planning out my life (which is far from perfect). And by “planning” I don’t mean making never ending to-do lists, but instead actively evaluating different aspects of my life and thinking through what the actual steps are to reach my goals. For example, I like to think through what types of people do I need to proactively surround myself with, what commitments do I need to follow-through on, what places do I want travel to next, what areas of my life are causing me anxiety and what is my plan to address it, and of course, where do I want to take myself next professionally,

As you can see, I am never short on things to think about, and to be honest because even thinking can be overwhelming, I somehow have lived a life where I consider these things on the fly instead of spending real time “thinking” and “planning.”

So, I have recently made a decision to change this. I am now committed to taking roughly an hour each week to stop what I am doing, drop my phone and to just THINK. The first few weeks it was tough, but I am now starting to enjoy the time writing and mapping out my life.  I use a journal for this exercise, because using my phone or computer is too distracting. Here are a few of the specific questions I seek to answer every week, although these are personal for me, (you are free to borrow some!)


  1. What are my must do items for this week? How will I make sure I accomplish them?
  2. What did I procrastinate on and not accomplish last week? Why did I put them off and what can I do to ensure these things get done this week? (note: procrastination is a bad habit I am working on so it’s important for me to call myself out on this on this)
  3. Who are the people I want to contact this week and why? (I believe networking in some form should never stop)
  4. What new ideas do I have? How can I put them into motion? (one great idea can change your life—just ask Sara Blakey, the inventor of Spanx—and the youngest self-made billionaire.)
  5. What areas of my life are problematic or make me feel anxious, nervous, fearful, etc? What are my options to improve these situations? (You always have options.)
  6. Have I hurt or angered anyone this week? What can I do to change how they currently feel towards me?
  7. How do I feel about my job this week? What went well? What could have gone better?
  8. How did I manage my finances this week? Did I overspend? If so, what was it driven by? How can I get back on course?
  9. How many times did I work out this past week? What is my fitness plan/goal this week?
  10. Did I meet anyone this week who I am interested in romantically? If so, what can I do this week to show interest? If I haven’t met anyone, how can I open myself to meeting someone new this week? (Life is all about balance and my love life needs some attention too!)
  11. Did I have fun this week? If not, why? If yes, what made it fun and how can I continue it into next week?
  12. What was the highlight of my week? What the lowest point of my week?
  13. What do I want to accomplish this month, this year, etc? What are the steps to make it happen? (I don’t always address this question every week, but I’m thinking about it, updating it, and planning for it).

I found taking time to think about the answer to these questions, and plan for the weeks, months, and years forward gives me the type of clarity and perspective for my life and my future that I so desperately have needed. In a day and age where it’s impossible to put down our phones, I challenge everyone to do so, and to just take time and THINK. It’s a simple concept, that can truly change your life.

 

The Building of a Millennial Digital Brand

Millennials are the first to be raised with modern technologies such as cellphones and readily available internet. While millennials would not have it any other way, this does pose some unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to your digital personal brand.

Your Digital Brand Now Also Serves As Your Resume and/or Career Bio. That’s right, employers will definitely be checking our your online activity before making a decision to hire. Conduct your own digital audit. Google yourself, clean up any public social media profiles and switch your personal ones to private.

A Credible Brand Will Allow You to Connect With Others Who Share Your Passions and Interests.  If your digital brand portrays you in the right light, it will allow you  to explore new horizons when it comes to friendships and mentorships, thus enhancing your ability to collaborate and connect with people from all over the world.

The Right Digital Brand Can Put You In a Position to be Presented with Opportunities. You’d be surprised just how many opportunities find you when you have a strong digital personal brand. You don’t have to search for worthwhile opportunities  they will start to come to you so always make sure your contact information is up to date.

Though building a personal brand is vital to compete and make a professional impression, millennials should always remember to be authentic. Employers, partners and customers will be able to tell if you’re not being your true self.

The Opposite of Networking is Not Working

In Chapter 6 of The Millennial’s Playbook to Adulting, I give eight networking 101 tips. Even though I secretly hate going to networking events, I understand their value especially in a field like mine where I am independent consultant and a lot of opportunities for my firm are based on connections. Tonight, I attended a networking event, and after I got home I evaluated myself against my 8 tips. Here’s my score card:

Tip #1: Do some homework before the event.
Grade: F
Why: This was actually an event where they publish the name and titles of attendees before the event. Even though I registered last week, and I had every intention of looking up the attendees and “maybe” even reaching out to a few people, life/work got in the way and I didn’t get to it.

Tip#2: Create your own elevator speech
Grade: B+
Why: My firm is going through a rebrand and tonight’s event was my first time to give my new elevator speech. While I think I winged it well, I should have probably practiced it out loud a few times before the event.

Tip #3: Target the right arrival time
Grade: B
Why: The event was from 6-8pm. I planned to arrive at 6.30pm and needed to leave at 7.45pm. I arrived at 6.45pm which was a great time, but I had to slip out during the “thank you for coming” speech from the hosts and did not get to close out a convo.

Tip #4: Set a goal of meeting at least three new people at an event
Grade: A+
Why: Talked to 6 people, got 3 business cards and gave 4 people mine.

Tip #5: Step up to the singles
Grade: A+
Why: 2 of the 6 people I talked to had the desperate look of someone please talk to me. So I did.

Tip #6: Mix and mingle and mix some more.
Grade: A
Why: For an event I was only at for an hour, meeting 6 people means I was spending about 10 minutes with each person. Of the six only one was I at a loss for how to end the conversation, but luckily she eventually said she had to head out (sigh of relief).

Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to join a convo
Grade: C
Why: When I first walked into the event there was a group near the door who I wanted to join but I wasn’t “ready” just yet. Instead I headed to the bar, and naturally joined the conversation of the group standing in line for a drink. Sometimes alcohol is an easy ice breaker.

Tip #8: Exchange info with (almost) everyone you meet.
Grade: B-
Why: I got 3 cards of the 6 people I met. One women forgot her cards.  Another woman walked away before I could ask for her card. The last gentleman I was talking to we never got a chance to exchange info because the program started and I had to leave out.

Overall, I think I did good. Key info questions were, have you attended this event before and my go-to, what brings you here? Next step is to send an email to the 3 people I met tomorrow, and connect with them on LinkedIn.