Getting Back in the Game

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After many years of being a stay-at-home mom, I am now in the process of seeking outside employment.  I have found it to be very exciting.  Having been out of the game for quite some time, I have to get used to all of the new ways of securing employment, networking, and the use of social media.  It has been fun, but I have met with a few challenges.   I feel that I have some valuable advice that would benefit anyone who is seeking employment after a long hiatus.

  • Get a LinkedIn account

Before I began my job search I had a LinkedIn account, but I did nothing but supply basic information.  Your LinkedIn account should be a version of your resume.  List all experience relevant to the type of industry you are interested in.  You may also want to list any experience that will secure you any type of employment if you aren’t looking for anything specific.  Oftentimes experience you may deem as irrelevant may get you into the door of a company you may enjoy working for.

  • Clean up your Facebook page

Many employers use social media in their recruiting process.  Google your name and see what appears.  If you feel that what you see is not what you want a prospective employer to see then you have some work to do.  Those pictures of you passed out drunk in the back of your friend’s car may not help your chances of gaining employment at a reputable establishment.

  • Perfect your resume

Seek professional help only if you have to.  I would suggest that you not pay for one.  There are too many free resources available.  First make an attempt at creating one.  Then as a knowledgeable friend for suggestions.  If you are a student or and alumnus/alumna of a college or university, seek the help of your institutions career services.  Remember that there may be some valuable experience in places many fail to list( ie. church organizations, volunteer work, or even class projects).

  • Learn to write an effective cover letter

I feel the cover letter is one thing most of us feel the most insecure about.  Just think of it as your personal commercial.  If you are seeking employment with a specific company do your research.  View their website or read their publications.  Know the company’s mission and see were their values match your own and work that into your cover letter.  This shows the employer that you are serious and willing to put some effort into professional image.

  • Connect with others in your field

This is very important.  For those of us who are reentering the workforce or new to the workforce altogether, connections can give you the inside scoop on employment opportunities.  You can also learn from them and gain more contacts through your association with them.

  • Secure excellent references

Chose references who can give the potential employer accurate and relevant information about your skills and character.  Teachers and professors are excellent for this.  I have asked my professors to act as a reference for me.  Since I have not worked outside of the home for 7 years it was very important for me to be an excellent student.  Although I’ve maintained a relationship with my former employer, that is only one reference.

  • Maintain good relationships with former employers

Always try to leave on good terms if possible.  It is amazing how small the world is.  You never know who knows who.  You also owe it to yourself to leave a good impression.  As mentioned previously, former employers can provide excellent references if you leave in good standing.

  • Always put your best foot forward

This is not only a rule for those seeking employment.  This is a rule for life.  You always want to project your best self.  I was once offered a job because of the way I was dressed.  I have also been told at an interview that the interviewer had heard good things about me.  I may not have been granted an interview if the employer had heard negative things.

 

I hope this has been helpful.  I would like to challenge all of us to help someone along the way.  There are many of us who are in well-established careers and may be far removed from the job-seeking process.  It can be very challenging.  If you are in a position to be of any assistance, don’t hesitate to offer it.

 

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Write on Wednesday #23

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Today’s Writing Prompt:  Write a resume and cover letter for your favorite book character.  This is a good exercise in close reading.  What have your learned about this character?  What are their strengths?

Publishers & Presses

New Media Communications

Novel Coverage & Submission Sites:

Literary Agent Research and Evaluation (not free)

Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents

Agent Query (find literary agents specific to meet your genre and submit to)

Query Tracker (find agents AND publishers)

Literary agents you can follow on twitter

Independent Publishers & University Presses:

Book publishers, including independent publishers, university presses and small presses are listed below with hyperlinks to their websites. Most are primarily from the U.S. and Canada

2River poetry, chapbooks

8th House Publishing (Canada) poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essays,

1913 Press poetry, poetics, art

a+bend press chapbooks

Able Muse Press poetry, fiction, nonfiction, anthologies

Above/Ground Press poetry, chapbooks, broadsides

Academy Chicago Publishers poetry, fiction, nonfiction

Accents Publishing poetry, fiction, anthologies

ActionBooks poetry

Advocado Press books on disability

Ahsahta Press poetry

Airlie Press poetry

AK Press radical books, visual and audio media

Akashic Books fiction

Alehouse Press poetry

Alice James Books

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Tapping Into Your Wisdom

Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness

“Those who know are wise. Those who know themselves are enlightened.”       ~ Laozi (Lao-tzu)

One of my sisters is a ‘go to’ person. She is an impartial sounding board, grounded in integrity, and she serves as a lens through which I can see matters differently. She is intellectually and emotionally wise and she possesses a solid sense of self.

Throughout our lives, we encounter people who presume to know what is best for us. The insights they offer cannot compare, however, with the powers of awareness and discernment that already exist within us. Even my sister.

Like most people, I have spent much of my lifetime looking for answers, direction, and solutions. This meant always looking to change something or acquire something to improve my life. Society conditioned me to focus on improvement, getting more, and fixing what kept me from getting more and better. Does this…

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The Eye of the Beholder

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I would like to share a story a much older friend of mine once told me.  She said a friend of hers who was so embarrassed by the spider veins on her legs that she never wore shorts or skirts out in public.  She would wear them if she was in her home or out in her yard gardening.  She didn’t experience any discomfort as a result to the various shades of purple that covered her legs other than  how she felt others would react to them.  One day her grandson came over for a visit on a hot summer day and wanted to spend some time outside.  Wanting to accommodate her grandson she told him to wait while she put on a pair of shorts.  As she exited her bedroom wearing her shorts, her grandson shouted, “Grandma!  Look at your legs!”

She sadly looked down at her legs and said, “I know honey.”

Then her grandson said, “They’re beautiful!  They have flowers all over them!”

There are times in life when we allow our insecurities to rob others of the chance of experiencing our unique beauty.  I would like to challenge all of us to share our beauty with the world.  Become your own personal standard of beauty and love it.

Silky Soft Skin

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I was recently at a function and I did a lot of handshaking.  One woman reached for my hand as she introduced herself and as she withdrew it she mention how my hands were unusually soft.  I have been told so on numerous occasions.  One of my friends once touched my hand and quickly withdrew her hand from mine.  She said that my hand was so soft that it didn’t feel natural.  I’m not sure how to take that, but that was the only fearful reaction I have ever encountered.  I have always been asked what my secret was to baby soft skin.  It is very simple.

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I do all of the things that most people do.  I was dishes, I garden, I clean my house from top to bottom, and I even get on my hands and knees and clean the floors. One thing that most people find surprising is that I don’t use glove while I do any of the aforementioned things.  The only exception is when I am gardening, and I only use gloves when I am at risk of being injured by thorns and other prickly things.  One of the reasons I don’t feel the need to use gloves is that I use all natural, nontoxic cleaning solutions.  By not using toxic chemicals to clean my home, I am saving my skin from damage.  I also do other things that I feel keep my skin silky soft.

IBourgie’s Secret to Silky Soft Skin

  1. Don’t use harsh chemicals.  Many of the the things I used to clean my home are also edible.  After cleaning my home it usually smells like a Greek salad.  I am fine with that, but sometimes I use natural essential oils if I want a particular scent.
  2. Keep it cool.  No one loves a hot shower more than I do, but hot water can be drying to your skin.  I like to end my shower with a cool shot of water for a few seconds.  I used to take scalding hot showers, but not the water is just warm enough to keep me from shivering.
  3. Drip dry.  I hardly ever use a towel to dry off after a shower.  I only use a towel if I am in a hurry.  I step out of the shower and just hang out for a few minutes while I do my hair or sing Journey songs in the mirror.  Then I am on to #4.
  4. Moisturize!  I can not emphasize this enough.  I use a natural oil after I shower to lock in the moisture.  My favorite is coconut oil.  I’ve found it to be very light and not greasy.  It also absorbs into the skin rather quickly.  If you have some really dry areas, I would recommend a butter like shea, mango, etc.  I use shea butter on my feet, elbows, and knees.
  5. Exfoliate (gently). Sometimes you need to get rid of the old, dry, dead skin that is hiding the new and fresh skin underneath, but don’t overdo it.  Use a gentle means to exfoliate.  You do not have to scrub vigorously to exfoliate.  I use a sugar and honey scrub to slough away dead skin because the sugar dissolves preventing you from over scrubbing.
  6. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water.  I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of drinking enough water, but it is very important for you insides as much as it is for your outside.

The most important thing is to love the skin you’re in and all that is housed within it.  If you genuinely care for yourself, you will do all you can to preserve your health and well-being.  If loving yourself is at the top of your list then all things will fall into place, including silky soft skin.