A Message to Young Women Graduating: You Got This!

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It’s graduation season!

Huge shoutout to my #BossBabes graduating – Congratulations! I absolutely love seeing others achieve their accomplishments and prepare for their next chapter. I’ve been in your shoes and know all about the sacrifices that are made in undergrad/ obtaining a second degree. There’s no other kind of excitement than hearing your name as your cross that stage. YOU DID IT! #OkLadiesNowLetsGetInFormation

I graduated with my Masters of Business Administration in May 2016. I completed my masters online, which I truly recommend for anyone looking to further their education and work full-time. It gives you the flexibility and opportunity to do both. It definitely has it’s pros and cons so, I advise researching (or you can ask me!) to see if this would be a good option for you. During that period, I was working full-time at a healthcare company, a full-time student, trained for the Texans cheerleaders tryouts, and Maid of Honor in 2 weddings. Whew! *wipes forehead* Reflecting back, I really don’t know how I had the energy to do all of that… but, I can tell you that these are the things that held me together and kept me balanced:

1. Faith

My faith was strengthened immensely. None of this came easy and I definitely had moments that were challenging. There were often times where I was pulled in every direction but, I remained centered because of Him. I was focused on becoming a better version of myself. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. Mentally by cramming all of the curriculum in my brain, testing, and working, physically by experiencing my body completely transform as I tried out (my trainer kicked my butt and I was in the best shape of my life), and spiritually because, when you have that much going on, the only way you’re going to get through it is with God on your side.

2 Timothy 4:17, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” is LITERALLY how this all went down.

2. Positive Energy

I say this a million times but, my family and friends are TRUE blessings in my life. I lived at home with my parents while I attended grad school which allowed me to pay for tuition out of pocket and be debt-free after graduation. Because, we all know student loans are no fun – thanks, Baylor. And for my girls, they were there every step of the way cheering me on. Girl talk over queso and margaritas is real life therapy. I’m lucky that most of my best friends were also just as busy and just as determined – so we were able to understand each other’s challenges and give advice to one another. Take a look around you; if you’re circle isn’t motivating you, reconsider.

3. Work Outs and Diet

Training was intense. I only trained three times a week but, fitting scheduled workouts with projects at work that sometimes required me to stay after hours and papers due by midnight was a lot! Prior to tryouts, I only worked out when I wanted to and it wasn’t a big priority to me. Training became a lifestyle change and eating clean came naturally. I literally went cold turkey – I guess things really become in perspective when you realize how much pain you go through to burn off the calories of your favorite food lol. In undergrad, I used to rely on energy drinks and coffee to keep me wired for hours on end. Super unhealthy. As I took on a new lifestyle of diet and exercise, I didn’t need those things to keep me energized anymore. The fruits and vegetables I ate created a natural source of energy that were more stable. After a long day of work, I’d come home from my workouts, eat a well-balanced meal, and then stay up working on homework. I loved how consistent my workouts/ healthy eating habits made me feel. But lets be honest, there was always exceptions for icecream!

4. Time Management

My previous job was flexible and allowed me to study and work. I usually tried to get my school work done during the weekdays so that I could enjoy the weekends. For the most part, I had my week days planned by the hour (you should have seen the scribble scratch on my calendar). When you’re studying online, you don’t have your buddy reminding you after class of when assignments are due – that is completely on you. So Outlook reminders, sticky notes, alarms on my phone, you name it, I was on it. There were definitely some all-nighters and I remember being a zombie at work. My boss at the time really encouraged me to further my education so he took it easy on me the days he knew I had a long night studying aka looked busted. Saturday and Sunday were dedicated for “me time” and getting my mind together for the Monday – Friday grind. I think this is so important because you can’t go 100% all of the time. You have to allot times of the day or days of the week to rest. Moments of rest are just as important as “go time.”

Life update: You’re probably wondering if I made it out alive anddd I did! I graduated with honors, I made it to round 3 of the Texans Cheerleaders tryouts, I got promoted at work, and the weddings/ bridal celebrations of my two best friends were times I’ll never forget. God will open doors and also appoint you to stand up in certain areas in your life. When these things happen, take action. But most importantly, be ready. You are more than capable.

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Human Resources Quick Tips:

Ok, enough about me. Let’s talk about you, grad! Now that you’ve graduated, what will be your next move? Will it be a new job? Are you looking to be promoted at the job you are currently at? Here are some Human Resources tips to help you in this transitional period:

1. Resume

As you are applying for jobs, make sure your resume is highlighting all of your accomplishments (education, experience, and skills) in a clear and concise way. Take into consideration that your resume is in competition with hundreds of other applicants that want the same position. How will yours stand out? Your resume should be one page, in an organized format, and free of grammatical errors. Use keywords that will be picked in a search engine and boost your chances of being reviewed. Try to keep the font size between 10-12 point, Times New Roman is a good option, and use bullet points to keep it attractive and readable.

2. Cover Letter

Create a generic cover letter that you can use and edit for different applications. For the jobs that you are most interested in, I advise that you take time to specify to what they are asking and looking for. Make sure this is different from your resume. Go beyond what is written in your resume. It should tell a story by showcasing your skills and what you can bring to the company.

3. LinkedIn Profile

Secret: I actually landed both of my jobs through LinkedIn – so use it! This is a great tool to apply for jobs and contact the recruiter. It puts a face to a name and builds a relationship before you walk in for the interview. LinkedIn has features where you can filter for what kind of jobs you are interested in, salary, and location. Also, be sure to upload business professional photo that represents you well because, first impression is everything right?

4. Interview

When you get called in for that interview – bring it! Remember, they are calling you in because they see potential in you. All the hard work has been done, this is your time be yourself and get a better feel of your future position. Rehearse general interview questions so you become comfortable answering them. Have about five questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. Engagement is important. Lastly, remember to dress your best, bring hard copies of your resume in a portfolio, and follow up with a “thank you” e-mail to everyone you spoke with. And yes, I mean everyone. You never know who you can touch and influence a decision.

Wherever your next journey takes you, I hope that it’s everything that you’ve worked and prayed for. Do not rush this decision. Pay close attention to what best fits you. Make your next move based on how you can thrive and feel the most fulfilled.

The future is yours!

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