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The 3 Most Powerful Ways to Take Control of Your Destiny and Turn Your Passion into Profit

The key to fulfilling, profitable and passion-filled success is longevity. In other words, your goal may be attractive, but does it have lasting value?

Introspection will help you monitor your progress and live life mindfully. Mindfulness is all about living in the moment, and allowing your thoughts and feelings to come and go without labeling them as “good” or “bad”. (Insert hyperlink to mindfulness post) Decorate your mind with positive thoughts and turn your pain into power and motivation. We live in a society where instant gratification is the new normal, and longevity and enjoying the process is rare. There is fulfillment in allowing yourself to grow through the process, and it can be found when you stop looking for validation in the external environment, and seek inner peace. Satisfaction has to be internally driven to lead to happiness.

Another essential habit of successful people is planning ahead. When you have a vision, describe your goals specifically and see your work to the end. Then strategize on how to make these dreams happen. Fulfill your intentions with real commitments and watch yourself, your relationships, and your network grow. The greatest battle with this is when your plan goes south and you’re faced with adversity, but remember you are no greater than the thoughts you think. Adversity is a test of mental toughness. Deep meaningful conversations with others help you gain insight into who you are and where you’re going. Pursue things you love, and focus on what truly makes you happy to tap into the power of your soul. The purpose of the struggle is to develop strength. Remind yourself to forget what is behind, be mindful of the present, and continue to press on towards your goals. Don’t stop at where you are as if it is the final destination. Your current position in life may actually be a stepping stone or transportation to get where you need to be.  I’ve learned that most life experiences are lessons that work to bring us closer to the path we’re meant to pave. Each step will take you where you need to be if you keep sight of the goal.

The other key to success is time management. Monitor the amount of free-time you have. Sometimes, we fill our free-time with unproductive behavior to stay busy. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. To make life more productive, consider how much time you dedicate utilizing your talents. Research, plan, and execute. Learn as much as you can about your passion, write your goals down on paper and go after them. Most of your time should be spent doing the things you were meant to do. Time is irreplaceable and it is more important than money. However as we get older, this principle often becomes distorted. We begin to value money and job security more than experience. Experience in the form of travel, cultural immersion, and networking with people in your industries of passion is integral to personal growth. Personal growth and soul-searching is key to learning how to find your purpose, and in turn make your passion your profit. We can be passionate about a variety of things, but anything you put your energy into should serve your purpose here on earth. Reserve your energy for the highest and best use. When you’re productive you’re living a full life instead of going through the motions.

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20+ Stores for Twenty-somethings to Shop for Work-Wear

As promised, I’ve compiled a list of places to buy business professional and business casual clothes that range in price, style, quality, and accessibility (i.e. geographic availability, brick and mortar stores v. online, etc.). Be sure to keep in mind: This list is crafted for millennials! Feel free to let me know in the comment section if there are any you think I may have missed!

Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT

It’s been awhile since I’ve purchased from Ann Taylor. However, its sister-store LOFT makes up way too much of my wardrobe, both regular and professional. So LOFT is both a personal shopping weakness and fave of mine. The quality is good and it also offers regular and petite sizes. Be sure to keep an eye out for sales and sign up for email offers to save extra money. DISCLAIMER: ONLY if you think you’re fiscally responsible or financially secure enough to apply for a LOFT credit card you receive some extra benefits for shopping with them including an extra discount for birthday, an extra 15% off the 1st Tuesday of the month in-store or online, etc.

Anthropologie** (Sale Rack)

The faint of heart should not venture to the regular-priced merchandise in this store. Spoiler Alert: It’s beautiful, but expensive. Go straight for the sale rack and don’t look back. It’s like digging for gold on this one. A lot of work for a little gold nugget, but great quality at a reasonable price if you don’t let yourself stray from the sales. Sign up for the free loyalty program called Anthro where you’ll gain access to pre-shop new merchandise (make sure you have some gift cards on your wish list or in hand), a birthday discount (you must sign up at least 30 days prior), the ability to have a personal stylist if you’re into that sort of exclusivity and personal attention in addition to notice of special shopping events.

Banana Republic** (Factory or Outlet Stores)

I discovered this place post-high school and have developed quite a fondness for it. If you have an outlet/factory store available in your area, I would highly suggest taking a look! If not, there are deals to be had in-store and online too. There are a number of options for professional and business-casual settings.

Charming Charlie

I’ve personally never shopped here, but I’ve heard and read great things about it.

Dillard’s (Department Store)

This is a typical department store that is designed to be a shopping mecca. It has a ton of brands and options to choose from. This may be vain sounding, but I’ve found that you run a lesser risk of having the same exact clothing outfit or outfit because of the sheer number of brands and options. Whoever decided that department stores were less cool than brand only buying is missing out!


I would describe this store as a big sister or cousin to Torrid (see below). It’s a great option for a selection of stylish and plus-size clothing. It also has a cute name, so that’s always promising.


This is another personal favorite of mine that I have the luxury of physically visiting to shop. As a member of L Brands Fashion Empire, this has a trendier, more street wear look that’s still mainstream and helps me to not blow my budget. Sign up for rewards program called Express Next to receive notice of sales, new arrivals, birthday gift, etc.


It’s popular in Europe and around the world for a reason. Great value if you’re willing to settle for pieces that may not last forever quality wise.

J-Crew** (Regular or Factory and Outlet Store)

For my personal aesthetic, J-Crew can be a little too preppy or Hamptonsesque… Nonetheless, I’ve purchased quality clothing from this brand. I prefer to shop the outlets to save some cash since I buy from this store less frequently.

JCPenney (Department Store)

I’ve recently seen the light of shopping at a department store (don’t tell my mother). They reward you for your loyalty as a customer by giving you discounts to buy more merchandise. It’s a simple and genius marketing scheme that has certainly helped keep them in business.

Jessica London

Once again, for the sake of honesty, I haven’t shopped here. I’ve read some good reviews and blogs about this brand and it seemed within a reasonable budget when I perused their website.

Kohl’s (Department Store)

I’m not sure how widely these are located but where I grew up, they’re a rite of passage, and also how my mom kept up with my ever-changing fashion sense. They’ve got a wide variety of brands like Lauren Conrad, Vera Wang, Polo, etc.

The Limited

I’ll fess up. I was lured in by their 60% off promotion and I now keep meaning to unsubscribe from their email blasts. I bought not one, but two really professional dresses and loved both. If you catch a sale, I’d suggest this store for the sheer sake of getting a great quality item.

Macy’s (Department Store)

See Descriptions for Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Macy’s.


Deals on designer and no designer clothing items. Be prepared to scavenge the racks and make multiple trips to the dressing room.


Shout out to my college roommate and a high school friend who told me about this one! Finally a grown-up version of Delia’s!


Is an online retailer of indie and vintage-inspired clothing. This is a great option if you’re looking for unique handmade items to add to your wardrobe.

New York & Company

You can always find deals here, if you subscribe to emails and take advantage of sales. The aesthetic is chic and affordable work wear, which is perfect for this post and millennials trying to make their mark in their careers.

Nordstrom Rack (Department Store)

This place is great for professional designer clothes at a fraction of the cost. They’ve got a large selection of shoes too!

Old Navy

I swore off Old Navy in the summer of 2009 after a pair of flip-flops broke after one wear.  After a visit post-Black Friday shopping, I can admit that they’ve upped their style game and the prices are still great. Quality has improved too, but I’m still wary and I’ll keep you posted. Be warned! The cute stuff and the popular sizes go quickly!


I’ve heard a range of positive reviews online about this as an option for plus size women.

T.J. Maxx

A sister brand to Marshalls means it’s always worth a quick trip. You never know what gem you might find.


Long live that cute little Bull Terrier! Their recent hacks make me a bit wary, but it’s not strong enough for me to resist the red-hot deals and varieties of brands. Plus, I’m a sucker for a slushy.

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The only three networking emails you need to know how to write

Via FastCompany

I came across this article while checking out Fast Company’s website the other day, and I wanted to share it with you all because I know at one time or another we have all struggled with networking emails. It’s like we don’t want to be too forward and just flat-out say “Hey can you give me a job,” but we also want to demonstrate that we’re the right person for the opportunity.

For me personally, I have always struggled with keeping the conversation going after I have asked my burning questions.

What are some challenges that you have experienced with sending networking emails?

Check out the article below, and let me know your thoughts.

I’m all about being up front when you network. It’s helpful to be honest about why you’re reaching out (for example, you’re going through a job search or moving to a new city). It can combat nerves and help the process feel more genuine. In other words, it instantly solves two core issues many people stress about when told to network.

That said, as with anything else, you know there’s a difference between being straightforward and being overly blunt. For example, you know to write, “I was thinking of approaching the project from a different angle” over “I hate all of your ideas.”

Aspiring to find this balance, many people begin networking emails with “Remember me?” or even, “You probably don’t remember me . . . ” After all, why not begin with an honest admission so the other person knows you aren’t being fake? Well, unfortunately, this approach often backfires. While you’re coming from a sincere place, it’s pretty audacious to ask for something from someone whom you’re blatantly admitting you barely know.

But the fix is simpler than you’d think. Just skip over the line that roughly translates to: “We’re practically strangers.” Here’s how.

You had a brief conversation, exchanged business cards, connected on LinkedIn—and haven’t been in touch since. Maybe you even had to think for a minute about exactly how you know each other, so starting your email with “Remember me?” seems totally reasonable.

But imagine if you saw that person face-to-face. Would you start by sharing that it took you a few minutes to place them, or wait until you remembered and then reintroduce yourself with how you’re connected? The second option helps conversation flow more naturally (and an ask won’t feel as out of place). It sounds like this:

Hi Judy,

We met at last year’s Developers’ Conference in Tampa, where we bonded over the fact that we’d both recently given up coffee. (Update: I only lasted three weeks.) I’m reaching out because I remember you work at [Company Name] and they have an opening I’m interested in. Could I email you a few questions about what it’s like working there?

Thank you,

To read more click HERE

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Here’s a list of full-ride scholarships that every incoming freshman needs to see

When you’re in college, the only things that you should be focused on are having a good time, meeting new people, and making sure that you graduate on time. You shouldn’t have to be bogged down by climbing interest rates, and tuition-fee notices that seem to never go away.

As a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I understand the struggle of finishing undergrad, and being pressured to come up with the money that you owe, on top of all of your other responsibilities.

I wish that I would’ve put more time and energy into researching and solidifying scholarships to offset some of the costs that I incurred while in college.  But, my Senioritits was too strong, and I checked out after deciding which college I was going to go to (I don’t recommend doing this).

So, in my efforts to try and make the journey  a little easier for you, I wanted to provide you with a list of scholarships that offer a full-ride to college.

Check them out, and if there are some scholarships that I don’t have included please add them below in the comments.

via Lendedu.com

Army Reserve Officer Training Corps or ROTC offers students full ride scholarships in exchange for service. Students are awarded full tuition, a monthly stipend, and allowances for other educational expenses such as books and student fees. Interested students will need to meet with a recruiter, complete an interview and required documentation, complete and academic and physical fitness evaluation, and meet other eligibility requirements.

Microsoft University is awarded to students who are currently enrolled in college. In order to be eligible, students must be in a degree program related to computers, such as computer engineering or computer science. Students in related fields, such as math, are also eligible to apply. The amount of the award varies depending on the student’s institution. However, winners will receive one year of tuition funding. In addition to this, winners are required to apply for an internship with Microsoft at their Washington-based headquarters. Interns who are selected for the summer internship program will be paid for their time during a 12 week internship.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program offers students a complete financial package that will cover all fees for the duration of their educational program. This grant is funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Eligible students must be from a minority group, such as African American or American Indian, and hold at least a 3.30 grade point average. Furthermore, students are required to complete the FAFSA and must demonstrate financial need. Students are required to show leadership skills and submit required documentation.

Here is a more comprehensive list of full-ride scholarships offered by some universities across the country.  If your institution of choice is not seen on here, check their website and call their financial aid office to see if they are offered.

Here is also a list a list of ivy-league schools that offer free tuition to middle-class families based on their income.

Be sure to look into all of these opportunities to make sure that you meet the qualifications, and also be sure to let us know if you’re awarded with any of them.

We want to be a part of your success.



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4 Important Morning Habits to Help You Live Your Best Life

“ The way you start your day, determines how well you live your day.” – Robin Sharma

Before we dive into the core of this article, I want to ask you two really important questions, and you will only reap the benefits of this post if you’re being completely honest:

Do you feel like you’re managing your time well? Do you believe that you’re putting in 100 % effort to achieve whatever it is that sets your soul on fire?

If you answered no to either of these questions, you’re in the right place! Did you know that your first 20 minutes after waking up has a huge impact on the direction and outcome of your day? This is because it’s your brain’s power hour, and it’s the best time to put energy into things that require analysis, concentration, or creativity. If you’re not careful about what you’re feeding your brain in those few minutes, it could drastically affect your day.  

Now, I’m going to place a lot of emphasis on the importance of having a morning routine because I believe that it is vital to our success, and it directly relates to the two questions that I asked you at the beginning of this post.  

Most people will say that they’re not a “morning person,” without realizing how that decision sets them up for failure. Beyond jumpstarting your day and being the early bird who gets the worm, it creates structure in your life, and helps you to be prepared for whatever the day holds.

So, if you are stuck “between a rock and a hard place” and tired of feeling unfulfilled, try these 4 easy to implement strategies to help organize your day and lay the foundation for your goals come to fruition.  

To read  the 4 strategies click HERE

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Professional Overhaul: The 5 Items You Should Have In Your Closet for Dressing Business Professional

Let’s get real: As much as we hate to submit to traditional corporate rules, “dressing the part,” can play a huge role in our success at a company or firm. It can determine if you get another interview. If your superior puts you up for a special project or promotion. If a client will trust you to get the job done. And, it can indicate  if you’re  trustworthy or not. The majority of communication between people is nonverbal, so it is important that your appearance speaks to the role that you’re trying to obtain.

I personally subscribe to the old adage that “If you look good then you’ll feel good.” So, I think that our generation, the much loved and hated millennials, have immense potential, but the fact remains that we need to showcase it. We have to showcase  it in our work ethic, our passion, and in our willingness to play the career game by dressing for the part. There are many individuals in hiring positions that come from a generation of conservative leanings and so, in order to bridge that gap we must dress the part.

Here are the top 5 clothing items you should own as a young professional


  • Black blazer


This item is a staple and should be in your wardrobe if it already isn’t. Black is always classic and acceptably stylish.  And, you can get so much value and use out of this item. For example, you can dress it up with a skirt or pants and turn it into a suit for business professional settings. Pair it with a dress, with denim, or with a skirt for business casual and other everyday looks. You can find this piece in any store and at a variety of price points. But a word of advice: Spend the money on a nice quality one because you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.


  • Dress or suit


Buy a dress or pants/skirt to create an outfit that makes you feel confident and mature. It can’t hurt your chances to look completely poised and polished despite the fact that you may be sweating bullets or nervously fidgeting while trying to emphasize how you’re a qualified candidate.


  • Professional and comfortable shoes


Invest in some durable, comfortable, closed toed shoes. Style-wise, closed toed is a great option for all seasons and once again suitable for a conservative workplace or industry. In terms of comfort, quality does matter because you will hate yourself and cause unnecessary pain and suffering if you go the cheap route. So, really consider how much mobility or walking your position requires and adjust accordingly. Also, no one can freaking tell (or will care really) if you’re re-wearing a pair of shoes.


  • Dress shirts in short or long sleeve (depending on climate or season)


You definitely need to wear something underneath that black blazer or suit you’ve purchased. For greatest versatility, stick to neutral colors or business colors so you can mix and match with ease. Often they’re on-sale in several options and shades, but learn your workplace dress code before you splurge on a bright color or bold pattern. My suggestion for sizing is something that is fitted, i.e. snug enough so that it has a shape without looking sloppy, but may also look good not tucked into pants or a skirt. You should also be able to gesture and move as if you were presenting, so you’re physically most comfortable and thus projecting that comfort into confidence.


  • Professional bag or briefcase


It’s 2016, so this means women and men can carry anything from a briefcase to a satchel. If you’re like me and manage to have too much stuff for a typical purse or bag, do yourself a favor and invest in a nice large tote. There are so many stylish and affordable options that is if you’re willing to research, budget, and spring when the  price is right. Also, nothing looks more unprofessional and frankly immature than not having a place to keep papers (i.e. resume or portfolio), your phone, keys, tablet, laptop, snack, wallet or anything else tidy. Stick to a neutral, simple two tone, or a solid color to avoid looking busy and drawing the eye in a distracting manner. I would also recommend purchasing a bag that has metal grommets to increase the bag’s longevity.

Stay tuned for a list of places to purchase quality professional clothing on a budget!

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How you can apply your “Hustler Spirit” to something positive

50 Cent, once mentioned that there is a parallel between corporate America and the “hood”. There are so many guys in the hood that believe selling drugs, rapping,and having a basketball or football career is the only way to feed your family. In reality, there are so many avenues to build capital for yourself, but we are just blind to it sometimes or not willing to learn. It feels as if we’re limiting ourselves and our capabilities, talents or genes to take different routes in life. I mean, I look at it like this: if you take the same mindset or concept and put it towards pursuing your passion then you can do great things.

Everyone wants the fast life, making quick money instead of taking the time to learn that there’s no elevator to success. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these individuals have to do what is necessary to provide, but why take a chance on your life? I know from experience and life lessons that it is not worth it in the end. Although there are many gifted “hustlers” out here in the world, there is no longevity in it. I believe there is a misconception with the word hustle. People tend to believe that when you are a hustler you only hustle in the streets, that’s Not necessarily true, you can hustle in your everyday life, whether it’s school, your job or entrepreneurship. We just need to gear our hustling skills into a more positive direction.

As a young kid, the people I looked up to weren’t Martin Luther King or Muhammad Ali (sad to say–but it’s true!). It was guys like Young Jeezy and Yo Gotti that I wanted to grow up and imitate. They may not have been the best influences, but it’s a reality that majority of young African American males are inspired by rappers and sport figures. We see the glamorous lifestyle they live with the fast cars, money, and jewelry. Overall, we are intrigued by their hustling ability and the steps they took to get where they are.That’s the major problem we have in society today, we are so influenced by their culture that we want to take the exact steps they took to get where they are when we know for a fact we are risking our freedom to emulate their portrayed lifestyle. My point is this: if you take that hustling state of mind and put it towards something positive, your chances of succeeding and having long term success will be higher.

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5 Distractions that are productivity poison (and how to avoid them)

Via entrepreneur.com

Written By: Neil Patel

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You sit down at your desk to work. You have five hours’ worth of projects and about eight or so hours to get them done. And you smile to yourself, thinking how nice it will be to leave work early today. Nice to have some time to relax with family and friends.

But then, upon opening your inbox, you spot a Facebook notification and think to yourself, There’s no harm in a quick Facebook check. Uh-oh. Next thing you know, you look up at the clock and realize you have spent the last three hours perusing friends’ Facebook feeds, watching funny YouTube videos and retweeting your favorite celebrities.

Suddenly, your “free time” is gone. Now you’ll have to stay late at the office to finish projects you should have already completed.

If you have ever experienced this, you’re not alone. While it is not easy to do, learning to identify and eliminate the biggest distractions in your work life can lead to more productivity, free time and, ultimately, happiness. If that sounds like something you are interested in, then read on.

1. Social Media
While this point may almost be too obvious, social media is still one of the biggest time sinks in most Americans’ lives and therefore worth discussing. The average person wastes 3.2 hours on social media each day. That’s over 21 hours a week — more than half of the ordinary work week! Imagine what you could do with over 21 extra hours each week!

How to avoid this: First, delete all social media applications from your phone. If you are not willing or able to do this (for example, you use social media for business), then at the very least dis-able all notifications so that you are not constantly harassed by friends updating their status.

The next step is to download News Feed Eradicator for your computer so that even if you are tempted to check Facebook, you will be blocked and reminded to get back to work.

I also recommend downloading Rescue Time so that you can see exactly where your time is spent each week and make adjustments to be more productive.

2. Texting, messaging and Snap-chatting
I know that it seems that responding to that one text or sending your significant other a quick Snapchat is merely harmless socializing. However, things almost never end with just one message.

If you respond to one message, you have likely roped yourself into an unproductive 30-minute conversation that you could have had over a three-minute phone call during one of your breaks.

How to avoid this: Employ an Airplane mode. Plain and simple. When you are working, keep your phone turned off or on airplane mode to eliminate all distractions. Use your breaks to respond to texts and other messages as they arrive throughout the day.

This article is speaking to my soul right now, to read more clime HERE

What are some things that distract you when you’re working?

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Recruiting events decoded: A short-guide on how you can make a good impression at your next networking event

I believe that there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who love or at least like going to networking/recruiting events, and those who despise them.

For me, I would say that I am right in the middle, but for a long time just the thought of walking into a room full of people whom I didn’t know, and being forced to make conversation with them just made my skin crawl.

I don’t know about y’all, but I hate awkward situations with a passion!

And, I know that the purpose of networking events is to get you out of your comfort zone, and expose you to people who you wouldn’t have otherwise met in your everyday circle. But, I think the pressure to make a good impression on employers, or just people in our industry, can be overwhelming and prevent us from being our true self.

And, to be real, we put a lot of that pressure on ourselves.

So, in an effort to become more comfortable with going to networking/recruiting events, and trying to find the best advice to share with you, I reached out to a really good family friend who is the Strategy and Operations Audit Manager at Wells Fargo and the Southern Region Resource Development Director for the National Association of Black Accountants, Paula Cropper.

Check out her advice below, and let me know if you have any tips that work for you!

“We’re all in this together!”



How to prepare in advance:

  1. Do your research to find out what companies, or individuals are going to be at the event.
    1. Look up what the company or individual offers, where are they located, and if it is a company, find out how many employee’s work there.
  2. Create a list of questions that you will memorize for your mental arsenal, that go beyond what can be found on the website. These questions need to demonstrate thought and knowledge of the company.
    1. Questions about a company’s culture, is always good to ask.
    2. Always try to ask questions that will require the recruiter to speak from a personal experience.
      1. Sample Questions: What does career progression look like? What type of community service initiatives is the company involved with, and what is your favorite? What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of being in this industry?

How to ask a question that may be controversial:

  1. If the company has just gone through a public scandal, it is probably best that you do not ask about it because you don’t want to put the recruiter on the defense, and rub them the wrong way.
    1. But, if you really want to ask, then try to stay away from questions that require a personal opinion on the matter.  Employees of the company are typically given “talking points” to address anyone who asks, and they will almost never tell you how they actually feel about the scandal, so it is really no point of asking.

How to prove to a recruiter that you’re the best candidate:

  1. You should always have your elevator speech prepared, so that you can give recruiters key characteristics about yourself that demonstrate your qualifications for the job.
    1. Tip: When you sit down with a recruiter, lead with an introduction, and then dive into a thought provoking question that cannot be found on the Internet.
      1. This gets the recruiter talking, and gives them things to remember about you when you follow-up with them.
    2. Tip: Be sure to have specifics of your elevator speech in your resume, so that the recruiter can have follow-up questions for you.
      1. And, be prepared to talk about the things that you have listed on your resume in depth.

How to get over feeling nervous:

  1. Go to an organizations’ booth that you are not really interested in, so that you can practice, and get all of your mistakes out.  Once you feel comfortable with your delivery, begin speaking with the organizations that you’re really interested in.  This tactic will help to increase your momentum, and give you the confidence that you need to perform well.
  2. You can also practice in the mirror, but it is recommended that you get real world experience.

How to make yourself stand out when you’re networking in a group:

  1. If there is a thought-provoking question that the recruiter has just responded to, then you can try and piggy-back off of it with another question.
    1. Tip: Remember to repeat the recruiters’ name.
  2. If you do not have the opportunity to say anything, grab their card, and say: “It was really great meeting with you… again my name is such and such… and I would love to follow up with you.”
    1. Tip: When you follow up with them, be sure to describe what you had on, or what you said that may trigger them to remember you.

These questions are overused, so don’t ask them:

  1. What’s your job?
  2. What are you looking for in a  candidate?
  3. I hear you have this amount of assets…
  4. ETC.
    1. Tip: Ask questions about the job/industry that would require a personal response.

How to follow-up with someone, where it doesn’t get creepy:

  1. Follow-up a few times updating the person on what you’ve been doing.
  2. Ask for advice.
    1.  Tip: Try not to ask advice on getting a job with the company in question, ask for advice in general. This will allow the recruiter to become more comfortable with you, and not feel pressured to deliver you a job.

Are “Thank-you notes” going out of style:

  1. No. People still look for the letter, and they think that it is an important gesture, showing that you’re grateful for the opportunity.


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Why embracing your struggle can help you reach your goals in life

It is no surprise in the black community that we have been among those who have had it much harder than everyone else to become successful, financially stable, and just the ability to live a well-structured life. Through my 25 years of existence, I have seen many in our shared category become complacent with their lives, about why they have not been able to get an education, advance in their careers, or even take care of their families.

I know history to an extent has put us at a disadvantage, but I also believe this has also given us an enormous sense of self-worth through struggles and life-lessons, which has strength beyond what we can imagine. It also seems that we have become so bent on the negative part of our experience so much that we are beginning to use our circumstances as an excuse to not move forward. It is time for us to take 100% ownership of our lives and stop pointing the finger at people, things, and situations. We have to grasp the mindset that we have more strength than we think we do. Our minds are so powerful and it is important that we do not neglect that.

Sometimes, we forget the concept of turning our disadvantages into advantages. There are tons of successful black people who were relentless in overcoming obstacles–success stories out there that have been in the same predicament that you are in. Eric Thomas, Tyrese Gibson, Oprah Winfrey and many others who turned their negative situations into positives and now they are using their platform or art to inspire others.

How do you think they did it?

It is evident that their relentless pursuit of success was enthused from adversity. They were tired of struggling and used their past experiences to motivate them. They made a DECISION to make a change for their future. I believe that as a community, we can learn from these individual examples and start rising above our situations.

Struggle creates a sense of determination inside each and every one of us. Every time I think about giving up, I think about the times people counted me out, gave up on me and said I would not amount to anything. I think about the times I took a bus two hours to school and back five days a week. I think about where I am now compared to where I once was. For me I know failure is not an option because I know how it feels to be at my lowest point.

And, I am determined not to reach that level again.

I know struggle built this hunger in me that pushes me to want to overlook everything I’ve had to overcome. It has given me a resilience that nothing at this point can deter. Although it was difficult at the time, when I look back struggle is a beautiful thing. This is why I do not mind being transparent about the tough situations I have been through, and the adversity that I overcame because without those struggles I would not be who I am today.

I am still striving to become better, but reflecting on the times when I hit rock-bottom gives me even greater motivation to continue moving forward.

I think the black community should use struggle as its weapon to rise. Struggle is so powerful that it can make you bullet proof to all other life adversities. In a sense, struggle is so unique; it is almost like a gift if you use it. I truly believe struggle builds a burning desire for you to succeed. It creates ambition that you would never have thought you had. Over the years, I have come to conclude that the people who have not had things easy for them, has an advantage to win over others who have had such a path. I would not take my past experience back for anything. As J. Cole would say, there is
beauty in the struggle and I think we as a community have this beauty and are failing to appreciate it.