Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 ways to deal with jealous co-workers

We've all had to deal with them.  People in the workplace who, for whatever reason, just don't like you.  They are always trying to make you look bad in front of your boss, never want to help you with a project, and just go out of their way to make your life difficult.

Unfortunately, there will always be people like this, but here is how you can beat them at their own game.
  1. Ignore them.  These people are just 100% jealous.  Maybe you are the newest shining star doing great work and your VP doesn't even know who your co-worker is.  Don't lower yourself to their level, keep doing what you are doing, because whatever your co-worker has been doing isn't working.
  2. Don't be a doormat.  If your co-worker is throwing you under the bus or is saying things that aren't true in front of others, speak up and defend yourself.  "That is not correct" or "You are misinformed".  Don't remain silent when you are unfairly being attacked.
  3. Let them dig their own hole.  I once had a co-worker complain that they thought I was taking too many vacations days.  First of all, it was none of their business, but most importantly, I absolutely was not.  After an internal investigation was completed (which I knew nothing about at the time), it was determined that I was well within my limit and it was my co-worker who was left with egg on their face.  
  4. Being nice as pie.  No matter how much this co-worker tries to undermine you, do not give them ammunition to respond.  Continue to be your natural, helpful self.  It's really hard to be mean to someone when they are nothing but nice to you.
  5. Talk it out.  If nothing else seems to be working, call them out on their behavior.  I know it might be difficult to be confrontational, but its amazing how people will turn into a puddle of mush once their obnoxiousness is called into question.
If none of the above works, you will have no choice but to advise your own manager.  However, if there is any chance to resolve the issue without having to go to your boss, then you should certainly try to explore that possibility first.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Google+ Here to stay or bye bye bye?

I don't know how you feel about Google+, but I have been resisting investing any time in this new channel until I really see if this is going to pan out.  I'm also holding out adapting to Pinterest as well, but the difference is everyone seems to rave about Pinterest, but there seems to be only radio silence on Google+.  Hmmm.

I didn't give Google+ too much thought until I saw this commercial over the weekend.  It's a little sappy, but so true.  The ability for all of your pictures taken with your phone to automatically be loaded to the Cloud so they are saved, how cool is that?  How many people really want to carry a phone and a camera out and about?  Who wants to lose all of their pictures if your phone ever went missing?

So one win for Google+.  I downloaded the droid app this morning...What do you think?

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Monday, February 27, 2012

#WorkingGirl Films

After watching the #oscars last night and seeing Meryl Streep win for Best Actress for The Iron Lady, I began to think about two of my favorite #workinggirl films.  The original working girl is of course Melanie Griffith in Working Girl and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.

Although made 20 years a part, the the concepts depicted in both of these films remain the same and still apply to the workplace.

  1. Nothing happens by accident.
  2. Help others, but always watch your back.
  3. Only extraordinary will do.  
In case you have forgotten or (gasp) have never seen Working Girl before, below is the original trailer from 1988.

And here is The Devil Wears Prada - Classic! 

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Friday, February 24, 2012

#DestinationFridays: Frequent Flyer Miles and Points

Well #workinggirl we had another successful week.  We took Monday off for President's Day (the only bonus holiday this #workinggirl has), Tuesday was all about excelling in your in person interview, Wednesday we learned to dress for total interview success, and on Thursday we discussed the benefits of internships.

Well this edition of #DestinationFridays is not dedicated to a specific destination, but how to use frequent flyer miles or points to get to that fab travel locale.  You don't need to be George Clooney from Up in the Air to win the miles game.  Even the occasional traveler can score big.

I recently was a guest blogger on, a travel website focused on enhancing your travel experience.  Everyone wants to cash in all of those miles for free travel.  Check out my two part post to see how.

How I Scored 2 Peak-season International Tickets for $300: Part 1 – Air Loyalty Programs & Earning

How I Scored 2 Peak-season International Tickets for $300: Part 2 – Reward Burn

See you all on Monday!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Put the Ice Cream Down and Be an #intern this Summer

We are approaching that time of year when every #collegegirl is (or at least should be) thinking about what to do this summer.  And we aren't talking about getting a beach house or traveling around Europe.  No girlfriend, we are talking about building your career, and not with a J-O-B, but with an internship.

Ten years ago, most college students on summer break were looking for a job that would allow them to earn the most amount of money and still leave time to hang out with friends and enjoy the sun.  Restaurants, retail stores, ice cream shops, and life guarding are all great jobs...for high school students.  If you really want to get the most out of your summer, an internship is the way to go.

Paid Internships
So in a perfect world, you would have a paid internship.  This might take place in an business office, doctor's office, library, or whatever business most interests you.  You'll likely be doing general administrative tasks, data entry, or answering phones.  You'll be paid just over minimum wage but what you are really earning is a solid work experience to put on your resume.  Then next summer, you might land a even better internship and once ready to apply for a first job out of school, you'll be in a great position to differentiate yourself from the competition.  So even if you can earn more money with a standard summer job, the goal is to earn more experience (which allows you to earn more money in the long run, think big picture!).

Unpaid Internships
Unfortunately, not all internships are paid.  Do not let this deter you, some of the best internships are unpaid.  These types of positions allow your employer to ask you to do more tasks they would not have necessarily had you do if you were being paid.  For example, let's say you were interning at an advertising agency.  If the position is paid and you are answering phones and entering data into a spreadsheet, they may be reluctant to take you to meet clients or attend a photo shoot and they want to ensure they are getting their money's worth of "real" work.  However, if you aren't being paid and are available to observe and listen, you have the opportunity to learn how things are really done without your boss worrying about how your time is being spent.

How to Find Internships
Some positions are easier to find than others and many companies now have a formalized application process for a few coveted positions, which are often advertised through the same channels as other jobs.  However, the best way is often through word of mouth.  Talk to your family, friends, anyone that may have a small business and ask if you can learn from them.  Most people are flattered and all too happy to try and set something up.

Don't Screw It Up
Once you are successful in landing a great internship, do not take it for granted.  The whole reason you wanted this position was to gain solid experience and hopefully a professional reference.  Even if unpaid, do not think you are held to lower standards.  Be on time, work hard, and have a good attitude.  Treat every day like you are on The Apprentice.  Interning has a lot of responsibility and the last thing you want to do is inconvenience your employer and have them rethink their internship policy.  Don't ruin it for others.

Start applying girlfriend, good luck!

Many thanks to my friend Jackie for her inspiration on this post, thanks hun! :)

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dressing for #interview #success

During yesterday's post we discussed how to excel in your in person job interview.  You could get every aspect of your interview 100% correct, but if you don't dress appropriately, that offer letter will never make its way to your inbox.   In order to dress for success, you need to know what the atmosphere is like where you will be interviewing.

Before you can even start to think about an interview outfit, you need to fully understand how you are expected to look.

Conservative Law, Accounting, or Consulting Firm
Traditional suit, black or navy, with a solid color blouse, ideally white or blue.  Ensure your skirt is below your knee and nothing is too revealing (this applies everywhere really).  Pull your hair back and keep your jewelry and make-up to a minimum, though a string of pearls is perfectly acceptable.  Your goal is to blend in with the rest of the office, not win best dressed.  If you are uninspired to dress like this each and every day, this may not be the place for you.

Fashion Forward
Some interviewers may test your fashion sense just as much as how you can work under pressure.  If you are interviewing for a designer, a magazine, or in PR, your appearance is even more important.  Rather than trying to blend in, you will be trying to show a little personality.

But be careful, this is not the time to try to the latest untested trend as a major faux pas can spell the end of your opportunity before it even truly began.  Consider wearing a professional dress or a blouse and a skirt, with a fab pair of shoes.  A piece or two of jewelry is acceptable along with a normal level of make up.  Where your hair how you are most comfortable, with the goal of a fun, fresh, yet professional look.

Comfortable Non-profit, Casual Tech Company
More and more organizations are starting to implement casual Friday every day of the week.  There is nothing worse in being in a stuffy suit when all of your interviewers are in jeans and a t-shirt.  This doesn't mean you should wear the same, but you can tone it down slightly so that everyone feels comfortable.

A good choice is business casual type of outfit.  A blouse and a skirt or pair of pants works great.  Feel free to show some personality with a great pair of shoes or a colorful scarf.  Never wear jeans yourself, and when in doubt, always dress up rather than down.

It may be difficult to reprogram yourself to wear anything other than a traditional suit, but fitting in and putting people at ease are a huge part of building rapport and landing that dream job.  Bring it girlfriend!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nailing your job #interview

Alright girlfriend, this is it.  You searched and found your dream job, wrote a killer resume, and soared in your telephone interview.  Now you are ready to hit it out of the park and prove to your future employer that you ARE the right person for this position with an in person interview.  Here's how you do it.

The Basics
Let's start with the things you will do automatically and instinctively.  These include being on time (early but preferably no more than 10 mins), no gum chewing gum, not smelling strongly of anything (including but not limited to food smells, perfume, BO), and dressing for success (we will talk more on this tomorrow).

Ensure you have already eaten, have had enough to drink (though not too much!), that you have already visited the restroom, and that your phone is ALREADY switched off BEFORE your arrival.  Don't underestimate the important of the basics.  If in the most extenuating circumstances and you are going to be late, ensure you call/email ahead and let them know (and you better have a REALLY good reason).

The Meet and Greet
The majority of the time you will first check in with reception and will have a few minutes to wait until your interviewer or their assistant arrive to get you.  Use this time to compose your thoughts, review the job description and observe the company atmosphere.  Since your phone is already off and away, there is no chance you will be distracted (right?!).  And of course it goes without saying, ensure you are nice and friendly to everyone that you encounter.

Once your escort has collected you, ensure you smile and make eye contact, shaking hands with a firm grip (not too hard, not too week). Gauging on their body language, make small talk.  If they are part of the interview panel, it will help you begin a rapport.  But make no mistake, your interview begins the second you enter the building and every employee you encounter may provide feedback on your behavior.

The Conversation
Hopefully your interview will be conducted in a comfortable room.  Your host may offer you something to drink, which you should politely decline unless your throat is dry and it will prevent you from speaking clearly (just don't spill it!).   Bring several copies of your resume with you as you should assume those that are interviewing you have NOT had a chance to review it yet.

At this point, your interview may take several different forms.  They may have a set of standard HR questions that must be addressed first, or it might take the form of a conversation.  It is important to read the situation and answer to the best of your ability.  HR questions are generally looking for you to hit a few key words or responses while general questions by the hiring manager are looking to gauge your ability and how you will likely fit with the rest of the team.

The best interviews are those that feel and act like a conversation, not a tennis match.  Never interrupt your interviewer, but feel free to jump in with examples as needed.  Follow their lead and let your personality shine without being overbearing.

You've had a good conversation and now here it comes, "Do you have any questions for us?"  Well girlfriend, the answer is always YES.   Even if all of your questions have been answered, make one up.  Asking questions shows you have interest in the position and have thought about this opportunity.  However, your questions should be something the interviewer can answer easily.

Ask questions about the company or about the position, but you cannot question the strategy or direction the interviewer has decided to take the position or make them feel defensive.  Also, continue to read body language, as usually after a handful of questions, the interviewer has had enough.  You should refrain from firing endless questions their way, especially if you have already had a long conversation.

The Follow-up
Thank everyone for their time and if they haven't mention a timeline for follow-up, feel free to ask at the end of the conversation.  Later the same day, ensure you send a thank you email.  Some experts argue that a hand-written note is the only way to go, but I have found that an short, brief email is more than sufficient.  Now go back to your normal life and resume your job search.  Never stop your job hunt because you think you had a great interview and you are sure an offer is coming.  Things change, situations change, and you may not be successful.  

If you haven't had an update within a couple weeks, feel free to follow-up again. You should hear one way or the other, but it is completely possible you will never hear anything.  It's rude and in poor taste, but it certainly happens.  Knowing that you did your best and gave it your all is all one can expect.  Good luck #workinggirl!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#DestinationFridays Iceland

It was another great week on #CollegeGirl to #WorkingGirl.  On Monday we argued that being a #hotmess was far superior than being a bad leader, Tuesday was about discovering our #motivation in the workplace, on Wednesday we excelled in phone interviews, and finally on Thursday we were seeking some relief from the pain that only meetings can bring.

This week's #DestinationFridays feature is Iceland.  I traveled to Iceland back in March 2006 with a group of friends seeking a long weekend of fun and cool scenery.  Iceland was much more expensive back then compared to today, but seeing the pictures from one of my friends who visited last month reminded me how stunning the scenery really is.

One of the most recognizable sights in the capital city of Reykjavik is the Lutheran church of Hallgr√≠mskirkja. It took 38 years to build the church and was completed in 1986. Although it may be a far cry from the glamour and wonder of some of Europe's other more traditional churches, it still provides a striking image amongst Reykjavik's winter landscape.

In addition to the bars and nightlife of Reykjavik, no trip to Iceland is complete without stopping at the Blue Lagoon on your way back to the airport.  The Blue Lagoon has been voted best medicinal spa five years in a row where the water's temperature is a consistent 98 to 102 degrees and the geothermal sea water is naturally renewed every 40 hours.

Iceland's location in the middle of the North Atlantic makes a weekend trip from the East Coast a total reality.  The next time you are looking for a little something different not too far away, Iceland should be at the top of your list.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 things you can to do make #meetings a little less painful

Meetings.  Any #workinggirl has a few words that come to mind upon hearing this term, many of which are not very positive.  Here are 10 things you can do to make meetings a little less painful.

  1. Be prepared.  Sounds simple, right?  You wouldn't believe how many people turn up completely unprepared to speak to the topics at hand.  Don't waste everyone's time, come ready.
  2. Know your objective.  What is the goal of the meeting?  If you don't have a goal, then you shouldn't be holding a meeting.  If it is a brainstorming session, then say so.  But if your aim is to make a decision, ensure you have presented all the items in order to do so.
  3. Have an agenda.  Again, sounds pretty basic, but I cannot tell you how many meetings I have been to that have had no real structure.  The more people you have in the room, the more important the agenda becomes.  
  4. Get the right people in the room.  If you can't make a decision without specific people or a department representative, ensure they are available to attend and actual plan on be present.  
  5. Listen.  We all know that one person that loves the sound of their own voice.  Don't be that person.
  6. Speak up.  There is nothing more infuriating when you can't get anyone to agree with you in the meeting only for someone to come up to you afterwards, saying they agree with you!  Thanks a lot, where were you when I needed you?!
  7. Keep everyone on topic. This is a tough one.  If you are leading the meeting, it is your job to keep the discussion focused.  Rein it back in if the conversation starts to go off on a tangent.  
  8. Start and finish on time.  Some companies are much better at this than others.  Remember when you were in school?  Your classes started and ended on time, with time to travel in between to your next class.  Meetings should work the same way, respect people's time.  
  9. Ask the right questions.  This is so important.  Some of the most successful people in business know what questions need to be answered.  Remember to connect the dots.
  10. Thank everyone for their time.  No matter how good (or bad) the outcome of the meeting was, always thank people for their time.  This often gets overlooked and it's important to remember that everyone's time is equally important.  
Meeting adjourned.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

5 ways to excel in a telephone #interview

Well #workinggirl , you've created a great eye candy resume, you found a fab job on and submitted your application, keeping your fingers crossed that you hear back.

A few days pass and there it is. You've Got Mail.

Your future employer wants to set up a quick, informal "chat".  Congratulations sister!  You have managed to cut through the HR key word search and pass the recruiter quick screen.  However, don't be too overjoyed just yet.  This "chat" is far from informal so if you really want to excel, check out these 5 tips.

  1. Be flexible.  Try to be as accommodating to your interviewer's schedule as possible and accept one of their suggested times to talk.  The last thing you want to do is appear to be difficult.  If you need to cancel that hair appoint to accommodate them, do it.  
  2. Find a quiet environment where you can speak freely.   You don't want your interviewer to have to strain to hear you.   Avoid anywhere that has dogs barking, children playing, or general background noise.  Also ensure you can speak freely.  Don't take the call in the break room at work if there is a chance others will walk in.  You need to speak without hesitation and without the whole office knowing you are interviewing.  
  3. Know your audience.  Exactly who will you be speaking with?  Is it the HR recruiter, the actual hiring manager, or a group of people?  The HR recruiter will ask basic questions about your work experience and education and will try and determine if you are worthy of passing on your resume.  The hiring manager is likely to ask you more specific questions related to the position to determine if you fit the skills needed.  Finally, if you are interviewing with a group on the phone, be prepared for a range of topics and stop talking when others speak.  It's rude.  
  4. Do your research.  Although this is not a formal face to face interview, it doesn't mean you get a pass on preparing for your conversation.  Ensure you are familiar with what you put on your resume and have a copy of the job description in front of you.  Do some light LinkedIn stalking on those you'll be speaking with to identify some common interests and be familiar with their background.  Finally, make sure you know some basic facts about the company.
  5. Let your personality shine.  Phone interviews can make it difficult to make a real connection to the interviewer.  You will have to work even harder to build a rapport than if you were face to face.  Avoid giving one word answers - short anecdotes often will show more depth.  It is important to NOT speak too much.  Allow yourself to pause at least every 30 seconds so the interviewer can interject, if necessary, so the conversation flows smoothly.  
Hopefully the conversation went well and you are talking next steps to arrange an in person interview.  Nice work girlfriend!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#Motivation: The surprising truth of why we really get out of bed (or not)

Steve Jobs said he "wanted to put a ding in the universe".  That's the kinda goal that makes you spring out of bed in the morning.  Dan Pink and RSAnimate use the above video to present findings in various research examples on what really maximizes employee productivity and performance. 

The video is 10 minutes long (I know, a million light years in today's 140 character limited society) but completely worth the time investment.  Go on, watch, you'll be glad you did.  If you really can't spare the time to watch, here's what you missed.

People are not as endlessly manipulable and predictable as you would think.  The traditional theory has been if you reward something, you get more of the behavior you want and if you punish something you get less of the behavior you don't want.  A typical motivation scheme within an organization is the better the performance, the greater the reward. 
However, numerous studies have found that this is true as long as the tasks only involved mechanical skill.  If you do this, you get that.  But once the task called for rudimentary cognitive skill, a greater reward led to poorer performance.  Traditional incentives just do not work when you really need to think to be successful.  
So if traditional incentives don't work, what does? 
First, pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table so they are not thinking about money, but they are thinking about the work.  If you don't pay people enough, people won't be motivated.    
Once the question of money is settled, there are 3 factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction.
  1. Autonomy - The desire to be self directed.  Management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement (which is where the real success lies), self direction is better.
  2. Mastery - The urge to get better at stuff.  Why do people who have jobs with great skills do extra work, not for their employer, but for others, and for free?  The answer is to challenge, master, and to make a contribution.  
  3. Purpose - When the profit motive gets detached from the purpose motive, bad things happen.  Bad service, greed. 
Once you get past the ideology of carrot and sticks and begin to look at the science, we can build better organizations and work lives, which makes us all better off and the world just that little bit cooler.  

What motivates me to write this blog?

If I'm honest, it's because I really would like to publish my book and I need to build a platform.  So here I am.  But why do I want to publish a book? To get rich?  Not really.  To be famous? No, that's not it either.  

I am the perfect example of being somebody motivated by non traditional means.  Money is not an issue, I have a job.  Writing gives me autonomy, I get to decide what I write about.  I am here to challenge myself and improve my writing skills (you should see this before it has been proofed), and putting my experience to  good use gives me purpose and self satisfaction.

Makes you wonder why most companies just won't let go of that stick.    

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'd rather be a #hotmess than a bad leader

Last week, you may have heard about the NYU student whose cover letter to JP Morgan boasted about his relentless work ethic, exceptional GPA, ability to bench press double his body weight, and the completion of 35 pull ups all in the hopes of persuading his prospective employer to consider him for a summer internship.  Sounds like a total #hotmess, right?

Well, this letter has since gone viral and this student has all of Wall Street laughing at him, not with him.  The kid author may need a class or two about best practices in cover letter writing, but the actions of the receiving director are nothing short of appalling and he should seriously be investigated for gross misconduct for violating an applicant's privacy.

Since Thursday, February 2, when a Bank of America Merrill Lynch director forwarded the cover letter out to his entire team, offering drinks "to the first analyst to concisely summarize everything that is wrong with" the note, it has passed through more than a dozen firms. 
Already investment banking and accounting teams at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Citi, Deutsche Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Wells Fargo, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Perella Weinberg Partners, and Barclays Capital have read the note, along with the student's relatively robust resume.

Three lessons we can all learn from this situation.

1.  Assume anything you write in an email will be forwarded or read by anyone and everyone.  This should not be news, but somehow we all seem to forget.

2.  This is EXACTLY how NOT to be a leader.  You don't motivate your team at the expense of putting down others.   Bad. Bad. Bad.

3.  As an applicant, beware if you are reaching out to hiring managers directly in addition to applying via the online HR process.  You run the risk of your email with your resume being forwarded onto others and your privacy cannot be guaranteed.  

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Friday, February 10, 2012

#DestinationFridays for the #avgeek: Maho Beach St. Maarten SXM

We worked hard this week!  On Monday we discussed how to use to search for a great job, Tuesday was all about getting out of that hefty library fine, Wednesday we reviewed what makes a great resume, and Thursday was about maximizing our money and taking care of our personal finances.

So let's end the week with something fabulous with our new reoccurring posting series, #DestinationFridays.  Each Friday will post about a travel destination that appeals to the #WorkingGirl and makes the weekend feel that much closer.

Unfortunately as much as I try and separate my online #WorkingGirl life from my #avgeek life, it isn't always possible.  In December, I visited the island of St. Maarten with my husband and some friends for one purpose, Maho Beach.  You may have seen some of the amazing pictures of this lush tropical island, beautiful blue waters, pure white sand beaches, and most importantly, the incredible sight of wide body aircraft landing just over your head.

Maho Beach is located at the very end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the island.  Here, crowds gather from midday through late afternoon as many of the large aircraft begin arriving from Europe.

Don't worry, there is still get plenty of time to enjoy the sun and sightseeing, but for this #avgeek and crew, spending two days on the beach was where the real party was at.  No trip to St. Maarten is complete without spending the afternoon at Maho Beach, add it to your bucket list #WorkingGirl.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Thursday, February 9, 2012

#WorkingGirlProblems: Money, Money, Money

No matter if you are still a #CollegeGirl, a recent grad, or have been a #WorkingGirl for a few years now, money, or the lack of it, is always a challenge. Money is at the top of the list of all #WorkingGirlProblems but with a little sassy planning, you'll never lose a wink of sleep.

5 Money Mistakes
  • I already have a lot of debt, so what's the difference? I might as well buy what I want.  Let me tell you, it matters.  I had this attitude throughout my college years and managed to leave school not only with student loan debt, but also several thousands of dollars in credit card debt.  Luckily, once I started working, I quickly curtailed my spending, but I wish I had made better decisions while in school.  Keep your spending under control, you'll be grateful later.
  • Co-signing on a loan for ANYONE.  If you have ever watched an episode of Judge Judy or Suze Orman you would have heard many this said many times, "never co-sign a loan for anyone".  You are 100% responsible for the loan repayments.  Just don't do it.
  • Not making your student loan payments.  Your student loan will NEVER go away as it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  So before you pay any other debt, credit card, personal loan, or other, pay your student loans FIRST.  If you don't the interest will continue to compound and the fees will pile up.  No one wants to be sixty and still paying for their student loans.
  • Paying bank fees.  I always believe it is OK to spend money, it's not OK to WASTE money and paying bank fees, ATM, overdraft, or check fees is wasting money.  With just a little effort, these can be 100% avoided.  Don't be lazy.  
  • Not getting a credit card.  Maybe you have seen others struggle with debt so you figure you will avoid the problem altogether by not getting a credit card.  #FAIL.  You need a credit card to begin building your credit, no credit is the same as bad credit.  So find a credit card with no annual fee, make a few small purchases each month and pay it off in full and you will be on the yellow brick road to success.  
5 Things You Can Do For Yourself Today

  • Have a career plan.  The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to have a plan.  Where do you see your self work-wise in 5 years?  Does your income grow steadily or do you work in a profession where your income is likely to double several times over during your career?  Whichever it is, it is important to be realistic.
  • Create balance with your money.  Money, like life, is all about balance.  You can't spend it all and you can't save it all.  So take a bite (just a bite) and find the right balance that allows you to enjoy a little of everything.
  • Contribute to your 401k.  If I asked you if you wanted a free $500k, would you take it?  Of course you would, you would LAUGH hysterically at anyone who would turn it down.  Except instead of doing the laughing, you will be the one everyone is laughing at if you don't contribute to your 401k up to your company's match immediately.  There is no where else anywhere that you will have the chance at guaranteed free money.  The only catch is you have to contribute that same amount yourself and you can't touch it until you retire.  But so what? Free is still FREE.  
  • Build an emergency fund.  They don't say "save for a rainy day" if it never rained.  Let's face it, it rains all the time.  Your car breaks down, your dog gets sick, or worse you lose your job.  Put some cash aside and you will never have a sleepless night.
  • Review your balances.  It sounds simple, but keep an eye on your accounts.  You don't have to fret about balancing your checkbook like your parents, but it never hurts to log into your online banking account a few times a week to ensure everything is as it should be.  Don't forget your credit card accounts too.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Building an Eye Candy Resume

In our post earlier in the week, we talked about some tips for searching for jobs online.  But before you can apply for a job, you need to build a resume (or for my readership outside the US, your CV).  There are various styles and layouts available, but I have found a lot of success using this College Girl to Working Girl Resume Template.

This template works because it has 5 key characteristics:

One pager and headline.   I have seen various experts argue for and against the one page resume.  But the truth in the matter is that we live in a fast pace world and unless you are applying to be CEO, one page is just fine.  Your name is your headline.  Always display this in bold and make it large.  Skip the objective, this is what a cover letter is for.
      List what you accomplished, not your tasks.  It’s not always possible in your pre-college work experience to only list your accomplishments, but do where ever possible.  “Exceed weekly sales targets by 10%” is much more impressive than “assisted customers with purchases”.
      Education.  Some list this above work experience, others below.  If your professional work experience is more robust than your education, list it first.  If your education is your spring board into your first post-college employment, then list it first.  In either case, if you graduated from college, no need to list your high school  information, it’s assumed you went.
      It all counts, list all of your experience, no matter how small.  Amy Astley from Teen Vogue told The New York Times earlier this week “Always be proud to put waitress on your resume…I love seeing someone who scooped ice cream or was a waitress. To me, it means they had to make some money and they had a job dealing with the public.”  This is so true.  Work ethic is important and any previous experience demonstrates your future potential. 
     Travel and Other Experience.  Working or traveling abroad is a valuable life experience and demonstrates you can work with people from different cultures.  Ensure you list it and if nothing else, it gives your potential interviewer additional topics for discussion.
      Always have a resume on file, you never know when you’ll need it at a moment’s notice!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Negotiating with your Librarian – How to reduce that fine before #graduation.

In my first post, I alluded to the fact that I have some great customer service stories to share.  Well, this will be my first in a series, because let's face it #collegegirl, you work too hard for what little money you do have to have it ripped from your fingers. 

One issue that starts to crop up this time of year for students is library fines.  For whatever reason, you may have racked up some serious fines that have caused you to have buried your head in the sand.  And I'm not talking a few bucks, some can be $50, $100, or more. 

Depending on your school, this isn't something you can easily walk away from.  Some may revoke your book checking out privileges, not let you register for the next semester until paid, or worse for Seniors, withholding your degree until fully paid. 

Deal with this fine now, before it's too late.  One way to seriously reduce the fine is through the scenario below, which I successfully used with my friend when I was at school. 

"The Wince and Negotiate"
Dress nicely, no sunglasses on or on your head, no gum, go on your own, and put your phone away. 

#collegegirl:  Hello (super nice voice).  I think I might have a small fine, can you tell me how much?

Stern Librarian: (clicking away on computer)  OK.  Yes, I am seeing here you owe $65.

#collegegirl:  SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS?! (wince and pull back in utter shock, even though you really did know how much...white lie).  OH WOW!  I had no idea...

Stern Librarian:  Mmm hmm.  It's for blah blah blah.

#collegegirl:  Is there ANY flexibility at all?  I had no idea it was this much and I think there was some misunderstanding....

Stern Librarian:  Well not really (this means they're willing to work with you!), it wouldn't be fair....

#collegegirl:  (interrupting)  Because I only have $20 (take out the money and have the bill in your hand).  Is there anyway we can make a one time exception? (talk with your hands, waiving the bill around)  This is all I have and I would be so grateful. I REALLY want to clear this up today, I won't be able to sleep at night with this hanging over my head (puppy dog eyes).  I have so learned my lesson and my friends told me but...  (Keep talking until they cut you off or you start to cry, whichever comes first)

Stern Librarian:  OK OK OK.  This is a ONE TIME exception and we cannot do this again.... (lecture continues, just nod and smile).

#collegegirl: Thank you so much!  (once the fine is cleared, get a receipt and high tail it out of there before anyone changes their mind!).

Holla girlfriend, you just saved yourself some major dough and have another successful (or maybe your first!) customer service negotiation under your belt.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Art of Finding a #Fab Job Using @indeed

There is definitely an art to searching for a job online.  Be too specific, you end up with zero results.  Too vague, you'll have to sift through more pages than War and Peace.

My favorite site is .  This site is a metasearch site that pulls in jobs from all other websites.  (Think but for jobs instead of travel).  One of it's great features is that it saves your previous job searches at the bottom, so when you come back next time, just click on the link.  Click on advanced search and change the default to display 50 jobs at a time, SO much easier than clicking next every 5 seconds.  It also looks just like a google search, so it's super easy to navigate.  

I also like that you can filter for salary ranges, but be careful.  These aren't always accurate, especially if the employer doesn't provide details.  Better to have too many results than not enough, at least to start.  Also, if you are just starting to get an idea of what type of job you might like when you're done with school, leave the location you are searching for blank.  Even if you want to live in a particular city, this will give you an idea of what types of jobs are out there that you may be interested in. 

The key to a successful search is to try a variety of search options until you find what works best for you.  I usually stick to 5 or 6 key phrases (though my industry and skill set is fairly specific).  Your job search will consist of many different sites, but be sure to include as part of your core plan.

Good luck #collegegirl!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Pledge Allegiance to Super Bowl Ad Day

Whether you are into football or not, the Super Bowl is the newest (un)official American holiday.  One of the only times I truly missed being at home when I lived in England for six years was on  Super Bowl Sunday.

It seems the producers at NBC and the NFL are also jumping on this patriotic, feel good theme with cuts to soldiers in Afghanistan, the singing of America the Beautiful AND the Star Spangled Banner and we even had to listen to "Written in the Stars" again just like during the MLB World Series.

However, the average #WorkingGirl is generally most interested in the advertising rather than the final score.  Adage has listed all the spot buys and were tweeting live during the game.

Some of my favorite spots were:  Geico's Ew. Seriously? So gross, Pepsi's King's Court with Elton John which references the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld (no Pepsi for you!) who actually made an appearance later for Acura (I wonder if they all knew...), the chimpanzees on Career Builder, and a regional spot that played by JetBlue in Boston that any #WorkingGirl can relate to.

But just like on Fashion Police, let's go with a best and worst.

Best: Chevy Happy Grad

Worst: TaxAct Kid Pees in Pool (like in the Geico ad, so gross!)

Do you agree?  Which are your best and worst?  Submit your comments and we can let Joan Rivers decide.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Friday, February 3, 2012

What are your #WorkingGirlProblems?

Yesterday I came across the #workinggirlproblems for the first time and there was definitely a noticeable trend among the posts.  Everyone was tired and not getting enough sleep, struggles between hunger pains and the pain of going to the gym, and just finding time to relax and have fun.

My #workinggirlproblems this week included surviving a 2 day meeting with our sales team (whom I love, but everyone has a ton of ideas, all at once, most of which include more work for me) and coming to the realization that I cannot go another day without cleaning my desk.  Roll on the weekend...

What are your #workinggirlproblems?

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Playing the game

Alright, like most people, I usually don't like following the rules.  I almost always find a way around them without causing any serious consequences, both in the workplace and in life.  I have several great customer service stories in which I got my money back from a notorious company that wouldn't give the Queen of England the time of day.

I've been thinking of writing a book for a while and sharing my workplace experiences from the last 7 years or so.  Well, this past weekend I decided to put my action into printed words and started to write my book College Girl to Working Girl, geared to young women in their 20s on how to land that great post-college job, navigating the corporate workplace, and how to be a real leader.

I'm just a busy girl looking to share my experiences.  But these days to be seriously considered as a writer you need a "platform" i.e. an audience, a following, people that already like you.  I often post about airlines and aviation under @CheReynolds but I don't think the #avgeek crowd are interested in girly job topics just as a #collegegirl has no interest if United starts service from Dulles to Honolulu.

So OK literary agents and publishing companies.  I'll play your game... for now :)

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl