Hard-Cover vs Digital Portfolios: How to Best Showcase Your Skills


No matter your profession, having a portfolio is still the best way to showcase your skills in an interview. A portfolio allows you to tell the story of your career and show what you can do with the position you are interviewing. I have always benefited from bringing a portfolio to interviews and often it helped the interviewer to really get to know me and what I could offer the company.

While most experts recommend having a hard copy portfolio on hand, digital portfolios are becoming more and more popular. Freelance Switch offers advice for professionals seeking to make the decision of whether to go with a hard cover or digital portfolio in an article How to Make Your Portfolio Work for You. The article recommends taking a hard cover portfolio to the interview, but can’t put down the benefits of having a digital portfolio available as well. The benefits of having a digital portfolio include the absolute pure ability to reach a broader audience in finding a job or new clients for your business. The article recommends carbonmade.com and creativeshake.com as an option for those who want to get started uploading their portfolio items.

Got a new way to stand out in the interview pool? Add your comments here!

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Two Years Later…Reflections of Being Laid Off


It’s been two years since I have been laid off. I feel immensely blessed because there are so many people out there that are unemployed and don’t know where their next meal is going to come from. Some people may think it’s strange that I make a big deal out of noting when I became unemployed, but I think it’s a way of counting my blessings.

Being laid off was such a shock to me. I was laid off one month after I returned from maternity leave. It was a poor time to be let go (as if there is ever a good time) because we were just getting back on our feet from the loss of income from my being on maternity leave. I was trying to adjust to being a nursing working mom that desperately missed her child.

I am not going to deny that I cried like a baby. I worried about where our next meal was going to come from and what would happen to little Sydney because she needed to have her shots. Thankfully, Michigan has the MI Child program, which ensures that every child receives the blessing of health care.

And though I was only unemployed for three months, the effects of being laid off will follow me throughout my professional career as well. I learned that being a “silent employee” doesn’t mean that you are protected from being let go. In fact, unless you are in the “in crowd,” nothing really protects you from losing your job. The best thing that anyone can do is do their job to their best ability, speak up when necessary and go home.

Now that it has been two years, I can honestly say that I am in a different place. I can look back on my former place of employment and remember the good times. I don’t harbor any ill will against anyone and can thoroughly appreciate the blessing the Lord gave me. Think about it..I didn’t have to search and search and search for a job. While I was laid off, I got to spend additional time with my infant and really had the time to prepare to go back to work. The Lord blessed me with another job within three months that has flex time, a working from home policy and allows me to work in the capacity that I truly enjoy (which didn’t happen right away, but thank the Lord it finally came!)

For those who are struggling being laid off, I am a living testament that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Though it may be difficult, I encourage you to stay positive. Your blessing is on the way.

More Women in the Workforce Changes the Dynamic


The way of the world is changing. More women are maintaining their jobs or even excelling in the workplace, while the industries mostly filled by men are forced to either close their businesses or layoff their workers. This means that there are a lot of men at home with the kids or working odd jobs.

My husband has been affected by the negative change in the economy more than once. He’s a plumber so the poor economy has affected his profession on many occasions. I don’t think there isn’t a job that my husband hasn’t done to take care of his family. He’s served as a service technician cleaning the pop taps in restaurants. He’s worked at Stanley Steemer as a Carpet Cleaning Technician. Through all of the changes, we’ve focused on the positive by working together to set up our business, Early Bird Plumbing, which provides light plumbing and drain cleaning services to residents and businesses in the metropolitan Detroit area.  The additional funds the business brings help to pay the bills and keeps Syd in the nice diapers.

But there are many men out there who feel that a job loss/layoff/decrease in pay is the end of the world and that can make marriages difficult. The worst argument a couple can ever have is about finance. Especially when Daddy was bringing in $70,000 a year and a family has to  make do with $20,000 a year. Everyone in the family feels the pinch and the stress.

It’s safe to say that our country is no longer like that scene in the old movies where the father comes home from bringing in the bacon and the wife serves it up for dinner. These days, it’s the woman working the long hours and that’s quite an adjustment for many men who have been groomed their entire life to be the “head of household.” And while some feminists may rejoice at the change, the adjustments that families have to make can be extremely drastic. Cuts can include family vacations, loss of a car or even a home.

But there are some perks (yes I said it) to the changes. My husband’s hours can be ever-changing, so we value the time that we all spend together. There are a lot more Wii and Uno tournaments in our house and we try new recipes on each other instead of spending a ton of money eating out.

And while we are waiting for the economy to rebound, I can’t help but think one day I am going to look back on these times and treasure the time we shared together. I don’t think I would have appreciated staying home and watching a movie with the family before, but now it’s the best way to spend a Friday evening.

Enjoy what you have and don’t focus on what you don’t!

A Colleague and Friend Loses Her Job


We had just come from lunch. We usually stay in and eat, but today we ventured out to get lunch outside the building. I went back to my area, chatted with a few people and went back to my desk.  That’s when I saw the Skype message: “I am fired.”

It’s a difficult challenge when a close colleague has been let go from their position. You don’t know what to say and don’t want to do anything rash in the event that you might be let go for your actions. On the day that my close friend was let go, I sat at my desk for the rest of the day thinking about what could have been done to spare her job. But in this economy, it really doesn’t take much.  It seems that companies are only concerned with the dollar value anyway.

For the friends of those of who have been let go there are some tips to follow. Bruce Taylor, Owner and Principle of Unison Coaching, recently wrote an article that provides advice on the subject. After reading his advice, I came up with a few points on my own.

Don’t rush over to say goodbye

This might be hard not to do, but it’s important. No one wants an audience when they have the ax. Also, a member of the human resources department may be looking and as much as you care for your friend, you want to put some distance between yourself and your now former colleague.

Exchange contact information

If you haven’t already done so, exchange your number and email address so that you two can keep in touch. The relationship may fade in time, but it’s important to show some support in the best way possible. Other than getting a new job, nothing feels better than hearing from a supportive person when you are unemployed.

Clear your mind

If you are anything like me, you will be hurt and a little miffed that your colleague has been terminated. Take the time to clear your mind so that you can focus on doing your own job.

Have any advice on losing a colleague? I would love to hear from you!

The Workin’ Mama’s Commitment


Ok, so I have entered the second week of being gainfully employed at my new job.  There is so much to learn in so little time. And sometimes learning can be painful! There are a few bumps on the road that I am now traveling, but I am sure that God will pull me through it all.

 

Over the weekend, we christened our daughter.  With her parents, grandparents, godparents and other family and friends standing in a half circle; we gave our daughter back to God, just as Hannah, the prophet Samuel’s mother had done many years ago.  As our Pastor/my father-in-law began to pray and speak blessings over her, tears began to well in my eyes. It wasn’t that long ago that I was staring at the pregnancy test in disbelief.  Nor was it was that long ago that I eagerly rubbed my belly, wondering what kind of child God was going to bless us with. And now we have our little bundle of joy, who is destined to be a smart (a blessing from her Mama) successful, strong leader (blessings from her Grandparents) with a love for music (a blessing from her Daddy).

 

It puts a lot of things in perspective.  While I am proud to be a Workin’ Mama, there are days when I would much rather stay at home with my daughter. Like many Moms, I sometimes think that she will forget all about me as soon as I walk out the door. Because of my fear, I make a point of talking to her before I walk out the door.  I tell her how much I love her, how much fun she is going to have today and that Mommy is coming home soon.  At first I didn’t think she paid any attention to me.  But then I started to notice that she started waking up ahead of schedule, just in time for me to walk out the door.

 

Some women can’t handle it.  They do what they can to stay at home.  But in this economy, more Moms than most have to head back into work and stare lovingly at their photos on their desktop screens and other baby photos on their desk wishing they were watching Baby Einstein with their little one.  And besides, no one has EVER said that being a parent was easy.

 

But it’s worth it.  I’ll admit that I am a Workin’ Mama because I have to be. But I am confident that my child will be proud of her mother because of the sacrifices her father and I have made so that she could have all of her needs met.  And though traveling on this bumpy road can be heartbreaking and filled with challenges, I know I will get everything I desire.

 

And for those who are traveling on this bumpy road with me watch out for my car at 5pm…I turn into a racecar driver right around that time and you might get ran over!