THE PROFESSIONAL

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL

Watch the Linkedin video series below to get professional development and career planning tips on how to get from the cubicle to the C-Suite. And be sure to follow me on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the latest videos.

Corporate Job Lessons: Why Are Moms Always Right??
06:04
#mothersday #corporateamerica #jobtips I don't know if there's like when you become a mother, you just get inducted into this group of omniscient, omnipotent beings. I'm not sure what what it is, but somehow moms and especially grandmas are always right. It doesn't matter if it's about career, love, money, milestone decisions, moms are always right. Mother's Day is around the corner. Let's just like a moment to be grateful for these women who shaped us INTO who we are today. There's no reason to not apply that knowledge to your work life. You're catching me in my casual clothes because this week is my furlough week. Yes, we are all in this together. So hello again, we are nearing the end of quarantine. I hope everybody's hanging in there strong. Of course it's your friend Abrea Armstrong here, the professional young professional here to help you get from the cubicle to the C-suite. Well, here are three of the things that some of the great women in my life have shared with me and so now I'm gonna pass that good word right back onto you. Number one, and you're gonna know that this came from a grandma because we would never say this in modern vernacular. "Never let anyone sell you wooden nickels." Wooden nickels? Whether you are an intern who is looking for a job opportunity and your boss wants to "keep you on", but there's no contract stating your salary or benefits and essentially it's just an unpaid, uncredited internship. Maybe it's that colleague in the office that has this slightly pretentious air about them, but in meetings you realize that they're not really contributing to the value. And the same thing goes for your work clothes. Haven't been in corporate America but so long, but I'm already noticing that the dresses that I invested a little bit of money in [years ago], I still wear to the office and get compliments on every single time, never fails. Just like you want teammates and coworkers who are the best of the best and are bringing that to work every day, you have to bring that too and part of it is with your appearance because perception is reality. Next we got what is one of grandma's favorites. Very much connects to the first point, which is the value of authenticity. I guarantee you, your grandma has never lied to you. She may have wanted to break your heart and tell you something. Grandmas have had years to sort of hone in on this, find a way to sugarcoat that and make that feedback, that constructive criticism a little bit more palatable for you, but nevertheless she told you about yourself. So whether it's you having that sense of self-awareness within or it's taking that sense of authenticity to work, we have to remember that this is why our jobs hired us specifically was for the unique value add that we as individuals could bring to the table. And so if you're tucking away that authenticity, if you're tucking away your true self, really you're depriving your workplace of what it is that it pays you to come and do. If you work in marketing and are involved in a campaign that needs to work "for everyone", or if you work in technology and you need to ensure that the bathroom sensors recognize brown skin and not just this side of my hand. So when you see campaigns that are insensitive, sometimes yes, it is the result of not having enough diverse hires, not having enough inclusion involved in the creative process, but sometimes it's those people who are, I'm going to unfortunately call us the "representatives". When you're representing for people, you also have to take on the burden, quite frankly, lightly you can call it a responsibility of speaking up for the people that look like you. And it's not just a racial thing. This also goes into culture and gender and sexuality. Without these unique perspectives in the workplace, this just becomes a monochromatic world. We need your bit of color in order to move into the future. Lastly, the value of listening. Whether it was when you were coming home from school every day or whether it's Easter Sunday around the dinner table with grandma and aunties, those women are great listeners. They take the time to understand and take in, you know, the full argument of what another person is saying. Too often we listen to respond instead of listening to listen. Moms remind us that we have two ears and one mouth and that we should proportion our hear-to-speak ratio accordingly. It's that whole "catching more bees or flies or "whatever insect it is with honey or vinegar or..." Y'all know what I'm talking about, work with me here. Everyone's got a mom, auntie, grandma. I definitely want to see those comments active with stories and tips and bits of wisdom that they have given you over the years. Let's just get out and list the mom proverbs and even prophecies on what are some of the things that your mom knew would happen for you and to you and sure enough did? Drop all those things in the comments.
Secure The Bag: What the Class of 2020 Needs to Know NOW About the Job Search
06:46
Is it just me or is Corporate America kinda like a secret society? #classof2020 #jobsearch #successtips #careeradvice #resumetips #professionaldevelopment #millennial #jobtips #careerservices #digitalpresence #digitalpersona It's May and soon you'll have one of these. Even though I graduated in 2013 from undergrad I totally understand and remember exactly where you all are. When I was coming out, we were still in a bit of a recession, it was a trying time y'all, we're not gonna go back to those days, it was a little bit of a struggle. If you knew me back then you definitely understand exactly what I'm talking about. Looking back I really just started thinking about all the things that I wished that I had known when I was starting on this corporate search. So I am so excited about getting into this so let's start with number one. The most under-utilized resources that I've seen in many students job search experience is using and leveraging their career services department and team. They say you know, reach out to me if you need anything, I'm here as a resource but it's up to you as a student to determine how they can be the best resource for you and how you can best capitalize on the asset that is a team of people who want to get you a job. Free! Like it's in your tuition. I get excited sometimes because I'm like, it's a free resource, like we really need to be taking better advantage of this. Find that dream opportunity on LinkedIn, browsing through your connections on the site and seeing who you have on your network, whether it's through first or second or third connections. So using that information, you take it to your career team. It is up to you to best figure out how to use that resource. You have to go through your own search and determine what your needs are and come back to them with those needs and see how they can fill in and play a role in some of those stop gaps. Next, my personal favorite because I am one which is ask a millennial. So, millennial it wasn't that long ago when this was us and you remember how you really wished there would have been just one person just to say something and to liaise and to facilitate. Well now you can be that one person. We can finally be the leaders that we have always been waiting for. Now is the opportunity. We are in a good enough place, we've been in our careers at least five plus years now. We're at a different level and so now is the time for us to be building the team that we want, we need to be thinking about when we're directors in a handful of years. You gotta be thinking about the team that you wanna have as a leader. How about plug them into my company so that they could be a part of my team when I ascend further into leadership? This is the forward thinking and mindset that you have to think about versus the protective and defensive mechanism which doesn't allow for growth. Delete this, archive that, no red cups. There is definitely value in archiving that photo of you at the frat house, yes, do that. But you have to fill it back up with something. You can't just have void profiles, there still needs to be some kind of content and so what I would encourage you to do is beef it up with good healthy robust content. So whether it's sharing posts from people like me or Arianna Huffington or understanding what's going on in the realm that you're interested in. You have to start building your personal brand now because these recruiters are 100% gonna be going through your LinkedIn and they're gonna be looking at this student doesn't have a work history but they do have a content history so let me go and look and see who they are as a professional, let me see how they're presenting themselves so that I can understand if they're the best fit for my team. Whether you were involved in SGA or some affiliation group and you marketed all the programs or you were a leader or a treasurer you know, all of these things matter, all of these things count toward something. That's what they always told you right? Like do extra-curricular, it'll look good on your resume, well it only looks good on your resume if you put it on a way that explicitly adds value to your professional identity. You have to create that narrative for yourself and broadcast it on your professional material. Stand out without being there. And lastly, now is the time to start circling back to those internship experiences and connections. Those people actually know what kind of professional you are, they know your work ethic and your work style. If they can be some of your best advocates and so it's super critical that you keep all of these connections warm even if it was just a two sentence text message every three or so months. Reach back out to that internship company and see what's going on, you never know, your dream opportunity could be right on the other side.
How To Get The Interview For Your Dream Job WITHOUT Applying
04:22
I’ve gotten an interview for every job I’ve applied for since 2016—because I never applied. Students often ask me “What’s the secret to getting your dream job?” (like I even know). And the answer isn’t to “apply for it”—never apply for a job. Always be referred. Did you know that only 7% of people get referred to a job, yet referrals make up 40% of new hires? Make those stats work for you. Watch this week's episode of the Professional Young Professional to discover how to guarantee that job interview—and be sure to share with the (soon-to-be) recent grads. #careeradvice #jobsearch #interview #millennial #professionaldevelopment #networking #classof2020 #bestpractices #apply #referrals #careers #successtips #resumetips So I'm gonna let you in on a little secret that I don't tell a lotta people. And this is super timely for those who are also about to graduate from college as well. There are so many people coming out of the class of 2020 and these are the small things that you can do to truly stand out from the rest of the crowd. That I've got an interview for every resume that I've sent out since 2016. And I'm going to tell you the secret of how that can also be you. The secret is don't apply to jobs, get referred. If there's not a referral that you know within your LinkedIn network, create your own referral. So once you find an organization or an opportunity that you're interested in, go ahead and start doing that little search on LinkedIn within your network. And even if they're not one of your connections, one of your connections might have a connection to those places. This is where you gotta get a little bit of gusto and ask yourself, do you want that money? Do you want this new job? Do you want those benefits? Do you wanna be happier? If so then sometimes you gotta get out of your box a little bit and say hey friend, can you introduce me to this person at this organization? Or if they are a first level connection saying, hey, we've worked together, you know me, I'm interested in this opportunity at your new organization. Would it be possible for you to refer me? You're not just being selfish and just asking this person to do something for you. You're also offering them a little extra something on their next cheque. You guys I promise, this is where LinkedIn really becomes a game changer. Because if you look at that job listing, look at who their hiring manager is, look at who posted the job, see if you have any connections with that person. And then using your connections to liaise and be introduced. And now you become a top of mind candidate just like that. And your connection can give you a little bit of insight in terms of what they might be looking for. They say, hey, they really need someone who has a great set of leadership skills or great set of strategic skills and making sure you're interlacing that within a cover letter. Write cover letters! I heard that people weren't writing cover letters. I'm going to say it will be much more difficult to secure the opportunity without that cover letter. Because that cover letter lets you speak for yourself without actually being in the room. Use your reference to make sure that this organization is the proper cultural fit for you. What if you find out that they want all their employees to be there at 7:30 but you don't like getting out of bed until 8:30? Or they're very particular about not letting people work from home, which fingers crossed that just changes across the board for industry after this. Why are we all going to the office at this point? So think about three key points that you want them to leave the room knowing about you in a interview. Make sure that's put into your cover letter. Because without that cover letter being strong the interview doesn't happen. That's the other secret behind this too is making sure that the materials that you give that reference are of quality. And that they articulate who you are as a professional and the value that you could bring to the organization. And LinkedIn does such a great job of letting you know which of your connections works at a specific organization. So much of the legwork is done for you via the algorithms. Shout out to those LinkedIn algorithms. References are a two-lane street. You give them information about you and they give you back information about the organization. And a little secret here. Sometimes your LinkedIn profile is your referral. My current position, I was the one who was contacted about the opportunity. 'Cause my LinkedIn profile list all of my skills and experiences. And so my now-director was able to see how I could be a strong candidate and would be the best candidate for this opportunity. So just know sometimes you are your own referrer. And again, look at your professional profiles and make sure that they are reflecting who you are. So don't apply, be referred. \
The Best Way to Use Your Linkedin Connections
04:32
So what's the secret to unlocking your #Linkedin network? With the average connection count at 930 (LinkedIn, 2018), especially with #socialdistancing in place, what's the value of having so many connections? Well, there’s plenty of ways to take advantage of your network—and now is an opportune time to do it. From brand building to informal interviews, watch to discover how to savor your #connections. And be sure to #share and leave a comment on how you best tap into your network. How to up your Linkedin game. Why your network matters. Professional development. Most effective way to use your network. - Oh, my goodness. This quarantine, no barbershop thing has got me feeling really African, but I am all the way here for it. Hey, everybody, it's your girl Abrea Armstrong here. The professional young professional here helping you, as always, to get from the cubicle to the C-suite. And I hope that everyone has taken time to use some of those tips and tricks that I mentioned in my last video about making the most at home to do just that, which you're certainly welcome to go back and take some time to visit now after you watch this one. Though, since we've got at least a month or so left of this quarantine, I figure we gotta keep the corona content going. So today we're gonna talk about how to make the most of your 500 plus connections on LinkedIn even with social distancing in place. So you know, it's a really fair question to ask. Like, why would you want so many connections on LinkedIn? It's not like it's Instagram or YouTube where the number of people you have following you have very explicit and direct correlation in terms of monetizing. That's not so true here. So why is it worth having a large network? And the answer is there is so much value in that. So now I'm gonna tell you three of my favorite ways from making the most of your LinkedIn network. Number one is what you see me doing here, brand building. Who are you as a professional? Do your professional networks reflect that identity? If not, this is the time to start putting out original posts whether it's long-form articles, or videos like this, or maybe even you just want to follow influencers like Mark Cuban, or organizations like at Huffington Post, or just thought leaders in your respective realm, and start sharing those posts. But the key to that is making sure you use your two to three sentence caption to give your flavor, your bit of salt and pepper into the equation to show your level of expertise. And LinkedIn is the perfect network to do this, because out of all of them, and here is a secret that LinkedIn does not broadcast enough, it has the best organic reach of any social media platform. So while on platforms like a YouTube or an Instagram, it takes a while for the algorithms to start working in your favor, on LinkedIn the contrary is true. You put out something and it automatically has larger organic reach. And the beauty of that is is that many of these people know you, and so they want to engage with the content that you're putting out there. Two is the informal interview, an emphasis on the in, because the larger your network is, the more things you have in a variety of organizations. Whether it's just a 30 minute informal interview just so you can learn more about the organization, or if you're doing the big ask of, "Hey, friend. "Can you forward my resume to the hiring manager?" Make sure you're sliding into those in-mails to make that happen. And now could not be a better time to do that, because many people who may not be available are now readily available and they may actually be happy to hear from you. Human interaction! The beauty of that situation is also that many times it can be a win-win. Many organizations have an employee referral bonus. Your connection gets monetarily compensated and you get a brand new opportunity. And it can also work the other way around where you become the person to know. So even just think about the intrinsic sense of satisfaction that you'll get from helping whether it's a mentee or peer, or a recent graduate, helping them get into a pipeline, because you'll know the people to know, and you'll be the person to know. And lastly, which is my absolute favorite, is that that this platform is great for broadcasting the causes that you believe in. So whether that's an internship, a scholarship, some corporate social responsibility, or maybe a non-profit that you believe in, just because this is a professional platform doesn't mean it has to be a heartless one. Absolutely use this channel to show your sense of authenticity and worldly connections, because social media in general is lacking that. Okay, guys, you got it. So you're going to build that brand, you're going to get that informal interview, and then you're going to tell the world about what you believe in.
Coronavirus: A Good Thing? How To Make the Most of Working From Home
05:47
The world has damn near stopped turning because of the #coronavirus outbreak. But could #COVID-19 actually be a great opportunity to be productive (or not)? Abrea explains how YOU can come out of the quarantine better than you went in. #productive #stayhome #howto #career #millennial I'm on all these conference calls and video chats with my colleagues and so many of them are talking about the sense of grief and depression and process, the emotion process that they're going through as we are in the midst of all of this. And the funny thing is, as they're saying all this, I don't know maybe it's just me, I don't feel that way. I feel great and I had to ask myself, "What's the science behind that?" And I realize it's because I am milking this time like none other and that is really gonna be the lesson today is I wanna encourage you all to maximize the potential from this time. How often are you home for all of these days straight? I wanna give you three quick things that I would recommend for you to do in order to maximize this time. Okay, first thing, first thing is what I call housekeeping admin work, if you will. You know those 50 tabs on your browser that you have open and those 1358 emails that are unread in your inbox and those 20-50 different items that you randomly have on your desktop because you had nowhere else to put them. You know, those things. That's what you should be doing with this time is how do you clean that up, how do you spruce up your professional life so that whenever the transition back to the office does happen, you're ahead of the game and everybody's looking at you like, "How did you do this?" And there's this smile because you know that you were just on your couch using your time wisely, pro tip. Think about the things that couldn't normally do during a typical work week and try to do those things now. The thing with housekeeping is you also need to do that with your professional networks. So, when was the last time you refreshed your LinkedIn page? When was the last time you looked at your resume? And I think about the unemployment numbers, I'm sure so many of those people really wish they would have prepared themselves or really thought about how do I brand myself as an individual, how do I utilize and leverage all of my various skill sets and advertise them to the world so that I can have multiple streams of income. So that's definitely something for us all to think about is refresh that resume, refresh that LinkedIn because you never know when you're gonna need to have those profiles on point. Second point is gonna be, tune in to your inner hustler. So, when was the last time you thought about those 2020 goals? Check in on your progress and that might be a really great launching point for you to think about, "Hey, what can I do with this time." Check in with those goals, see where you need to improve and then just go from there. So, that way you've already got a game plan and that's one less thing for you to think about. With so many great virtual events going on, that can ladder up and can support whatever what you're newly getting into. This is a great opportunity to really launch and build a foundation for those entrepreneurial efforts so that when the time comes everything's turnkey. So, tip number two is to feed your inner hustler. And lastly, and this is the thing that so many of us don't do but is truly the key to success, is to rest. And I mean that, actually get in the bed, close your eyes and rest, quiet your mind, count to ten backwards, whatever your process is, do that so that you can have a sense of inner solace so that what you put out into the world is truly a representation of who you are because you have that sense of understanding. And so with that rest, let's say you're well-rested and you've gotten plenty of sleep, because let's admit, we've all been taking naps, it's not just me. Well, if you're well-rested, a great thing to do is read a book. Right now, I am diving into Mark Manson's, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F" and it is really just sort of inspiring me and getting me in the mode to think about how am I carrying myself in this world, how am I presenting myself and how to care without that slowing down my progress. Rest, drink water, wash your face, moisturize. I've been moisturizing and it's been incredible. How many of us, we're so busy hustling, thinking about the next thing, how do we improve ourselves, how do we get the next business off the ground, how do I get the next interview, how do I get that next retainer? We're so busy thinking about these things that we often forget to take care of ourselves but right now is truly our chance to do that.
How Women Perpetuate the Wage Gap (and what we can do about it now)
06:01
How could women be at fault for making less than men? Abrea explains what women haven't been doing and shared suggestions for what women need to do in 2020 to elevate their careers (and bank accounts). Follow me @abreaknowsbest or connect with me on Linkedin (abrea-armstrong) for more young professional content. #money #career #youngprofessional #salary #wagegap #millennial #job It's important to note here is that yes, there are some very complex issues going on that are out of our control, but there are certain things that are within our control as women and as employees and as people that we can do in order to maximize our salaries and maximize our value. The first thing that you can do is benchmark with your peers. Let's be real, how many of us are really asking even our friends who may work in a different industry how much money they make? We're not, why is that? Because I would like to think, at least, that we know that our value as people isn't solely tied to that number that comes in direct deposit every month, so we should be more comfortable talking about it. So ladies, find your male counterparts at your same organization and I would also encourage you to find women who are in other industries or organizations as well as men and ask them, I like to use the tip of over or under. Say, are you making over 50,000 or below it? Or over 70? You know, pick whatever number's relevant for you, and a lot of times people feel a lot more comfortable answering that way versus giving a specific number. So benchmark against your peers because if you don't know what the market is allowing for, you know, what the market's max is, how are you really supposed to have a sense of that number that is your skill set's value at least at your job? This is especially true for women of color. And adding onto that sort of interpersonal benchmarking that you're doing, also use great online resources like Glassdoor or salary.com and understanding okay, what is my organization paying? What are other organizations paying? And even when you're looking at potentially maybe some other comparable positions that are posted on these sites and looking at these numbers and saying, does this match up with what I'm getting? Literally make this a line item thing. If you are bilingual, if you know how to code, if you are a badass writer, each of those things has a value. Go and look and see okay, how much would it cost for them to hire an interpreter? How much would it cost for them to hire a part-time coder? How much would it cost for them to hire a freelancer? And you tally all those things up, and that's how you create your, you know, sort of spreadsheet and your line item receipt of what you're worth. Okay ladies, so now that we've made that spreadsheet, now it is time to make the ask. I believe in you all, and honestly, in the process of making the spreadsheet, your confidence will grow immensely because as you start getting each of those line items in order and looking at that number, you will be so impressed and in love with yourself because again, you discover, often for the first time, what the actual numeric value is, at least within your market. Set up that meeting with your manager, have that discussion, put that PowerPoint up there, and go through it and really let him or her know what you have to offer to the organization, what your unique contribution is. Most arguments are won through logic and through facts. So if you have a sound argument, you are not asking for anything that you don't deserve, then quite frankly either way you're still gonna be in the same place you were, so what really do you have to lose? The half part. So the previous tips that I mentioned are great if you already are within job and want to stay within an organization, but want to move up vertically or at least if you're gonna move horizontally, making that horizontal move worthwhile. I'm starting a new role, and I cannot press upon this enough and again, that stat about only 12.5% of women coming out of master's programs negotiating their salary versus 50% of their male classmates speaks for itself. Ladies, when we come out of school, ladies, when you get that new job, negotiate. Do not take that first number. I remember when I first came out of business school and I told my aunt who was my career idol. Like she's done it all. I told her that I negotiated my salary, she was astounded, and I said, why not? I knew what I had to offer that was above and beyond the job description. So actually, if you use that previous process of creating that spreadsheet, you then again have that number in place to reinforce. So quite frankly, the first step of making that spreadsheet and benchmarking with your peers still has value even if you are transitioning into a new role. So you've got everything you need, ladies. You know your value, you know your number, you can set up that meeting, you can send that email, share that presentation, do it confidently.