see you in a few hours, dc!

Photo credit

This morning I read one of Kaileen Elise’s Creative Weekend To Do Lists and felt inspired to write my own!

I’m headed up to DC around lunchtime today. Here’s what’s in store {subject to change based on the whims of three twenty-something girls!}:

  • Solo road trip with Boyfriend, Give Your Heart a Break, and Back in Time. And probably Ridin’ Solo, since it’s fitting
  • Pit stops for coffee and bubble gum {gotta have bubble gum on road trips!}
  • Jazz in the Garden with sangria
  • A night out at the Bottom Line, one of our favorite college bars
  • Brunch, most likely with bottomless mimosas
  • Tons of picture taking- with my SLR and Instagram
  • Dressing up in my city clothes ūüôā
  • Wandering through different DC neighborhoods
  • Nostalgic¬†reminiscing¬†about our amazing DC college days
  • Catching up for hours with two of my best friends

confessions of a recruiting coordinator, part ii

The eternal recruiting debates continue. For part i, click here.

“As your future _____, I will…”: Too presumptuous in my opinion.

Breastfeeding: Never appropriate. Never.

“Dear sir”: You never know who’s reading your resume. This feels very antiquated to me.

“Searching for a position with room for growth”: Who isn’t? This says to me “I’m just looking to climb the ladder and I won’t be happy in my entry position for long.”

Word vs PDF: PDFs are so easy to do! They will look the same no matter what kind of computer you view them on, so you don’t have to worry about misformatting. Why wouldn’t you do it?

Correct capitalization of your name: This shouldn’t even have to be discussed. First letter of first name, first letter of last name. Not Cristina roman or cristina Roman and definitely not CRISTINA ROMAN. Yes, it grabs my attention but not in the right way.

Here’s an interesting question that I posted on my Twitter: Do you think ability (or inability) to write a good cover letter and resume correlates with overall ability to perform the job?¬†

I’m torn- in some ways, I think a well-written cover letter and resume shows an understanding of proper grammar and spelling, which is critical in almost every industry and position. In addition, presenting well-written materials shows that you have taken the time to show that you care and¬†are proactive enough to learn the proper way to structure these important documents. After all, it’s only a Google search away.

On the other hand, sometimes written skills are not essential for job performance. For example, a salesperson may be stellar at closing deals but may lack superb written skills. And, as one friend¬†(and former prom date!)¬†on Twitter pointed out: “resumes are tough and it is hard to determine what should be on there. Don’t think it has any relevancy.”

What do you think?!

*As always, the viewpoints expressed here represent my own thoughts and not those of my employer.

a retrospect: top + favorite posts from my blog

It’s interesting for me to look at which blog posts of mine get the most traffic vs which ones are my favorite. There is some overlap between the two. ¬†Part of my mission with this post is to bring to light some of my poor neglected posts that I think deserve a spotlight! I put my favorites in bold and added a few others below.

Some of my top posts (in order):

Some of my other favorite posts:

goal check-in + tad + this day last year

Whew, that’s a lot to cover in one blog post, huh? Here we go!

My goals for the week were:

  • At least one yoga or Pilates class– Didn’t manage this (too busy playing tennis!)
  • Two weight-lifting sessions– Did one at-home session
  • Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)– Woot woot
  • Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum– In progress
  • Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group– More like five or six! So many people have sent me names of awesome local female bloggers!
  • Make one new soup recipe– I tried two! I made roasted pepper potato soup and a spiced tomato potato soup
———
If you’ve been following my blog since, say, October 12, 2010, you might recall Three A Day (TAD). This was my easy-to-remember phrase for writing down three things each day that I was thankful for. I thought it was a good idea to bring it back given my challenge for next week!

Yesterday’s TAD:
  • Having a dog whisperer for a sister! I was frustrated about Maddie’s behavior, but my sister showed me the benefits of a gentle leader (a miracle worker), as well as some easy tricks for making her tune into me and respond to my commands.
  • Having a nice, spacious apartment. I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and cleaning I had to do, but then I reminded myself that not everyone has a kitchen to clean (sorry for being so cheesy).
  • Having the support of an incredible organization like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, who hosted an event at The Raleigh Forum yesterday. We have over 50 individuals attend, and I would say that it was a stellar success!
———
This Day Last Year: I was in the midst of the fall of my senior year and actively listing TADs each day! In my post, I recapped the day before, which included a date with one of my (still) best friends, a day of babysitting the baby that I still love and miss, and a lovely note from a GW Bites customer. That was an exciting fall because I had just begun GW Bites!

Dear Starbucks…

I have to write a blog post about this because my sister is sick of hearing me talk about it (seriously, just ask her).

Dear Starbucks Corporate (Panera Corporate- please take note):

I love you. You know I do. But I have to bring this up because it’s really bothering me.

I co-own a business. It is legally set up as an LLC but I wholeheartedly believe that it contributes social value to the Raleigh community. There is no doubt it that provides economic value as well: through taxes, as well as the fact that it provides a place for small business owners to grow their businesses so that they, in turn, can provide value to the community.

You may wonder where I’m going with this seemingly obvious clarification.

Could we have been set up as a 501c3? Absolutely. Some coworking spaces are. We chose not to be. Not because we are profit-mongering bloodsuckers, but because it was the right decision for us. If we were a non-profit, would we have been paid a salary? Yes. Would our fundamental model have changed? Almost certainly not. We would still have charged the exact same fees-for-service in order to pay said salary in order to continue building our coworking space in order to continue adding social value to the community. 501c3 or not, they would have been the same fees because our expenses are the same.

So why can’t I hang a flyer on your community board?

If you stand by your decision to only support non-profits, help me clarify another issue I have. Upon seeking clarification of your flyer-hanging policy, I was told by one of your employees that I could only hang a flyer for something where there was no charge.

Wait a minute. Do I have to be a non-profit or do I have to be offering free products and services? These are not the same.

Yes, non-profits often offer things for free. But non-profits also often charge for their products and services. They have earned income streams. They charge fees-for-services. They sell tickets to galas, block parties, and fashion shows. VisionSpring sells eyeglasses. The SPCA sells items emblazoned with the SPCA logo.

And yes, businesses generally charge for things. But they also often offer free things. They offer happy hours, seminars, and workshops. The Raleigh Forum occasionally hosts free events, like our upcoming Design Mixer with AIGA.

I appreciate your willingness to support social causes (no sarcasm there). I really do. But as the lines between business and non-profit blur, I urge you to reconsider your policy. But most of all, I urge you to encourage your employees to understand the intricacies of tax designations before making flawed arguments.

Sincerely,

Cristina (The Girl Who Single-Handledly Keeps You In Business By Buying Soy Mistos)

</soapbox>

Do you have a different opinion or think MY argument is flawed? Let me know! I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on this issue (I’m looking at you, Matt, Sarah, Peter, and Elizabeth!).

Edited: my friend sent me this article, which details Starbucks’ commitment provide loans to small business owners. I thought it was very relevant to the discussion!

Edited: I submitted an edited version of this letter on the Starbucks website and got what may or may not be a form email promising to pass it on to corporate. I then posted it on My Starbucks Idea, which seems to be a pretty democratic way of suggesting changes to Starbucks. Feel free to thumbs up my post ūüôā

Clearly I feel very inflamed about this issue, mostly because I see it as symbolic of the continuous divide between business and non-profit.

throwback: twitter

I just found this gchat with a friend from 2 years ago:

Me: do you have a twitter?
Friend: haha nooo
Me: aha it’s so weird but i’m doing it for work
Friend: haha i feel like its a little much but im not really sure what it is. like constant status update?
me: yeah exactly.¬†like on fb but that’s the only thing you can do.¬†it’s weird
Haha! #imaconvert #twoyearslater #addictedtotwitter

#daring

Since I’m on a throwback NOLA kick (here¬†and here), I thought I’d share a bit more.

Sometime I think about how I will respond if someone asks me the craziest or most spontaneous thing I’ve done. I didn’t used to think much of the fact that I packed up and moved to New Orleans for 6 weeks with no car and knowing only one person…I guess because I’ve always felt like I could do anything with enough willpower. Thinking back on it now, I see it for the courageous act that it was.

Here’s an excerpt from an email I dug up from two summers ago:

I celebrated the 4th of July in DC, made a pit stop at home in North Carolina, then flew down to¬†New¬†Orleans¬†(NOLA) with my friend Dominique. I’ve been here 4 weeks so far and it’s been insane! I’m working with Habitat for Humanity with my site leader from Alternative Spring Break, so I’m building houses 5 days a week. I wake up at 6am and sometimes go to bed at 8pm because I’m so tired haha. It’s incredibly rewarding though– and not just my crazy tan and jacked muscles ūüôā It’s really neat to see that I’m making a tangible difference. Meeting homeowners is especially cool because they are so appreciative. And I got to see the house I worked on over spring break, where a family now lives!

In my off time, I’ve been exploring the city (coffee and French doughnuts at the famous Cafe du Monde, frolicking in the French Quarter, riding the St. Charles Streetcar, etc) and hanging out with my roommates. I found a house on Craigslist with 6 strangers, so there’s an uncanny resemblance to the Real World (how fitting, given our MTV theme!). Everyone always jokes about where our confessional should be. I’ve made lots of trips to Bourbon Street, so in answer to your question, yes, I have lots of Mardi Gras beads…but no, I did not obtain them through questionable methods ūüôā

In celebration of daring actions, I thought I would leave you with these inspirational tidbits. Ryan, if you’re reading this, these are straight from Pinterest ūüôā

throwback: alternative breaks nola

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past, largely in part because TAPI IS COMING TO VISIT ME IN NC! Longgg story short, Tapi is my friend Dominique- we¬†circuitously took this nickname for ourselves during our Alternative Breaks trip to Belize, where we spent every minute together and really solidified our friendship (which is based on a fondness of scary movies, a penchant for prank calls, and true love).

I don’t wish I was back in college because I love where I am now, but I do love looking back at all of my fun memories every once in awhile. Is it strange that I love a good dose of nostalgia every so often?

Alternative Breaks were such a huge part of my college experience. If you’re still in school and haven’t done one- DO IT. You will not regret it. For 7-10 days, you are surrounded by the coolest, most passionate, dedicated, and fun group of young changemakers.

Here’s a video of my second Alternative Breaks trip to New Orleans. Don’t judge how hideous I look please! It was uncharacteristically freezing in NOLA, hence the ridiculous outfit ūüôā

AWB NOLA 2010 Highlights from AWB NOLA on Vimeo.

the value of social value

Before college, I had a very primitive view of social good: non-profits promoted social good; corporations did not. As a Human Services, I became intrigued by the idea of social enterprise, which I saw as a potential “solution” (I use that term loosely) to the apparent disconnect between “good” (promoting social change) and “evil” (making money).

But I am also an advocate for a strict definition of social enterprise, so where does that leave businesses like The Raleigh Forum, our new coworking space? I wouldn’t characterize us as a social enterprise, but I certainly think we contribute social value to the community.

We provide a hub for collaboration and community. We provide a much-needed alternative to working from home or coffee shops. We stimulate the local economy by bringing 20+ individuals downtown. We will recycle, use reusable water bottles, and conserve electricity when possible. We will make an in-kind contribution (desk space + meeting space) to Change the Triangle.

We’re not ending poverty or curing any diseases. And yes, we’re an LLC. But we are actively empowering individuals and groups so that they can make their own mark on the community.

Which makes me wonder how valuable labels like “social value” are if they have the potential to lead to confusion, disagreement, and disillusionment.

confessions of a recruiting specialist, part 1

I have quite a bit of experience reading resumes- I chose 24 guides for Community Building Community, I helped choose 15 freshmen for Compass Partners, I’m in the process of hiring an Office Assistant with my sister…oh, and I work in a recruiting department.

So what advice do I have?

  • Don’t worry about applying to more than one job in a company, but don’t apply to too many (I get wary around 4/5)
  • Always read the instructions. Then re-read them. Then re-read them again. We’ve tossed applications for the Office Assistant position because they failed to write a paragraph on why they’re perfect for the job (which we specifically asked for).
  • Don’t¬† mass-email your resume. We actually had someone put multiple recipients in the “To” line. This should be incredibly obvious, but apparently it’s not.
  • Never say that your resume is available once you are offered an interview. I don’t know any recruiter who has time for those kinds of games.
  • Tow the line between a cover letter that is too brief and too long. Three to four paragraphs is Goldilocks-approved.
  • “Optional” does not mean “optional.” It means “Do it or risk looking like you don’t care enough to spend time on your application.”
  • Do not email from an address that is has explicit or implicit sexual ¬†undertones. Again, an obvious. No “Sexy [or Sexi],” “4You,” etc. The “first name, last name” formula still works pretty darn well.
  • Volunteering is voluntary. Raising your own child does not qualify as a volunteer project.
  • Use punctuation. Period. And PrOpEr CaPitAlization. And well speling and gramar.
  • The standard format of a resume still works. No need to get fancy or “creative.” Bullet points > numbers.
  • Creativity is encouraged but don’t cross the line into inappropriate.
  • Personalize your application- a simple Google search can often tell you who to address your cover letter to.
  • Whenever possible, link to your LinkedIn profile and/or Twitter account. This demonstrates initiative and thoroughness, as well as experience with social media. If your Twitter name includes the word “stud” or “babe” or “sexy,” maybe don’t include it. Better yet, maybe delete it.
  • Google yourself periodically. Even better, set up a Google alert for your name so that you see all new posts about you.
  • Make your Facebook profile private. Hide any inappropriate posts/pictures/profiles, etc. Companies DO check this. If there are inappropriate postings about you out there, ask for them to be taken down. If they can’t be, begin building an online presence to push the bad results further down in searches (i.e. start a blog, a Twitter account, post on forums related to your interestes, etc).

P.S. My sister and I are cracking up as I write this post (with her assistance!). Oh, the memories.

What advice do you have for individuals applying to jobs?

*The views expressed above are my own. They do not represent the views of my employer.