March 2008


I’ve found some very inspiring clip on YouTube. I LOVE finding sisters doing their thing and doing it well. We are truly phenomenal women! I hope these clips inspire you to empower yourselves! Remember, Education + Action = TRUE EmpowermentTM

Ladies, I have not been able to attend the last few years, but I am trying to get there this year. Watch this clip of the Essence Women Who Are Shaping The World Summit and I hope you get some inspiration from it. Ms. Susan Taylor is phenomenal for pulling this summit together. I’m sad to see Ms. Taylor leave Essence, but I hope she continues to have  hand in this event.


Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

The internet is on FIRE. It is used for everything imaginable. A great deal of people search for jobs on the internet and don’t give a second thought to it being any different or unsafe than any other method. Let me ask you this. How many times have you gone to a message board, Myspace, or any other public forum and posted your address, phone number and email address? You might be thinking “why the heck would anyone do that?”. But you know what? YOU do it all the time. We all do (well not me). That is how recruiters, like myself find you. Here’s what I mean.

It is a common thought that job boards, like Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, etc are only accessible by recruiters and HR professionals. WRONG. Kind of. The problem is they allow any company or agency to buy a subscription. Here is why that is a problem. We assume for the sake of argument that companies legitimately buy their subscriptions to seek out employees and post their jobs. But people leave their jobs (recruiters, HR people, etc). Sometimes companies forget to change log in information. Also, smaller agencies look to “sub lease” or sell their subscriptions to other independent agencies to help alleviate the costs. So you don’t truly know who is getting access to this information. Now this is not to knock or point the finger at any one board. A lot of those boards have helped me do my job in the past (I’ve moved on to more sophisticated search methods). And they do fulfill a need…matching employers and job seekers. But it is up to the individual to take precautions on their own.

  1. Don’t post any information on your resume or online job search profile that you would not put on Craig’s List, the supermarket bulletin board, MySpace, or any other public forum. This includes home or work phone numbers, home or work addresses, social security numbers, etc. You’d be surprised at the number of people who put this information on their resumes.
  2. Personal security begins with you. When preparing your resume, opt for a P.O.Box address or simply use just the city and state you live in. A recruiter who is truly interested in contacting you will understand your apprehension of sharing your address.
  3. Use a cell phone number…that you check often. Some people use their cell number as their primary contact number. That’s fine. If you feel comfortable using a work number or home number, you can do so.  Just remember you are opening yourself up to calls. A cell phone number is more discreet and can be changed easily without disrupting your life.
  4. Do not use your work email. First of all, you shouldn’t be getting job solicitations at work. The public doesn’t need to know where you work. You can use your alumni email, a home email through your ISP or any of the free email options out there. I would opt for a first initial and last name if possible when creating our email address. Whole names or those funky names some people come up with (you now what they are) are not ideal to use.
  5. Make your current employer confidential. I usually advise people to make all of the employers on their resume confidential and only cite the position, city and state if you are really looking to remain confidential. If you think about it, say they have your name but not your current employer’s name. Well, all they have to do is go back to your previously listed employer and call them to try to find you. So having all of them confidential isn’t a bad idea. It’s a matter of personal preference.
  6. Always research any company that contacts you. Now, I’m not intimating that you should be afraid to speak with a recruiter. There will be times when you have not heard of a company. It doesn’t mean they are not legitimate. Ask for a number to call them back, then check the web to see if you can find information about them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. And besides, what if your boss happens to stumble upon your resume.  Confidential is the way to go to avoid drama.

I hope this doesn’t scare you out of a job search. We all could stand to be a little bit more cognizant of what we put out about ourselves. A little commons sense and an ounce of prevention go a long way.

Til next time.
Adrienne Graham

I didn’t write this article but someone shared it with me via email.  It’s a good read in this trying economy. Enjoy!

7 Ways to Survive a Layoff

By Cherie Berkley, Special to PayScale.com

A slumping economy may be a red flag that layoffs are close behind. Does hearing about Yahoo layoffs, a Chevron layoff, and a Sallie Mae layoff make you feel nervous about your own job stability? Stop hiding under your desk and take control. Here are 7 ways to help you keep the pink slip at bay when the economy is down.

1. Plan ahead. Most times you will be tipped-off by layoff rumors circulating around your office (or in the press, as was the case for the Yahoo layoffs in early 2008).  This is your warning to create a plan of action. Start by assessing how valuable you think your job or department is (or is not) to the company. This is a critical time to stay on your Ps and Qs. Be punctual, maintain good relationships with co-workers, dress professionally, and continue to work hard. But also keep an eye out for other job opportunities as a safeguard. Have an updated resume ready to go. Forgoing lavish shopping sprees is likely a good idea, too. Put any extra cash into your savings account so you have a cushion to fall back on.

2. Network, network, network.  If you suspect layoffs are on the horizon, start connecting with your network. Let people know you are looking for a new job and send them an updated resume. Additionally, don’t stop meeting new people. Research professional organizations and find out when and where they meet. If you haven’t already, sign up for an online professional social network like Linkedin. And, ask friends for other networking ideas.

3. Stay positive. Getting laid off stinks, but whether you’re anticipating a layoff or have already become a victim, you can’t let it completely steal your joy. Be careful not to depress or annoy your friends and contacts with sob stories. You will be more productive and attractive to employers with a positive attitude.

4. Don’t burn bridges. Often, people who get laid off score big by becoming a contractor or consultant for the same employer. The upside is that consultants usually make more money than full-time employees. Also, contracting puts money in your pocket while you continue to look for salaried work. Even if your employer can’t rehire you in another capacity, someone there may happily give you a lead elsewhere – if you stay in good graces.

5. Follow a dream, keep learning. A layoff can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. If it happens to you, it may give you the final push you need to start a business venture long deferred. Is your dream to go back to school? Getting another degree or certification may give you a serious advantage in landing a new gig.

6. Take care of yourself. Being laid off, or anticipating it, can be one of the most stressful periods in life. You will be no good to your current or prospective employer if you don’t take care of your main asset: you! Continue working out, or get started, to manage stress levels. Don’t forget to eat a healthy diet, too.

7. Be flexible. Finding a new job takes time – often more than we’d like. Be patient in your job search but also be flexible enough to broaden your interests so you don’t limit your options in an already tight job market.

Avoid a Layoff Before It Comes
The best way to avoid a layoff is to prepare long before there’s a threat. Here are some quick tips:

  • Be a problem solver, not a problem causer.
  • Look like a winner: dress to impress and project confidence.
  • Keep smiling and have a good attitude.
  • Work hard and help others along the way.
  • Keep your skills fresh. Stay current with training – even if you have to pay for it yourself.
Someone sent me an email this morning with this long drawn out explanation of how we, Black folks, don’t apply for scholarships.   Rather than posting that long note, I figured I’d just cut to the chase and bring you the links to apply.  Remember, education is vitally important to your career success.  Even if you can’t use  this information, you probably know someone who could.  Happy hunting!

1) BELL LABS FELLOWSHIPS FOR UNDER REPRESENTED MINORITIES
http://www.bell-labs.com/fellowships/CRFP/info.html

2) Student Inventors Scholarships
>> http://www.invent.org/collegiate
>> http://www.invent.org/collegiate/
>> 3) Student Video Scholarships
>> http://www.christophers.org/vidcon2k.html
>> 4) Coca-Cola Two Year College Scholarships
>> http://www.coca-colascholars.org/programs.html
>> 5) Holocaust Remembrance Scholarships
>>http://holocaust.hklaw.com/
>> 6) Ayn Rand Essay Scholarships

http://www.aynrand.org/contests/

>> 7) Brand Essay Competition
>>http://www.instituteforbrandleadership.org/IBLEssayContest-2002Rules.htm
>> 8) Gates Millennium Scholarships (major)
>> http://www.gmsp.org/nominationmaterials/read.dbm?ID=3D12
>> 9) Xerox Scholarships for Students
>>http://www2.xerox.com/go/xrx/about_xerox/about_xerox_detail.jsp
>> 10) Sports Scholarships and Internships
>>
http://www.ncaa.org/about/scholarships.html

11) National Assoc. of Black Journalists Scholarships (NABJ)
>> http://www.nabj.org/html/studentsvcs.html
>> 12) Saul T. Wilson Scholarships (Veterinary)
>> http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mb/mrphr/jobs/stw.html
>> 13) Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund

http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org/home/home.php

>> 14) FinAid: The Smart Students Guide to Financial Aid
 http://www.finaid.org/
>> 15) Presidential Freedom Scholarships
>> http://www.nationalservice.org/scholarships/
>> 16) Microsoft Scholarship Program
>> http://www.microsoft.com/college/scholarships/minority.asp
>> 17) Wired Scholar Free Scholarship Search
>>http://www.wiredscholar.com/paying/scholarship_search/pay_scholarship
>> 18) Hope Scholarships &Lifetime Credits
>> http://www.ed.gov/inits/hope/
>> 19) William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship for Minority Students http://www.apsanet.org/PS/grants/aspen3.cfm
>> 20) Multiple List of Minority Scholarships
>>http://gehon.ir.miami.edu/financial-assistance/Scholarship/black.html
>> 21) Guaranteed Scholarships

http://www.guaranteed-scholarships.com/

>> 22) BOEING scholarships (some HBCU connects)
>>http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/educationrelations/scholarships
>> 23) Easley National Scholarship Program
>> http://www.naas.org/senior.htm
>> 24) Maryland Artists Scholarships

 http://www.maef.org/
>> 26) JackiTuckfield Memorial Graduate Business Scholarship (for AA students in South Florida)
>>http://www.jackituckfield.org/
>> 27) Historically Black College & University Scholarships
>> http://www.iesabroad.org/info/hbcu.htm
>> 28) Actuarial Scholarships for Minority Students
>> http://www.beanactuary.org/minority/scholarships.htm
>> 29) International Students Scholarships & Aid Help
>> http://www.iefa.org/
>> 30) College Board Scholarship Search

http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp

>> 31) Burger King Scholarship Program
>> http://www.bkscholars.csfa.org/
>> 32) Siemens Westinghouse Competition
>> http://www.siemens-foundationorg/

>> 33) GE and LuLac Scholarship Funds
>> http://www.lulac.org/Programs/Scholar.html
>> 34) College Net ‘ s Scholarship Database
>> http://mach25.collegenet.com/cgi-bin/M25/index
>> 35) Union Sponsored Scholarships and Aid
>> http://www.aflcioorg/scholarships/scholar.htm
>> 36) Federal Scholarships &Aid Gateways 25 Scholarship Gateways
>> from Black Excel http://www.blackexcel.org/25scholarships.htm
>> 37) Scholarship &Financial Aid Help

 http://www.blackexcel.org/fin-sch.htm
>> 38) Scholarship Links (Ed Finance Group)
>> http://www.efg.net/link_scholarship.htm
>> 39) FAFSA On The Web (Your Key Aid Form &Info)
>> http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
>> 40) Aid &Resources For Re-Entry Students
>> http://www.back2college.com/
>> 41) Scholarships and Fellowships
>> http://www.osc.cuny.edu/sep/links.html
>> 42) Scholarships for Study in Paralegal Studies
>> http://www.paralegals.org/Choice/2000west.htm
>> 43) HBCU Packard Sit Abroad Scholarships (for study around the world)
>>http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/packard_nomination.html
>> 44) Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities
>> http://ccmi.uchicago.edu/schl1.html
>> 45) INROADS internships

http://www.inroads.org/
>> 46) ACT-SO BEUROE Olympics of the Mind ‘A Scholarships
http://www.naacp.org/work/actso/act-so.shtml

>> 47) Black Alliance for Educational Options Scholarships
http://www.baeo.org/options/privatelyfinanced.jsp

>> 48) Science Net Scholarship Listing
>> http://www.sciencenet.emory.edu/undergrad/scholarships.html

>> 49) Graduate Fellowships For Minorities Nationwide
>>
http://cuinfo.cornell.edu/

 >> 50) RHODES SCHOLARSHIPS AT OXFORD
>> http://www.rhodesscholar.org/info.html

>> 51) The Roothbert Scholarship Fund
>> http://www.roothbertfund.org/school


I am never the same as I was the previous year. The world is ever changing, life is ever changing and if you don’t learn to keep it moving, you will get left behind.

Over the years, my career and business(es) have gone through numerous changes. Some self imposed, some due to circumstances out of my control. But the common theme was how I managed the change each time. Every year, people make resolutions and vow to make these changes in their lives, big or small. By the time March rolls in, those vows are dusty somewhere in the recesses of their minds, hiding from daylight. I’m not sure if it can be attributed to laziness, lack of motivation or plain fear. But nonetheless, that gusto we came into the year with vanishes. I do things slightly different when it comes to my career and business(es). While I do make my annual December 31st pledges, those are more for personal development. I like to sit down every quarter an see what I have done, what I need to do, and what I’d like to try going forward. By doing this exercise quarterly, I can ensure I don’t get stale.

It’s often hard to get people to reinvent themselves because they often don’t want to look inside themselves and do a thorough examination for fear of what they’ll find. We all have things about our careers, business, etc that we want to change, goals we’d like to accomplish, bold steps we would love to take. But sometimes it falls to the side as life is happening. It has happened to me…yes, I’m not above it. True reinvention requires a number of things, but most importantly, a vision of who YOU think you are and who you want to become is crucial. It is a reflection of who and where you are now, and what you are willing to do to get there. Reinvention begins with a hard lined assessment of what you’ve done to this point and what you need to do to continue on your journey.

I have great news for you. You CAN write your own script! There is no rule that says you can’t shake things up. Change is inevitable, and if you are not open to change, you cannot learn and grow to become that woman you want to be. If you are unwilling to change things every now and then, you are destined to remain in a paycheck to paycheck JOB that makes you unhappy and unfulfilled.

So how do you reinvent yourself? Take tips from the Queen of Reinvention.

  • Write your vision. Who do you see yourself being in 5-10 years? Where do you see yourself? Note I didn’t ask what career path are you on at work. Despite the best laid plans, things (LIFE) happens. Just close your eyes and let go. On this day in 10 years, where do you see yourself?
  • Write some letters. I want you to write 3 letters. The first one is a letter from the You of today, writing to the You of 10 years ago. What will you tell yourself? What will you warn about or against? What words of wisdom would you give the young you. The next letter is a letter from the you of today to the you of 10 years from now. You’ve imagined that place and time, now think of what you will ask yourself in this letter to help you get there. Be honest and candid. The final letter is a letter from you 10 years from now, advising the you of today. Trust me, this exercise puts a whole lot into perspective!
  • Research role models. Pick 3 people who are living in the life or career you want. Study them, gather articles, get as much information on them as possible. Create a folder for each. Dedicate time to building this folder and tracking their successes. When you are comfortable doing so, reach out to them. By the time you do, you will be familiar with their careers and have formulated some very relevant questions you can ask them.
  • Make changes in your life. I’m not saying go out and get a BMW! Change your wardrobe and hairstyle to be more in line with the person you want to be. Now, don’t go dying your hair platinum or blue! Look for models of success and use them as benchmarks. Loose weight (or gain if that pertains to you). Get healthy however you need to. A healthy you is a happy you. Look the part. Whether getting a new briefcase or new glasses (or contacts), it’s still a change.
  • Upgrade your resume. Don’t fudge it! Take courses, earn certifications, volunteer, get involved. Take on projects that will allow you to noticeably contribute and stand out from your peers. Continuously seek the creative or competitive advantage. Remember that there are 5 competitive advantages: more, better, faster, different and cheaper. Brainstorm ways you can deliver any of these advantages to your boss, department, team or company. The value of this strategy is when you seek to improve, you’re being proactive and the ball is in your court. You are in control.
  • Surround yourself with forward thinking people who are smarter than you. There’s a lot to be said about the company you keep. Surrounding yourself with these types of people, it makes you want to be better do better. Don’t waste your time with people who are resistant to change or don’t want to change themselves. That only slows you down. You are known by the company you keep and if you keep stellar company, the opportunities will come your way. You can’t help but to continue reinventing and perfecting yourself.
  • Get used to living outside your comfort zone. Again, flexibility and adaptation to change are strong assets in this job market. The willingness to change with the times, meet new people, assert yourself and learn new things gives you that competitive advantage.
  • Step out on faith and keep it moving. Trust that your higher power will bring you through. Trust in yourself that you have what it takes. The key is not to overthink or panic if things don’t immediately work the way you plan. Remember, sometimes it is in the stars to change course. How you react to it and manage it determines success.
  • Realize that Entrepreneurship may be the next step in progression. There is such a thing as maxing out your career. Maybe you’ve gone as high as you can in a company or career path. Investigate opportunities that will allow you to strike out on your own.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving to reinvent yourself today. Life is so much more fun when you mix it up ever so often.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Ladies, online networking is a mandatory component of your overall networking strategy. If you aren’t on Linked In, or are on but don’t utilize it, you are letting tons of opportunities slip though your fingers. Recruiters have tapped into this tool and are using it to find star talent for their companies. Others simply want to get to know you to keep you “warm” for networking purposes. In either case, you are doing yourself a disservice for not tapping into the power of Linked In. Come join us for a 60 minute Webinar.

  • March 20, 2008- Linking In to Linked In- $39-

The web offers tons of opportunities to establish yourself and make solid connections. Join us to discuss how to make Linked In an effective tool in your networking, finding business leads and job search. Learn how to get the most out of the free and paid subscriptions, incorporate Linked In in your job search, build your profile to attract recruiters and hiring managers, position yourself as an expert in your field, how to incorporate online networking with your traditional networking strategies, Linked In Etiquette and how to reach any contact whether you are connected or not.

To reserve your seat visit us online. Seating is limited to 100 attendees. Register today to guarantee your seat.

Do you know what you are worth, professionally? How much should you be paid in dollars? What about non-monetary pay? Can you demonstrate your value to employers? What dollar value will the employer assign to you (if you let them)? What salary are you willing to accept in exchange for your time and expertise? A few of you probably think you are worth a lot; some either don’t know or don’t feel they are worth more than an employer is offering. After impressing upon the employer that you are the right person for the job, the bottom line becomes money- your labor in exchange for the employer’s cash and benefits. How, then, are you going to deal with these questions in order to get more than the employer may initially be willing to offer?

As a recruiter, salary negotiations are tough. I have the advantage of knowing what the salary range is and it is my job to get a person to accept within that range. It is very frustrating for me when I see someone clearly worth more than what is being offered or even asked for. I often counsel people to do some research before getting far into the interview process so nobody wastes time. I am a huge advocate for fairly paying someone for their talent and skills. It often saddens me to see people, most often women, accepting less just to get foot in the door or because they don’t know they can negotiate.

The salary question is awkward for many applicants who are reluctant to talk about money. They think one must take what is offered because salaries are set by employers. Such thinking is unfortunate, because it means many people are paid far less than what they could be getting if they knew some basic techniques for negotiating salaries. Most people are probably underpaid by $3000-$5000 because they don’t use negotiating techniques. In some cases, it is way more than that!

Demonstrate your value. Salaries are usually assigned to positions or jobs rather than to individuals through salary bands (or grades). But not everyone is of equal value or skillset; some are more productive than others, some are less. Since individual performance differs, you should attempt to establish your value in the eyes of the employer rather than accept a salary figure for the job. The art of salary negotiation will help you do this. Have a list of your verifiable accomplishments handy. Past performance appraisals, letters of commendation, reference letters, certifications, degrees, etc. are important tools in establishing credibility of your perceived value. If you feel you are worth a certain amount, be prepared to back it up.

Research, research, research. I can’t stress this enough. It is far too easy for you to get salary information with a few key strokes. Sites like Salary.com, Payscale.com and Vault.com make it easy to find comparable informations. Also use job sites such as Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, 2 Figure Jobs, LatPro, etc, to find out what some jobs are offering. Now, a lot of companies won’t list a salary, but some will list a range. Take notes and compare across your industry and in the different regions. You should be able to come up with some good sound ranges of salaries.

Prepare for the money discussion well in advance. You should be well prepared to deal with the question of salary anytime during your job search, but especially during the job interview. If you’ve done your research, you should know the approximate salary range for the position you are seeking. You run the risk of doing yourself a great disservice if you fail to gather this information. You may price yourself too low or price yourself out of consideration. It is always best to be informed so you can be in better control to negotiate. And don’t be afraid to stick to your numbers. Only you know what your comfort level and lifestyle will allow you to compromise on. Keep an absolute minimum in the back of your mind to use as your boundary. No matter what, you will not go below this number.

Hold off on the salary discussion until the last minute. If at all possible, try to keep the salary question open until the last possible minute. As I mentioned earlier, typically, employers will assign a salary or salary range to a position rather than the individual. It’s not really about you or what they think you’re worth. Although they will generally have a range in mind, they still want to see where your head is at and what you would be willing to accept. By asking about salary preference in the beginning stages of the interview, employers are trying to screen out or eliminate candidates. When you are asked about salary, don’t respond with a specific amount. Give them a range that is acceptable to you. If you give them a set figure you have just eliminated your chances of negotiating a better salary. You should try to put off discussing salary at least until an offer is extended. Don’t appear too anxious. Get the employer to state a figure first. By doing this, you will be in a stronger negotiating position.

Questions to ask the employer. Questions attempt to establish the value for you as an individual versus a position. Seek clarification from the employer as to the actual job and all it involves. Emphasize the level of skills required in the most positive way as well as the value of the position to the company. Ask the employer what the normal range is in the company for a position such as the one you are interviewing for. This question establishes the value as well as the range for the position. Ask what the normal salary is for someone with your qualifications. This question further attempts to establish the value for the individual versus the position. This line of questioning attempts to yield the salary expectations of the employer without revealing your desired salary figure or range. It also should indicate whether the employer distinguishes between individuals and positions when establishing salary figures.

So stop leaving money on the table. If you’re still not comfortable negotiating salary, take a class and learn how to negotiate from a place of strength. EVERYTHING is negotiable. But timing is everything. If you play your hand too early, you ace yourself out of a strong negotiating position.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Many times, women will go into an interview process without properly knowing their worth. The common gut reaction is to find out what the salary is and make up your mind to accept whatever is offered just to get a foot in the door. We do ourselves a disservice when we don’t take the time to know the market, understand the norms and ask for what we are worth. We leave a lot of money, perks and benefits on the table when we don’t understand the process.

I will be hosting a webinar on Salary Negotiation called “Negotiating Savvy for the Empowered Black Woman”. It s a 90 minute webinar that will be held to open more women up to the power of negotiation. Everything is negotiable, when you do it at the right time. “Seating” is limited to 100 attendees and it is first come first serve. More details to follow about this webinar. In the meantime, figure out your appropriate salary by using this Salary Calculator.

PayScale Salary Calculator

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham
“The Empowered Black Woman” TM

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