Online Resources for the Young Professional

Girl smiling using laptopI’m two months in. Thus far, dressing the part, and leaning in have paid off (I’ve started my formal appraisal process, so I should know more soon!). A partner at my firm sent me an email recently acknowledging my hard work—one of the top emails I’ve ever received, second only to my first college acceptance. “We do let our interns jump into the deep end of the pool if they want to, because they often can… and you’re certainly doing that.” Tears of joy. I may have failed the swim test my first summer at camp (true story; I’m an awful swimmer), but look at me now, treading water in the deep end with the big kids.

Kind of along those lines, I thought I’d share some of my favorite resources for the young (primarily female) professional:

Perhaps I’m biased as a former journalista, but I think being informed about the world’s goings on is vital for anyone—young and old, professional or not. Global events catalyze localized effects, and knowing an important news bit can change conversations. I’m a firm believer that cultural literacy improves intelligence, interview performance, work efficiency, blind dates. Nothing’s more awkward than having a date bring up recent issues in Ukraine or Venezuela and… nada. Even as a newsmonger, I can’t consume it all, so I rely heavily on my morning Skimm. While you get your beauty rest, Skimm summarizes the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the world, and delivers it to your inbox every weekday morning. It’s Politico Pro for normal people: the top-line, need-to-know stuff, with hilariously awesome analysis built in; they summarize the good stuff and contextualize why you should care. It’s catered to Millenials and riddled with sarcasm. And it’s free, so no excuses.

The Muse is another great resource, especially before and during the dreaded job search. They’re similar to Levo League (below), except instead of networking events, they offer free online classes that increase your hire-ability and a more comprehensive database of jobs (at really cool companies, too)—I applied to a couple of positions last year that I found through their site. Think of the Muse as your personal college advisor—if your college advisor were super hip and knew about all the hot, new gigs.

If you didn’t join a sorority in college—or if your chosen organization doesn’t have a super stellar alumni program—then let me introduce you to your new crew: Levo League. The organization defines themselves as a “social good startup designed to elevate young women in the workforce by providing the career resources needed to achieve personal and professional success.” They publish articles (both original and pulled from other career sites, all with awesome pictures) that cater to young female professionals, organize “Local Levo” groups that get together for happy hours and networking events, and post job opportunities. I frequently read through their articles (that’s actually where I heard about Skimm), and am headed to a happy hour with NYC’s Local Levo tomorrow! I’m looking forward to networking and making new female friends.

I also want to throw Glitter Guide on here because sometimes a girl just has to have fun, too. I’m a huge advocate of work/life balance, and GG helps me find that. The lifestyle blog covers decor, crafting, and travel (my favorites), as well as beauty and fashion, and is so.darn.glittery. It’s a recent fave, but I’ve enjoyed lapping up all the glittery goodness the guide has to offer. The photos are inspirational and, at the very least, make for some stellar Pinterest material. That’s it—I’m a glitter junkie.

Lean in, ladies, and share your favorite professional (or not) resources!

Perfect 10 Workwear and Shopping Tips

photo (3)I start tomorrow. Thirty-three hours to be exact. I’m temporarily camping out at AB’s, until I move into my month-to-month furnished apartment in Stuytown. The whole moving out process was a little overwhelming—For a while there, I thought I was going to have to knock on neighbors’ doors to find someone to help me move my dresser downstairs. Note to self: Never try to move the week of Christmas; there are so few people around to help! But I managed okay and here I am, galavanting around the city, visiting secret speakeasies and brunch hotspots. Side note: The fried oyster, egg, and bacon sandwich at Penrose is amazing, decadent, delicious. Ask for gruyere cheese.

Foodie/Drinkie talk aside, the real world is here. As a graduation present, AB’s mom got me a generous gift card to Ann Taylor, and I went to work searching for Perfect 10 pieces that are appropriate for the workplace, but still reflect my style (I have a downright love for knit and leggings. Not exactly professional, but I try to integrate comfort and class). In the best twist of fashion fate ever, LOFT happened to be having a 50% off everything sale. So… I made off like a bandit.

LOFTpolyvore

1. Marisa Straight Leg Pants in LOFT Bi-Stretch — 2. Lurex Jacquard Long Sleeve Sweater — 3. Short Blue Stone and Enamel Necklace — 4. Shirred Button Down Blouse — 5. Diamond Jacquard Straight Skirt

Also, a special shout out to these amazingly comfortable flats from Payless, which I also picked up (because everyone needs black flats) and spent the last 24 hours falling in love with.

In the process of moving out, I was able to do even more filtering of my wardrobe and “stuff,” donating a total of five trash bags of goodies to various charities, and throwing away more than two trash bags’ worth. After so much cleansing, I’m a hesitant shopper. I believe in the one-in-one-out rule, so things must be perfect. Here are some helpful hints and shopping tips I learned in Perfect 10 shopping.

Use Retail Me Not. This seems obvious to me, but in case there’s anyone out there that doesn’t know what it is… learn. Similarly, ask store associates (not managers)  if there are any special discounts. When I worked in retail, I was happy to inform people about “secret” family and friends discounts. And student discounts are the best. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Know your style. I’ve alluded to this a little bit, but let me explain: Just because I work in an office doesn’t mean I’ll need to wear suits everyday. I would hate it. There are many components to one’s “style.”

Lifestyle. Don’t buy sweats if you work in an office. Don’t buy suits if you work at a gym. The proportion of your wardrobe should be roughly equal to how you spend your week. i.e. If you work 60% of the week, and lounge 10%, then have 60% of your wardrobe work-appropriate and 10% leggings and sweats. This isn’t rocket science, but it does mean that there is a little adjusting necessary during a lifestyle change (say, from student to employee).

Personal style. Even if you work in a conservative office, if you’re not the suit “type,” there are alternatives. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. I know I’m not likely to spend the time ironing my shirts, so I buy the silkier types that need less TLC. Similarly, don’t buy something for one occasion (like a party or holiday); chances are, you’ll never wear it again. And don’t buy something just because it’s “in.” I’ll never wear harem pants, because they aint me. And polo shirts? Lol, no, thanks.

Body style. This point has two parts: your body shape, and your coloring. Knowing both is of dire importance. For example, with my build (read: butt), I know I need to buy bottoms that fit at my natural waist, rather than my hips in order to avoid—ahem—crack. As for coloring, I have very fair skin, with “cool” tones, and dark brown hair—classic winter coloring. So I know that I look best in dark jewel tones, tans, greys, and blacks. If I were to wear, say… yellow, I’d look downright sickly. If you don’t know your coloring, this site has a pretty comprehensive overview (To be more specific, with my green eyes, I’m a clear winter. See the similarities with the colors above?).

Plan your shopping. Much of the Perfect 10 wardrobe relies on planning in order to avoid impulsive, un-researched purchases. In order to perfect the art of Perfect 10 buying, take your time. Write a list of the things you really need, and keep to it. Do some research by reading blogs or online customer reviews. Most importantly, try things on and be honest about whether or not they fit. And lastly, be patient. It can be difficult to walk out of a store without buying something, especially when you need it. But quality costs time, money, and patience.

Return, refund, exchange. I do a lot of my shopping online, which has it’s advantages (online customer reviews, convenience) and disadvantages (paying for shipping, things don’t fit). Many stores will accept online returns. When I accidentally got the wrong size and width in the Payless flats, I called ahead, walked into the closest store, and walked out with the perfect pair. Similarly, I recently saved $100 by “returning” and repurchasing a suit during a sale. Sneaky? Eh, I call it thrifty.

Happy shopping Ten-ers! And special thanks again to AB’s mom and her generosity. I can’t wait to style it up at work—eek!