With Zena Thomas of Her Savvy Career
At the end of the Blog to Book session during May’s Blogger Week conference, a woman in the audience raised her hand to ask a question. She mentioned she had written a book, and the more she spoke, the more interested I became. I soon learned that the woman was Zena Zena, founder of Her Savvy Career and author of The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Getting the Job.
I bought Zena’ book right there on the spot, and we recently had a chance to get together on Skype to talk more about her career journey and what insight she would offer to young professional women building their careers. Zena, who started her own career at a Cingular Wireless call center after graduating from the University of Maryland, understands that there is no such thing as a linear path. Now a full-time human resources professional with Her Savvy Career as her side hustle, Zena wants to help women become successful in their careers while still finding ways to fulfill and express their passions. Here are 8 tips from Zena when it comes to millennial women building careers.
1. Maximize each job application.
“You only get one shot to make a first impression,” Zena said. According to her, the number one mistake millennial women make when searching and applying for jobs is not being strategic in their job search; this leads to choosing quantity over quality when it comes to their applications. Instead, Zena encourages women to consider putting together the best package possible each time they submit an application.
2. Lead from where you are.
Zena did not begin her career in HR. But, during a career move that took her to Enterprise, she proactively took on leadership roles. Zena translated her sales skills from Cingular Wireless into internal recruiting. Now she understands the value of choosing to be a leader, independent of your title or place on the corporate food chain.
3. Mistakes don’t matter as much as how you recover from them.
“The way you handle mistakes is a true testament of your brand,” Zena said. She encourages women to recover from turmoil or setbacks at work by adjusting their mindset, learning from the individuals around them and deciding on a course of action going forward.
4. Successful career building is all about trial and error.
“Don’t be afraid to job hop or find the job that’s right for you,” Zena advised. Trial and error is about deciding what you like or don’t like, and then pivoting to adjust and create your path.
5. Successful job searching is all about preparation.
“Job searching is hard work,” Zena stated. So to better prepare for the task at hand, she encourages women to develop an organized job search, decide what types of companies they want to work for and determine their non-negotiables.
6. You may not be able to find a job that fulfills your passion, but you can create a path that does.
One thing I was eager to hear from Zena about was the concept of passion and how she juggles her full-time gig with Her Savvy Career. “You may need to create a scenario to fulfill and express your passion,” she said. She also said that it’s important to be realistic about what opportunities are available when it comes to your passion. Even though Zena said she has now been working in her passion for the past eight years, it was a windy road to get there.
7. Two separate social media accounts doesn’t mean much in the world of recruiting.
While Zena says it’s OK to have two separate social media accounts, it ultimately does not make that much of a difference. In today’s hyper connected world, most recruiters can find anything once it’s online.
8. So when it comes to social media, be authentic, but don’t get too personal.
When it comes to the million dollar question about professional women and their social media accounts, Zena said, “Don’t be afraid to [put it on your social media account] if you would be willing to have a conversation about it. Just remain cognizant of your career goals. Use it for networking and extend opportunities beyond the online platform.”
Zena Thomas is founder of Her Savvy Career and author of The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Getting the Job. Her Savvy Career strives to provide advice, information, commentary and counsel to women as they navigate through the work world. Zena is also a professional career coach who specializes in job transition and management development. To learn more about Zena and purchase her book, visit hersavvycareer.com.
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