How to Adult: Looking Like an Adult (Even When You Don’t Feel Like One)

Most days, I feel like a hot mess trying to adult. But that doesn’t mean I have to look like one…

How to Adult: Looking Like an Adult (Even When You Don't Feel Like One)Most of my life I’ve looked older than my age. This was cool in high school when everyone wants to look older but is considerably less cool now. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been carded getting drinks and most of the high school girls I hang out with at church are confused about my age because I don’t act a whole lot like the married adult I am sometimes.

I used to think that changing the way I dress would help me to look and feel my own age and it did, just not in the ways I wanted it to. In college, I took my new found freedom of dress (before college I wore uniforms every day for school) and wore all the things I wished I could have worn in high school. While this did make me look more my age, I also found that I wasn’t taken seriously as much as I would have liked.

The way we present ourselves sends a message to the world about who we are and what we want. I’m not saying it’s time to go out and replace everything in your closet with a power suit (although if that’s what you want to do, more power to you…get it? power…ba dum tssss). But I think cleaning up our look with very little effort can go a long way. Even when we don’t feel like adults who know what we’re talking about, we can still command respect with amazingly small changes to our appearance. Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • Wear clothes that FIT. This is a tough one for me since my weight has been fluctuating a lot in the last year or so. I realize that weight presents a challenge to this goal but I promise, wearing the right sizes makes such a huge impact because clothing that is too small or too large tends to look childish. Pick your clothes not by the size number (because we all know those are bogus and there is no standard) but by how they fit your body. This goes for jeans, too. If you find jeans that you love but are a few inches too long, it’s well worth the extra few bucks to get them hemmed to the proper length.


  • Clean your glasses. I’ve worn glasses for the last 20 years of my life so I rarely notice when they’re smudgy and need a cleaning just because I’m so used to it. What I don’t typically think about is that even though I can see through smudges perfectly fine, other people can’t. Keep your glasses clean so that people can easily make eye contact with you without thinking about how nasty your life must be if your glasses are that gross.


  • Keep your shoes clean, too. This is another one that’s hard for me because I kind of love my nasty, beat-up Converse. But they don’t look great. We don’t think about it often, but shoes probably take the greatest wear and tear out of all the items we wear regularly. Learn the proper way to take care of your shoes and you’ll look a lot more like you know things about life than like a grungy, angst-filled teenager (even if that teenager is your spirit animal).


  • Speaking of wear and tear, retire items of clothing that have seen better days. Or at least don’t wear them in public. Items with pilling, fraying, holes, and tears are no good in your efforts to trick the world into believing your adulthood. Even if they’re some of your favorite pieces, it’s time to let go and find new pieces that you’ll love just as much.


  • Roll your sleeves better. I know personally when I roll my sleeves, it’s usually because I’m hot and bothered about something (or because I live in Texas and it’s just always hot). But there are ways of rolling shirt sleeves that don’t make you look like the hot mess you may feel like when you go to roll ‘em up. It’s all about giving off a clean exterior, people!


  • Take off your old makeup. Yeah, I know, you got in late last night and went straight to bed and your makeup this morning actually doesn’t look half bad. Wrong. Your skin does not appreciate when you go to bed without washing your face and overtime it will show. So, not only does day two makeup not usually look super professional, it will incur the wrath of your skin. Keep makeup remover wipes by your bed if that helps and learn about why your face does not appreciate going to bed dirty.


  • Keep hair ties away from your wrist. Oof, this one is hard! I’m so guilty of constantly keeping a black hair tie on my right wrist, I had a tan line there this summer. I’ve heard it’s not awesome-looking to permanently wear hair ties like bracelets but I’m so accustomed to it, I don’t think to look anywhere BUT my wrist these days. However, hair ties have recently been linked to health issues like infections and issues with blood circulation. While you probably have no reason to worry, remember to keep your hair ties clean, wash your hands regularly, and try your best to decrease the amount of time that hair ties stay around your wrist. Also, stretch out new hair ties before keeping them on your wrist so that blood flow is never cut off.


  • Ladies, put your bra straps away. I have always felt like this particular strategy for looking more respectable was a no-brainer but recently, it’s kind of come back in style to expose parts of your bra, particularly if it’s pretty and lacy. Keeping your undergarments under your clothes as they were designed to be looks more like you’re asking to be taken seriously than the alternative. And for that matter, wearing bras that fit well can change your look dramatically, not to mention raise your confidence level. So let your pretty bras be a confidence-boosting secret rather than showing them off to the world and notice the difference in how people react.


  • Do away with chipping nail polish. Clean nails go a long way in presenting yourself well. Chipped nail polish gives off a young, immature vibe so either take the time to keep your nail polish looking salon fresh or make sure to remove it when it starts looking less than. Next time you go in for that handshake with clean nails you can feel a lot more like the adult you are rather than the kid you feel like.

How we present ourselves says a lot more about who we want to be than we realize most days. You don’t have to completely change your personal style to be taken seriously, though. These small little changes can go so far in showing the world who we are and what we want. What do you think? Have you tried any of these on your own? What was the response you noticed? I’d love to hear your stories about this!

How to Adult: Finding Satisfaction in Any Job

Feeling unfulfilled and/or dissatisfied at work? You don’t have to. Let’s make some lemonade together.

How to Adult: Finding Satisfaction in Any JobOne of the things that I’m most grateful to my parents for is that the raised me to have a good attitude and mindset about the work field. They taught me not only the importance of employment but the importance of being a good employee and what exactly that looks like. My parents also taught me that as Christians, whatever we do, we do it for the Lord, even if that means taking out the trash or cleaning the bathrooms at work.

I’m unbelievably thankful that I am a millennial with a good work ethic and that I’ve been fortunate enough to work at some incredible places with some incredible people. I’m one of the lucky ones who found a job and company that I love and that makes going to work every day easy. But I’ve also had terrible job experiences that I’ve hated, and I know the reality of feeling stuck in those positions, dissatisfied, unfilled, and unappreciated. If that’s you right now, here are some tips to make lemonade and find some satisfaction and fulfillment right where you are.

Focus on what you ROCK at.

Even in my least pleasant jobs, there was always at least one task that I was awesome at, and even if I wasn’t recognized for it, I could have the satisfaction of doing a great job and the knowledge that in some small (or large) way, I was making myself invaluable to my team and company. If you can’t find one task that you get excited about or that you can be proud of, make one up and create a way to play up your strengths. I bet, in the process, you’ll discover some really cool things about yourself and maybe end up developing changes in your position that are a long time coming.

Reflect on Growth and Remember Your Motivation.

Similar to focusing in on your strengths, so much pride and satisfaction can be found in recognizing just how far you’ve come. Think back to your first couple of months in this position and remember the tasks you struggled with. I’d be willing to bet that your day-to-day challenges now are a lot more complicated than they were when you first started. Take some comfort in that. You’ve grown, you’ve faced challenges and come out better from them. And because of that, you know you can continue to face challenges in the workplace with your head held high.

In the same vein, think about your original motivation for taking this job. What were some reasons you accepted it? What did you find most appealing about the position/company/work itself? Sometimes time and negative situations can distract us from how we really feel so remembering how we got where are is a great way to find inspiration.

Hone In on Your Transferable Skills.

I talked about them in a previous post, but in case you missed it, transferable skills are the broader skills you develop in a specific position that can apply to any other position. For instance, a college student who is a summer camp counselor develops specific skills in child care. Child care in and of itself is not necessarily applicable to other jobs they might take, but camp counseling also develops leadership skills such as managing interpersonal conflict, working as part of a team, and problem solving. You can find transferable skills in any position so list out a few you might be developing at your current job, and focus on being excellent in those areas so that wherever you go from here, you will have made the most of this experience.

Be the Force of Change.

If your dissatisfaction and unfulfillment is a result of not feeling appreciated or respected within your company, that sucks and I’m so sorry. No one likes that feeling and because it’s dependent on others around you, there aren’t any practical steps to take to immediately fix it. However, I would challenge you to see this situation as an opportunity to be the force of change in your workplace. A lot of times, if you’re not feeling appreciated or respected at work, it has to do with the culture of your company and, chances are, you are not the only one feeling this way. That being said, company culture changes with the individuals within the company. If you want a more positive, more affirmative company culture, that starts with you. Positivity breeds positivity. By consistently showing honest respect, praise, and admiration to the colleagues around you, you’ll be laying the foundation for creating an environment of respect and support. While it’s easy to sit back and wallow in self pity for feeling unappreciated, the best thing you can do to change your situation is fight back with a positive attitude yourself and watch your environment change around you.

Hold Fast to Your Purpose.

When you are at a place of questioning why you’re in your position at work, remember that God put you there for a reason. When you don’t understand what the point is any more, or you’re frustrated and tired and burnt out, remember that, if you’re a believer, your job is not the thing you do all day from 9-5. Your job is to be an ambassador for Christ to the people around you. Your job is to show your co-workers His love and goodness and patience and peace. Spend some time praying about shifting your focus from the day-to-day practical tasks you face at work to the real reason God put you in that company, on that team, with those people, at this time. I promise, He will be faithful to redirect your thoughts and heart.

How to Adult: Interviewing as an Introverted Millennial

Interviewing as an introvert is definitely socially draining. Here’s how I battle social awkwardness and put my best foot forward.

Adobe Spark (4)Interviewing as an introvert feels like an uphill battle, amiright? It seems like companies really like the gregarious, outgoing person and tend to overlook the less assuming personalities. And interviewing as a millennial can be just as difficult in a world full of baby-boomers who may or may not carry negative sentiments toward our generation. So how does one combat such obstacles in a socially diverse but equally awkward world? I’ve got some ideas…

All the Yes: 

1) Sleep your head off. Being rested before an interview is a great idea for anyone but especially for introverts. You know the social awkwardness and pressure that’s about to ensue so go ahead and take care of your body. Fall asleep to calming music or a good book to make sure your brain turns off and let sweet, energizing unconsciousness sweep over you.

2) Caffeine: friend or foe? I’m strongly affected by caffeine so timing when I drink my blessed Dr. Pepper is a huge thing on interview day. I know that my blood pressure and pulse will rise automatically from nerves before an interview and I also know I’ll have to pee if I finish a whole can. Being mindful of when I drink my caffeine is a must before I step into that boardroom or office. 

3) Play up your age – Millennial style. On a planet ruled by baby-boomers, millennials sometimes get a bad rap for our commitment phobia and free spirits. But here’s the thing: millennials will soon take over so we might as well humbly play up the strengths of our generation while we can. Characteristics like great multitasking, fast learning, being technologically savvy, and generally more open-minded make us great additions to the work force. 

4) Own your place on the social spectrum. Play up your strengths as an introvert. What are those you might ask? Oh, well, I’m glad you brought it up. Introverts tend to be direct in conversation, work exceptionally well behind the scenes, are great in one-on-one interactions and make the best listeners, all qualities that employers need in their mix. Don’t be intimated by Gregarious Jerry over there. You’re needed equally, if not more.

5) Prepare, prepare, prepare. This is a big one for anyone interviewing but especially for introverts who need to feel socially comfortable to let their awesomeness truly shine. Research the person(s) you’ll be meeting with ahead of time and get to know their online selves before meeting them in person. Learn as much as you can about the company and where they stand in it so that you’ve got a sense of knowing them before you actually know them, you know? It’ll make a huge difference in being relaxed and approachable when the time comes!

6) Tell your story. Interviews are all about getting to know each other, right? They’re a little like dating in that each party wants to hear the other’s story to know if they can move forward together. So think of your interview like telling your own professional story. Keep conversation decently casual and just speak about the professional journey that brought you to that moment, sitting in that swivel chair, in that boardroom or office. Just don’t forget to listen to their story, too! 

And Some No’s: 

1) Don’t try to be something you’re not. No one likes a faker and if you’re not real in your interview, you could end up in a job you hate, one that degrades you or completely socially drains you. Be confident in who God made you to be. Own your age. Own your introversion.

2) Don’t downplay your awesomeness. Introverts have a strong aversion to the spotlight so they tend to avoid the radar when people want to sing their praises. My challenge to you is this: own the spotlightBe proud of the things you have accomplished and then turn the spotlight on the company and explain how you can produce the same kinds of awesomeness in this position. 

What do you think? What kinds of things do you battle when you interview? How do you fight them?

How to Adult: ROCKing a Phone Interview (Without being Awkward)

Are you super awkward on the phone? (Samesies). Here’s how I go from awkward to awesome during phone interviews!

Adobe Spark (5)I’ve done quite a bit of phone interviewing in my day as that seems to be a rising method for vetting job applicants and getting to know people before doing business with them. Now, I’m usually quite comfortable in interview situations but there’s something about being interviewed over the phone that always seems to throw me through a loop.

Maybe it’s that I try to interview with animals in the room or maybe it’s because I always forget to clear my throat before answering so that my first impression sounds like a toad. Or maybe I’m just the most. awkward. person. ever. Am I alone here? I hope not.

For those of you who, like me, feel SUPER AWKWARD on the phone, have hope! There are strategies for feeling more normal while letting your personality shine in phone interviews! Let’s talk about some because, Lord knows, I’m always in need of a refresher!

First things first, treat phone interviews like in-person interviews. And I mean this in every way. Take it seriously because impressing your interviewer could mean the difference between moving onto the next stage, being hired, or not getting the job at all.

Pro tip: Go ahead and dress for a normal interview. There’s something about looking and feeling like a professional that will boost your confidence. It’s always a plus to be extra-confident during any kind of interview!

Next, do your homework. Know as much as you possibly can about the company, job description, and industry before going into your phone interview. A great way to do this might be knowing the company’s website inside and out. Many companies even keep blogs so you can learn what they’re all about as well as current topics in the industry just by clicking around their website.

As you do your research, write down any questions you might have about the company/position/industry. Your interviewer will almost always ask if you have questions and answering no will always make you look unprepared and uninterested.

Also, Glassdoor is a great way to look at reviews of companies with examples of salaries, benefits, and CEO approvals so you know more about what you might be getting yourself into. Don’t forget – interviews are about you getting to know the company as much as they’re about the company getting to know you!

Pro tip: Keep that cheat sheet of research notes in front of you while you talk. They can’t see you and it’s better to be prepared than fumbling around trying to remember what you read. You might also consider keeping a copy of your resume in front of you with highlights of the sections you think might be important to expand upon if asked. 

Practice standard interview questions before you get on the phone. Give yourself a refresher of how to answer the big ones (“tell me about yourself” and “what is your greatest weakness” are pretty popular questions) and take some time to think overyour work experiences so that you have examples and stories to readily pull out when you need themDon’t let yourself get frazzled if your interviewer throws out random or difficult questions – they want to get to know you, and how you react under pressure is a great way to see how you might fit in the job. 

Make sure you’re in a quiet room, free from distractions when it’s time to talk. Maybe make a call a few minutes before to test the reception and make sure your phone is charged and on loud. And as I learned this week, having a dog in the room during a phone interview is a bad, bad idea so pick your location wisely. Also,  have a glass of water nearby to avoid the feeling of cotton balls in your mouth when it inevitably goes dry from all the talking.

Once you’re on the phone, stand up to talk. Ever heard of the power pose in yoga?Standing will make you feel and sound more confident and a lot less awkward than sitting in your bed as you talk about being a productive member of society. Smiling while you talk makes you sound friendly and approachable and helps to vary the tone of your voice to give the impression that you’re upbeat, interested and engaged. And don’t forget to ask about next steps and following up before you hang up the phone!

And, of course, be yourself. Or screw it all and be a cat because who wouldn’t want to sleep all day? The choice is yours. Meow.

But really though, what do you think? Are you ready to ROCK your next phone interview? Any tips you’d add to my list?

Keeping it Together – Adulting for Millennial Freelancers and the ‘Funemployed’

Finding a job is real-life difficult these days. Here’s how I filled my time (and learned a ton) when I was a funemployed freelancer.

Adobe Spark (2)Before I found my amazing job as a QA Coordinator for Trendline Interactive here in Austin, I spent quite a bit of time freelancing as a copy editor and just generally trying to make the most of my unemployment. During that time, I crafted a lot of skills that ended up being hugely beneficial for my super detail-oriented job. Perhaps one of the main things I learned was that a really important piece of freelancing is staying organized and managing your time well, two of my favorite things! While I’m thrilled by the idea of color-coded calendars, checklists, and label makers, I know this is not true of everyone. So for anyone who feels lost in this area, here’s how I attempted to adult as a Funemployed Freelancer.

  • Planners and calendars were (and still are) my best friends. Let me just say, you don’t have to shell out cash for anything fancy; you can keep track of your life with any planner. The key is how you use it. Be as detailed as you can, and write as much down as you can. If physically writing things isn’t your style, Google Calendar is a life saver and it’s a thousand times more awesome (and prettier) than iCalendar. I like to make sure that everything in my planner and calendar is categorized and easy to see by color coding (because I’m Type-A like that) but as long as your entries are there and detailed, (“Lunch with Jessy at Russo’s at noon” is better than “pizza date with sis”) you should be ok. I could write an entire post on the best ways to use planners and calendars but I’ll save that for a later date.
  • Similar to keeping a planner or calendar to keep track of life, I kept a journal specifically for my business/blog. This notebook included freelancing tips, contact information, resources to look into, and blog entry ideas. I kept a thin moleskin in my purse and write down any resources as I came across them and keep track of the things I’d accomplished as well as the things I wanted to achieve. It also allowed me to plan out every blog post. I gave each post a page where I wrote the subject, the day and date of posting, and bullet points, thoughts, ideas, or research on the topic. This helped me keep track of what I’d already written about and allowed me the freedom to write ahead in my spare time for instances where I was out of town or had other things going on. A digital way of doing this is Evernote, where you can have multiple notebooks with different ideas, images, documents or whatever you might need. You can also share notes with other users which can be especially helpful for collaborative work.
  • Just like planners, I’m also a huge fan of routine. Keeping a general structure and schedule for my day allowed me to stay on top of all the things I wanted to get done and protected me from staying in bed watching Netflix all day. For a lot of freelancers, however, routine is the exact opposite of what they want for their day-to-day. My suggestion is to make sure you’re working at your most effective time of day. For me, I write and think best from about 9am to 2pm and anything outside of that window is a lot more of a struggle. If you’re an afternoon person, make sure to allow yourself time to work in the afternoon; if you’re a night person, do work then. Whenever you can create the highest quality work, schedule around that.
  • The last thing I’ll share is that I’m most productive when I can alternate tasks and take short breaks. Doing this keeps boredom and frustration at bay while also getting things done. Not sure how to fix that really strange sentence? Move on to writing that blog post you’ve been meaning to get to. Got writer’s block? Go clean the bathroom before your roommates strangle you with the nasty hair clogging the drain. You can always come back to everything later. Don’t forget to take short breaks in the process, also. Take the dog for a walk, go for a run, listen to some awesome music, call your mom, or let yourself open YouTube for a bit. Just don’t let it derail you. You’re working from home – take advantage of that!

Setting your own schedule can be a blessing and a curse but with a few simple tricks, staying organized and managing your time well can become easy-peas. Do you have any tips for staying productive at home? Do you think these tips can be just as helpful in your standard 9-5? Any suggestions for what NOT to do? Please let me know in the comments below!

How My Communication Degree Sets Me Apart

They told me having a liberal arts degree would make finding a job hard. I disagree. Here’s a few reasons how my Comm degree helps me stand out!

Adobe Spark (1)Whenever people hear that I work in Quality Assurance, they usually assume that I studied English in college. That’s a pretty fair assumption, I would say, but not accurate in the least. I majored in Communication Studies and while that’s by no means an English degree, I learned some incredibly important things that will help me no matter where I go professionally. Here are four reasons I believe my Communication degree sets me apart from other liberal arts degrees:

  1. Big Picture v. Smaller Details. As a Comm major, I was trained exceptionally well that the structure and flow of my writing was just as important as my content and the grammar that made it readable. This allowed me to better develop the ability to keep the thesis or focus of the writing in mind while also making sure my t’s were crossed and i’s dotted. This skill is particularly important for in QA where details are imperative but keeping an eye on a project’s bigger picture is just as important.
  2. Effective Communication. A Communications degree is essentially a degree in how people send and receive messages. It’s all about effective ways to say what you want to say in a way that is easily understood. A lot of that involves understanding the implications of words and their nuances within the context of the writing. This is sort of the messier version of keeping the big picture in mind where so much of how I communicate with other teams is through email and chatting.
  3. Persuasion and Marketing. Where would a Communication major be without a proper understanding of rhetoric? Rhetoric, or the art of persuasive speaking or writing, was a huge focus in my program, something I am incredibly grateful for. Knowing how to write persuasively is a skill that carries over into SO MANY areas of life, blogging included! Though it may not always be something directly related to the work in QA, it is an incredibly useful tool for anyone going into the professional world.
  4. Cultural Context. My education has taught me how to make effective arguments, but it’s also taught me that what I have to say is only part of a much larger cultural conversation. Understanding that what I do makes a cultural impact, even if it’s as small as suggesting that a sentence needs a comma, goes a long way in helping me keep my perspective that my work matters in the grand scheme of things.

That’s all I have for now. What do you think? Are you using your degree in a different professional field? Any fellow Comm Studies nerds out there?

Jackie’s 5 Easiest Ways to Craft an Eye-Catching Resumé

Are you like me in that you despise talking about yourself? There’s something so awkward about bragging about your accomplishments, trying to explain why you’d be a great fit for that awesome new job. Lucky for you, I’ve got a few tips and tricks that might help when building out your resumé!

Adobe Sparklove helping people write resumes! It’s one of my favorite projects to work on because it’s all about putting things in a positive light and making the most out of every experience. I spent a few years in college learning from the best of the best when it comes to resumes and as I recently restructured my own, I thought I would share my 5 favorite tips and tricks to building an eye-catching professional resume!

  1. Keep It Simple, Stupid. The KISS method is a great way to go about doing life, but I feel like it applies to resumes very well also. You want your potential interviewer or employer to be able to get a good impression of you very, very quickly so having a clean, uncluttered layout with only important and relevant content will go a long way. Does your resume still list awards from high school? Do you have college courses listed even though you graduated two years ago? Get rid of that stuff, you don’t need it! Keep your resume short and to the point as much as possible and try to keep it to one page.
  2. Create a “kitchen sink” version of your resume where you compile the details of every work experience, big or small, to pull from when you need it. You want to keep track of all your different work experiences but you probably don’t need to list it all for every job you apply for. Some experiences might be more valuable when applying for different jobs down the road so you definitely don’t want to lose all that info. Having everything ready to go in one document makes it nice and easy to cut and paste when creating different versions of your resume for different jobs. Which brings us to….
  3. Targeting your resume can help you de-clutter and decide which of your experiences might be worthy of creating the impression you want. Look back over your “kitchen sink” resume and pull those experiences that are most relevant to the type of job you’re looking for. Wanting a job in marketing? Unless you spent your time doing marketing and advertising for the pool, your summer as a lifeguard may not be needed here.
  4. Use past-tense action verbs when describing the skills you picked up with each experience. Again, you want the person in charge of looking over resumes to get a good impression of you quickly. Most employers spend fewer than 10 seconds looking over resumes so you want the first things they see to show off your skills and abilities in clear, confident ways.
  5. Don’t make employers guess what skills or experiences you picked up at your job. You want every work experience to have details about your time there, lists of transferable skills that speak clearly about what you learned or how you developed. For instance, perhaps you worked as a summer camp counselor. While listing “child care” under this experience would be accurate, perhaps a more detailed listing like “oversaw the instruction of 18 elementary-aged children” or “facilitated arts and craft activities for 30 preschoolers” would give your interviewer a more comprehensive idea of what you did as a camp counselor.

I know a lot of this may sound like a no-brainer but making these little changes can go a long way in presenting the best version of yourself. Have any questions about formatting or wording content to best describe your skills and experiences? Shoot me an email or comment and I’m happy to help out!