Back to Basics: Save Time With This Comprehensive Resume Hack

Use this Job Hunting Tool to Send Tailored Resumes & Save Time


 - Dana P. Hundley

In an ideal world, you will send a thoughtful, tailored resume to each and every job you are applying to, speaking to every specific point of that job description.

Back in the real world, we know people might not actually have time for that.

What’s an easy way to combat the lack of time versus the need to be tailored? Well, we like to call it a ‘Master Resume.’ This may be self-explanatory, but here are some quick tips to create yours:

  • A ‘Master Resume’ is an insanely comprehensive overview of everything you’ve ever done at every job you have ever worked. Use discretion here; if you have five years of professional experience, there is no need to have that high-school babysitting gig listed.
  • Why? It’s easier and faster to delete content than create content when you are tailoring your resume for that perfect job that just popped up on your LinkedIn feed.
  • Take some time to include under each job EVERYTHING you did in that role. Don’t worry about the length of your resume right now – you aren’t going to send out this long version, you just want all the content ready to go!
  • Include even what you consider the obvious. Never assume anyone knows what you did in that role except for you!
  • Spell out not only what you did, but also how you did it. Did you streamline the way your company booked conference rooms? Awesome: how did you do it?
  • Edit your bullet points – and I specifically say bullet points, because your resume should have bullet points, as it’s the easiest way for the reader to digest the info. Each bullet should be ‘employer ready,’ or in other words, perfectly edited. Remember, the point here is to ultimately save time!

Cool. Your ‘Master Resume’ is complete – AND bonus, I hope this helped you realize ALL of the amazing things you have done throughout your work experience! Sometimes it’s hard to remember how much you actually do, and it’s good practice to run through it all before your interviews. (Plus, it’s great just to remind yourself how awesome you are!)

Now it is time to cut the fat according to the particular role you are applying for. Compare your ‘Master Resume’ to the job description. Does the JD specifically say you will own the conference room calendars? Thank goodness you built out those bullet points about how you streamlined the way your old company booked rooms! But you probably only need one of the five bullet points you prepared about the marketing materials you created since there is no mention of marketing in the JD – get the drift?

Happy Applying!

How to Get the Right Kind of Feedback in Your New Job (Because Your Success Depends on It)


 - Jessica Vann, CEO & Founder (ORIGINALLY SEEN on THE MUSE)

The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

pull quote 1.png

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

pull 2.png

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”


This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

pull 4.png

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

A Quick Guide to Key Motivators in Your Job

What do you really want out of your next role?

kaboompics_Workplace with laptop on table at home.jpg

-by Dana P. Hundley

Dear Candidates,

As recruiters, we want to help you find your next dream job.

How do we do this?

Well, we start by getting to know you. What did you do in your last job? What did you like about it, what didn’t you like about it? What we really want to know isn’t spelled out on your resume. What allows us to be successful in finding you a role and company that will bring you long-term fulfillment is knowing what motivates you!

Do you know what your key motivations are in finding your next role? If you take the time and care to really uncover and identify what your key job motivators are, it can help you weed out the roles that just aren’t going to cut it and thoughtfully navigate choosing the perfect job for you.

So let’s talk about some job motivators:

·         Compensation – What is your cost of living? Crunch the numbers, and understand that range between what your bottom line is AND where you would like to be. Pair this with a healthy dose of understanding the market for your position/industry/region.

·         Work-Life Integration – This a big one, and personal one, because only you can decide what work/life balance means to you. Think about what you have going on outside of work, and how your job can affect that. This is the bucket where you also decide what schedule and commute is going to make sense for you.

·         Company Culture – How do you want to feel at work, what is a good working environment for you, what type of people do you want to work with, what you want to wear to work? Try picturing yourself in different scenarios. Does a quiet, heads-down office help you produce your best work? Or do you feed off the buzz of a boisterous office teeming with energy?

·         Learning & Development – This one is simple: do you want to learn and develop in your job and career? It’s a yes or no question, with absolutely no judgment. If your main motivation is to make enough money to support your lifestyle and not take any work home, you may not care about things like training programs. If you are someone who needs to feel like they are growing and learning in order to be fulfilled, and your five-year-plan involves switching industries or climbing to a certain job title, you are likely going to seek out roles that ensure you are afforded those opportunities to develop.

·         Opportunities for Advancement – Tying in nicely to ‘Learning & Development,’ what was that five-year-plan again? Are there going to be opportunities to advance in the next company you land in?

·         Meaningful Work – What we tend to find when we are looking at key job motivators is that many candidates want, above all else, to do meaningful work. This makes perfect sense: people want to feel good about what they are doing 40, 50, 60 hours a week, sometimes at the expense of time with their family and friends. But what does meaningful work really mean to YOU? Only you can answer that! It can be helpful to take some time to free-write, or brainstorm with family, friends or mentors you trust.

Motivations provide invaluable insight when thinking about your next role. We encourage you to reflect and understand what is important to you in ALL of these buckets, and here’s the trick – do this before you start interviewing.

You know what else is fun? Rank the buckets – most important to least important. This will help you determine what we at Maven like to call your ‘non-negotiables.’ 

And give yourself permission to change your mind during the process. Knowing what’s most important to you will empower you to make strategic and thoughtful decisions about the roles you are considering and ultimately decide to take!



Your Neighborhood Recruiters,

Maven Recruiting Group

Back to Basics: Job Hunting Email Blunders to Avoid

Your interview starts with the first email you send. Use care and edit accordingly!


 - Dana P. Hundley

There are many ways to ‘submit your resume’ for a job. For the sake of this post, let’s focus on the good old fashioned sending an email with your resume. Here is a quick, and very basic, checklist to make sure ‘phase one’ of your interview goes smoothly:

  1. Is your email address professional? (I know, seems like outdated advice, right? It’s not….)
  2. Do you know who you are addressing the email to? Cool, check the spelling of their name three times!
  3. Now here is the BIG ONE: You have crafted a nice little intro email that explains what you are applying for,  briefly why you are applying, and has a nice little call to action for your potential new employer. Awesome. This checklist isn’t about content (that’s a whole other post which we will get to later), so the basic check here is: have you EDITED your email with a fine-tooth comb?! I am talking spelling, grammar, punctuation and style! This is not the time for shorthand, abbreviations, slang or the wrong ‘there.’ This stuff matters! Your future employer cares about attention to detail, and if you can’t take the time to edit this very important email, they can go ahead and assume you are going to take the same care with their biggest client.
  4. Have you attached your resume? The correct one? Named something appropriate like “First Name Last Name_Resume,” right?
  5. Answer yes to all four? YEA! Send away!

Bonus Check Point:

* I bet you are applying to more than just one role…keep track: an Excel grid, an email folder just for submissions, or handwritten in your favorite journal/planner - just somewhere so that when you get that call back because you nailed the intro email you can quickly recall the basic, who, what, when, where!

Happy Hunting!

Totally in Love with your Job? Why You Should Still Say Yes to That Interview

You know you’re at least a little bit curious.


 - Jaclyn Westlake, Career & Lifestyle Blogger

You have virtually no commute, the best boss ever, and legitimately love the work you do, so why on earth would you ever interview anywhere else? We have six reasons that might make you reconsider.

Well, have you ever declared your undying love for something (your new iPhone, American grilled cheese sandwiches, the Backstreet Boys) only to discover that there was another version that was even better than you ever could have imagined (the iPhone 7, grilled cheese with brie, *n sync)? Well, the same concept applies to your job. Stick with me on this one – it’s possible that you might find a job that is even better than the one you love now. Why not look?

1)     You Just Never Know

As a bonafide recruiting guru, Muse columnist, and the Founder and CEO of one of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area for the third year in a row, Jessica is full of compelling stories about candidates who were hesitant to explore new opportunities, only to discover a new job that they loved even more than they ever thought possible.

Jessica shares, “We just placed an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a major Fortune 500 global tech company. When we initially spoke with her, she was perfectly happy in her role, loved her boss, had a great relationship with him, and was handsomely compensated. She told us she would only leave for something that was truly exceptional and compelling and that would take her career to the next level. Low and behold, that materialized, and the rest is history. Staying open-minded and open to the possibilities that life grants us is not a bad thing.”

2)     You’ll Expand Your Network

Having meaningful, one-on-one conversations with colleagues, recruiters, and leaders in your industry is an incredibly valuable opportunity – and it’s often hard to come by. Networking events, while completely worthwhile, tend to be a bit hectic. It’s tough to get more than a few minutes with anyone. Interviewing, on the other hand, guarantees that you’ll have someone’s undivided attention as you discuss your role, your goals, their company, and the job market. Pretty great, right?

Think of interviews as another opportunity to expand your network. Connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn, send them personalized thank you notes, and do your very best to make a great impression. Even if you end up respectfully declining an offer, you’ll walk away with a few new professional contacts. And you never know when they’ll come in handy.

3)     You’ll Strengthen Your Interview Skills (Practice Makes Perfect!)

This may be hard to hear, but someday you might actually be ready to leave your amazing job. When that time comes, you’ll be glad that it hasn’t been years since you last exercised your interview skills. This also a great opportunity for you to take inventory of what you do every day, what you’ve accomplished since starting your current job, and what you’d like to do next. Having the ability to summarize your dazzling array of skills and career accomplishments in a clear, compelling fashion won’t just serve you well in an interview – it’ll also be incredibly useful during your next performance review or the next time you ask for a raise or promotion.

4)     You’ll Get the Inside Scoop on the Competition

Interviewing with another company is a great opportunity to benchmark your current responsibilities, projects, benefits, compensation, and work environment against what is going on in the marketplace. This could either serve to affirm that you are in the right job with the right company, or reveal a potentially more interesting, lucrative, or flexible role.

Taking the time to investigate what your skills and experience are worth in the job market and understanding the opportunities that may be available to you is a super savvy career move. Even if you conclude that you aren’t ready to take on a new job right now, you may be in a year or two. Whenever that time comes, you’ll be ahead of the game.

5)     You Might End Up Loving Your Current Job Even More

You know that feeling you get toward the end of an awesome vacation? The trip was great, but there’s no place like home. You can’t wait to get back, sit on your own couch, cook in your own kitchen, and sleep in your own bed. Something similar may happen when you decide to explore other opportunities.

If the interview doesn’t go well or the company doesn’t meet your expectations, you’ll just end up loving your current job even more. You’ll be even more excited about going into work every day, and the tough days (everyone has them) may not seem quite so tough.

6)     You’ll Still be in Control

Saying yes to an interview doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to leave your job. Only you can make that decision. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re the one in the driver’s seat – if at any point in the interview process you realize that this job isn’t “the one,” you can respectfully withdraw yourself from consideration. Just be sure that you aren’t backing out of scheduled meetings or calls at the eleventh hour – the more notice, the better.

“It’s through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path.” - Michael Dell

Admittedly, if you know that you have absolutely no intention of even entertaining a new opportunity and are completely unwilling to make a change, it doesn’t make sense to move forward with an interview. Recruiters and hiring managers put tons of energy into the interview process, and there’s no point in wasting your time or anyone else’s.


If there is a part of you that’s curious and could potentially be incentivized to make a change, don’t hold yourself back from exploring interesting opportunities. Sure, you may decide to stick with your current job in the end, but expanding your network, strengthening your interview skills, and gaining a better understanding of your industry are all pretty great reasons to at least have a conversation with a prospective employer. Even better? There’s always a chance that you’ll find a new job that you love even more.

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

– Tom Peters


Trending Now, But Which Way? New Salary Ordinance Hits California

Salary Negotiations Will Change, But The Real Question is 'Will The New Law Be Effective?' 

kaboompics_Woman writing on notebook.jpg

- by Jessica Vann, CEO & Founder

From Oregon to New York, “Parity in Pay” laws prohibiting the consideration of salary history information in the hiring process are becoming more common. Effective January 2018, California is on board, followed by San Francisco’s rollout in July, 2018 (San Francisco Police Code 3300J.3, 3300J.4). These laws prohibit employers from asking candidates about current or previous salary, compensation, or benefits, and also from relying on that information in making hiring or salary determinations.

I like to think of these laws as “Do the Right Thing Laws,” essentially putting pressure on employers to pay people according to their experience and merits as opposed to a number that, depending on the circumstances, may or may not reflect that individual’s true value. But the real question is this: Just how effective will these laws will be? Read on for our thoughts.

The prevailing assumption behind these laws is that current and past earnings largely dictate one’s future earnings. Moreover, the intention behind these laws is to prevent salary inequities from being perpetuated as people move from role to role. Perhaps you were underpaid in your last role because the company you most recently worked for wasn’t well-capitalized. Should you forever be penalized as you move to your next position? Or, more nefarious, you were discriminated against for any of the commonly-recognized and oft-discussed reasons certain segments of the employee population frequently receive less pay. Should that continue to burden your future earning potential as it has your past?

For Employers, No Net Change

At the end of the day, regardless of the ask, it’s the employer’s prerogative to decide if they want to play the game or not. For those employers with a standardized and disciplined approach to hiring, such as the use of salary bands and market data through services like Radford and Equilar, I’d anticipate very little change to how they compensate incoming employees. If a candidate’s salary expectations exceed what the company’s compensation band allows for a particular role, it will be a very straightforward “take it or leave it” type of discussion. I could also anticipate this new law putting downward pressure on employees who have historically been overpaid for the very same reason, but in reverse. It’s all well and good to have a “pie in the sky” salary expectation, but if the data doesn’t support it, a candidate could face downward salary pressure as salaries normalize within the broader marketplace.

May the Best Negotiator Win

While the intention of these laws is to force equality of compensation among the sexes and races, or any other person who has been undervalued for whatever reason, it does nothing to address the reality that salary negotiating skills are still going to be paramount in any salary conversation. You are what you eat, and you get what you negotiate. This isn’t going to change.

Even without the inclusion of past compensation in a salary discussion, a person who lacks the confidence, skills, or knowledge to ask for what they deserve is not going to derive any benefit from these new laws. All the legislation in the world can’t help you if you don’t know how to ask for what you deserve.

This reality is a fundamental flaw that will ultimately erode the efficacy of these laws. Ironically, the people this law aims to support are, in all likelihood, the people least equipped to handle these negotiations successfully and in a manner that will yield the desired outcome of this legislation. While it may work in some instances, it’s a charming fallacy and an over-simplification of the societal issues and internalized self-doubt that affect many people, particularly those who have historically been subordinated or discriminated against, to assume that by eliminating salary history from a salary negotiation we can simply wave a magic-wand and all will be equalized.

In summary: to the employers, I say the marketplace and the forces of supply and demand are still going to exert the strongest hand in where salaries come to rest. And, ultimately, you’ll have to make offers that gel with your business model, your internal equity, and your budget. To the employees who have historically been under-valued, I say San Francisco and California are giving you a shot to catch up, but it will be incumbent upon you to know the market and your value in it and to practice the behaviors and techniques that will allow you to manifest a better outcome for yourself.

Make the Most of Your Career in 2018 with These Simple Steps

Hustle Mug_Work.jpg

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions – traditionally big, lofty, life-changing goals made over too much champagne and forgotten by Feb 1. So, let’s do this: instead of thinking about the big career leap we are going to make come 2018, let’s set an intention to make the most of whatever job situation we are in with simple, meaningful actions.

Yep, we’ve got you covered for career-specific ways to make the most of 2018. We are recruiters, after all.

If You Are On The Job Hunt:

  • Go easy on yourself - job hunting isn’t easy! And a lot of times rejections have nothing to do with you. Take the time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What can you be doing differently? Check out more HERE.  
  • Get organized. One easy way to stay organized? Create a job hunting tracking sheet with what you have applied for, where you have interviewed, and companies you are interested in.
  • Network, Network, Network. get out of your comfort zone by seeking out networking opportunities you normally wouldn’t. Connect with recruiters, build your ‘job hunting team,’ get people involved, and make it fun and collaborative. You can even get started at this season’s holiday parties. Check out more HERE.

If You Are In A Job & Happy:

  • Practice being grateful for the job you have. It’s literally been scientifically proven that gratitude helps everything, including continuing to love your job. Check out more HERE.
  • Volunteer for something. A new project at work, a nonprofit that speaks to your heart – heck, maybe even organizing a company volunteer initiative! Volunteering can breathe life into your day, role, and whole year! Check out more HERE.
  • Get to know a co-worker you don’t know. You’ll notice a theme – it’s networking, and it never stops. Is there a new team member or a team you don’t know too much about? A quick coffee date can easily change that!

If You Are In A Job & Considering A Move:

  • Every journey begins with a small step. Commit to making a change and take that first step! Don’t let the idea of job hunting become daunting; you can start with a few simple steps:
    • Update your resume. This can seem like a big one, but sit down and think through everything you do in your role, write it down, and then edit.
    • Tell someone. Here it is again: NETWORK! Preferably someone not in your company if you want to keep the search confidential, but tell someone to spark some excitement for yourself and plant a seed in your network.
    • Check out what’s out there. Take the browsing skills you are honing this week during the online holiday shopping crunch and check out LinkedIn, some of your favorite companies, and other job listing sites. You never know what might spark your interest!
    • Assemble your team. Yes, shameless plug alert, but enlisting a good recruiting firm will add real value vis a vis introducing you to employers and opening doors for you, coaching, positioning, and negotiating, all on your behalf. And yes, you should start assembling your team even in the ‘considering’ stage.

Happy Holidays! However you celebrate, we wish you peace, love and joy this season!


3 Stress-Free Ways to Network at a Company Holiday Party

Because sometimes seeing your co-workers at parties can be awkward.

holiday party_stock.jpeg

-by Jaclyn Westlake, Founder of The Job Hop

It’s probably fair to say that most of us have a love/hate relationship with office holiday parties. We love getting dressed up, drinking eggnog, and enjoying a fun night out with our co-workers - but we could do without making awkward small talk at the bar or waiting in the bathroom line with a bunch of people we don’t really know. Awkward moments aside, socializing with your colleagues outside of the office is a great way to build relationships, make new connections, and boost your reputation at work. So, why not take this opportunity to do a little networking? 

Work the Room
There’s no better time to step outside of your comfort zone and talk to people you don’t normally interact with. Everyone is usually in a great mood at the holiday party – they’re not working, they probably have some time off coming up, and they most likely have a drink in-hand. Make the most of cocktail hour by taking a few laps around the room.

Need a little help with conversation starters? Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Ask about food or drinks: “Have you tried the arancini yet?” or “Do you know what’s in the signature cocktail?”
  • Lead with a compliment: “I love your dress! Where did you get it?” or “Hey, great job on that presentation last week!”
  • Talk about current events: “Did you hear about [insert recent and amusing news story]?” or “Did you catch the [insert your favorite sports team] game last night?”
  • Chat about the party: “What a cool event space! Have you ever been here before?” or “Did you make it to last year’s party? What was the theme?”

Go Beyond Office Chat
Sure, talking about work-related stuff is an easy go-to, but you’re not at the office tonight! The holiday party is a perfect place to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. This doesn’t have to be super deep (although if it goes there, cool!); you can talk about anything from the Warriors to your manager’s daughter’s soccer tournament. The goal is to learn more about your colleagues’ lives and interests outside of work. You never know what you’ll end up having in common, so ask questions!

And don’t be shy about sharing things about yourself, either. Do you have any exciting trips coming up? Are you learning to golf? Are you completely obsessed with Stranger Things? Now’s the time to open up.

Find the Other Plus Ones
Tagging along as a plus one to a holiday party can be extra awkward – you probably don’t know anyone besides your date. The great news is, a solid half of the room is likely in the same boat. Why not band together? Striking up a conversation with a fellow plus one is as easy as asking if they know anyone else at the party or just plain introducing yourself. They’ll likely be relieved to have another person to talk to!

The best part about hanging with the plus ones? You never know who you’ll meet. You could end up chatting with a recruiter who just so happens to work at your dream company, the very person who could put you in touch with a contact you’ve been trying to reach for ages, or a really cool new friend.

And we wish we didn’t have to say this, but… please don’t drink too much, engage in any office gossip, or bring up topics that may make others uncomfortable. You should absolutely have fun, but remember that these people are your colleagues and you’ll have to face them in the staff meeting on Monday.

End of PSA.

The company holiday party can be a great opportunity for you to strengthen your professional relationships (and create new ones!). It’s not every day that you get the chance to socialize with people from other offices or departments, chat up the CEO, or – most importantly – wear sequins to work without feeling totally overdressed. This really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy holiday networking!

Maven Volunteers at Defy Ventures' Business Coaching Night


 - by Julia Francis

This year Maven implemented a Volunteer Initiative so our whole team could have the chance to volunteer both individually with organizations close to our own hearts and as a team with organizations where our particular skillsets come in handy. We got the opportunity to do just that with Defy Ventures this past week, and the experience, to be honest, woke me up.

While it’s easy to slip into a mundane routine, these two hours reinvigorated me, and the people I spoke with reminded me how magical it is to be fully in the present. Defy Ventures is an entrepreneurship, employment, and character development training program for currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, and youth. This particular event was a business coaching night for individuals who have already exited the prison system. They are Entrepreneurs in Training, EIT’s for short.

We arrived at the event, a donated office space for the evening in downtown San Francisco, checked in, and grabbed a piece of pizza. At the two-minute mark before starting, we all filed into an adjoining room and took our seats. Veronica, the Director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter, took the spotlight. She used the first few minutes to set the stage for the night. First, an icebreaker, then introductions, and then three rounds of 15-minute coaching sessions. After giving us a rundown around what the night was going to look like, she started to drop facts:

  • Over 70 million Americans have a criminal record
  • Nearly 70% of formerly incarcerated individuals end up going back to jail
  • 89% of those heading back to prison were unemployed when they were arrested
  • One in every three black males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their lives, and one in every six Hispanic males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their lives

After more of these jarring facts, we jumped right into the icebreaker. Defy did an amazing job of unifying the group right from the start and breaking down barriers of impersonalized politeness. They challenged us to be vulnerable with strangers, share our stories, and be uncensored with our feelings. Even though we were there in different capacities, business coaches/volunteers and EIT’s, we were all brought to the same level playing field of just being people with different challenges and different strengths.

After speed rounds of introductions, we began our round robin of business coaching. I was blown away. I felt like I was the one being coached, but coached on hope, resilience, and bravery. I learned so much from these men in such a short amount of time. Each individual I met with was genuine and present in an unparalleled way. Their passion was effusive and it energized the room in a way that I had not experienced in years. It felt like we were all on the precipice of something big – because I think we are.

In 2016 Obama launched the Fair Chance Business Pledge. This is a pledge to take action to reduce barriers to give a fair shot at a second chance and provide economic opportunity to everyone, including those with a criminal history. Among companies to sign this pledge were Bay Area’s Facebook, Google, and Uber. Defy Ventures is part of a movement. Together we can empower one another and break down unfair stigmas and biases that saturate our community. You can be sure that I will be volunteering with them again: yes, because it feels good to “give back,” but mostly because I still have so much to learn from this impressive group of people.

How to Show Gratitude at Work (And Why It’ll Make Your Job Better)

Not to Sound Like Your Mom, but a Genuine Thank You
Really Does Go a Long Way


 - by Jaclyn Westlake, Founder of The Job Hop

This time of year, we’re feeling extra thankful. Between the smell of pumpkin spice in the air and a social calendar packed with fun holiday festivities, it’s impossible not to develop a case of the warm fuzzies.

We all know that cultivating gratitude is a great way to instantly boost your mood, but why stop there? Now’s the perfect time to let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. And we aren’t just talking about your friends and family. Taking time to sincerely tell your coworkers how thankful you are for all that they do will not only spread some serious holiday cheer – it’ll make your job better, too. Here’s how.

Recognize Your Recruiter’s Efforts

You may not realize it, but there’s a lot of work that goes into sourcing, evaluating, and scheduling interviews. Recruiters’ schedules are action-packed; they often have to re-prioritize their entire to-do list at least a few times a day. And while they get to share exciting news about interviews and job offers with their candidates, they’re also the ones who have to tell their clients that they didn’t get the gig – and it can be rough.

Show the recruiter you’re working with that you appreciate all her hard work with a thoughtful “thank you” – and be specific. Is she incredibly responsive? Super well-informed about the role? An awesome ambassador for her employer? You know how your recruiter encourages you to send a thank you note after an interview (check out Don’t Forget the Final Step: the Thank You Note)? I can tell you from first-hand experience, receiving an actual thank you note is a complete mood changer, and brings an instant, gratitude-inducing smile to your face.

Thank Your Co-workers

It’s easy to take your co-workers for granted – especially if they’re good at their jobs. Why not take five minutes out of your day to let your teammates know how great you think they are? As always, be specific. Did a co-worker go out of her way to help you on a crazy project? Is he a super positive presence in the office? Is she just downright great at her job?  It can be as simple as sending a quick email to say, “thanks for being great!” or giving kudos at a staff meeting.

Not only will your teammates feel extra special, but they’ll probably be more likely to help you out when you’re in a pinch or speak highly of you in peer reviews, which will make your job even better.

Let Your Boss Know That You Appreciate Her

In addition to (hopefully) being a great manager, your boss has tons of additional responsibilities to juggle. And, leadership can sometimes be a thankless job. Your manager likely spends oodles of time making sure you have everything you need to succeed. And that’s pretty amazing.

Taking the time to genuinely thank your boss for her feedback, tell her how much you appreciate her training you, or heck, even giving her a thoughtful gift will serve to solidify your relationship. It’ll make her feel appreciated, too.

Even better? If your boss knows that you’re sincerely grateful for the thing she does for you, she’ll probably be a bit more forgiving when you make a mistake and more willing to invest in helping you develop your career.

There’s no better time of year to practice gratitude in every area of your life –  work included. Letting the people you work with know how much you appreciate them will not only make them feel wonderful (which is reason enough to say a great big thank you), but it’ll also solidify your relationships in the process. That’s the awesome thing about gratitude – its benefits are exponential.