A Second Chance Makes the Difference for Erica

“I always stayed to myself and didn’t get to know people because I didn’t want them to hurt or take advantage of me”, Erica pointed out about one of the areas she was struggling with at a job before she came to Goodwill. Erica lived in Council Bluffs and was a stay at home mom and Erica admitted that she was led down the wrong path and because of these choices her kids were taken away from her.

To get back on track and have her kids back she knew that a change needed to occur. Erica received help through IHH to get into the Habilitation Prevocational Services and was assigned to work in the Goodwill E-store. Erica worked hard during the Pre-Vocational program to work on her soft skills that included, communicating with people, dressing appropriately, and being on-time.

Erica appreciates the time Goodwill has invested in her. “Goodwill is a good place to work at. I have learned the skills I need to be successful in a job. If someone asks me to do something, I do it instead of having an attitude”, Erica stated proudly. Erica’s goals include, learning how to drive and continuing to work on her communication skills.

Five Tips for Landing Your First Job


By Randy Wooden

Job hunting can be a daunting task for many of us, but if it’s your first time looking for work, it can really present some challenges. Today, let’s explore five tips for landing that first job.

#1.  Be realistic. Your first job might not be your dream job but it is a fantastic way to gain experience. You might want to think about whether you’d prefer working with the public (retail, restaurants, etcetera) or whether you’d prefer working away from the public (factories, warehouses, physical labor, etcetera)

#2.  Networking. You’ll learn soon enough that relationships matter, including when companies make hiring decisions. Enlist the help of friends, neighbors, friends of your parents, etcetera. Employers appreciate it when someone they know can recommend you.

#3.  Resume. If you don’t have paid work to show, include your volunteer or extra-curricular activities. List some of your soft skills, qualities or traits. For example, are you a fast learner, dependable, collaborative? If possible, provide brief examples of those traits on the resume and be prepared to discuss them in greater detail during your interview.

#4.  Your appearance. Studies have shown that 55 percent of interpersonal communication is body language, 38 percent is your tone of voice, and your actual words only 7 percent. What does this mean? People form opinions about you based on how you look, how you act and how you sound.

Dress appropriately. You don’t want your appearance to distract from your personal qualities and skills. For most positions, you would not wear flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt. For some positions, you might want to cover tattoos and remove your piercings.

#5.  Show up in person. Most companies will want you to complete an online application or apply at an in-store kiosk; go the extra mile by showing up at their place of business.Bring a resume, dress appropriately, and be prepared with an enthusiastic smile and firm handshake.

If you’re looking for an entry level job, the main criteria are things like dependability, honesty, and enthusiasm rather than highly technical skills or management experience. Demonstrating initiative by walking in helps you stand out in a large online applicant pool.

Another way to show initiative is to follow up on your interviews with a thank you email and, ideally, a hand-written thank you note. Be sure to call to follow up on your interview with friendly persistence and enthusiasm. Often, entry level jobs go to those who appear to want it more.  Be that person.

Good luck!

3 Ways to Encourage Friends and Family to Thrift Shop with You


By Patrice J. Williams

Thrift shopping is one of my favorite past times. Besides the affordable gems, I like the treasure hunt aspect. It’s just the thrill of the hunt that I love so much. While I tend to prefer thrifting alone so I can go at my own pace, sometimes it can be a little lonely. I have quite a few friends and family who thrift, but for the people who don’t, how do you get your loved ones to enjoy thrift shopping as well? Actually, it’s not that hard.

Sometimes new thrift shoppers just feel overwhelmed by the volume of items in the store. And maybe there are other times they may not know how many fashionable items they can find at Goodwill®.

Here are three ways to get your close friends or family to go thrift shopping with you.

“Remember that dress you love? I got it at the thrift store”


Credit: @PatriceJWill

Sometimes you need to refresh the memory of your friends or family and be a visual reminder of why thrifting can be so great. If you love thrift shopping, there’s probably a dress, pair of shoes, pants, whatever it may be, that everyone just seems to love. This is your time to remind your loved ones that that stand out piece was found in the aisles of the thrift store. And it really helps if you can share a story or details about it. I have a gorgeous emerald green dress that many people compliment me on when I wear it. So I always share the story about how I found it for less than $20 at a shop in Brooklyn. This helps some of my friends think, “hmm, maybe I can find something that stellar?” That makes it all the more enticing for them to want to join the next time I tell them I’m hitting up the thrift.

Promise of a Meal


Credit: Thrillist

It’s hard for anyone to turn down a good meal. Well, maybe that’s just me! But I’ve always found that throwing in an offer of brunch, lunch or dinner makes any thrift shopping trip all the more enticing. It usually goes something like this, “Hey, wanna grab some brunch at XYZ place? They have a good eggs benedict and bloody mary. And we can do some thrift shopping beforehand!” There’s a Goodwill in Brooklyn that’s near a few of my fave brunch spots so it’s a no brainer for me to tell friends to meet me at the Goodwill, we’ll thrift for at least an hour and then enjoy a yummy brunch. So even if your friend strikes out at the thrift shop, the day will be capped off with a nice meal.

“Can you help me find….?”


Credit: Looking Fly on a Dime

Finally, sometimes it’s just too intimidating for newbie thrifters to feel comfortable scouring the racks of a thrift shop. But one tactic I like to use is to invite someone to thrift shop, but instead of shopping for themselves, I tell them they’re helping me shop. I’ll ask a friend to meet me at a convenient Goodwill location and say, “hey, let’s just check it out for a few minutes. Can you help me find a black dress?” Instead of my friend feeling pressure to find something for their closet, this helps them feel like they’re my thrift helper. And while they’re casually helping me find something, they tend to find something they love as well. It’s a simple, easy tactic that takes the pressure off. Before you know it, your friend found something they love and now they may be more open to shop with you next time.

An Experience of a Lifetime for Bob

Early in his life Bob proudly served our country for 4 years in the U.S. Navy sailing the east coast. Bob is thankful for his time with the Navy because he was able to “sail the ocean blue.” After his time with the Navy, Bob attended Western Iowa Tech Community College where he studied carpentry.

He received a job in Construction where he worked for a few years before he came to Goodwill in 1977. Bob worked in the production area of Goodwill where he received his first eye-opening experience with Goodwill by learning what Goodwill really does. Bob went back to school and received his English degree with a minor in writing from Briar Cliff University in 2009.

Shortly after Bob saw a job opening at Goodwill in the E-Commerce department, he was hired for the job and has been at Goodwill for 5 years. When asked about what he likes most about Goodwill Bob replied, “I enjoy what I do, and Goodwill is a great place to work. I have made good friends here. Most people just see the Goodwill store but what they don’t realize is that Goodwill is involved in the community by providing jobs to those who have difficulty finding work in the community.”

Bob loves working with the participants in E-Commerce and has learned a lot from working with them.  “It has been an enlightening experience working with the participants and seeing the challenges they face. It leaves me no room to complain, “Bob replied with reflection. Bob participates in chapel where he likes to play his guitar and share his musical gifts.

Offer Accepted. Now, Another Company Wants to Interview Me!

Woman Mobile Phone Connection Waiting City Technology Concept

By Randy Wooden

You’ve accepted a new job. You’re in the idle time before your first day on the job or possibly in your first few weeks of new employment. Then it happens. Another company calls you to set up an interview. What do you do?

Each of us has our own moral compass. So do organizations. Some companies rescind accepted offers or decide they really didn’t need the position after all – even after the new hire showed up.

While you must make the decision you feel is right, I would discourage you from going on the interview for several reasons.

Reasons for turning down the interview:

#1. You gave your word that you’d accept the job at a mutually-agreed upon rate of pay. No one forced you to say yes.

#2. You would permanently burn bridges, and word gets around. To protect your reputation, think long and hard about seeing whether you can earn a few extra dollars elsewhere.

#3. Give the new job some time, especially if this new interview would be held during that idle time before you actually show up for work. The grass may not end up being greener with that new interview, so you’ll have not only jumped from the frying pan into the fire, but you’ll have burned bridges. (See #2)

#4.  If you did go on the interview, how would you respond when asked about where you last worked? To be transparent, you have to mention the new job you’d just accepted.

#5.  If word about your interview gets back to your new employer, how do you think it would make the hiring official feel about your conducting interviews? Not the best way to start a new job.

In rare occasions, one might accept another interview.

#1.  The job you took was a temporary assignment with no guarantee of it being a permanent hire. That’s a big downside, particularly if the temporary job isn’t a full-time role with benefits.

#2.  If you started the job and were misled about job duties or if the work culture is highly toxic, you might want to consider another interview.

While accepting an interview doesn’t equate to accepting a new job, your decision has potential downside. Think it through carefully. Good luck.