A Positive Outlook on Life Despite Life’s Challenges

Before Tracy came to Goodwill of the Great Plains she was living in Eastern Iowa where she was battling Breast Cancer. She knew that she wanted to be closer to family, so she moved back to Sioux City. There were challenges that Tracy was facing after she had fought Breast Cancer which included needing time off for doctor’s visits and having a more flexible schedule. She knew that she needed to find a position that would help support her during this time. She applied for a job at Goodwill and they were flexible around her schedule for doctor’s appointments.

Positivity and lifting people up has been one of the lessons that Tracy has learned during her life especially after battling Breast Cancer. She carries her uplifting spirit to other people whether they are co-workers or customers. One of the ways that Tracy has a positive impact on her co-workers is through her inspirational quote board. There are quotes about team work and it is just a way that spread positive thinking in the work area. She says, “It has helped team work in the back area since the inspiration board has been posted.” Tracy has been with Goodwill for a year and a half and has achieved a lot during this time which has included to being promoted to Key Holder within 6 months after she started, becoming CPR certified, and completing the Sky’s the Limit leadership training program.  Tracy said, “Sky’s the Limit pushed you to your goals and taught you how to work with people.” Tracy loves what Goodwill stands for and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. “I love the job, I love what I am doing, and I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Tracy stated with a big smile on her face.

Phillip’s Purpose Found in Helping Others

Phillip has come a long way since he first started in the Pre-Vocational job training program. “At first, I was struggling with my job tasks,” says Phillip. However, since he was open to suggestions and change Phillip has progressed through the job training program and is now more independent and confident in his job. Phillip said, “I started in the balers, and then moved on to Contracts working with the nuts and bolts. Currently, I do janitorial work in the Retail Store and Support Center. I am willing to help anyone who needs help.” Phillip loves that Goodwill is about working together for a greater good. Phillip said that what he likes most about Goodwill is that “We serve people in the community and they are willing to go out and take the extra step for people in need.” 

Katie’s Significant Life Change

“I was struggling,” Katie admitted to herself after hitting a low point in her life. She had been dealing with mental health issues and depression due to a loss in her family, and as a result, missing scheduled shifts at her job. Katie felt like she really didn’t know what to do. She had bills to pay for which included car payments and child support. Katie knew that she needed to do something and make a life change. Katie came to Goodwill and entered the Pre-Vocational Program. She started at the retail store and made such significant progress that she was able to move on and work at Marshalls. One of the achievements that Katie is most proud of is keeping the job and coming into work on-time. “Goodwill has helped me become a success and my self-esteem has improved since I have been with Goodwill,” Katie said. Some of Katie’s goals for the future is to work on the register and be able to stock items onto the retail floor.

Start Your New Year Job Search the Right Way

As we turn the page to a new year, some of resolve to eat better, lose weight, give up bad habits… and some resolve to land a new job in the coming year.

While I can’t help those other areas, I can offer tips if you’re planning to step out into the job market in 2019.

What’s changed since the last time you looked for work?  I guess that depends on how long it’s been since you looked around.  Technology has heavily impacted how people learn of, apply to, and interview for positions.

You’ll want to become familiar with job sites such as Indeed, Monster, Career Builder and others.  LinkedIn has many jobs listed, too, but it also serves as the primary social medium platform for professionals in a job search – so much so that I host a weekly LinkedIn workshop to ensure my program’s clients are fully utilizing it in their searches.

Be aware you’ll need to customize your resume based on the job for which you’re applying.  Gone are the days with a one-size-fits-all resume where you use only your cover letter to show why you’re a fit.  Yes, you should still write a cover letter, just be aware the employer likely won’t read it unless they like your resume.

Customizing your resume means incorporating the key words (functions, processes, acronyms, jargon) mentioned in the job description and/or qualifications.  Of course, do it only if you’re being truthful.  Make sure to cite your accomplishments, quantifying them where possible.

Technical skills have taken on a much greater role in someone being able to perform their job.

The days of someone without technical skills being able to support themselves, much less support a family, are largely gone.  Does this mean you have to go back for a college degree?  Not necessarily.  But it may mean you’ll need to upgrade your computer or other skills.  Our workplace is changing.  It’s important you keep your tech skills up to date.

Another change is the increased reliance on staffing companies/recruiters.  More and more we’re seeing employers elect to use a staffing company in lieu of hiring the employee directly.  This allows the employer to “try you before they buy you.”  So don’t discount staffing firms – they can often be that “foot in the door” to employers.

Now you have the resume(s), you know to conduct web searches for openings, you’ve created your LinkedIn account and you’ve sought out recruiters.  That’s a great start!

Start?  Yep.  One thing which hasn’t changed over time is the value of networking.  People tend to hire those they know, like and trust.  You’ll want to speak with as many people as possible to let them know you’re looking and what you’re looking for.  Ask for names of their friends so you can continue to grow your network.

While you’re talking with others, be sure to ask questions about any barriers (education/past experiences/skills) which might hold you back.  You’ll hopefully not only learn about any obstacles, but in the meantime you’ll be developing new business relationships.

The job search has changed.  If you’re starting a search in 2019, I hope today’s blog has given you a general sense for what you’ll need to do.  Good luck!

5 Ways to Tell It’s Time to Donate Your Clothes

If you’re in closet clean out mode, the tips below will help you determine what items should be donated once and for all

The holiday season usually means a few things: gathering with friends and family, shopping for everyone one your list, and possibly even cleaning out your closet for the upcoming new year. Even the most reasonable person can have trouble determining what to toss or keep. We all have those clothes we haven’t worn in forever, but we just can’t seem to get rid of them. I know I’ve been guilty of that quite a few times.

Below are a few tips to help you determine if it’s time to donate your clothes. The great news: the process is painless and doesn’t take a lot of time. And the even better news? You can donate your clothes and accessories to your local Goodwill®. Besides helping someone else update their wardrobe on a budget, last year Goodwill diverted almost 4 billion pounds of clothes and textiles from landfills, so you’ll also be helping the environment.

You Haven’t Worn It in More than Six Months

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Image via: https://allthingsamber.com/2018/02/20/declutter-series-my-closet/

If you’re leafing through your closet and say to yourself, “I totally forgot I had this!,” that probably means it’s time to toss the item. As a general rule, if you haven’t worn your clothes in six months or a year, then it’s time to let it go. When you generally forget your clothes, that means you may not love, want, or need them as much as you think you do. Or maybe they just don’t fit your new style. Either way, donate them to your local Goodwill so they can be a fashionable and affordable find for someone else.

It No Longer Fits

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Image via: https://poshmark.com/closet/thenotoriouskia

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people keep clothes that just don’t fit. No judgement at all, because I’ve done the same thing! However, if you find yourself pulling and tugging at a dress when you’re wearing it or a shirt doesn’t fit you comfortably, it’s totally okay to add it to the donate pile. Clothes should look and feel absolutely amazing on you and if not? No shame in removing them from your closet.

You Don’t Have Anything to Wear It With

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Image via: https://collegecandy.com/2016/01/22/closet-clean-out-rules-guide-clothes-to-throw-away-how-to/

What if the garment fits and you like it, but you’ve never actually worn it because you don’t know how to style it? That’s yet another red flag that it’s time to say bye bye. It’s so important that before adding any new items to your closet, you have an idea of how you’ll style them. If you’re still puzzled about styling options for a tricky garment or trend, you’ve got yet another item to add to the donation pile. The great thing about packing up your clothes for Goodwill is that as you’re dropping off the pieces you no longer need, you can browse the racks for clothes you’ll love.

You Have a New Lifestyle

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Image via: https://allthingsamber.com/2018/02/20/declutter-series-my-closet/

A change in location or a job promotion can mean a major overhaul for your threads. If you’re going from a colder climate to warm weather, it’s safe to donate your heavier coats. Or if your new job requires a bit more professional gear, you can ditch a few of the casual pieces you wore to work in the past. Your closet should always be a reflection of your current, true self.

You Don’t Plan to Repair It

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Image via: https://www.hermoney.com/enjoy/fashion/quick-fixes-fashion-emergencies/

When an item is damaged beyond repair, it’s understandable to throw it away or use the scraps for a DIY project. But if something just needs a minor fix like a button replaced, shortened hem, or fixing a heel cap, that’s no big deal, right? However, if you haven’t made the repair in months, just say adios. That simple repair you never made might be a project someone else would happily take on.