Welcome!

Welcome to the brand new Dress for Success blog!

When I decided to develop this site, I wanted to create a Web destination for everyday women that serves as an extension of the support and encouragement that Dress for Success gives to its clients around the world. While we’re widely known as the organization that provides suits to disadvantaged women, the truth is that we provide our women with much more than just a suit—we give them the tools and resources they need to get a job, keep that job and obtain financial independence.

Through this blog, we are now able to share this information with all women in transition, even those who are not clients of Dress for Success.

Having led Dress for Success for 15 years, I know first-hand that attempting to enter, and in many cases, re-enter today’s workforce can be harrowing for any woman, for with unemployment comes financial stress, emotional angst and impending personal crises.

Despite these hardships, we at Dress for Success believe that “Every woman has the POWER to be a SUCCESS story.” This is a truth that we have seen actualized time and time again in awe-inspiring ways.

So as our economy meanders and the job market swings, we knew that the time had come to bring the resources of Dress for Success beyond the walls of our boutiques and make the expert information that we so readily provide to our clients, available to all women in transition all around the world.

Whether you were recently laid off, have been unemployed for years, graduated college into an unwelcoming job market, are looking to transition from welfare to work, or are simply trying to take your career to the next level, you have come to the right place.

Here, you will find access to the best of Dress for Success—invaluable information from our career and lifestyle experts on array of topics including career management, personal finance, health and wellness, and, of course, business style and beauty.

We will also share inspirational profiles of power women who have found triumph through their transitions, and encouragement from real women, just like you, who put their best faces forward and achieved self-defined success.

I welcome you to the inaugural publication of our first ever Dress for Success blog. The articles and posts here were written to inform and inspire you– the woman on the move.

I know, no matter your current employment status, that you’re Going Places. This blog was created to help keep you Going Strong.

Putting Your Best FACE Forward

by Bobbi Brown, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Face Forward and learn how to be your own makeup artist and achieve a polished look for interviews or on the job. Beauty expert, makeup maven, business stalwart (and Dress for Success Board member!) Bobbi Brown gives us her personal tips on achieving a professional look that says, “She’s Pretty Successful!”

Clean, fresh, natural looking makeup sends the right message at work– that you mean business. Looking professional and work-appropriate is simple and achievable. Looking your best is simple and achievable.  All it takes is knowledge, a few easy steps and the right products. Just follow my signature beauty routine:

Pre- Makeup: Skincare is essential for skin that looks and feels its best. Before applying makeup, cleanse and moisturize with the right formulas for your skin’s needs. Diet, weather, and stress can affect skin on a daily basis, so adjust your skincare routine accordingly. Cleanse dry skin with a cream or oil-based wash that moisturizes as it cleanses. For oily skin, choose water-based gel cleansers with oil fighting ingredients. Moisturizer is the key to fresher looking skin, and it creates the perfect base for makeup. For normal skin, use a lightweight moisturizing lotion or cream. When skin feels dry or sensitive, use a rich hydrating cream or balm. For oily skin, choose an oil-free formula that hydrates and helps control oil production. Hydrate the delicate skin around eyes with a lightweight eye cream to ensure under eye concealer goes on smoothly.

Concealer: For the most natural look, choose yellow-based shades of concealer, foundation, and powder. When a shade is skintone correct, it will blend flawlessly and look like skin. To lighten dark circles, apply concealer under the eye, up to the lash line, and on the innermost corner of the eye using the concealer brush. Smooth and blend concealer by gently patting with fingers. For extra-dark circles, start with pink- or- peach toned corrector, then layer on concealer.

Foundation: To find your perfect foundation shade, swatch a few shades on the side of your face and check the colors in natural light. The shade that disappears is the right match. Use your fingers or a makeup sponge to spot-apply foundation where skin needs to be evened out (around the nose and mouth where there’s redness). For full, all-over coverage, use a foundation brush to apply and blend foundation. To cover blemishes, spot-apply Foundation Stick or a blemish cover stick in a shade that matches your skin exactly. Pat with finger to blend.

Powder: For crease-free, long-wear makeup, apply loose powder in pale yellow over concealer using an eye blender brush or mini powder puff. Apply powder in your skin tone-correct shade to the rest of your face using a powder puff or powder brush.

Blush: Smile and dust a neutral shade of blush on the apples of cheeks with a blush brush. Blend up towards the hairline, then downwards to soften color. For a longer lasting look, layer a pop of bright blush (applied just on the apples of cheeks) over the neutral shade. For an extra glow, dust shimmer brick compact on cheekbones with the face blender brush.

Lipstick/ Lip Gloss: Start with clean, smooth lips. If needed, gently exfoliate lips with a damp washcloth. Neutral lipstick shades sheer formulas, and gloss, can be applied directly from the tube. Use a lip brush to apply darker and brighter colors that require precise application.

Lip Liner: For natural-looking definition and to keep color from feathering, line lips with lip liner after applying lip color. Use the lip brush to soften and blend any hard edges.

Brows: Using a slant-tip tweezer, pluck any stray hairs between and below the brows. Pull hairs in the direction they are growing, in one quick motion. Define brows using eye shadow (match it to your hair color) applied with an eye brow brush.  To apply shadow, begin at the inner corner of the brow and follow its natural shape using light, feathery strokes. Set unruly brows in place with Natural Brow Shaper.

Eye Shadow: Sweep a light eye shadow color from lash line to brow bone using Eye Shader Brush. Dust a medium Eye Shadow color on the lower lid, up to the crease, using the Eye Shadow Brush.

Eye Liner: Line upper lash line with a dark eye shadow color applied with the eye liner brush. For a longer-lasting look, dampen brush before dipping into shadow. After lining the upper lash line, look straight ahead to see if there are any gaps that need to be filled in. If you also line the lower lash line, make sure the top and bottom liner meet at the outer corner of the eye.

Mascara: Choose your mascara formula based on your needs and desired effect. Thickening mascara gives individual lashes a denser look and is ideal if you have a sparse lash line. For lashes that are enhanced, but still natural looking, choose defining and lengthening mascaras. Water-proof mascara is a good choice if you want a long-lasting look or if you r mascara tends to smudge. When applying mascara, hold the mascara wand parallel to the floor and brush from the base of lashes to tips. Roll the wand as you go to separate lashes and avoid clumps. If you choose to curl lashes, be sure to do this before applying mascara; curling lashes after mascara makes them more prone to breakage.

If you’re new to makeup or pressed for time, try concealer, blush and lip gloss for an instantly pulled-together look.

Bobbi Brown is the CEO and Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. For more from Bobbi Brown, visit www.EverythingBobbi.com or www.BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

 

Writing a Resume That Works for You

By: Reesa Staten,  Robert Half International

If there’s one essential document in a successful job hunt, it’s the resume. Your resume is your first chance to show potential employers you’re the right person for the job. Poorly organized resumes hold back many job seekers because they fail to effectively sell their strengths. If your resume falls into this category, it may be keeping you from landing that coveted interview.

Resume writing can sometimes feel like more of an art than a science, but there are simple steps you can take to better showcase your strengths when applying for a job.

 Review and Research

What’s the first step in writing a good resume? As with most things, the answer is careful preparation. It pays to outline what you want to say before you sit down to write.

Start by reviewing the job ad. What skills and experience does the employer seek, and what parts of your work history match those requirements? You may not have held that exact position in the past, but you likely have transferable skills you can highlight. Are you organized, detail-oriented or good with people? These are attributes that will serve you well in any job.

Also, research the employer by visiting its website, reading news articles that mention the firm (you can find these with a simple Google News search) and contacting people you know who may have firsthand knowledge of the company. Your research will reveal more about the company’s business operations and provide you with insight into what it’s like to work there.

Use this information to determine what to include in your resume, as well as how to word it. For example, if the job posting states the company is looking for someone with advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and this describes you perfectly, include the term “Microsoft Excel” in your resume, not a more generic term like “spreadsheet application.” It’s important to be as specific as possible. Many companies use resume-scanning software and keywords that are in the job description will rank the highest when your resume is entered in the system. Keep this in mind every time you apply for a job: word choice is vital.

 Go With What Works

When people think of a resume, they typically envision the chronological type, in which past jobs are presented in descending order, beginning with the most recent. Research we’ve conducted at Robert Half shows most hiring managers prefer this format over resumes that are organized by skills or job function mainly because these resumes are easier to follow. Employers can quickly review the jobs you’ve held, your accomplishments in each one and your career progression.

Occasionally, it may make sense to structure your resume differently. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period, you may need to place the spotlight on your strongest skills and downplay gaps in employment. This is where your transferable skills serve you best. If you’ve been out of the workforce to raise a family, think about the skills you’ve gained in the process, such as organizing the family household or volunteering for your children’s school events.

Tailor Your Content

Perhaps the most common mistake job seekers make is submitting the same resume for every job opening they pursue. Try to tailor your resume for each opportunity, emphasizing those aspects of your background that are the best match for the job.

You can start with a “foundation” resume that includes your full work history, notable career achievements and qualifications that could be of interest to potential employers. Then, when preparing your resume for submission, remove or downplay information that is not relevant to that particular job and instead emphasize the information that is.

For example, if you’re applying for a position as a bookkeeper, you might briefly note your past work as a waitress but avoid describing it in detail, unless part of your job included light bookkeeping. At the same time, you could emphasize your stint as treasurer for the local PTA.

Skip the Laundry List

When working on the section of your resume that describes your work history, don’t simply list your job title and duties. Consider your accomplishments in each role. Ask yourself these questions and if you answer yes to any of them, include this information in your resume when talking about past jobs:

  • Did you beat a deadline or finish a project under budget?
  • Have you developed an innovative idea or solved a tricky problem for the boss?
  • Did you lead a project team?
  • Have you trained others?
  • Have you earned recognition, such as a promotion or award?

Clear the Clutter

If there’s one word that defines a good resume, it’s concise. Use simple, straightforward language and add bullet points so information is easy to scan. Hiring managers spend just a few minutes reviewing each resume and you want your strengths to jump off the page. The keep-it-simple rule also applies to how your resume looks. Don’t try to spice things up with fancy typefaces or graphics. Let the words themselves do the talking. Use superlatives sparingly, but do include words that describe who you are. Do any of the following describe you? They are all good choices for a resume.

  • Adaptable
  • Analytical
  • Astute
  • Committed
  • Conscientious
  • Considerate
  • Efficient
  • Enterprising
  • Enthusiastic
  • Friendly
  • Independent
  • Insightful
  • Professional
  • Resourceful
  • Team-oriented

The final step in creating a compelling resume? Proofread. Robert Half often polls employers and they have repeatedly told us that just one or two typographical errors are enough to remove even the most qualified candidates from consideration.

Don’t let a missing letter or misspelled word ruin your chances. Read your document on screen, then print it out and read it again. Finally, ask a friend or family member to perform one last review. Only then should you hit “Send.”

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half International (www.roberthalf.us ), the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

Bills! Bills! Bills!

Financial Advice By: Carmen Wong Ulrich

Q: I recently became unemployed and am now receiving unemployment benefits from the state. How can I negotiate with my credit card holders an affordable APR% and is there anything else I can do to lower my other monthly bills such as rent/housing payments, utilities, car notes, etc?

A: Facing piles of bills when you have little or no money coming in can feel incredibly overwhelming.  But you absolutely can do it!  The secret to keeping your head above water is to take each piece of your financial life bit by bit.  This helps to keep things from spiraling out of control and will set you right back up on your feet once you start working again.

First, let’s tackle that debt.  Getting a lower APR (annual percentage rate) happens only with leverage—the leverage a great credit record as well as an ability to pay gets you.  At this point, you may have little on your side to help get your rates down.  However, it’s always good to talk to your credit card company to see what you can do to lower your payments before you fall behind.  Call your lenders and let them know what you can pay every month.  They may even be open to settling your balances for less than what you owe.  Key here is to be proactive with each card to see where you stand.  If you end up batting zero and your payments are still unmanageable, head ASAP to a non-profit credit counselor near you.  You can find one at NFCC.org.  It’s important to go with a non-profit counselor first.  They do charge a small fee (from $20 to $50), but it’s for administrative costs.  These counselors do not make a profit off of your tough situation.  But they will give you solid guidance on how to manage these debts.

Next up is the biggest bill in almost all of our lives: Home.  There is rarely a way to cut your mortgage payment, but if you’re a renter and have been a great tenant, you can approach your landlord to see if there’s anything you can do to possibly help with building maintenance to lower your rent.  For example, offer to take out recyclables or trash, or do some landscaping in return for a cut in monthly rent.

Also, you’re right to be very mindful of all your other expenses such as groceries, gas and utilities.  Go to the free site LowerMyBills.com to shop around for cheaper landline, cell phone, cable, and utility providers.  If you have to drive, carpool as much as possible and use sites like GasBuddy.com to find the cheapest gas near you or along your commute.  As for groceries, go crazy with coupons!  Search not only coupon sites like Coupons.com, RedPlum.com, CouponCabin.com, but also manufacturer sites themselves.  If you like a certain brand, do a search for that brand name plus “coupons” to be directed to the manufacturer’s site.  And don’t forget promotional codes for both online and in-store shopping!  Head to FatWallet.com and RetailMeNot.com to find codes that will save you even more.  And with coupons in hand, then search for who is selling what you want for less at Pricegrabber.com.

And when you’re unemployed, you may want to stop going out or doing anything entertaining because you feel like you need to save money every day.   But don’t isolate yourself because you’re short on funds.  Reach out to your family and friends and make sure they know that you’re looking for work.  They may help in the job search and be able to offer some much-needed personal support.  Plus, you don’t need to spend much to enjoy yourself.  Offer to host a pot-luck dinner, or if the weather is warm, meet in a local park for a pot-luck BBQ.  Surround yourself with support and your head will stay well above water in more ways than one!

– About the writer: Carmen Wong Ulrich is the co-Founder and former President of ALTA Wealth Management and a Professor in NYU PolyTech‘s school of Finance and Risk Engineering. She is an author and the former host and co-creator of CNBC‘s “On the Money,” and currently the money advice columnist for Good Housekeeping, a contributor to MSNBC and CNN as well as a frequent expert guest on ABC’s “The View.

Keeping it Moving with Kimora Lee Simmons

Catch Kimora Lee Simmons in “House of Fab,” on the Style Network!

Kimora.

Her name rings through the halls of fashion greats all over the world and reverberates against the jagged sidewalks of name-your-city, USA. Like many other icons of our time, she operates on a first-name basis and her business savvy has catapulted her beyond what others in her field have been able to achieve. On television, she’s a glamorous, fearless, fierce business woman and mother. But when the cameras are gone, the world will learn, as I did, that Kimora’s life parallels many of our own. The K.I.M. (Keep It Moving) method has proven that forward movement for Kimora has been her key to success and the unstoppable pursuit to do what hasn’t been done is what makes Kimora, Kimora.

In 2010, the media world was abuzz with news of Kimora leaving Baby Phat and while many speculated on the reason, the process of the transition was much more than a business transaction.

 “Leaving Baby Phat, as it may have seemed, was a business matter – it happens everyday in business. However, for me, it was more than that. It was about closing a chapter in my life, moving on, and evolving. It was about the new possibilities and believing in myself to use what I had learned to achieve more.”

Fashion immediately consumed Kimora’s life when she was discovered at the young age of 10 years old and set the foundation for pure, unadulterated hard work. “I’ve never done anything risqué or outlandish to propel me to this place. It was simply hard work and understanding my passions. You see my love for fashion in everything I do: my television show, my books, my beauty brands, everything. When a woman can find her true passion, she can create and recreate herself and her life any way she wants.”

Overcoming hurdles and obstacles reminds us of the parallels in Kimora’s life to our very own, parallels that may not be so apparent on the TV screen or in magazines.  “This was something I was going to do in spite of myself – when people told me ‘you cannot have this, you cannot be a woman of color in fashion, or a woman this young as an executive’, I did it anyway. We all have to find that passion and overcome ourselves to achieve our goals.”

Many women find themselves in a place where they’re not sure of what move to make next. I can certainly relate – after years of struggling, trying to find my own place in the world, I finally figured out what made me happy, what gave me the will to press forward. Kimora knows the same feeling. “You know you’re in the right place when you can feel it,” she explains. Finding your purpose is about growth, change and intentionally seeking positively charged environments. Women have a sixth sense about these things. When you’re on the right path, you just know.”

But a change towards a new path can cause fear to rear its pesky little head: sweaty palms and tear-filled internal battles seem to wage inside of you. But fear, as Kimora suggests, can be a good thing. “We all live with some element of fear – but when you embrace it, you find that fear no longer becomes something you run away from, but something you run towards. It’s beyond the fear that you find your heart’s passion. It’s beyond the fear that life really begins.”

Dress for Success has helped propel thousands of women towards new lives and, as our inaugural Dress for Success Power Woman, Kimora exudes what the organization is all about: empowering women. “In everything I do, I want to show the power of a woman – and I want to do it in a way that is contrary to what society says is ‘empowering’. I met a woman at a Dress for Success affiliate that stood in front of me and showed me [drug] tracks in her arms. She told me it had been three months since she last did drugs. Do you know how empowering that was for her? Moments like that remind me that while our stories may all be different, they all have the power to change lives. I’ve learned so much from their stories; it uplifts me so much.”

Kimora has carved out her own path in the fab lane and has experienced one success after the next: a model, a mogul, a mother, executive producer, best selling author of Fabulosity: What It Is and How to Get It, president and creative director of JustFab.com, and founder of Shinto Clinical, a skincare line whose name means “of the Gods.” Kimora’s power extends beyond the boardrooms and cat walks. Kimora understands the ebbs and flows of womanhood, and in that, she is a piece of our lives that make us proud to know her.

“When you begin to think of yourself as one and as a whole, you understand the global impact we can all have. You are a unit of a bigger picture – I find pride in seeing women overcome things. To be able to stand in front of someone and say, ‘this is who I used to be’, shows the brilliance and balance of being a woman.”

Follow Kimora on Twitter at @OfficialKimora and visit her site www.KLS.com

Kimora’s K.I.M. (Keep it Moving!)
When life tries to stop you, you have to learn to keep it moving! Here are some tips from Kimora on how to propel yourself forward!

1. Reinvent yourself, as many times as necessary. Never become complacent!

2. Believe in yourself: you were built for this!

3. Set goals, plan them out, and execute. You have to work hard!

-Alisha L. Gordon is a Masters of Divinity student at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She is the author of Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think, an avid writer, teacher, public speaker and social media maven who has an affection for faith and culture. Follow Alisha on Twitter @AlishaLGordon.