Selling Yourself: The Resume

by Jackie

Your resume is your first introduction to a potential employer. With the rise of social media and the decline of attention spans, infographic resumes are becoming more and more popular. They are attention-grabbing and will be sure to make you stand out. But, will bright colors and flow-chart shapes make you stand out for the wrong reasons? Are traditional resumes boring?

Vote for your ideal resume below!

The Infographic Resume

The Traditional Resume



Think Outside the Cubicle: From ‘What Now?’ to ‘Why Not?’

by Jackie

“Old enough to be cool, young enough to act a fool” is how my friends and I describe(d) our late 20s. The corny phrase was the best we could do to make sense of the amorphous period between the legal drinking age and the stamp of adulthood: 30. What are you doing after graduation? Is this guy serious? Can I afford to follow my dreams? Watching Shayla Racquel’s web series, “Quarter Century,” reminds us that we’ve all been there.

The budding filmmaker tells our stories through her series, so it was a privilege to have her share her own story with A*cute.


Filmmaker Shayla Racquel says everyone isn’t going to like what you’re doing, but follow your dreams for YOU.


What inspires you?

When I was born, I was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease. Having continuous sickle cell crisis, a stroke at 12 years old, and constant blood transfusions, I could have easily felt sorry for myself and written off my future of excelling and being on my own. Instead, filmmaking became my outlet and I allowed my illness to motivate me to give 110% to anything that I set my mind on.

God, my family, and my friends are also my true motivators, which helps me in turn motivate myself. my family and friends have supported everything I’ve done. Being a very spiritual person, I know that there is no limit to how far you can go with God on your side, and he has continued to bless me throughout this entire venture.

Nevertheless, it is not hard to be motivated and inspired by something that you have a passion for and that is truly in your heart.

When did you first become interested in film?

When I was 12 years old, I had a stroke due to my Sickle Cell disease. Film became my outlet from that particular aspect of my life. As a present to my grandparents during the holidays, I started making videos featuring all the grandchildren in my family. This became a tradition that we still hold today. From there, I made videos throughout high school and college.  Florida A&M University gave me plenty of opportunities to explore and hone my craft. That’s when I decided that I would like to make my filmmaking hobby into a career.

Did anyone ever try to dissuade you from following your passion? 

I had been making videos since I was little, so no one (especially not my family) has ever tried to dissuade me from being a filmmaker. However, when I first came up with the idea of Quarter Century, I pitched it to a number of friends. Most of them loved the idea, but I had a few who didn’t like it at all. When I asked why, I was never given a clear response. Of course it hurts, but that’s life. Everyone isn’t going to like what you are doing. Follow your dreams for YOU. YOU have to be the main reason why you want to do whatever it is you want to do.

If you’re doing it for the money, fame, or because someone else wants you to do it, you are going to get trampled by critiques, dislikes, and downright haters. It’s hard to dust yourself off from that; but, when you are doing it for yourself and not the gratification of others, no matter how much people dislike it, it won’t phase you. As you accomplish your goals you will feel even more complete.


“Quarter Century” follows a relatable cast of characters who are caught in the awkward stage of determining what it means to be “grown.”

How do you balance your day job with filming your web series? Continue reading

Lunchtime Links: Women’s History Month Edition

by Jackie

This edition of Lunchtime Links pays homage to Women’s History Month. Celebrate womanhood with this roundup of inspiring women who are writing a new page in history.

Tomica Gets Cutthroat

TomCookery announcement

New York-based chef and business owner Tomica “Tom” Burke brings her talents to the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. The episode airs on Sunday, April 13 at 10:00 p.m. EST. I had the privilege of chatting with Tomica when she launched her new comfort cuisine and catering company, TomCookery. Read more about her journey to kitchen stardom here.

Beauty Beyond Skin Deep

Few people know that I’ve been dealing with a nuisance of a scar on my nose from a self-induced chemical burn from an at-home astringent routine gone wrong. When I’m not going to the dermatologist for treatments to get rid of it, I cover it up with Dermablend. To the outside world, it may be nothing, but to me, it’s unsightly. (I can be very a bit dramatic, sometimes. I know) The brand recently launched Camo Confessions, a campaign that features  people who have ditched their makeup for the sake of telling their stories. Cheri details her victory over vitiligo in a stunning video.


Be Bossy

There’s been a lot of buzz around banning the term bossy. I tend to err on the side of meh on this topic. While I agree that girls and women should be encouraged to be leaders just as much as boys and men, I also think that there are other, more important threats to women than being called bossy. I have been called bossy on more than one occasion.  Hard to believe, I know. I’m not offended by the term, I actually kind of revel in it. In the poetic words of singer-turned-Food Network-star Kelis,

You don’t have to love me / You don’t even have to like me / But you will respect me / You know why? / ’cause I’m a boss!


Thinking Outside the Cubicle: Working Art

Stephanie is turning her childhood dream into her reality.

by Jackie

Some of the world’s most acclaimed talents have been discovered in church. Stephanie Kiah’s skills, however, were to be seen, not heard. Armed with paper and a pencil, the young artist accompanied her mother to Sunday services, capturing fellow churchgoers in detailed drawings in her notebook. Unlike the forgotten doodles in discarded marble composition notebooks the world over, Stephanie’s childhood drawings were just sketches of what was to come.

When did you first become interested art?

After my mother discovered my drawings in church, my elementary school teachers recognized my talent, and I enrolled in the Gifted and Talented Art program. I took part in advanced art classes all growing up.

Art came as a natural choice for a college major, and I attended Norfolk State University where I graduated with a BA in Fine Art in 2009. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until after college that I grew truly passionate about my art.

When did you make the decision to turn your passion into a gig?

Discouraged after not being accepted into the grad program I wanted, working a string of dead-end jobs, and being unsuccessful at landing even a simple “good job,” I decided to relocate to a place where I could try to find myself again. For me, that place was Washington, D.C. Luckily I was able to stay with my cousin in the city for a while as I gained my footing. Once I moved out on my own, my art became a necessary source of income along with my other part-time jobs in order for me to continue living in the city.

What advice would you give other young professionals who feel stuck at a 9-5?

Continue reading

What NOT to Do at Your Internship

Courtesy of New York Women in Communications

Steer clear of these internship “don’ts” this summer!

 1. Don’t dress like you’re at the beach or heading out to a club.

Let’s make one thing clear: inappropriate dress is completely unacceptable. Excessive sequins, short shorts/skirts, flip flops, low-cut shirts, sprayed on pants and backless tops are NOT okay at work no matter how relaxed the dress code may be. The impression you leave on your colleagues and supervisors is just as important as the work you submit to them, so make sure your appearance doesn’t negatively affect their opinion of you.

2. Don’t be glued to your cell phone.

Your hours at an internship are not meant for catching up with friends and arranging your Saturday night activities. You are there to help out and learn, so turn your mobile devices off and focus on the tasks at hand. Not given any assignments? Use that time to walk around the office and network, or ask for more work!

3. Don’t sabotage your fellow intern.

Everyone wants to get ahead in the workplace, but it’s important to be a fair, honest coworker. Stealing assignments from other interns, “forgetting” to forward a message about a meeting, and ratting out a mistake is unethical behavior and will not get you as far as it will hurt you. Try to be a team player with the other interns and you may gain more in the long run. You might just make a new friend. And even if you don’t see him/her as a potential new BFF, still be kind and cooperate because you could working with (or even for) them in a few years!

4. Don’t complain.

You didn’t sleep last night. You’re cold. You’re hot. You’re hungry. You can’t believe you have to stay overtime. You’re bored. You have too much work…blah blah blah. Nobody likes a whiner so try to keep the moaning and groaning to yourself. Instead, voice how excited you are about a challenging assignment, new responsibility or how much you’re enjoying your internship. As the saying goes, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

5. Don’t be a recluse.

Sitting behind a desk, toiling away on your assignments is symbolic of an A+ intern. Remember, though, that being in a workplace is not just about completing your individual work. It’s also about forming connections and relationships with your office mates. If everyone seems to be gathering for a coworker’s birthday or to celebrate the birth of someone’s baby, ask your boss if it’s ok to join in and share your well wishes.

And 5 Little Don’ts…

1. Don’t slouch in your chair/put your feet up on the desk (even if no one is watching)

2. Don’t sign into Facebook. Temptation is too great, so just shut it all down.

3. Don’t forget your manners!

4. Don’t take an excessive lunch break.

5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

~Jacki Bryk

Columbia College ’13, English & Comparative Literature

Editor’s Note: I joined New York Women in Communications a year ago and I found the organization to be quite resourceful. This article is very helpful for those who are interested in starting an internship this summer. (Sherria)

Facebook: Should You Use It At Work?

Courtesy of The Vault

There’s a lot going on in Employers vs. Facebook news. Wednesday, legislators in the state of Maryland passed a bill banning employer requests for employees’ and job candidates’ social media passwords.

Thursday morning, Facebook announced plans to provide its users with “archives” of data the company stores–helping Facebookers of what information is floating around the internet.

This is all great news for job seekers seeking more privacy protections for their online activities. But as much has been said about workers’ online lives outside of work, little has been mentioned about the use of social media sites at work.

Generally, it’s safe to assume that all parties think it’s a bad idea: employers bristle at the notion of paying employees to tweet or update their statuses (even if they don’t block social sites at the workplace), and employees who don’t want to look lazy will deny their extracurricular online activities.

But maybe all this shame and secrecy is unfounded. Can checking Facebook at work really be so bad?

Not so shockingly, it’s not. In fact, new research says Facebook on your breaks—or any other fun web surfing–might actually boost your productivity.

To test this theory, Academy of Management experiment gave three groups of people a simple task–highlighting letter A’s in a large block of text—then gave them each three different rest activities. One group put together bundles of sticks, another rested without internet (but could call friends, etc), and a third was allowed to surf the web.

When each of the groups had their “mental exhaustion” surveyed after the 10 minute break, it was discovered that internet users were 16% more productive than the offline group, and 39% more productive than the group that had continued working with the sticks.

Awesome, right?

Of course, longer, more active breaks (perhaps those including sunshine and exercise) are probably the most preferable rest you can get. But the all-encapsulating mental vacation that is mindless web browsing is pretty powerful stuff, and the biggest bang for your time buck. Considering many workers are too worried about job security to take real lunch breaks, or even their vacation days, it’s worth allowing.

So until the workplace gets a little less stressful for everyone, employers: can we get a little looking-the-other way on our Pinterest habit?

–Cathy Vandewater,