Working Mom Featured Posts

Soft Skills List (and how to use them!)

Soft skills list and how to use them in your resume and professional bio

Soft skills are parts of your personality and work style that are hard to quantify, but are key to success. These are typically the words people use to describe you.

For instance, my colleagues say I’m calm and rational.

My professional bio says, “Towanda’s calm demeanor is priceless in stressful situations. By avoiding panic, she can think strategically and solve problems quickly. She is a reassuring voice that everything will work out.”

See what I did there? I listed the soft skills and I shared how they are helpful.

This is very important when using soft skills in your resume and bio. For instance, lots of people say, “I have great communication skills.”

Unfortunately that doesn’t say much. “Great” is relative.

Now, try this. “Jane uses multiple ways to communicate with her team. Whether it’s a weekly progress report via email, an open door policy, or eating lunch with team members, she ensures the lines of communication remain open. As a result, her team is one of the best performing in the company.”

That is a much stronger statement, adding results for a subjective characteristic.

Now that I’ve shown you how to use your soft skills, here’s a list to get you started. Keep in mind, these are just examples. This is in no way an exhaustive list.

30 Soft Skills For Your Professional Bio and Resume

active listener
calm
creative
critical thinker
curious
deadline driven
energetic
flexible
friendly
inspiring
interpersonal relationships
keen attention to detail
level-headed
logical thinker
motivating
optimistic
organized
patient
persistent
persuasive
pleasant
positive
quick thinker
self-directed/shows initiative
social
strategic
team player
time management
troubleshooter
technology savvy

Good luck! Towanda

Three Things Every Professional Bio Should Do

Your professional bio is a clear and truthful representation of who you are, what you’ve done and the value you provide – both professionally and personally.

Here are three things to remember when writing or reviewing your bio.

Your bio should highlight your personality and achievements. Write in a conversational tone. Think of it this way. When someone reads your bio it should reflect who you would be if they met you in person.

Key accomplishments and accolades are front and center. Include work and volunteer experience, along with education that’s relevant. Include the things that you would talk about if you had to toot your own horn.

Be brief. I know, it is very tempting to include everything you’ve done since childhood. But, the average length for a long bio is less than 500 words (no more than a page). Use these words wisely and focus on the highlights. If you insist on listing everything you’ve done, link to your resume.

Bonus point!

Your bio is not a resume. Your bio is a summary, written in a personable tone. Feel free to use your resume as a reminder of what you’ve accomplished, but everything in your resume is not bio worthy.

Good luck with your bio and if you’d like help writing it, I’d love to talk more.

TowandaLong.com is Changing!

Part of maintaining a healthy work and life balance, for me, is checking in periodically with my joy meter. Specifically, I look at how I’m spending my time and measure if it’s a true reflection of my priorities and what brings me joy. Recently I came to four conclusions:

  1. God has blessed me with many things, including an amazing family and beautiful life. I want to make sure I don’t EVER take this for granted! Whatever I do, it has to have plenty of room for God, my family and friends.
  2. I love helping people with their writing needs. Whether it’s help with a resume, professional bio, business plan, or website, this makes me happy. And I know it brings me joy because I absolutely love words.
  3. I love public relations, branding and copywriting. It’s why I am still very happy with my career choice.
  4. Blogging excites me. Yes, excites me. I enjoy sharing with others in a non-judgmental way. In a “this worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you” way. In a “you’re not alone” way.

These conclusions led me to the following changes:

  1. I’m going to use this website, towandalong.com, as my consultant website. Instead of sharing work-life balance and parenting tips, updates here will be about presenting your best self online and on paper, and services I provide.
  2. All parenting and work-life balance tips will be on my other blog, momofgirls.com. Old posts will stay here, though I may update a few for MomOfGirls. This change will help me do more of #2 above, and streamline #4.
  3. I am going to entertain more. I’ve been slack in this area lately, mostly because life keeps happening and I’ve been sidetracked. But, I’m making this a priority, and I’ll share some of this on social media and on MomOfGirls.

I thank you so much for all of your support and love. I hope you’ll support momofgirls.com by visiting the site and signing up for email notifications.

I hope you’ll stick around here, too!

Forever grateful, Towanda

Starting the Day Inspired and Focused, How I Do It

Mom morning routine for me timeThis morning I woke up an hour before my alarm clock. Normally this means I put in ear plugs to get my last hour of sleep. Because an hour of sleep is like gold.

I tried, but after 20 minutes of wrestling with sleep, I gave up and started my morning routine instead.

This was THE BEST thing ever and exactly what I needed.

The lesson? Going with the flow and listening to the signs of life will oftentimes give us exactly what we need… and truly want, even if we don’t know it at the time.

Here is the “me time” morning routine I used this morning. It’s also the routine I use on weekends. 

Morning meditation. I have favorites, and this morning meditation by Louise Hay is at the top of my list. It’s 25 minutes and totally worth every minute.

Next, I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra for about 10 minutes. I am rereading this book, and each time I get something new from it. Other books I love to read during this time is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Next up was prayer, followed by reading my bible for 5 minutes. 

Overall, it was about an hour with no interruptions or other tasks vying for my time. When the girls woke up I was more than ready for my day to begin. I was refreshed, inspired and blissful.

Now that I’ve shared how I spent my extra time this morning, here is my typical weekday morning.

My “me time” morning routine, the short version.

Morning meditation. 10 minutes of either Louise Hay’s morning meditation or breathing meditation. I also LOVE the guided meditations offered through the Chopra Center. These are the meditations that Oprah and Deepak offer from time to time free, :-).

Prayer and bible time.

5 minutes of another inspiring read (see books listed above).

This is about 20-25 minutes and it truly makes a difference in my day. Whenever I try to skip this time my day suffers, so I try not to skip it, :-).

 

I’d love to know if you have a morning routine to help you get centered for the day. Whether it’s a quick prayer in the shower or your morning run, please share!

Here’s to you enjoying your day,

Towanda

First Week With a Fitbit, 5 Things I Learned

Fitbit tracker and app things to know and tips for use

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but here are five things I learned my first week with a Fitbit Charge HR.

Wearing a bracelet helps. The correct placement for the Fitbit is about a finger width from your wrist bone, unless you’re working out. Some people can wear theirs snug enough to stay in that spot and not have it too tight. I struggled with this, so I wear a bracelet, too.

The extra accessory accomplishes two things. First, it allows me to still rock my fun jewelry. Secondly, it helps my Fitbit stay in place without it irritating my wrist. In the photo above I’m wearing my 100 Good Deeds bracelet, but any type of adjustable bracelet that doesn’t need more than an inch can work. In future posts I’ll be sharing some of my other bracelets, :-).

The Fitbit app is your friend, and it’s necessary to get the most from your tracker. With the app you can track your aerobic activity, sleep, food, weight goals and more. There are some stats available on the tracker, but only the basics.

All steps don’t count. I have a habit of walking slowly around my office while I read magazines, ebooks, etc. It’s one way I try to get in a little office fitness during the day. While these steps feel much better than sitting all day, my Fitbit does not register these steps. I guess it can tell when I’m really walking, :-). This is also the case when I’m presenting and walking slowly from one side of the room to the other.

I need to charge it about every 2 1/2 days. Some people may be able to go longer, but that’s my average. This is good to know because getting the “low battery” message when you’re on your way to work out may cause a slight panic. Trust me, once you start counting steps and aerobic activity you will want to capture EVERYTHING. Which is why…

If you happen to forget your Fitbit on the charger and realize it once you’re at the gym, you may be tempted to go home for it. I didn’t… but I thought about it throughout my Zumba class.

When you reach your goal for steps, Fitbit buzzes and it’s addictive! This buzz may encourage you to do things you would never think to do otherwise. I will neither confirm or deny that I ran up and down my stairs one night several times to get my steps and aerobic activity in before midnight. And I MAY have mapped out a walking plan in my house.

 

BONUS TIP:

Gold stars work for adults, too. Well, for Fitbit they’re white stars handed out by the sleep tracker (in the Fitbit app!), but the concept is the same. Do what you’re supposed to do, in this case get enough sleep, and you’re awarded a star on your sleep chart.

I don’t always get enough sleep, but seeing it in a chart encourages me to try harder. I was definitely conditioned in elementary school because I need to see a few of those stars every week, :-). Plus, I’ve set a goal to have a full week of stars before the end of Summer. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Good Luck with your Fitbit and if you have tips or advice, please share!

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom at Night

Me and the family in front of The Tree of Life at night. Look at those colors!
Me and the family in front of The Tree of Life at night. Look at those colors!

Walt Disney World’s things to do at night used to exclude Animal Kingdom, but starting Memorial Day Weekend (yes, this weekend!) that’s changing.

This makes me so happy, because Animal Kingdom is truly one of my favorite Disney parks, and to experience it at night is  truly magical.

I got a preview as an attendee of Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration, and when I tell you it is MAGICAL, it is Disney at it’s best!

For starters there will be a FABULOUS light show ON THE TREE OF LIFE!

Yes, on it… not just in the theatre. It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope of color, dancing animals and more. It was mesmerizing.

They’re also opening Expedition Everest for nighttime rides. Now, I am not one for rollercoasters on a good day, so I sure wasn’t getting on one at night. But, Hubby did… 4 times. I think that’s a sign that he enjoyed it, :-).

He even got my oldest to join him once. To them the highlight was the parts where the ride was in the pitch blackness of night. To me that point sealed my choice not to ride, lol!

Visitors will also be able to do Kilimanjaro Safaris at night and experience Discovery Island Carnivale at sunset. These are both on my list of things to do during my next Disney World vacation.

Here is the official site if you want more info on Animal Kingdom’s Disney Magic at Night. Enjoy and I’d love to know your favorite part of Disney at Night!

Alice Through The Looking Glass – Our Family Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney
Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney

Will Kids Like Alice Through The Looking Glass? My Girls Did.

Alice Through The Looking Glass is true Disney, especially when you consider the eye-candy colors, dazzling effects and fabulous costumes.

The plot is simple. Alice returns from a sea voyage where she was Captain of the ship, and is offered a job as a clerk.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that an adventure-loving girl is not going to just sit down and accept a desk job. Lucky for her, she gets called to a new adventure in Underland.

 

AliceThroughTheLookingGlass_AliceandMadHatter
image courtesy of Disney

 

Her mission? Save the Mad Hatter. Along the way there are appearances by our favorites, including Cheshire cat (love him), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the White Queen. There’s time travel, too, which opens a view into Hatter’s life as a boy. It also shows us the backstory for the Red Queen.

 

Alice Through the Looking Glass_The Red Queen
Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney

 

I won’t spoil it, but you may leave the theatre liking her a lot…

One of the prettiest scenes in the movie was a tea party scene. It was STUNNING and made me want to have a tea party in my garden… except I don’t have a garden, :-).

Here’s an official trailer for the movie,

 

What My Kids Thought of Alice

When asked what they thought of the movie, my girls had nothing but good things to say! The six year old loved the Mad Hatter’s family story. I was happy that she picked up on the family message of the movie.

The eight year old was intrigued by the plot twist near the end. In her words, “I did not expect it to go that far! I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I was surprised.”

The 10 year old liked the sister storyline between the White Queen and the Red Queen. She appreciated the message about always being honest, and the repercussions of dishonesty.

Along with the beautiful video effects, I loved the “Girl Power” messages.

If you’re looking for a fun family movie with some good messages mixed in, Alice fits the bill. We saw it in 3D and that absolutely added to the experience.

In theatres May 27th, Alice Through the Looking Glass is Rated PG and runs 113 minutes.

 

This post is part of my series, #DisneyWednesday. I experienced lots of fabulousness at Disney World as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and can’t wait to share it with you, :-). These posts will help you plan great family fun whether it’s a trip to Disney or something closer to home.

Disclaimer: My pre-screening of Alice Through the Looking Glass was part of the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  As an attendee I received complimentary items, special discounts and other exciting benefits. As a blogger grateful for your readership, I will only share opinions and feedback that are honest and true to my experience.

My Glass Tea Maker – LOVE IT!

glass tea maker with infuser customizedI woke up in a sangria tea mood today.

As I was preparing it I realized I haven’t shared one of my favorite things with y’all.

This is my glass tea maker with an infuser!  I love that it is glass, double insulated and that it is customized with my name, :-).

It is so simple to use. While my water is warming, I take out the infuser and add a little honey to the bottom of the bottle. You can use the sweetener of your choice, or none at all.

Then I put the infuser back in (it sits perfectly in the inner wall), and add my tea leaves. When the water is warm, I pour it slowly over the leaves and let it steep. After steeping, I simply remove the infuser with its handle, discard the leaves and stir softly to ensure my honey is distributed evenly.

I use this bottle when I want to travel with my fresh-brewed tea from leaves. It is perfect for on-the-go tea.

So far it has kept my tea warm for an hour and a half. It could possibly last much longer than that, but that’s as long the tea lover in me has ever taken to finish a bottle, :-).

If you’d like to order one customized with your name (or something else), you can find it at Serendipity Glass.

glass tea maker for travel

My freshly-steeped sangria tea, :-)

Happy Tea Making!