The Unexpected Perks of Layoffs and Other Career Insights from Faith Cummings

Faith is an Online Beauty, Bridal, Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, and Blogger in NYC. She is speaking at our “Create Your Career” Event this Wednesday at the Wix Lounge in NYC. You can visit her personal blog at: Urban Sybaris. We asked her a few questions about her career journey to get to know her better:

FindSpark Faith Cummings

How did you land your first job?

I don’t want to call it a fluke accident because I worked very hard and was a fantastic intern, but I essentially got my first job as a result of the recession. My company had to cut several salaried employees, so when my boss was let go, I essentially began doing her job. A few months later, I had officially secured that title, though I was earning nowhere near the amount of pay I deserved.

 

How did an internship experience impact your career?

I learned so much from my internships and I so greatly encourage everyone to have at least two (if possible) before deciding what they want their career to be! I learned how to work hard and really dive into it for personal satisfaction as opposed to big recognition. You’ll find in your life that you won’t always get that even when you do the most amazing job and ego is such a dangerous thing to carry around in your work. I also learned how to get the pay I deserved and ask for more because I had worked for it. I learned to speak up and not silence myself because it may make others uncomfortable. And most importantly, I learned to find a way to bring authenticity to everything I do. Diversity is crucial, and I learned after a couple of years that my voice as a black woman is important!

 

What are your biggest networking or job hunt tips for new grads or interns?

Apply, apply, apply! And when you get an interview, send a thank you note afterward, and continue to follow-up and check-in with people. Also get familiar with sending cold emails on a daily basis: at least one. When you just send emails out to those you’re interested in working with or talking to, you’ll find that people email you back! Just state your experience (or lack thereof), that you’re a fan and admirer, your portfolio or résumé, and what you’re looking to do.

What qualities do you look for in junior hires?

I look for a great work ethic, kindness, willingness to help and get into the real weeds with me if I need it, being a self-starter, and curiosity.

What are your tips for standing out in the job hunt process or during an internship?

Hard work, a great work ethic, and kindness really are amazing qualities that will take you far. I’m years in the game now, so things are a bit different, but what I really loved seeing at my last FindSpark get together were all the cool résumé formats! Adding a bit of color and graphic design is a way to make your mark and represent your personality. I think it’s a lot of fun to have that in addition to a more traditional version.

 

Do you have any helpful tips for moving to a new city?

I’d say research all the sights and sites to see and plan to do something new and cool once a week if you can! And then make sure you have a schedule laid out for those dates when your family and friends will come visit. I think loneliness is the hardest thing about moving to a new city and that is eased for sure if you fill your life with new things to enjoy. 

 

What are the biggest things you learned after your first job?

That hard work doesn’t mean working for nothing! You deserve to love what you do and be paid well for it, if you’re putting your proverbial blood, real sweat, and actual tears into it. You deserve to build the life you dream of. It won’t be easy and it may take a lifetime, but you truly do deserve it.

 

If you freelance, how did you get your first gigs?

Craigslist was a godsend back in the day! It lead to my writing for free, which lead to me meeting my first editor and now close friend and roommate. From there, I started my own blog and haven’t looked back since.

 

How did you figure out what job to go with if you had multiple interests?

I worked a slew of internships, some even at the same time! That’s how I developed a love for many facets of the fashion industry but ultimately decided my passion was in digital and in writing. I still have a great love for language as well, so I’m hoping all of my passions connect somewhere down the line.

 

How did you find mentors early in your career?

I don’t have one specific mentor, but I’ve found that so many women and men have helped me along the way and are still helping me now. You don’t need a mentor to get ahead, but you do need people in your corner. You’ll find them along the way pretty easily, as long as you make sure your relationships are reciprocal and not just about what you can get out of them. 

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