Q&A With The Sophisticated Gal
When it comes to post-grad life as a working woman, Kristen of The Sophisticated Gal seems to have it all figured out. Kristen, a Penn State alumna, is a Product Manager at her 9-5, and runs an incredibly insightful blog as a side hustle. This girlboss, who also offers resume templates and resume writing services through her Etsy shop (Sophisticated Resumes), started her blog to share her career knowledge with the world, and has helped out countless woman along the way.
What inspired you to start your blog?
For the longest time, I had the idea of starting my blog and have always wanted to be a blogger. I absolutely love writing but I let the fear of rejection hold me back from starting it until one day, I decided I couldn’t live my life in fear. So, I took the leap and started The Sophisticated Gal!
A lot of my friends and family would come to me for career advice and resume advice, (they still do!) and I figured I should share that advice with the rest of the world! After I started selling Resume Templates and Resume Services, it was just the next best step to have a blog with advice for my customers to go to after they’ve gotten the job or are just looking for career advice in general.
What’s one major lesson you’ve learned post-grad?
You can’t learn everything about the real world in college, in fact most of what you learn after graduating you NEVER learned in college. So it’s important to soak in everything that you’re learning in your first full-time job and it definitely helps to have a mentor during those first few years!
What advice do you have for women who will soon be on the hunt for their first post-grad job?
Searching for your first “real world” job can be terrifying, believe me I have been there! One piece of advice that I wish someone would have told me when I was looking for my first job was that I shouldn’t be afraid of negotiating my salary. I was so terrified of asking for more when I was looking for a full-time job and I settled for a lower salary than I should have. What I’ve learned since is that we all bring something unique to the table. It may be your first “real world” job, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a reasonable salary! Now, I’m not saying to ask for 6 figures right out of the gate, but if you feel that you need more money than what they’re offering, don’t be afraid to counter with a higher number… just remember to give good reason and show them why they should pay you more!
What’s one thing you’d encourage every working woman to keep in mind while at her 9-5?
One thing that I think is really important, especially as a woman, is not being afraid to speak up and share your ideas! I work with a lot of men in my industry, especially because I’m working in technology. When I first started, I was scared to speak up but I quickly learned that I did have a lot of great ideas to bring to the table — so I found the courage to speak up and it has been really helpful. Plus, it has helped me gain the respect of my peers and higher-ups, so now I am someone they go to when they have a problem they’re trying to solve.
What are your favorite ways to de-stress?
I’m all for a good Netflix marathon! When I really just want to relax and completely de-stress, watching a show on Netflix always makes me feel less stressed. I also love to practice yoga every chance I get, which has a lot of de-stressing benefits. One of my favorite free ways to do yoga is to follow along to one of the hundreds of videos on the “Yoga with Adriene” YouTube channel. Hanging out with friends and family with a glass or two of wine is always helpful too when I need to de-stress :)
If you could give every working woman one piece of advice, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give is to not be afraid of taking risks. Whether that be going for a job in a different city or pursuing a different career path, don’t be afraid to take those risks because usually those risks are some of the best decisions you’ll ever make! You never know what kind of opportunities will arise when you take a risk and try something different!
How do you find work/life balance?
Just as I said time-blocking and planning my days has helped me be more productive, scheduling time for myself has become super important too! I’ve made sure that I’m giving myself time just for me after work and on the weekends. Sometimes it might only be 15 minutes, but I make sure that I’m always giving myself time to just relax. I think it’s super important to give yourself time to practice self-care, especially for those that have a full-time job and a side hustle. We love to just go go go, but it’s important to give time for yourself so you don’t get burnt out.
Best quick productivity tips?
Time-blocking! This has been a lifesaver for me, both at full-time job and for my side hustle! By marking time off on my calendar to work on bigger tasks, I’ve been able to get so much more done! Especially because I force myself to focus during those times and try to keep my phone far away from me or on silent so I’m not distracted!
Favorite productivity tools?
Does a planner count? LOL! I’m so old school and love writing things down in my planner. When I plan out my days, months and goals, I feel like it really helps to increase my productivity and time management!