Black Career Woman Spotlight
Who is Black Career Woman, Yolanda McCleary?
Over the last 7 years, I have been living my best life as a Resume Writer, Career Coach and Career Development Instructor in Philadelphia.
By day, I am an Employment Placement Manager for Year Up Philadelphia where I provide career development instruction, career coaching, and job placement services to prepare millennials for fulfilling careers in Anti-Monel Laundering, Business and Information Technology.
By night, I am a resume writer and career coach helping mid to executive level clients gain career clarity, identify their "wow" factor, promote their professional brand and execute a winning job search strategy.
What strategies or steps have you taken to achieve success in your chosen field?
Get clear on what you want or don’t want in a career, organization and workplace culture. Clarity has allowed me to make strategic career moves.
Visit job search sites regularly and keep up-to-date on hiring trends, qualifications, skills, pay rates and educational requirements within your industry. Throughout my career I used this info to track if I was on target to make a career transition. If not, I found ways to gain the skills or training needed.
Utilize your network, LinkedIn and informational interviews. Throughout my career journey I was blessed to meet people who were willing to help me along the way. I just had to put myself out there and ask for help.
Stay positive and have faith that all of the dots will connect; even if at times it doesn’t feel that way. I have changed careers at least 5 times in my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but each role was preparing me for the next one. All skills are transferable.
What challenge(s) have you experienced in the workplace and how did you overcome it?
For two long years I endured workplace bullying by a colleague. My bully withheld resources and important information from me. She sabotaged my efforts and whenever possible would make false reports to management in regard to my work ethic and skill competency. I made complaints to HR and management but it always came down to my word vs hers. As time progressed, I dreaded waking up in the morning and I often felt pains in my stomach before I entered the building. I was mentally and emotionally drained. Although this was a rough time in my career I believed I was going through this for a reason so I created a game plan to improve my skills and enhance my marketability.
This decision changed my life for the better. I attended various trainings and vigorously read books and scholarly articles on human resources, leadership development, workplace bullying and coaching. At that moment, I realized that career in coaching and talent development training was my next natural progression. To increase my knowledge of the industry, I conducted informational interviews with executive coaches and human resources professionals and enlisted the services of a career coach for myself. I attended leadership conferences and joined associations that could help me develop professionally and personally including Black Career Woman’s Network!!! Today, I can confidently say that everything happens for a reason so stay focused and trust the process.
How do you bring your authentic self to work?
Being 100% confident in my skills, combined with my ability to communicate and prove the value that I bring to a company; helps me bring my authentic self to work. To me authentic is sharing my professional opinions, offering a word of encouragement to a colleague, wearing bright colors and patterns, changing my hairstyles regularly, occasionally singing/dancing at my desk and laughing really loudly….I can’t help it, I have tried.
However, I have created a professional work brand or persona that helps me avoid becoming too comfortable at work and stepping outside of my professional context. There are some parts of Yolanda that I prefer to save for outside of the office.
Who has been the most influential person in your career up to now?
Hands down my mother because she worked hard, excelled at every task and believed in career advancement. Mother gave everyone respect, and demanded the same in return. She would also quit a job with the quickness if she was being tolerated, and not celebrated. I always admired that.
Runner-up would be Beyoncé. If a little black girl from Houston Texas can follow her dreams…so can I.
What advice can you give to black career women that desire to achieve the next level of success in their career?
Find the time every day to remind yourself that you are worthy and capable of achieving all of your goals. Fear and self-doubt are the biggest career killers. In the words of Henry Ford “If You Think You Can or You Can’t, You’re Right.”
Create or update your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include your most recent skills and achievements. Actively engage with other professionals in your industry and ask for recommendations from those who can speak to you strengths. Recruiters love LinkedIn, if your profile is tight they will find you.
Lastly, take the time to build and maintain your network. Build genuine connections and mutually beneficial relationships.
What does being a Black Career Woman Mean to YOU?
To me being a Black Career Woman means that I am magic. It means that I have an obligation to lift other black woman up as I climb my own ladder of success. We are all in this race together. United we stand divided we fall.
How can we connect with you?
Instagram – Yolanda_knows_resumes