Blue Ocean Life Nation Interview Series: Kareem Rogers

Kareem Rogers is a recruiter at BCU, resume writer, and the founder/ of HR Depot, LLC. The youngest out of 8 siblings, Kareem has always been around entrepreneurs and hard workers in his family and peers. Between his recruiting background and his own experience as a previous job seeker, Kareem helps job seekers improve their quality of life by landing their dream jobs in 90 days. He can be reached at

Kareem Rogers blue ocean life interview

Thank you for sharing your story with us. What is your professional background? How did you end up with this career?

It’s interesting when you realize how everything comes together. It really started with my mentor, who worked in the career center at my alma mater. Every time I was looking to apply for a job, I went to him for help with my resume. He’s the reason I became a recruiter because during my senior year, I didn’t know what to do after graduation. Since I visited my mentor a lot my senior year, he got to know me and recommended that I look into Human Resources

I received my master’s degrees in Human Resources Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When I graduated, the pandemic began so I was looking for full-time employment after graduate school. After receiving numerous rejections from companies, I learned how to improve my resume. Eventually, I realized that others didn’t know how to make their job applications stand out so I decided to open a resume writing business. After improving my resume and using other resources to increase my chances at job interviews, I landed my current position as a recruiter at BCU, one of the biggest credit unions in the country.

How did you begin your remote work journey? Where do you see yourself in the next year? What tips do you have for others who are working remotely?

When I got my job at BCU, it was during the pandemic in 2021. Since the pandemic was ongoing and I didn’t need to go to the office to perform my job, they allowed us to work from home, which was definitely helpful and I think it helped me work better since I didn’t have to deal with travel expenses. As for resume writer, I was able to work with clients remotely since it didn’t require me to meet them in person, so it was very beneficial for me. Next year, I see my resume writing business growing to where I grew my team and I increased my clientele. I also see myself remaining as a recruiter at BCU since I love where I work and I enjoy recruiting. For those who work remotely, I recommend changing your scenario every now and then. Admittedly, it can get boring working in my room, so I’ll work at my friend’s house or in different locations. Sometimes, I’ll work in my backyard to work outside (If it’s warm. Chicago during the winter is SO COLD!).

What is your self-care routine and how do you find time to integrate it into your daily life?

I am a huge advocate for self-care. Since I dealt with stress my collegiate years, I try to take care of myself as much as possible. For one, I try to eat a healthy meal. I notice that I feel energetic, my mood is possible, and I think clearly when I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean so I try to eat enough nutrients and healthy meals. Also, I unplug after work hours. That’s when I take time to play video games, watch videos, or visit friends to not enjoy life. Also, I make sure to do physical activities daily. I’m a gym rat, so I go to the gym 5-6 days weekly while also practicing martial arts.   

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Putting yourself first is important to your overall wellness. Given this, what are your best holistic wellness tips?

Maintain a work-life balance if possible. I tell myself that after a certain time, I shut everything off and relax for the rest of the day. If I can complete something tomorrow, then I’ll hold it off until tomorrow. Also, make sure you factor in what is your best interest. Some people try to please or compromise for others so much that they forget that they need to look out for their own interest as well. Thus, it may help to take a day off, spend time with yourself, or say no to people. People may think that’s being selfish, but self-care and wellness involves taking care of YOURSELF.

Also, celebrate the progress you made. It’s so simple to compare our lives to others, but others aren’t like us. Instead of comparing, celebrate how far you came. Every month, I reflect on the progress I made while writing down 3 things I’m thankful for. This reminds me that I’m doing a good job while also seeking ways to improve for myself.

What was the toughest challenge you faced during your career?
Running a business while working full-time for another company. Admittedly, it can be stressful managing the responsibility of both roles. Once, I made the mistake of taking 4 clients in 1 week for my resume business while recruiting for 15 positions at my full-time job. When I tell you I went to sleep as soon as I was done with work, I am not joking (My friends would probably look at this and say that I’m an early-bird anyway, which I am 😊). I was able to balance both but I’ll make sure not to take that many clients in 1 month next time.

How did you get through that period? What advice for people dealing with similar difficulties?
For one, I woke up early in the morning to work on the resumes. That way, I had enough time to get them done while getting ready for work (Another benefit of working from home might I add since I didn’t need to drive to work). Also, I communicated with my manager if I couldn’t take more roles or if I was stressed and she was very supportive. Finally, I made sure to meditate or do a quick exercise to alleviate stress. My advice for people dealing with similar difficulties is to know how much workload you can manage. While opportunities are abundant, that doesn’t mean to take EVERY opportunity. Know how much you can manage and adjust accordingly. Also, communicate with others if you need support or if you need to vent. Communication is very important for me (especially my roles as a recruiter and resume writer) so I let others know if I need their support or if I want to talk to release stress. Finally, develop a time management strategy. If you figure out how you can maximize your performance at an efficient time, then you’ll be successful

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Mental health and feeling good are crucial to maximizing performance. How do you prioritize your mental health?

I pay attention to when my body tells me I’m mentally exhausted. If I’m tired, then I’m taking a break by relaxing and doing something fun or new. Last year, I decided to go sky diving and that was a life changing experience! This year, I’m learning how to roller skate and drive a motorcycle. I fall a lot when roller skating, but it’s fun because I challenge myself to get better every class I go to. Also, I exercise a lot. There’s a book called “Exercise & The Brain” that talks about the benefits of exercise for your mental health, so I make sure to exercise daily. Finally, I meditate. Meditation calms me down and it keeps me focus, so I mediate 3-5 minutes daily.

Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work post-pandemic?
I worked remotely when the pandemic started, but I currently work a hybrid schedule. I think it’s interesting because I remember someone used to tell me that people would be lazy if they were allowed to work from home, but I think we see the benefits of allowing people to work for home. Truthfully, I think it's dependent on the company, industry, and positions. While the pandemic showed that people can be productive working from home, some companies are stuck to the old ways of requiring workers to come to the office, so I expect some companies to return to working fully in the office. However, I also see companies allowing their workers to work either a hybrid or fully remote schedule. Allowing workers to not have to come to the office benefits workers and organizations, so I see some companies adapting to this new change while letting their workers have the option choose to come to the office or work from home.

If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be and why?

My aunt who passed away in 2019. I was really close with her and I tried to always make her laugh and smile. She was one of the few people who laughed at my goofy jokes, so I loved being around her. Admittedly, her death hit me hard, but I always cherish the memories I have with her. I miss her a lot and I would love to have some of her macaroni and cheese again like she used to make for me during the holidays. It would be great to have lunch with her one more time.

If you could inspire a movement, what would it be and why?
I would inspire a movement for people to be the best versions of themselves. People are afraid to grow because growth requires being uncomfortable and different. Thus, some people stay in the same place they were in years ago. Personally, consistent growth helps me enjoy life because it allows me to learn and try different things. For example, I never thought I would love playing chess in a million years. I thought it was hard when I was young, so I never learned how to play it. Now, I learned how to play using the Chess app and it’s so much fun! Admittedly, I’m still learning to get better, but the drive to get better makes it challenging and exciting. Kobe called it the “Mamba Mentality” so I would definitely inspire a movement similar to the mamba mentality.

Please list your social media handles so we can tag you.

My LinkedIn is

My Instagram is @kareem_akin

Twitter is @DepotHr

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