Solar Jobs Are Booming Nationwide!

LinkedIn
Solar Engineer

The Solar Foundation released late March data on the number of solar jobs in every state, metropolitan area, county, and congressional district, revealing the impact of the nation’s historic solar jobs boom down to the local level.

This data can be found on an interactive Solar Jobs Map available at SolarStates.org. The new Solar Jobs Map is part of the data collection effort for The Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment in the United States. In addition to the map, The Solar Foundation produced 50 state-level fact sheets and released an analysis of the economic impact of the solar labor market nationwide and in five states: California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

The Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that employment increased by a historic 25 percent nationwide from 2015 to 2016, for a total of 260,077 solar workers. This growth occurred across all regions of the country — the number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states from 2015 to 2016. In 21 of the 50 states, solar jobs grew by 50 percent or more.

Metropolitan areas across the nation also saw historic solar jobs growth from 2015 to 2016, as the data in the Solar Jobs Map shows. For example, solar jobs in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area doubled, for a total of 1,632 solar workers in 2016. The number of jobs in the San Antonio, Texas metro area increased by 146 percent to 1,767 solar workers.

Jobs in the Albuquerque, New Mexico metro area increased 78 percent to 1,771 solar workers. Jobs in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida increased 40 percent to 1,215 solar workers. The Atlanta, Georgia metro area had 2,406 solar workers, a 15 percent increase from 2015; and jobs in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin metro area increased 20 percent to 1,033 solar workers.

“The solar industry is generating well-paying jobs everywhere from Detroit to Miami to Salt Lake City, and in states from Ohio to Texas to South Carolina,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “America’s solar energy boom adds tens of billions of dollars to our economy each year, all while providing an affordable, reliable, and local energy source.”

The top 25 metropolitan areas based on the total number of solar workers are listed below, along with the percentage increase or decrease from 2015. The Solar Jobs Map provides complete data on solar jobs in all 50 states, along with details on jobs by solar employment sector, percentages of women and veterans in the solar workforce, and more. Users can toggle between 2015 and 2016 data to compare the number of solar jobs year over year.

In 2016, The Solar Foundation found that with 260,077 solar workers nationwide, the solar industry produced $62.5 billion in direct sales. The solar industry’s broader labor impact that includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs amounted to nearly 789,000 U.S. jobs. These jobs paid more than $50 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits and produced $154 billion in total economic activity for the United States in 2016. State-based economic impact data for California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas are available via fact sheets at SolarStates.org.

Da Lucky Spot: Meet the Charlotte Man Behind Walmart’s First Black-Owned Barbershop

LinkedIn
Entrepreneur Shaun Corbett cuts the ribbon on Da Lucky Spot, Walmart’s first Black-owned barbershop.

The philosopher Seneca said luck is where opportunity meets preparation. For Charlotte, North Carolina, barber Shaun “Lucky” Corbett, his golden opportunity paved the way for what would become Walmart‘s first Black-owned and operated barbershop.

On Sept. 26, Corbett was joined by dozens of community supporters eager to witness the moment he opened the doors of Da Lucky Spot Barbershop at the Walmart on Wilkinson Boulevard. The grand opening festivities were replete with balloons, laughter and plenty of smiles as folks gathered to celebrate the accomplished businessman.

Corbett, 40, has established himself as a leader in the local community over the last several years with his charitable give-back programs. As a licensed barber, he envisioned his shop as a space offering fellowship and suppport, especially for the neighborhood’s youth.

The road hasn’t always been smooth, however, and like most business owners, Corbett relied on his faith to get him through the rough spots.

“How I landed it was never giving up, seeing the vision [and] just working diligently,” he told Atlanta Black Star via phone. “Development is the main thing … understanding and being intentional about conversations I have when I have the opportunity to help.”

Corbett got his start in 2005 after enrolling in the No Grease barber school, the Charlotte Agenda reported. He spent his weekends cutting heads at the barber shop and served up slices at a local pizzeria to cover his hefty tuition — $10,000 to be exact.

By the next year, he was a full-time barber with his own chair. Corbett was eventually able to open his first Lucky Spot shop on North Tyrone Street in 2010.

The space quickly became more than just a barbershop. Corbett hosted a number of community programs, including his handing out of turkeys to families in need each Thanksgiving, after-school tutoring sessions for the kids and a backpack drive for students headed back to school in the fall. The local leader is perhaps best known for his acclaimed Cops & Barbers program, which aims to build trust between police and the communities they serve.

Continue on the Atlanta Black Star to read the complete article.

Power Couple: Soldier Recruits Wife to Join Army

LinkedIn
U.S. Military wife and husband in uniform standing side by side with arms folded

By Alexandra Shea, IMCOM

Staff Sgt. Joshua Mitchell is used to talking with various people about military careers and the benefits that are offered to those who choose to wear the uniform and serve their country as a Soldier. As a recruiter in the Malden, Massachusetts, area, he is constantly talking to strangers, even off-duty, according to his wife, Eunjee.

“The first year after I moved to America, I knew I needed a car,” Eunjee said. “We went to the car dealership, and he recruited the car dealer.”

The couple met in Korea while Staff Sgt. Mitchell was stationed there. They originally met online and met face-to-face for the first time on New Year’s Day. They married shortly after, and Eunjee Mitchell immigrated to the United States, where her husband became a recruiter. She often would hear the conversations he had about joining the military. After two years of listening to Staff Sgt. Mitchell, she decided enlisting was the right choice for her.

“He was interviewing other recruiters, and one was Korean like me. She told me how the Army helps her a lot to speak (better) English and get her involved in the community,” said Eunjee. “The conversation with her gave me the thought that I could try.”

She enlisted as a 92A – Automated Logistical Specialist in the Army Reserves.

“I knew hanging around with me she would be interested in the Army, but I didn’t think she would (join),” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “I definitely wrote her contract.”

After 10 weeks of South Carolina’s famously hot summer weather, Eunjee Mitchell walked across Fort Jackson’s Hilton Field with the rest of her company as they graduated Basic Combat Training. With three bachelor’s degrees, she graduated with the rank of specialist.

While she knew her husband would be attending her ceremony, Staff Sgt. Mitchell was able to arrive to the installation early and surprise his wife during the Family Day dress rehearsal.

“While I was waiting behind the trees, I was trying to stay calm. I was very emotional,” said Spc. Mitchell.

She instantly recognized her husband on the parade field and knew “my recruiter is here.”

“I saw him, and he was in uniform, so I recognized him because he’s so tall,” she said.

Standing at six-feet, five-inches, Staff Sgt. Mitchell is not easily missed. Since immigrating to a new country and culture, Spc. Mitchell has never been separated from her husband, until attending Basic Combat Training.

“I didn’t see her until she was walking out,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell. “She’s a tough little lady. I’m crazy proud of her.”

The couple were allowed to speak for a short time before Spc. Mitchell had to return to her daily duties. The following day, they were reunited for Family Day, where they were able to spend an entire day together visiting various parts of the installation and get lunch together.

After the graduation ceremony, Spc. Mitchell traveled back to her home state with her husband. Once there, Spc. Mitchell will rejoin her Reserve unit and attend Advanced Individual Training in the coming months.

When asked what her future might look like now that BCT is complete, Spc. Mitchell said she is excited to begin her new career and possibly a family. She also explained how her experience on Fort Jackson has helped her to understand her husband and brings them closer as a couple.

“The first year we were married I didn’t understand the little things like why he didn’t want to take his boots off in the house,” said Spc. Mitchell. “I understand him more now.”

Source: army.mil

To Write a Successful Resume, Follow These Do’s and Don’ts

LinkedIn
Resume beign written on a clipboard by a young woman

A great résumé is still one of the most important contributing factors to landing a good job. After all, it offers recruiters and potential employers a quick and clear overview of your relevant skills, experience, and education so they can decide whether to invite you for an interview or not. And if successful, it helps sway the first of many decisions you want to go your way through any job search process.

However, no matter how good your credentials, if you don’t put them all together in a polished résumé with the right elements, chances are your application will get tossed on the “reject” pile the next time you apply for a job. According to a study by The Ladders, recruiters spend a mere six seconds reviewing a résumé. That means you have a tiny window of opportunity to make an impression! In other words, you need a résumé that stands out for all the right reasons. The following do’s and don’ts will help you prepare a résumé that shows you to your best advantage.

  • Do make your résumé scannable.Recruiters and hiring managers will scan your résumé for relevant information, so deliver your information in short statements instead of longer paragraphs. Use keywords that are relevant to your profession and experience throughout. For example, if you’re a project manager, use keywords such as “project management,” “supervision,” and “leadership.”
  • Don’t let your résumé exceed two pages. Few recruiters or hiring managers have time to review overly long résumés. Distill your information down to the most relevant data. Slash words and consider omitting one or two of your earliest jobs or condense your descriptions of your responsibilities in each role.
  • Don’t stray too far from the conventional résumé format.Nearly all job applications go through applicant tracking systems (ATS) nowadays. That means that your résumé will first be checked by a computer before it’s even seen by a live person. Applicant tracking systems are designed to determine certain data, including identifying information, career objective, skills, experience, and education, so make sure you clearly list all of those sections. Further information such as professional memberships, awards, and publications is optional. Only include it if you strongly feel that it will support your candidacy.
  • Do provide a concise overview of your career objective.In the USA Today article “5 do’s and don’ts for building a winning résumé,” Patrick O’Brien advises describing what you want to accomplish professionally in a manner that illustrates what you can do for an employer. For example, if you’re a manager looking to gain international experience, you could state something such as, “Highly capable manager with outstanding leadership capabilities and a global understanding of the industry.”
  • Don’t include too much personal information. In the CBS article “How to Write a Résumé: Dos and Don’ts,” Suzanne Lucas cautions against including information such as your religion, birthdate, relationship status, hobbies, or links to your social media pages.
  • Do list quantifiable results. Potential employers want to see accomplishments on your résumé, and the clearest way to communicate those is by using numbers whenever possible. For example, instead of saying you managed a team and a budget, you could state more precisely that you’d managed a team of 25 employees and a budget of $50,000.
  • Do list your experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent employment first. List your current or most recent job first, then work backwards. If you don’t have enough space to list all the jobs you held, list as far back as 10 years and be prepared to speak about earlier jobs in an in-person interview.
  • Don’t exaggerate job titles, responsibilities, or outcomes. State all information correctly, without exaggerations or embellishments. Remember: most employers check references and will inquire about your performance in earlier roles.
  • Do make sure to have both electronic and print versions of your résumé.It’s a good idea to have your résumé in a number of different formats, including a printable pdf, an interactive pdf, a Word document, and a text file in case you need to autofill online applications.
  • Don’t forget to update your résumé regularly. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, you never know when somebody might request your résumé, so make sure to keep it up to date at all times. That way, when you hear about an interesting job at a networking event, you’ll be ready to apply immediately.

Writing an effective résumé takes some time and preparation. But with these tips in mind, you’ll enhance your chances of standing out from other applicants and landing an interview on the way to a job offer that thrills.

Source: Kelly Services

JAY-Z Is the First Hip-Hop Artist to Become a Billionaire: Inside His Fortune

LinkedIn
JAY-Z in blue suit and white collared suit on stage before performance

When JAY-Z rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” on Kanye West’s 2005 track “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” he really meant it.

According to a new report released by Forbes on Monday, the rapper turned mogul has become the first hip-hop artist to amass a billion-dollar fortune with his impressive investments across liquor, art, real estate and companies like Uber.

Before becoming a musician, JAY-Z, 49, was a drug dealer in his hometown of Brooklyn. In 1996, he started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Since then, he has earned 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy wins and a reported $500 million in pretax earnings, according to the outlet.

In order to calculate JAY-Z’s net worth, Forbes says they first looked at his stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne (which he owns 100% of) and applied their customary discount to private firms. They then added up his income and subtracted “a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.” Additionally, they say they ran the numbers with a roster of outside experts to ensure that the estimates were “fair and conservative.”

Since its launch in 2006 in JAY-Z’s music video for “Show Me What You Got,” Armand de Brignac is estimated by Forbes to now be worth $310 million. JAY-Z’s cognac D’Ussé, which is a joint venture with Bacardi, is estimated to be worth $100 million.

JAY-Z is also estimated to have $220 million in cash and investments, including a stake in ride-share service Uber which is estimated to be worth $70 million itself.

JAY-Z’s music-streaming service Tidal — which launched in 2015 with a number of celebrity investors including his wife, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Calvin Harris — is estimated to be worth $100 million.

Continue on to Yahoo entertainment to read the complete article.

First Day Jitters? How to Make a Smooth Transition

LinkedIn
black professional woman smiling and crossing her fingers

Making a career change is almost as stressful as meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time. Even if you’ve landed your dream job, you’ll encounter your fair share of challenges on your new career path. Luckily, with the right approach, a positive attitude and a little bit of help, those challenges don’t have to be insurmountable. So, if you’re considering a major career change, make things easier on yourself by following these six steps to get on the right path.

Find a Mentor

Going into a new job can seem like a never-ending mountain that you need to climb each and every day. But less-experienced mountaineers typically don’t climb without a guide—and neither should you. By seeking out someone with more experience who has been in your position before, you can gain not only some guidance but also a confidant who can offer sage advice, a sounding board to help you gain clarity and a champion to make sure your accomplishments get the attention they deserve. See if your new place of work has a mentorship program, or seek one out to see the benefits of having a mentor in the workplace.

Get a Routine and Stick to It

Be prepared for what you signed up for. It doesn’t matter what your previous work life was like, you need to be certain of the schedule your new employer expects of you. Each workplace is different—some offer flexibility, while others have a strict 9–5 schedule. If your career change also comes with a significant change in routine, take the week before your start date and get yourself ready for it.

Do it For the Culture

Do you like to tell jokes and go for little walks during the workday? You better be sure that’s something that isn’t frowned upon at your new job. You can add your own personal flair to the overall team dynamic, but trying to change an entire company culture is more than difficult. Your best bet is to ask the right questions during the interview and knowing for certain that this position is the right fit. Because you don’t to be a Seinfeld type of person walking into a Friends type of office.

Take Note

It can be tough to remember everyone’s name—let alone all the new terminology that’ll be thrown at you—so a pen and a notepad will likely be your best friends (at least for the first few weeks). Don’t be shy about writing things down, asking follow-up questions or asking people to slow down or repeat themselves. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to gain a solid understanding of the ins and outs of your new company.

Build Strong Relationships

Working independently, taking charge of responsibilities and exuding a sense of confidence may give your superiors a positive image of you, but you can’t do everything alone. Many workplaces increasingly value collaborative efforts, so find a way to work well with your coworkers. By building strong relationships right away, you’ll be able to develop a network of contacts that extends across departments.

Don’t Stop Networking

Just because you’re on a new career path, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to old your old contacts. You’ll be able to strengthen and diversify your network with your old and new colleagues. While it may seem like an arduous task to be constantly connecting and reconnecting, the sooner you start reaching out, the sooner you’ll start feeling more comfortable.

You’ve worked hard to get to this point in your career, so this should be a positive time in your life. Following these bits of advice will minimize stress and set you up for a successful transition into your new career.

Source: CareerBuilder

5 expressions to avoid in formal networking situations

LinkedIn
large group of diverse professionals networking

Networking is a delicate art. While it’s certainly evolved in the past decade, there are still certain situations (and certain industries) where you must abide by a particular set of strict, unspoken rules. Mess one of these up, and you risk missing out on a critical opportunity to advance your career.

When speaking to someone more senior—and business networking usually involves an “ask” for help from senior people—you need to convey respect and recognition of their status.

Remember: People will go out of their way for you if they like you and feel inspired by you. But turn them off, and they’ll tune out.

With that in mind, consider skipping any of the following casual or unprofessional expressions:

1. “Hey, I’m ______”

Introducing yourself casually is fine in most situations. But this language can come across as too casual if you’re introducing yourself to someone older or more senior who might be a good lead for a job.

Saying “Hello” is a better bet. And giving both your first and last names is more professional. You don’t want that other person walking away and thinking, “I met someone named Paul, but I never got his last name.”

2. “I’m VP of sales for company X”

When networking at a business event it’s tempting to rush in with your title. After all, you want your new contact to know you’re a professional with some status. But it will sound arrogant to add this so quickly.

I recently met a young woman at a networking event, and within the first 15 seconds she let me know that she worked for a big Silicon Valley firm and had a good job in IT. She never bothered to ask my name, work situation, or title. I was not interested in speaking to her again because the encounter was one way.

Rather than hurling your job title at a new face, wait until the other person asks for that information. If you ask them about themselves, they will likely raise the same questions about you. It means a lot more when they ask you what you do than when you shout it out to them.

3. “That’s cool”

Once you get into conversation with an executive, your words will define the kind of relationship you want to have with that person. If you’re too casual, you’ll sound like you don’t necessarily aspire to a professional connection.

Suppose you’re in conversation with a vice president who works in a firm you’d like to do business with. You ask, “Who do you hire for your sales training?” When you find out, you might be tempted to say something like “Hey, I know them,” or “Cool.”

Instead, opt for a more polished expression, such as “Yes, I’m familiar with that firm, and I believe we can offer something more.” This positioning will get you further in pursuing a possible business contact.

4. “Can I impose on you to make a call?”

Once you’ve gotten a good conversation going, you may be ready to pitch the other person for a lead. But the “ask” has to be handled with delicacy.

The phrase “can I impose on you” sounds like you haven’t done the groundwork for the “ask.” So go through the steps that will make you feel you are not imposing. This can include a lot of listening and selling yourself. Once you’re convinced you are not imposing, you can confidently say, “I’d love it if you could make a call on my behalf.” Now you’re off and running!

5. “Let me know how it goes”

If someone has been kind enough to speak to someone else on your behalf, be sure you do the follow-up—don’t expect them to get back to you.

Ask your new contact when you should follow up with them. You might also inquire “What is the best way to reach you?” They may give you their business card or phone number or say “Text me at this number.” The point is that you want to close on this networking opportunity, and that means the next step should be very clear.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

He Was Abandoned Near A Dumpster As A Baby. Now He’s The CEO Of A Company Valued Over $62 Million

LinkedIn
CEO Freddie Figgers is pictured wearing a dark blue suit and tie leaning against a wall in a confident pose

Freddie Figgers, 30, was abandoned near a dumpster at birth and was adopted when he was just two days old by two loving parents. He is now the CEO of a telecommunications company valued over $62 million.

Figgers got his first computer when he was 9-years old. It was broken when he received it, but he quickly figured out how to make it fully operational.

That was the start of his innovative future.

Later as a child, after learning that his Dad had Alzheimer’s, he invented a shoe for him that had a GPS tracker and a two-way communicator that he sold for millions.

He got his first job at the age of 12 as a computer technician, and by age 15, he had already started his own cloud computing services.

He kept developing and inventing, and before the age of 30, he had his own telecommunications company, Figgers Communications.

“He is now the founder and CEO of Figgers Wireless, a black owned telecommunications firm valued at over $62.3 million dollars, that you may have never heard of,” the caption of one of his YouTube videos read.

Now he’s creating devices that will help people with diabetes.

“Diabetes is a major public health problem that is approaching epidemic proportions globally,” Figgers wrote on Facebook in August. “The prevalence of diabetes is rising at an alarming rate. Nationwide, 1 in 12 adults has diabetes, and type 2 diabetes has become a commonplace childhood disease as well.

For far too long, large diabetic medical supply corporations has made billions of dollars profiting from this horrible disease by taking advantage of consumers with outrageous cost. We could have easily sold our invention to any Medical supply company, but that would only be adding to the problem.

We have a solution that’s all in one and it remotely manages diabetics 24/7. But best of all affordability for all patients. WE PUT PEOPLE OVER PROFIT.”

Continue on to Sunnyskyz.com to read the complete article.

The Best And Worst States For Entrepreneurs In 2020

LinkedIn
black man looking excitedly at his laptop

There might be an ongoing trade war and recession worries, but small businesses in the United States continue to flourish. According to a report by Guidant Financial, 78 percent of small businesses are reporting profits, with both confidence and happiness indices ranking among the highest in recent years. Approval rates for small business loan applications at big banks rose from 26.7 percent in Sept. 2018 to 27.9 percent in Sept. 2019, according to Biz2Credit.

Thus, the overall small business climate looks favorable for an enterprising entrepreneur. However, one fundamental factor that can change business climate is geography. Depending on the state — not to mention the city — where you want to start a business, these overall conducive conditions can change dramatically.

Seek Capital conducted a study of all 50 U.S. states to determine which ones were the best and which ones were the worst for entrepreneurs wanting to start and maintain a successful business. The study analyzed states in terms of 21 factors, ranging from socio-economic factors such as the five-year increase in working-age population, unemployment and labor force participation rates, to factors more specifically focused on entrepreneurial activity, such as the rate of new entrepreneurs, the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs (the percentage of entrepreneurs who said they started their business out of opportunity rather than necessity) and startup survival rates, sourced from the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship.

There are definitely some geographic patterns that emerged from the results of the study. The list of the top-10 best states are a combo of states located in the U.S. West and South regions, as designated by the Census Bureau. Midwest states are scattered across the middle of the rankings. And among the 10-worst states, the list of states includes those located in the South and the Northeast, the latter being the most unfavorable region in general for starting a business.

Here are the top-10 best states for starting a business:

  1. Utah
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Colorado
  5. California
  6. North Carolina
  7. Idaho
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming

Each of these states saw sizable injections of venture capital into new companies in 2018. California startups received the most money, with 2,869 companies getting $77.3 billion in venture capital funding, for an average of $26.9 million per company. No. 6 North Carolina was no slouch either, with $2.6 billion in venture capital funding going to 173 companies, for an average of $15.1 million per company. Not coincidentally, these 10 states had very active entrepreneurs. Florida has the highest rate of new entrepreneurs with 0.46 percent of its population starting businesses, followed by 0.45 percent in California and Wyoming.

The 10 Worst States for Entrepreneurs in 2020

The states that made up the worst states for entrepreneurs shared several traits. One of them mentioned is geographic: Six out of the 10 worst states are located in the Northeast — Pennsylvania (41st overall), New Hampshire (44th), Maine (47th), New Jersey (48th), Connecticut (49th) and Rhode Island (50th). The remainder of the 10 worst states are located in the South.

Declining working-age populations was shared by all of the 10 worst states with the exception of Arkansas. In absolute terms, Pennsylvania lost the most, suffering a decline of 148,126 working-age people from 2013 to 2018. In percentage terms, Louisiana and Maine lost the most, down 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, over the last five years. Business taxes in these states are also mediocre to outright unfavorable

Here are the bottom-10 worst states to start a business, with No. 1 being the worst:

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maine
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Arkansas
  9. Louisiana
  10. Pennsylvania

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

 

9 Effective Ways to Assess Candidates’ Soft Skills

LinkedIn
Workplace culture

By Lisa Parker

Executive Chairman of Starbucks Howard Schultz once said, “Hiring people is an art, not a science. And resumes cannot tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” This astute observation by the American businessman sums up the importance of assessing a job seeker for their soft skills—not just what’s on paper.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, also known as “employability skills,” are defined by Business Dictionary as “a group of essential abilities that involve the development of a knowledge base, expertise level and mindset that is increasingly necessary for success in the modern workplace.”

For any new recruit to fit into your corporate culture and be productive, soft skills are prerequisite. While resumes may sound impressive, assessing a jobseeker for soft skills plays a key role in promoting effectiveness in a company’s hiring process.

But how do you assess something so intangible? Use the following nine factors to create questions that assess for the soft skills you need from future employees.

How to Assess a Candidate’s Soft Skills

  1. Professionalism

The first impression a jobseeker imparts speaks a lot about themselves. A jobseeker who walks in with a disheveled appearance and salty language, for example, may not take their role seriously enough. What’s more, they could make other employees and customers uncomfortable with their behavior.

  1. Body Language

Body language betrays a lot. Observing body language will enable you to learn a bit about a jobseeker’s interpersonal skills. Also, it can help inform whether the interviewee is lying or answering a question honestly. Jittery jobseekers are generally diffident about themselves and unsure whether they can meet your standards. They doubt their own abilities and may end up as underperformers.

  1. Problem-Solving Skills

Regardless of the nature of your business, problem-solving skills are essential for every employee. Candidates who cannot troubleshoot are unable to provide customer care, address issues faced by business associates or assist colleagues and seniors in the event of any internal problems. Include a couple of questions about how the jobseeker would solve a problem. The answer may not be the most thorough, given time constraints of an interview, but it will help you assess this vital skill.

  1. Awareness About Major Issues

Your future employee need not be an encyclopedia. Yet, it is vital they know about major issues affecting the world, country and local economy. Knowledge about these issues and opinions suggest that the jobseeker is alert and responsive. It also indicates adaptability to adverse situations, since such candidates will usually possess abilities to respond effectively. Issues and opinions can reflect traits, such as positivity, skepticism and negative thoughts. Admittedly, these thoughts may vary according to the issue. A candidate may be positive about something or negative about another. Yet, such awareness would also help you judge the overall traits since every flipside also has positives.

  1. Memberships of Clubs/Organizations

Memberships of clubs and organizations are a clear indicator of a candidate’s social and collaborative skills. Such employees generally tend to become great team players. Additionally, it also indicates the candidate spends time on constructive activities, such as sports, hobbies or even politics.

  1. Psychometric Tests

An increasing number of employers worldwide now utilize psychometric tests to gauge a candidate’s behavior and mental aptitude for a job. They enable you to assess the cognitive capabilities of a jobseeker required for any post in an organization. Additionally, psychometric tests help a company to assess an applicant’s analytical and pedagogic skills essential for any role. They are particularly useful in finding hidden traits of a job seeker that are often missed during an interview. However, there are debates worldwide over the effectiveness of these tests to assess soft skills and hidden talents as well as negative traits of an individual. Some psychologists and HR experts vouch for their reliability, while others claim the results provide inconclusive results that can mar career prospects of good candidates—so if you choose to use them, do so cautiously.

  1. Company Knowledge

Quizzing a candidate over knowledge about your company as well as past employers, if any, is another effective way to assess their soft skills. Answers indicate an interest in the profession and industry. They will also show whether an interviewee is well prepared and is serious about the job or is eyeing the vacancy merely as another employment option. Sometimes, the answer can also reveal traits, such as willingness to adapt to a new work environment and spirit of collaboration to ensure personal success as well as that of your organization.

  1. Composure Under Stress

The ability to work under stress is critical for many positions, especially when hiring for more senior roles. One good way to evaluate this skill is by asking a candidate to tell you about a stressful period at work and how they responded. You can also simply evaluate their behavior during the interview. Fumbling to respond or getting frustrated indicate the person may have a hard time working under stress or pressure.

  1. Ability to Work with Diverse Groups

Companies, just like the country in general, have become increasingly diverse in recent years. Walk into any major employer and you’ll find people of all different backgrounds, educations, beliefs collaborating and thriving together. So if an employee has a hard time working with anybody who thinks or acts differently than them, it can be hard for them to succeed. Ask candidates how they have collaborated with people who have had very different perspectives than them. If their answer suggests that they steamrolled others’ ideas or refused to listen to them, they probably won’t perform well in a diverse team.

Modern workplaces demand that all employees possess soft skills. Indeed, soft skills can be more difficult to acquire than professional degrees and experience. Without them, any hard skills are far less valuable. So when screening candidates, don’t just try to uncover how well they know a particular software program or platform—get to the heart of how they interact with others.

Lisa Parker is a Freelance writer. Her passion is to write blogs on entrepreneurship, business trends, business management, and business leadership, lifestyle, relationship, career and education. And many more.

Source: glassdoor.com

From Science Class to the Stock Exchange

LinkedIn
Stephon Henry-Rerrie headshot

By Gina Vitale | MIT News correspondent

Stephon Henry-Rerrie grew up in Brooklyn as the oldest of five siblings. He loved math puzzles from a young age and chose a premed track in his specialized high school. He never thought he’d study at MIT, but after being accepted to MIT’s Weekend Immersion in Science and Engineering (WISE), a program for high school seniors from underrepresented communities to learn about the MIT experience, he changed his mind.

Before visiting MIT, “I could never see myself here, because it was just this ivory-tower looking place,” he says. “Whereas when I was here, and I was talking with people, I was like, ‘Oh, wow I can hang.’ Maybe I do belong here.”

Henry-Rerrie, now a senior, has discovered many passions during his time at the Institute. He realized early on that he didn’t want to pursue medicine, and chose to major in chemical engineering. Then, after realizing how versatile physics could be, he picked that up as a second major. In four years, he has helped create particle simulations, worked on a trading floor, conducted research in the chemical engineering industry, and mentored younger MIT students. He would never have predicted ending up where he is now—but he wouldn’t trade it.

“I have a very weird, nonlinear trajectory that I’ve taken,” he says. “But along the way I’ve learned lots of things about myself and about the world.”

In the market for growth

When Henry-Rerrie accepted an internship at Morgan Stanley the summer after his first year, he had no idea that he’d be working on the trading floor. Some similarities to the movie Wall Street were uncanny, he says—he was surrounded by bond traders, and his mentor underwrote municipal bonds. He says the experience of working in finance fundamentally changed his life. Not only did he learn to speak up among many powerful voices, he also realized that science and engineering are directly tied into economics. Research doesn’t happen in a vacuum—when scientists make discoveries, that impacts the economy.

“I think I needed that exposure,” he says. “Because if I hadn’t, I feel like I wouldn’t have the perspective that I have now on, what does this all mean? What is going on? What’s this larger system that we exist in?”

He really enjoyed working within the financial sector. And, after meeting a number of former physicists (and chemical engineers) now working in financial roles at Morgan Stanley, he realized that studying physics rather than economics wouldn’t hurt his chances of getting a job in finance—so he took on a double major and was thrilled to study another area he’s always been fascinated by.

In his sophomore year, he worked in the lab of Assistant Professor James Swan, creating particle simulations with PhD student Zachary Sherman. The pair looked at how varying two different kinds of interactions between nanoparticles in solution affected those nanoparticles. Henry-Rerrie likens it to having a bunch of people (representing the particles) in a room where temperature and wind are controlled by two knobs. As you turn up the temperature knob, or the wind knob, or both knobs in varying amounts, the people will react.

“What will those people be feeling? What will they do? … I can turn those knobs and record, what did those people do at each specific value? And then after that, can we see a trend in how people will react?”

The following summer, Henry-Rerrie took an internship at chemical engineering company Praxair. The people there were great, he says, but as he considered his options for the future, he found his heart was with financial markets. The following summer, he took a job at investment management company BlackRock.

“I also found that finance touches everything, everybody’s life, in a very real way that you can’t get away from, at least now,” he says.

For him, BlackRock was the perfect compromise between chemical engineering and finance. As much of his role involved risk and quantitative analysis, he was able to practice many of the techniques he learned in engineering, as well as do real work in the finance sector.

“At my internship at BlackRock, I was able to apply everything that I learned,” he says. “Not necessarily the technical stuff, but the way of problem solving, of thinking.”

Chocolate City

When Henry-Rerrie was first visiting MIT, he was introduced to a living group called Chocolate City, in New House. The group consisted of black and Latino men supporting each other socially, academically, and professionally.

“When I saw that, that was the signal to me that MIT is just a special place,” he says.

He was accepted to live in Chocolate City his first year and has been there ever since. He has served in a variety of roles, including athletics chair, social chair, co-chair, and now resident peer mentor. He describes himself as the big brother of the house, working to get people to socialize and bond with each other. Living in the group has had its challenges, as its members come from diverse backgrounds and often have conflicting opinions. But that’s all part of the learning experience that makes it so valuable, he says.

“Being in that ecosystem has, I think, developed me into the person I am now, and helped me to feel like I can take on, I can take on anything after I graduate here.”

Henry-Rerrie loves being part of Chocolate City, and is grateful for how much it has developed him as a person. That’s why he’s chosen to give back to the other residents this year as the resident peer mentor, and why he plans to continue to help out as an alumnus. To him, Chocolate City is much more than a place to sleep and study.

“I feel like I’m home,” he says of being a part of the living group. “I don’t feel like I’m at a dorm; I feel like I’m home.”

Science in context

Henry-Rerrie is grateful for the context that his humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS) classes have given him in his scientific pursuits. He recalls one class, STS.042 / 8.225 (Physics in the Twentieth Century), that introduced him to an entire world of physics history. He learned everything from the politics underlying physics to the fact that Erwin Schrödinger himself was skeptical of quantum theory—he only made the cat analogy to show how crazy it was.

“A lot of ways that we evaluate people and what they’ve done can be super muddled if we don’t understand the history of how things came about,” he says.

It’s that kind of learning, bridging concepts that he never assumed were related, that Henry-Rerrie really enjoys. The applications to engineering and broader society are what drew him to finance; his research and economic work at BlackRock was so fulfilling that he’s accepted an offer to return after graduation full time.

Longer term, Henry-Rerrie isn’t sure where exactly he’ll end up. He’s considering business school in his five-year plan and would love to end up back at MIT for that. His broader goal, at least right now, is to figure out where his skills can be put to the greatest use.

“I’m all about finding connections. Between, I guess, very weird things. Things that don’t seem that related,” he says.

Photo: Stephon Henry-Rerrie/JAKE BELCHER

Source: Reprinted with permission of MIT News (http://news.mit.edu/2019/student-stephon-henry-rerrie-0501)

Applying for entry-level jobs? Do these things to write your cover letter

LinkedIn
woman sitting at desk writing on her keyboard

Landing a job is a challenge for many professionals. Landing a job without any experience can be an even bigger challenge. For a job seeker without any experience, it’s discouraging when you’ve applied for dozens (or hundreds) of jobs and received zero responses from employers.

Although you might feel like giving up on your job search, it’s important to persevere and continue writing cover letters that will make you stand out to employers.

Here are some tips for writing a cover letter when you have little or no experience:

First paragraph: Clearly introduce yourself

The first paragraph is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on the employer. This section should explain who you are, the position you’re interested in, and how you discovered the opportunity.

The introduction is also a great opportunity to mention any connections you have with the organization. For example, if you know a previous intern or alumni who worked for the organization, be sure to mention their name in your introduction.

“My name is Sarah and I’m a recent graduate from Purdue University. I graduated in December with a B.A. in communications and a minor in marketing. An alumni forwarded me a job posting about your Associate Marketer position at ABC Media Group. I’m highly interested in this opportunity because I’d make a great fit for your agency.”

Second paragraph: Talk about your relevant skills and accomplishments

This section is the biggest challenge for job seekers with little or no experience. It’s also the section where many job seekers make mistakes because they don’t know how to highlight their relevant skills and classroom experience.

As you explain why you’re qualified for the position, it’s important to connect the dots with the employer. For instance, if you didn’t have a marketing internship but you’ve gained a lot of marketing experience through a part-time job in student services, you could highlight the communications skills and experience you gained through that position.

For example:

“I realize you’re looking for a candidate with strong written and oral communications skills, as well as experience with event planning and strategy development. As an office assistant in Purdue’s Office of Student Life, I was responsible for planning and promoting campus movie nights for students. This project required me to promote the event on social media, send email blasts to students and design flyers to post around campus.”

Third paragraph: Highlight your best qualities and explain why you’re a good fit

Most employers want to hire candidates who are creative team players with strong time-management skills. Although you consider yourself a great fit for the position, you need to use examples that illustrate why you’re a good fit for the job. The reality is, simply stating that you have excellent time-management skills and a knack for leadership won’t land you a job.

When talking about your qualities, it’s important to talk about real-life examples. The key point to remember here is to make sure your examples are succinct and visual.

For example:

“During my final semester at Purdue, I led a group of three students to create a marketing campaign for an animal shelter in Indianapolis. I was responsible for leading brainstorming sessions, communicating with our client and editing the final version of the campaign. Through this project, I learned how to collaborate with others and work effectively in a team in order to accomplish a common goal.”

Fourth paragraph: Conclude with a call to action

The final paragraph is the section that will seal the deal for a job interview. You want to leave a lasting impression on the reader, so make sure your conclusion is confident and upbeat and encourages the hiring manager to get in touch with you.

For example:

“With the combination of my marketing experience and leadership skills, I’m confident I’d make a great fit for this position. Thank you for taking the time to review my application and consider me as a candidate. I will follow up next Wednesday to schedule a time to talk with you more about this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Looking to switch careers? Learn these job skills right now

LinkedIn
woman looking confident in her choice of careers

Tech and big data skills are increasingly sought after careers in the workplace—and they could be a boon for you if you’re trying to hop industries or quickly climb the ranks.

Executives struggle to find employees skilled in business as well as data and technology, so all you need to do is learn the skills required for each field and send out those job applications.

Online learning platform Udemy for Business released the top courses in which companies enroll their employees, which is shorthand for the must-have skills in each field:

Finance

  1. Excel
  2. SQL
  3. Financial analysis
  4. Tableau
  5. Leadership
  6. Accounting

Marketing

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Python
  3. Web development
  4. SQL
  5. Google ads
  6. Excel

Software

  1. Python
  2. React
  3. Docker
  4. Java
  5. JavaScript
  6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certification

Sales

  1. Sales skills
  2. Excel
  3. Leadership
  4. Web development
  5. Public speaking
  6. Communication

The good news: All of these courses are readily available online, and in many cases, companies will pay for the training.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine