First FedEx African American Woman Pilot Reflects Journey

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FedEx Airbus Captain and Line Check Airman Tahirah Lamont Brown recalls her very first time in the cockpit in 1992—a momentous occasion for any pilot, but especially for an African American woman entering an industry dominated by men.  Brown later became the first African American woman pilot for FedEx, and shares how hard work, creativity, determination and mentors helped her build her “office in the sky.”

FedEx:  When did you decide you wanted to be a pilot, and what about flying intrigued you?

Tahirah: I decided to be a pilot in high school. At that time I had only flown twice in my life, but the more I learned about aviation, the more fascinated I became. I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures. Aviation matched my personality. It was an epiphany for me. I decided this is what I want to do, and God put people in my path along the way that helped me achieve my goal.

FedEx:  How did your parents react when you told them about your plans? 

Tahirah: My mother was nervous. My father was supportive, but wasn’t sure I was serious.

FedEx:  As an African American woman in a field dominated by men, did you feel there were barriers to your dream? 

Tahirah: There were barriers, for sure. I didn’t know any pilots and didn’t know how to pay for flight school.

I worked two jobs to pay for college and for flight training. I also wrote my family a letter asking them for support. I promised that if they would help me now, I would pay them back when I had the money, and they helped me.

I met Bill Norwood, the first black pilot at United Airlines, while in Tuskegee, Alabama, at Operation Skyhook and he introduced me to OBAP, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. That introduction provided me with the guidance I needed, and also helped me with scholarships for flight training.

FedEx: Describe your first flight and how it made you feel.

Tahirah: I still remember it vividly as it was exhilarating. I was twenty years old. My first flight was in a Cessna 172, a four-seat single engine prop plane. My instructor in college was with me, along with my supportive, yet reluctant father in the backseat. We took off out of Long Island and flew to Greenwich, Connecticut. I was on top of the world. I could not believe that my view was the sky.

We flew around as I tried to maintain wing level. I looked back at my dad and he was giving me the thumbs up, but I could tell he was getting a little queasy. I said: “you’re doubting me, right?” When we landed I felt like a child that was taking her first step–like the world had no limits. My father told me this was what I was meant to do. All his doubts were alleviated at that moment and going forward he only asked how he could help me.

Continue onto FedEx to read the complete article.

How Deja Baker overcame long odds and finally landed her dream job

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Her title may be unremarkable—software engineer at a Chicago trading firm—but the journey she took to land it is a triumph that doesn’t fit neatly on a resume.

The phone call that ended the military career of Midshipman Deja Baker came on a rainy morning in Hawaii in late May 2017. Having recently completed her third year at the U.S. Naval Academy, Baker was on leave, one week into a month of R&R—hiking, beachcombing, and Netflix-bingeing at her fiancé’s apartment in Oahu. The voice on the phone was her company officer’s. He told her she was to return to Annapolis immediately and pack up her things. Her time at the academy was over.

“It put me in panic mode,” she says.

That spring, a mysterious bruise on her leg had prompted Baker to visit the doctor, a decision that tipped one unlucky domino after the next: The doctor ordered blood tests; the results were alarming, and he hospitalized her; after a five-day stay, she received a diagnosis of a rare blood condition she chooses not to reveal. Simply put, her blood didn’t clot right. The U.S. Navy insists that its officers bleed properly. So, even though she had already served a tour in Japan as an enlisted sailor, had completed advanced training in cryptologic intelligence, was one year from completing a computer science degree, and was aiming to work in the information warfare command far removed from battle, she was out. She had no job prospects, no cash, and as soon as she packed up her things back on the mainland, no home.

“For the next 24 hours, I just bawled,” she says.

By the next morning, however, Baker had regrouped. Having persuaded her company officer to let her finish the remaining three weeks of her leave, she spent that time researching coding boot camps she could apply to.

Recruiters and industrial psychologists stress the importance of attributes such as resilience and determination (a recent survey by LinkedIn identified four soft skills most coveted by companies—leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management), and employers are devising new methods to assess these kinds of intangible qualities, but the relentless drive Baker possesses can be hard to spot on a résumé. She doesn’t present as tough. She’s soft-spoken and doesn’t like talking about herself. She dresses in startup-employee casual—cropped jeans, Toms shoes, and hoodie. At 27, she still gets carded whenever she orders a beer. Baker’s most valuable talents, the formidable inner strength and insatiable curiosity she’s exhibited since she was a child, are traits that might only emerge over the course of the kind of probing face-to-face interview with a perceptive manager that seems to happen less and less often in this era of job application portals and chatbots. Does an algorithm yet exist that will discern the extent of Deja Baker’s tenacity?

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

7 Things to Know if You’re Applying to a ‘Reach’ Position

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You spot your dream job, but it’s a reach — a reach beyond the next step in your career. It’s two steps or three steps or 10 steps removed from what your next job should be — and so, you stop just short of applying. But you should apply anyway. Why?

As career coach Hallie Crawford says, “Reaching is a way to grow as a professional and achieve new career goals”. Before you submit your and cover letter, however, there are at least seven things you should know about applying to a “reach” position. These insider tips and tricks will help you stand out from the crowd and score your dream job.

1. You’ll have to battle hiring managers’ assumptions.

It’s all but a fact: “Hiring managers will make assumptions based on your resume and cover letter,” warns millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. So, “It is your job to connect the dots for them before they place your resume in the no pile.” How can you do that? It’s easy, Jacinto promises. “Give them a clear understanding of not only why you are applying for this role but how your current skill set is a complement to the work that you will be doing,” she says.

2. Transferable skills will help you stand out in the right way.

You may not meet all the requirements of your dream job. But rather than focusing on what you’re missing, highlight the skills you have that will help you succeed in any position — and you’ll catch a recruiter’s attention in the best way, says Crawford. “Maybe you don’t have a specific qualification, but you’ve already been using the skills the qualification demands in another way,” she says. “Make those your star stories to show you’re up for the challenge.”

3. Hiring managers want people open to learning new skills.

You may believe it or not, but a willingness to learn what you don’t already know can be just as valuable as already having the knowledge when it comes to applying to a reach position. “Employers know that it will be almost impossible to find someone who can tick off all the boxes on their checklist,” Jacinto explains. “Instead, hiring managers are looking for people who are open to learning new skills.” In your application, “…highlighting the fact that you have been trained in other roles, have used new technology, or gone back to school to excel in a certain area helps show that you would be a good fit,” Jacinto says.

4. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Before you apply to a position that’s a couple of steps above your current pay grade, consider setting up an informational interview with someone who already has your dream job. “Find out what else is needed to be successful at that position besides the qualifications you are lacking, such as soft skills,” instructs Crawford, who adds that, “This will help you feel more confident in an interview [as well as help you] to showcase what you do bring to the table.”

5. You can’t avoid the fact this is a reach for you.

As much as you might like to do so, it’s not prudent to sweep the fact you’re “reaching” for this position under the rug. So, “Don’t hope that the hiring manager doesn’t notice that you don’t meet all of the qualifications, especially if they were listed in the job description,” says Crawford. Instead, be proactive and “bring up the fact you are aware that you don’t meet all of the qualifications on paper, but also that you are ready and able to take on the position.”

6. Some hiring managers don’t know what they want — until they meet you.

Don’t count yourself out just because you don’t meet all of the qualifications a job requires, encourages Jacinto. “Hiring managers often do not necessarily know 100% what they want in a candidate until the right one walks into the door,” she points out. So, “Use this as an opportunity to sell your background, skills, connections, enthusiasm, and references during your interview and within your cover letter.” And speaking of having references…

7. References really matter.

What you may lack in experience or previous job titles you can make up for with glowing references. “References are always important, but they’re especially important in this case,” says Crawford. “If a hiring manager is considering you despite your being underqualified, you want to make sure that your references will sing your praises.” Be sure to prepare a list in advance of your application, and don’t forget to reach out to each potential reference to make sure he or she is willing to provide a very positive review of your performance.

This article originally appeared on the Glassdoor.com

How Shavone Charles Created Her Dream Job In Tech

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Shavone Charles holds many titles. From being a musician and artist to her role as Head of Global Music and Youth Culture Communications at Instagram and recent founder of a passion project, Magic in Her Melanin, Charles is undoubtedly known to her peers and the surrounding tech and entertainment industries as being a renaissance woman and connoisseur of culture.

The term, “Do It For The Culture”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a statement requesting that someone carry out a specific action for benefit of their shared culture. Charles is doing just that with not only her work in Silicon Valley but for black creatives globally. With her deep Trinidadian roots, Charles is passionate about maintaining her self-identity while creating an environment of inclusivity for women of color in tech.

Before she was trailblazing a new path for future generations, millennials and black women in tech, or creating her own job title at multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter and Instagram, she was a San Diego native and first-generation college graduate from UC Merced, just trying to figure it out. Upon graduating in 2012, Charles snagged several high-profile entertainment and communications based internships at Google, BET Networks, Capitol Hill and The Department of Justice. Her big break happened when she was the presented with the opportunity to create her own role and title at Twitter.

At Twitter, Shavone established her niche career focus on culture-focused communications and social marketing, business partnerships and data analysis with a close lens on music, online communities and youth culture. Upon joining the Twitter team, Shavone created her own role, as the first person to join her team and head up the company’s global music and culture communications, with a focus on data, often working on efforts tied music partnerships and high-priority product launches and acquisitions (including Vine and Periscope). During her time at Twitter, Shavone also remotely oversaw all of the company’s communications efforts for Brazil and Canada out of San Francisco and employed a number of successful global culture-driven communications programs tied to major entertainment and consumer moments in market (including Rock In Rio, Brazil’s Fashion Week, Juno Awards and more). She led content management and curation for the official @TwitterMusic account and helped grow it by over 5 million followers, as result of social campaigns with talent and highlighting the best uses of Twitter and Vine in music.

In addition to launching PR and social campaigns, Charles had the unique opportunity to create the first-ever employee resource group for African-American employees, aptly named Twitter BlackBirds. Her role at Twitter, catapulted her into a new realm of visibility and influence, leading her to head up communications and culture at Instagram. Charles has always been intrigued by the notion of connecting diverse groups of people through social media and cultivating an accepting community for people to have the choice to share commonalities.

Technology has allowed the culture to be seen on a global scale, with creatives now at the forefront of the movement and art form. It’s not a “niche” community anymore and people are using the internet to build a community around their interests,” which she said at Forbes I.D.E.A Summit.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

We’re Loving It: Meet The Youngest Black Woman To Own A McDonald’s Franchise

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Jade Colin is making waves in the restaurant franchise business as McDonald’s youngest black woman to own one of the popular fast food eateries.

No doubt an impressive feat, the New Orleans native has been preparing to run her own business for years. In 2010, her parents purchased their first McDonald’s. She began working in her family’s restaurants in 2012, after graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelors in Business Management.

The next step in her journey towards owning her own was joining the Next Generation program. The program helps train children of McDonald’s franchise owners in hopes of one day running their parents’ investments, or franchising a new store themselves. Uniquely, a parent can’t simply pass their franchise down to their kids; they have to go through a process where they’re accepted to take it over, or, like Colin, start their own.

Colin excelled in the program, receiving the Outstanding Restaurant Manager of the Year Award for her region, as well as the Ray Kroc Award, which recognizes the top one percent of restaurant managers in the country.

In 2016, Colin opened her first McDonald’s location, marking her as McDonald’s youngest black franchise owner, at 26 years old.

Now 28, and still McDonald’s youngest black franchise owner, Colin is thinking long term when talking about being black and running your own business. Speaking to The Black Professional, the millennial franchisee said, “As an African American community, we need more men and women to know it’s not just about right now, but it’s about the generations to come.”

Continue onto Blavity to read the complete article.

Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit on Being a Black Woman in Silicon Valley

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The Detroit native studied at Penn and Stanford, worked for Goldman and Google, and now runs the gig economy pioneer that Ikea acquired in 2017.

Stacy Brown-Philpot didn’t grow up aspiring to be the chief executive of a technology company. Instead, she wanted to be an accountant.

While interning at an accounting firm in the 1990s, Ms. Brown-Philpot — who was raised by her mother in Detroit — worked for a partner who happened to be African-American. “I was like, ‘OK, there’s a black person who is a partner at this firm. This is something that I can accomplish.’”

But as Ms. Brown-Philpot acquired more experience and education, her ambitions grew, too. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1997, did a stint as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then became an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in 1999.

She went back to college to get her graduate degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, then in 2003 joined Google, where Sheryl Sandberg became a mentor. At Google, Ms. Brown-Philpot assumed a series of leadership roles and founded the Black Googlers Network, an employee resource group.

After nine years at Google, she joined TaskRabbit — which lets people hire freelancers for odd jobs — as chief operating officer. She became chief executive in 2016, and last year, she sold the company to Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted at TaskRabbit headquarters in San Francisco.

Tell me about your upbringing.

I grew up on the West Side of Detroit. My mom raised my brother and me by herself. We didn’t have a lot. My mother worked a job that didn’t pay a whole lot of money, so she had to make a lot of sacrifices. But she prioritized education. She would fall asleep helping us with our homework at night. She always taught us that no one can take your learning away from you. And with that, you can go anywhere and do anything.

So I focused on getting good grades. I wasn’t always a popular kid. I didn’t have the best clothes. But I was a smart kid. It’s cool to be smart in Silicon Valley. It’s not cool to be smart on the West Side of Detroit.

What was your first job?

I had a paper route with my brother. I would help him collect the money. I was like the C.F.O. of that operation, making sure we got paid.

And then you went to Penn.

I had no idea what an Ivy League school was. I was a fish out of water. My high school was 98 percent black. Penn was 6 percent black. So I had to find community. I had to figure out how was I going to succeed in this environment where most people don’t look like me, and don’t come from where I came from.

So where’d you find community?

There was a black college house. I didn’t live there. I would just go over there and spend time just sitting around with people that, you know, ate collard greens and fried chicken, just like I did growing up. It just made it safer for me and more confident for me to walk into a classroom and know I knew the answers and speak up.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

8 In-Demand Skills That Will Complement Any Resume

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By Megan Ruesink

You know it’s time for a change—a pay bump and a position where you feel more like an actual professional—but you’re not quite ready to commit to pursuing one career over another. That’s okay.

There are still some things you can be doing to invest in your future right now.There are plenty of skills to learn and implement into your life that may help you when you’re finally ready to apply for that new job or join that program. Take a look at what these employers, business leaders, resume professionals and more are saying about skills to learn that will help you grow and complement your future resume.

4 in-demand ‘soft’ skills

“Future professionals—no matter the field they are entering—need to focus on soft skills that are easily transferable to any position,” says Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications.

Take a look at these four “soft” skills that can help you grow as a person and bolster your resume for nearly any career.

  1. Relationship-building

“Recruiters and hiring managers consistently seek those employees who can relate well to a variety of co-workers, partner with customers, establish ongoing relationships and demonstrate exceptional communication skills,” says Rothbauer-Wanish.

No matter the career you pursue, it’s a safe bet that you’ll end up working with others. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everyone you interact with, but the ability to understand and relate with others is an important foundational skill.

  1. Communication

Communication skills—both written and oral—are also desirable traits among potential employees. Every career requires communication. Whether it’s responding to client emails, collaborating with teammates or presenting in front of team leads, the ability to communicate clearly and concisely is an important skill to possess and refine. If you’re looking to improve your communication ability, organizations like Toastmasters are a great way to get yourself into form.

  1. Critical thinking

Critical-thinking ability is a universally useful skill—practically every job requires you to evaluate situations and make decisions that might not always have a clear right answer. The ability to weigh evidence and project potential outcomes will play a key role in your ability to perform well in nearly any role—whether it’s as a nurse or financial advisor. While this ability isn’t something that can be honed with the snap of your fingers, there are strategies you can employ to refine your critical-thinking skills over time.

  1. Adaptability

Adaptability is important to both small and large companies, says James Kemper, president of W.H. Meanor & Associates.

“Due in part to greatly improved communication and data collection capabilities, events that would take months or even years to develop are reduced to weeks and days,” he says. “So it is important in your resume that you can demonstrate how you’ve encountered or were tasked to resolve challenging situations that may not have been in your scope of understanding, and how you dealt with them.”

4 in-demand ‘hard’ skills

Obviously, when it comes to your future resume, you’ll need industry-specific skills to jump out at those reading it. But in the for now, as you figure out what you really want to do, why not work on some “hard skills” that will look good on a nearly every resume and likely play some part in your future career.

  1. Coding

“In a technology-driven world, having technological skills are highly sought after. The basics of Microsoft Office are a necessity,” says Ajay Prasad, founder and president of GMR Web Team. “But other skills, such as coding, can be very attractive. Even in positions where you don’t expect to need to know coding, it can still come in handy.”

Prasad uses the example of an HTML newsletter or email in need of edits or a website that could use a little tweaking. Knowing some codes in these areas can easily be put to good use. Additionally, coding skills can be used to automate simple repetitive tasks—which can be a huge time saver.

  1. Data analysis

“A lot of today’s jobs revolve more and more around data,” says Bradley Shaw, president and CEO of SEO Consulting Inc. “And even in jobs like content marketing or customer support, you’ll be dealing with some data on a regular basis. Showing a future employer that you’ve used data to make decisions at work in another industry, or even to do something like grow your social media can go a long way.”

While not every job in the world will require a deep statistical analysis of data, being able to identify trends and interpret changes in data can help you make informed decisions.

  1. Software skills

Gaining software skills within your area of study or industry can be helpful skills for your future career and a great way to pad your resume.

“If you want to obtain a job in accounting, get training in accounting software packages; if you want to get into HR learn as many Human Resources Information System (HRIS) software packages as possible,” says Dawn Boyer, PhD, author and consultant.

  1. Budgeting

The ability to set and adhere to a budget is a versatile and valuable skill. While the benefits of being able to manage a budget are much more obvious for business-related careers, there’s still good reason to develop budgeting skills. For one, budgeting is a great skill for your personal life. But beyond that, even careers that have very little to do with business or money management have the potential for you to reach a management position that may require careful management of finances.

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: Rasmussen.edu

How to Stand Out on the Job

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Workplaces can be extremely competitive! It can be tempting to rely on gimmicks like flashy clothes or jokes to stand out at work, but this can backfire if you’re looking for a promotion. If you want to get noticed by your superiors at work, the best way to stand out is to conform to your workplace, do quality work, and be a good colleague.

Why Work on Getting Noticed?

You might be the hardest worker in your organization, and the one everyone wants on their team—but, if you’re not in people’s thoughts, then you’ll be passed up for new projects, additional responsibilities, awards, and promotions.

That’s why you need to be visible at work!

Let’s look at some strategies that you can use to get noticed in the workplace.

Developing Specialist Skills

Do you consider yourself a “generalist,” someone who does many different things in different roles, or a “specialist,” someone who is an expert in one or two specific areas?

New businesses often hire generalists, because they can perform in so many different roles. As organizations grow, however, specialists are often hired to focus on key areas. This may leave the hard-working generalists feeling pushed aside and disempowered.

If you’re a generalist, think strategically about what types of skills your organization needs. Work on building these skills to become a specialist. The more knowledgeable and skillful you become in a particular area, the more likely you are to be noticed for your work.

Remember that organizations also tend to look for people with great “soft skills”—non-technical skills such as creative thinking, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication skills, flexibility, and coaching. These are often as important as professional expertise.

If you’re thinking about becoming a specialist in a certain area, don’t forget to consider these important soft skills. Helping your boss resolve a major conflict within your team will get you noticed just as much as delivering a great presentation or sales report.

Essentially, if you help people out when they need assistance, then people will help you out too.

And if you take the time to build and nurture relationships with the people around you, you’ll build a network of “allies” who can help you get assigned to interesting, significant, or eye-catching projects that might otherwise go to someone else. They may also recommend you to other departments, which can open up opportunities that might not have been available to you without their recommendations.

Build a network of alliances within your department, with other departments, and with the executive team or board. Try to get assigned to teams that involve a wide variety of people. This can help you build your reputation and make important friendships.

Also, build your network outside of office hours. Socializing with colleagues after work often makes everyone feel more relaxed and open to new friendships.

Tracking Your Accomplishments

When you’re working hard, it’s easy to forget all of your achievements over the last 6 to 12 months. This won’t help when it’s time for your performance review.

Keep track of all of your accomplishments within the organization. If clients or colleagues give you compliments, write them down. If the compliment came in an email, print it. If you exceeded last quarter’s sales goals, get the paperwork that proves it.

Put all of these great compliments and achievements in a file and bring the file to your performance review. This gives you hard evidence to prove to your boss what a great job you’re doing. Then, when it’s time to ask for a pay raise or promotion, it may be harder for your manager to say no.

Getting Out of the Shadows

Sometimes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your manager or colleagues may present your ideas as their own.

However, if you want to get noticed, you must receive credit for your ideas.

If this happens to you, first find out if it’s also happening to anyone else. Often, a colleague or boss “borrows” ideas from several people, not just one. One way to discover this is by simply watching other people’s body language around this person.

If your colleague or manager is taking credit for only your work, but no one else’s, then document it every time it occurs. If practical, “watermark” your work whenever you can (this is a feature in some word processing software packages). If the person claims your ideas as their own in a meeting, gently but firmly correct the misstatement.

Taking on More Responsibilities

You can also get noticed by your manager and other executives by taking on more responsibilities whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean that you should overwork yourself! But if you see a new project or role that will help you expand your skills, take advantage of it. Do this, particularly if it’s one that has high visibility within the organization or has a significant impact on the bottom line.

This is particularly important with innovation and process improvement. Developing a reputation as an innovator or creative thinker can be valuable. If you believe that you have the ability to innovate and think of good ideas then try to get assigned to projects where these skills are valued.

Tip: While you’re doing this, make sure that you continue to do the core parts of your job well. If you fail to do this, you’ll get noticed—but for all the wrong reasons!

More Tips on Getting Noticed

Here are a few more ideas for getting the people you work with to notice you:

  • Make sure you’re visible. Spend a few minutes every day greeting and talking with your coworkers. A simple smile can help tremendously. Also, try to speak to colleagues face-to-face from time to time, instead of sending emails or instant messages.
  • Praise others. If you have a colleague who works as hard as you, then praise the person in front of your manager. Be specific, and sincere, about what the person is doing.
  • Stay updated on your industry. Read trade newsletters or other relevant materials that keep you up-to-date on trends and technology. You never know when this information will be valuable.
  • Find a mentor. Mentors can offer valuable advice and career coaching. The chances are that the mentor has been through the same situations that you’re experiencing and can help you navigate them successfully.
  • Get involved with your organization’s charity events. Volunteering for these activities—like running in a race or coaching a children’s team—can help you build your network within the organization.

Source: mindtools.com

The Three Smartest Ways To Use LinkedIn Early In Your Career

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Why bother using LinkedIn when you don’t have much job experience to put on your profile page? Here’s why–and how to do it.

LinkedIn is a great place to build a network, diversify your knowledge, and find new career opportunities–even when you’re early in your career. Students and recent grads may neglect LinkedIn, thinking it’s premature to start investing time into the platform before actually building up a solid amount of work experience. That’s a mistake.

I’ve found unexpected opportunities lurking within LinkedIn that simply require some ingenuity to take advantage of. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past few years I’ve spent in the tech industry after graduating.

1. START NETWORKING CONVERSATIONS YOU CAN TAKE OFFLINE

Yes, LinkedIn is kind of like a database. You load it up with information on your interests, objectives, skills, and accomplishments so the leaders and peers you connect with can tell what you’re all about. Obviously, when someone checks out your profile, you’ll want it to be thorough and compelling.

But all the work you put into your profile is just a springboard for reaching out to other professionals in your industry. Whenever you come across someone you’d like to connect with on LinkedIn, your real objective should be to take the conversation you strike up offline as quickly as possible. Don’t treat LinkedIn the way you might operate on Instagram, racking up contacts you have no intention of interacting with in the real world.

LinkedIn is a means to an end, and that end goal should always be real-time conversations–ideally face to face, or by phone if necessary when you live in different places and don’t plan to visit soon. Using LinkedIn to set up face-to-face meetings with new people is a crucial and underutilized tactic for younger professionals working to build their networks in a meaningful way.

2. TREAT LINKEDIN LIKE A FREE SEMINAR

Learning quickly at a new job is one of the most exciting and daunting tasks entry- and associate-level workers usually face. First you have to learn your role and size up the work culture. Then you’ve got to get a handle on the industry and understand how your company is competing in the market. LinkedIn can actually help you with all of that.

So search for and join groups, follow leaders, comment on conversations, and share interesting stories. You can start by following industry-specific groups, first as an observer, and then as a participant as you get more comfortable. Make sure you also pay attention to what your company and its competitors are posting. Staying engaged–even by checking in on the chatter just once a week or so–can help you stay informed and ahead of the game.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How to knock your next interview out of the park

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Give your interviewer a firm handshake. Make eye contact. Answer each question succinctly. Have questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

If you’ve had a job, then you’ve had an interview, and you likely know those interview essentials and these interview questions.

But if you want to move from being a viable candidate to the hiring manager’s top choice, you’ll need to go well beyond the basics. While the way you dress and present yourself is important, it will be the substance of your responses and interactions that leave the interviewer picturing you in the role—and, more importantly, being unable to imagine that anyone else could be a better fit.

Convey these four messages in your next interview, and you’re sure to hit a home run.

1. You Were Indispensable in Your Previous Jobs

Hiring managers want to hire people who have a history of getting things done. The logic goes that if you were successful in other jobs, then you’re likely to be successful in this one. Truly, nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs.

So, your first task in the interview is to describe how indispensable you were in your previous position. Now, you can’t just say, “I was the best Junior Analyst they’d ever seen, and the place will never be the same now that I’m gone”—you have to show the interviewer by providing specific examples of the actions you took and what results came because of them.

These are two of the four components of the S-T-A-R method for responding to interview questions. To use this method, set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a Junior Analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).

“In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 5%.”

Don’t worry that someone else could have done it if they were in your position—they weren’t. It was your job, your actions, your results.

2. You Will Be Awesome in This New Job

Unfortunately, success in one role doesn’t necessarily translate to being a fit in another role—and to convince the interviewer that you’ll be able to hit the ground running and be awesome in the new job, you must explain how your skills translate. In particular, you want to highlight those skills that specifically address the issues that the hiring manager is facing.

To understand those issues, conduct industry research prior to the interview. Are there certain themes that come up again and again in job descriptions in your field, like being a shark at sales or a detail-oriented perfectionist? Also, listen closely to what the interviewer is asking—often, she’ll ask leading questions or share challenges that others before you have had in the role.

For example, say the interviewer asks, “We have tight deadlines and have to turn around our projects quickly. Can you work under time pressure?”

Don’t just say yes—give a response that showcases your skills and how they’d transfer, like: “Absolutely. In my last job, we often had short deadlines. I was great at managing these situations because I focused on consistent communication with the team, and used my organization skills to stay on top of everything we had going on.” Then, provide a specific example.

3. You’re the Perfect Fit for This Job

Companies have interview guidelines designed to hire the most qualified employees based on experience and aptitude, but let’s be honest: Often a big factor is likability.

Hiring managers don’t generally hire people that they don’t connect or vibe with. Of course, they don’t often say that—they cloak it in statements like, “She’s smart, but I just don’t think that she is the right fit for the role.” But the truth is, you won’t get hired if you’re not liked.

So, to get the job, you must connect with the interviewer. I’m not suggesting that you crack jokes or become buddies—but you should be confident and interact as if you’re already working together, through eye contact, active listening, smiling, and avoiding nervous laughter. I call it “relaxed formality.”

It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.

4. You Really Want This Job

You’re almost there! But, it’s not enough that you’re capable of doing the job and would be pleasant to work with—you have to actually want the job. Hiring managers, after all, are looking for employees that really want to be there and will be part of the team for the long haul.

So, you want to show enthusiasm for the role. Not bouncy cheerleader “spirit,” but the type of enthusiasm that comes from understanding what the role entails, how you can add value in the role based on your previous experiences, and what new challenges it offers to you for growth and development.

Think, “One of the reasons I’m so excited about this role is because it allows me to leverage my client management skills [your expertise] with larger clients on more complex deals [the new challenge].”

And, of course, you’ll want to follow up with a genuine, seal-the-deal thank you note!

Read more great career advice articles from The Muse here

Author
Nicole Lindsay

Sell Yourself and Your Brand

LinkedIn

Creating a personal brand helps employers see your uniqueness

Why take the time to develop a personal brand? See how you can stand out to employers.

  • In a tough job market, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your LinkedIn readers positively wowed.
  • Corporations take great care to develop a brand that defines their product. Brands help inspire trust and commitment in consumers; if you apply similar thinking to your personal brand, you can distinguish your value in a way that inspires an employer’s interest in you.
  • With so many marketing options, you need to be consistent. Use your brand in all your job search communications, including your cover letter, in interviews, and in thank-you notes. Your LinkedIn and other social media should clearly reflect you and your professional brand.
  • Most work is project based. Your brand is a shorthand description of what you bring to a team or to the table for projects.

So, are you ready to start thinking—or rethinking—your personal branding strategy?

Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Are you friendly and always the one to organize social events at work? Your brand could include “an inveterate team builder and initiator.”
  • Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
  • You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow and brand yourself “a problem-solver who excels at developing talent.”

You can identify your signature characteristics yourself or work with a career coach or counselor to help you identify them. It’s a good idea to ask for some feedback on your ideas from a few trusted friends or colleagues before you go public with your brand to avoid a mismatch of how you see yourself and how you may come across to others.

Source: careeronestop.org

Microsoft now offers public courses for building AI skills

LinkedIn
African American businessman

Microsoft has added an AI track to its Professional Program courses. The track is open to the public and is comprised of nine online courses — each of which take eight to 16 hours to complete — as well as a final project. “The program provides job-ready skills and real-world experience to engineers and others who are looking to improve their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors,” the company said in a statement.

The track features courses focused on AI ethics, how to conduct a data study and building different learning models. Enrollees have three months to complete each separate course and each are offered four times per year. The final project course is six weeks long and is also offered four times per year. Once the full track is completed, students will receive a digital certificate. However, to get credit for each course, enrollees have to purchase Verified Certificates from edX.org, which hosts the program.

With so many companies focused on AI, providing ways for people to build their AI skills is useful to both those looking to work in the tech industry and companies who will need to recruit more AI experts as their development efforts expand. “AI is increasingly important in how our products and services are designed and delivered and that is true for our customers as well,” said Susan Dumais, assistant director of Microsoft Research AI, in a statement. “Fundamentally, we are all interested in developing talent that is able to build, understand and design systems that have AI as a central component.”

You can learn more about the program here. academy.microsoft.com

This article originally appeared on Engadget.

70 Different Email Sign-offs (for When You’re Sick of Saying “Best”)

LinkedIn
Black Man on Cell phone

I have an embarrassing confession: The vast majority of the time, I sign off my emails with “thanks!” It doesn’t matter if I have anything to show appreciation for or not—it tends to be my default signature.

When I’m not busy expressing my gratitude for absolutely nothin’? I go with a standard “best” at the end of my messages. Isn’t my creativity just astounding?

It’s not that I don’t want to cap off my email with something great. It’s just that I often find myself drawing a blank. Are there even any other options aside from those two widely-accepted favorites?

Yes, there are. And, as a matter of fact, there’s a lot of them. Fortunately for you (and for me!) I pulled a huge selection into this list right here. Of course, not all of them will be suitable for every sort of situation or office. But, with so many options, you’re bound to find one that fits the bill.

So, go ahead and bookmark this page and come back to it when you feel like straying from your standard email sign-off and trying something a little different.

If You Need Something Formal

  • 1. All My Best
  • 2. Best
  • 3. Best Regards
  • 4. Best Wishes
  • 5. Congratulations
  • 6. Cordially
  • 7. Faithfully
  • 8. Goodbye
  • 9. Looking Forward
  • 10. Regards
  • 11. Respectfully
  • 12. Sending You the Best
  • 13. Sincerely
  • 14. Sincerely Yours
  • 15. Speak With You Soon
  • 16. Take Care
  • 17. Warm Regards
  • 18. Warm Wishes
  • 19. Warmly
  • 20. Yours
  • 21. Yours Truly
  • 22. Wishing You a Wonderful Day

If You Want Something Friendly

  • 23. Cheers
  • 24. Enjoy Your [Day of the Week]
  • 25. Good Luck
  • 26. Happy [Day of the Week]
  • 27. Have a Good One
  • 28. Have a Great Day
  • 29. Here’s to a Great [Day of the Week]
  • 30. Hope This Helps
  • 31. Hope You’re Making it Through [Day of the Week]
  • 32. Make it a Great Day
  • 33. Pleasure Catching Up With You
  • 34. See You Tomorrow
  • 35. Sending Good Vibes
  • 36. Talk Soon
  • 37. Until Next Time
  • 38. You’re the Best
  • 39. Your Friend

If You Need to Show Appreciation

  • 40. All My Thanks
  • 41. I Can’t Thank You Enough
  • 42. I Owe You
  • 43. Many Thanks
  • 44. Much Appreciated
  • 45. Thank You
  • 46. Thank You for Everything
  • 47. Thank You in Advance
  • 48. Thanks a Million
  • 49. Thanks for Reading
  • 50. Thanks for Your Consideration
  • 51. Thanks for Your Help
  • 52. Thanks So Much
  • 53. With Appreciation
  • 54. With Gratitude
  • 55. You’re a Lifesaver

If You’re Feeling Funny (or Cheesy)

  • 56. Anonymously
  • 57. Bye, Felicia
  • 58. Congrats on Reading This Whole Email
  • 59. Don’t Stop Believin’
  • 60. I Need Coffee
  • 61. Keep On Keepin’ On
  • 62. Later Alligator
  • 63. Live Long and Prosper
  • 64. Looking Forward (to Friday)
  • 65. One Step Closer to Friday
  • 66. Peace Out
  • 67. So Long, Farewell
  • 68. Tag, You’re It
  • 69. The End
  • 70. Toodles

Again, not all of these will be appropriate for every single email you send. Just like in spoken communication, the words you use with your boss or an important client will be much different than the ones you’d use with a close friend or co-worker.

Read the complete article and more from The Muse at themuse.com/advice/70-different-email-signoffs

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