How To Calm Your Nerves Before Public Speaking At Work

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professional woman standing behind podium at work giving a speech

No other everyday office opportunity can strike terror in employees quite like public speaking. Giving a presentation can be a chance to get your voice heard, but 1 in 4 Americans fear it.

It scares more of us than snakes, hell, walking alone at night and insects, according to a 2018 survey by Chapman University.

But research shows there are ways to calm your jitters and not feel overwhelmed. Here are some that tips psychologists and experts have for the nervous public speaker:

1) Reframe those nerves as excitement.

Don’t listen to the advice of those “Keep calm and carry on” posters if you’re anxious about public speaking. Instead, try embracing your sweaty palms and racing heartbeat as signs of excitement. This reappraisal of anxiety can actually help stop nerves from overwhelming you, a 2014 Harvard Business School study found. How you think about your anxiety can change how you perform under it.

In the study, business professor Alison Wood Brooks recruited participants to sing the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” in front of a group. Before they belted their hearts out, they were told to say, “I am anxious,” “I am excited,” or nothing. A video game measured how well they performed. The group that declared their excitement improved their singing performance more than the “anxious” and say-nothing groups.

Similarly, in a separate experiment, participants were asked to give a short public speech after being told to say “I am calm” or “I am excited.” The “excited” group gave better speeches, independent raters judged. Brooks suggested that this works because encouraging excitement can prime you to see the task as an opportunity, whereas trying to calm down can make you see the challenge as a threat.

2) Make it about the ideas you want to share; don’t make it all about you.

Yes, being asked to speak in front of your peers can be an honor.

But don’t make the opportunity about more than it is if you’re worried about your boss’ approval or what the audience will think.

Amanda Hennessey, founder of Boston Public Speaking, has coached people for more than a decade. She advises taking the focus off of yourself and putting it instead onto the valuable information you are going to deliver. That way, the speech becomes “an exchange of ideas rather than a referendum of our self-worth,” she said.

Hennessey said public speakers in the office can focus on why the public speaking matters for their team or client and “what’s at stake for the people.”

“That brings us to that place of passion and purpose, where our bodies feel very alive,” Hennessey said.

If your mind starts to narrate a horror story about how your talk will go, Hennessey suggests a physically grounding technique to help you stay continually present. “Feel your feet on the earth and start to notice things around you, look at something on your desk that makes you happy and really look at it,” Hennessey said. “We want to get back to the present, instead of projecting about the future.”

3) Don’t obsess over each word.

If you have done the necessary preparation, don’t monitor what you are about to say right before the public speaking opportunity, advises Sian Beilock, a psychologist who authored “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To.” Looking at famous examples of people “choking” under pressure, she found that high-achieving people can underperform when they are struck by “paralysis analysis” and try to control every part of their performance by paying too much attention to step-by-step details.

“Oftentimes, the reason that we mess up, especially something that’s well-learned or practiced, is that we start paying too much attention to the details,” Beilock said. “When you’re focusing on every step of what you’re going to say right before you go in, that can be problematic.“

Beilock says a public speaker can distract themselves with an activity that takes their mind off what they are about to do. “One way that research has found to get rid of that monitoring is to focus on something at a higher level,” Beilock said. “In golf, they talk about one swing thought, or a mantra that encapsulates the entire putting stroke. When you’re speaking and you’re trying to get the point across, think about the three points you want to get across. What are the three goals?”

With those in mind, when you do open your mouth, you can focus on the outcome of what you’re trying to say rather than “every word coming out of your mouth,” Beilock said.

Hennessey suggests carrying positive self-affirmations that speak to you, such as “I got this,” “I release the need to prove my worth,” “I am excited to share what I care about,” or “I am enough.”

Continue on to HuffingtonPost to read the complete article.

The BEYA STEM Conference is coming to Washington, D.C.

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group of people arriving at diversity hiring fair

Each year, the BEYA STEM Conference brings professionals and students together for three days to share their experiences and career information.

This year’s event will be held in Washington, D.C., February 13-15 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Did you know that science, technology, engineering and mathematics career opportunities, referred to as “STEM” industries, are growing rapidly? Employers cannot fill job postings quickly enough, and there are a wide variety of openings for diverse candidates with the STEM skills necessary to succeed.

You can network with attendees from around the country while participating in seminars and workshops that explore every facet of STEM career paths.

The goal of the BEYA Conference is to create connections between students, educators and STEM professionals while facilitating partnerships with individuals and their local STEM resources.

Make the most of the free career fair! Plan your visit before your arrival and get the most out of your experience. Easily search exhibitors by name. You can create a list of exhibitors your must see.

Watch video from the BEYA STEM 2017 Conference:

Standard registration is by January 31, 2020. Late Registration is by February 1, 2020.

Get all the details about the three-day conference here.

Hospitality: the Top Four Careers in Hospitality

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Female chef wearing her uniform holding fresh vegetables

Hospitality Career does not only pertain to a single job. It is mainly a field in which you can choose from a vast variety of specialties. It is a fact that learning about these different fields could be fun.

However, a person can only do much to a limited extent, which is why having a specialization is a must.

With all the possibilities in this career, there are those that top the list. So to help you out, here are the top four careers in hospitality that you may want to consider venturing into.

Hotel Staff
It is undeniable that hotels are rampant nowadays. You could see high rise hotels being built almost anywhere as long as there is a site to see or place to visit. This is true not only for the United Sates, but other countries as well. Whether it be a five-star hotel or a not so glamorous hotel, a hotel is a hotel and one thing’s for sure: they need people to work for them.

Positions in this kind of career could also vary and they are numerous too. You can be the front desk person who assigns rooms for guests or you could be the lifeguard at the pool area who watches over the kid’s pool—there are abundant numbers of hotel staff positions that you could consider. Other than the number of positions, the number of establishments you can work for is also high. There are small bed and breakfasts and there are 5-star accommodations. How high your compensation would be would depend on your job title. This factor would also decide how you will be paid; whether by hour or in a yearly basis.

Event And Meeting Planner
This position includes responsibilities of being in charge of the features regarding vital business meetings or wedding receptions held in hotels. You basically have to act out as an event planner or organizer so that your client would have a smooth program flow for their event. Also, it is part of your responsibility to take care the accommodations and amenities of a facility of site. Thus, you need to have some knowledge on contract negotiations.

For this kind of specialization, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree in a particular area, along with 2-4 years of experience in the field are necessary. The usual salary would be anything from $39,355 to $74,268.

Executive Chef
This career would generally involve managing the flow and direction of a kitchen. You would be responsible for arranging menus and tables on hotels, cruise ships, and other hot spots that tourists go to. You also keep track of inventory and try to keep costs down. You decide which supplies and food items are necessary to purchase. As time passes by, you will establish and modify the menus so that there is an increase in profits and decrease in monetary loss. You are also the one who is in charge of overseeing the overall satisfaction of your customers.

A comprehensive understanding of local food sanitation regulations and rules, along with federal state laws are vital. Generally, you should have a bachelor’s degree in a field of specialty and at least 7 years of experience for you to anything from $45,562 to $101,865.

Travel Coordinator
A travel coordinator is the one who takes control whenever companies need coordination for their travel plans. The typical responsibilities you may encounter would be scheduling flights and hotel stays, as well as assisting travelers obtain their passports, visas, and other required travel documents. The usual salary would be somewhere in between $29,879 to $53,482.

Source: ArticlesBase

How Black Girls Code transformed from basement experiment to international movement

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Kimberly Bryant stands behind a podium wearing a shirt that read Phenomenal Woman

By Halley Bondy

Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was the only black female in the room most of the time. And as Bryant rose the ranks to become manager at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, she yearned for a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai.

Kai had developed a knack for gaming and coding, which is a very male, white and Asian-dominated business.

“It happened that I stumbled into this issue of diversity of inclusion and tech,” said Bryant in an interview with Know Your Value. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and video gaming and gaming in general…I found that there wasn’t a strong program that would focus on girls of color and getting them prepared in the skills they’d need to move into this career field.”

Women of color earn less than 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing, according to the Kapor Center. And black women make up less than 0.5 percent of leadership roles in tech. Even in women-led small tech businesses, women of color only comprise 4 percent of the workforce.

With Kai’s help, Bryant called upon colleagues at Genentech to put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011. She conducted the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco, which was loaned to Bryant for free. Bryant expected about six students, but the class attracted about a dozen girls, including of course, Kai.

Bryant’s small community effort attracted the attention of ThoughtWorks, a global tech consultancy company. ThoughtWorks invested in Bryant in January 2012 and gave her access to space and resources across the country, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters. They called themselves Black Girls Code.

The more mature chapters might boast up to 1,000 students a year, according to Bryant, who runs the organization full-time.

“I didn’t know it would be a nonprofit,” said Bryant. “This was us just trying to test the waters and make something locally where I could bring my daughter, so she could find a tribe of girls interested in the same thing, but it took off from humble beginnings.”

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial Intelligence. Many of the first-year students are now in college, including Kai, who is in her sophomore year studying computer science.

Bryant wants to expand Black Girls Code into a life-long support network to help retention rates in tech.

“One of the things that I’m really excited about is building out this alumni network that we’ve grown over the last eight years,” said Bryant. “Many of the girls…are about to go to college, and they have a need for support as they continue their career and collegiate journeys.”

Bryant said she was never interested in coding — that was all her daughter. Instead, Bryant studied engineering at Vanderbilt University. She said she met only one other African American female engineering student in her four years there, and that none of her professors were even female, let alone black.

“I didn’t have any role models,” said Bryant.

Still, she excelled. Bryant was only 25 when she became a manager at DuPont in Tennessee. She said her manager there—whom she otherwise adored—jokingly introduced her to the team as a “twofer,” because she was black and a woman.

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial IntelligenceCourtesy of Black Girls Code.

“I’m positive those men had never worked for a black woman as their manager,” she said. “It was a learning experience. I spent most of my career in these types of positions. There were always these implicit and explicit biases that I had to deal with as I tried to establish authority as a black woman.”

Continue on to NBC News read the complete article.

Why December is the perfect time to update your CV and LinkedIn

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woman working on her computer

It’s January and you’ve just returned to work after the Christmas break. It’s cold, bleak and the festive fun is over – and like many others, you begin to think about changing jobs.

The New Year is when employees are most likely to think about quitting and starting somewhere new, with almost one in five citing January as the most popular month to make a move, according to a survey by Glassdoor.

In fact, so many people think about moving jobs that the first Monday back at work in January has been dubbed “Massive Monday” in the world of recruitment – the day when record numbers of jobseekers apply for new positions.

So why is January so popular for job seekers – and how can you prepare yourself for applications beforehand?

The old cliché ‘‘New year, new job’ is still going strong,” says Graeme Jordan, a CV writer and interview coach. “I know from my business that I have seen an uptick in demand the past few years during the month of January. On one occasion I received a brand new enquiry on January 2nd, from someone very quick off the mark. It goes with the idea of a fresh start and ‘If not now, when?’”

In the New Year, employers may be feeling motivated and eager to attract skilled workers. With a clearer schedule at the start of the year, they may be less likely to be tied down with deadlines and projects, making them more responsive to job applications. Job seekers are also more likely to see a wave of new job roles opening up.

Many employers are also given a new budget at the start of every year which can give candidates a better chance at finding a new job and being hired. If salary is a key reason for moving jobs, you may have better luck finding a higher-paid job in January.

With all this in mind, December is a great time to polish up your CV and update your LinkedIn. Not only will you be ready to send applications to recruiters as soon as a position opens up, but it also allows you to assess your achievements, skills and career progress so far – and decide how you want to move forwards.

“Taking time in December to update your CV can be good, if you are in the mindset of reviewing how things have gone during the year, and everything is fresh in your mind prior to the significant break,” Jordan explains.

“There is something about the time of year that lends itself to a consideration of our purpose: I find Christmas break the most substantial of the year,” he adds. “Unlike the summer holidays, when you may be checking emails and are likely to be busy in the run-up and aftermath of your holiday, Christmas has a different feel. You wind down to it. Then everything stops. Fewer emails to check, because no-one else is at work either.”

And when you return to the office, work might not be as hectic as other times. This can help bring clarity of mind and give you more time to review what you want from your job.

“Whatever time of year you update your CV, there is no mystery to it,” Jordan explains. “Find out what your target audience – future employer – wants and give it to them. But give it to them credibly, and with examples. I call it the marketing approach to CV writing.”

Continue on to Yahoo news to read the complete article.

How To Ace Your Annual Review

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confident young black man

The holidays are great, but there’s one last bit of stress remaining—the annual review. While it’s a relatively strong job market, there are plenty of things that companies are concerned about. Corporate executives are worried about the ramifications of tariffs and trade wars with China, nonstop political bickering and the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.

There are concerns that the stock market is due for a sell-off or correction and a recession is long overdue. As an employee, you’re afraid of all of the new trends of nearshoring and offshoring jobs to lower-cost places, the cost-cutting of people with the nexus of being over 40 years of age and earning a nice income and the push for technology to take over the jobs of workers.

With these real fears in mind, you’re forced to face your boss at the end of the year to have the annual review and discuss dollars and cents.

There are many employees who are in the right job in the right sector and feel really good about this time of year. They know that they have killed it at work and exceeded all expectations. Their skills are highly sought after and it would be easy to find another job with a competitor for more money. These types of employees hold all of the best cards in their hands.

You believe that you have worked hard, did a great job and deserve a raise and bonus. It sounds simple in your head. When it’s time to actually sit across the desk from your boss, it’s not so easy. It’s an uncomfortable conversation filled with potential landmines.

Let’s start with what you should never do in your annual review. Oftentimes, employees believe that they must get a promotion, raise and large bonus for just showing up. Their attitude and demeanor are turn-offs to the manager.

Here’s what you shouldn’t say:

  • “If I don’t get the money I have asked for, I’m quitting!”
  • “Jane earns a base salary of $123,612. I’m so much better than Jane, so I should get a raise to $150,000.”
  • “I have bills, tuition payments and car payments!”
  • “I’ve been here for over 15 years!”
  • “I’ve Googled how much people with my job title earn, so you should pay me what Google says they earn too.”
  • “I’m the only one who really works around here!”
  • “I do your job for you!”
  • “I don’t care if the company is not doing well, It’s not my fault.”
  • “Well, if you don’t pay me more, I won’t work as hard.”

Here’s what you should do instead. You want to enter the manager’s office armed with indisputable data, facts and information that highlight everything you’ve accomplished over the last year. Explain what was expected of you and validate how you have met and exceeded those expectations. You need to cite your achievements, including how you have helped your boss succeed, and made sizable contributions to the company.

The key is to start working on the annual review at the beginning of the year. On a daily basis, ensure that your boss and other important decision makers recognize your Herculean efforts and accomplishments. Be careful, as you don’t want to come across too obvious about it. Otherwise, they’ll think you are just trying to curry favor and gaming the system.

Your pitch is based upon tangible results. You are not asking for any favors nor are you petulantly demanding something you don’t deserve. You are politely, but firmly, presenting your case in a calm and deliberate manner that sets forth all of the reasons and rationale as to why the company should want to pay you more money.

Try to sound confident, upbeat and enthusiastic. If you drone on with just data points, you will lose your audience. You want your boss to view you as a superstar performer who is excited to come into the office everyday and shine.

The goal is to have your manager recognize that you are a valuable and irreplaceable asset to her and the organization. She’ll understand that it’s necessary to offer you more money, a larger bonus and promotion. If she doesn’t, your manager knows that there is a risk that you’ll leave to join a competitor or lose your enthusiasm and not perform as well in the future.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Power Couple: Soldier Recruits Wife to Join Army

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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

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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

First Day Jitters? How to Make a Smooth Transition

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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

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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.

9 Effective Ways to Assess Candidates’ Soft Skills

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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

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

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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

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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.

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